Discover Vintage America - OCTOBER 2018

So, you're finally ready to sell some of your stuff

It is a rare day when I don't get at least one phone call or email asking, "Where do I sell my antiques, collectibles and vintage wares?" Actually, before I am hit with that question I am asked if I will purchase their items. One of the downsides to being a dealer is inventory saturation. I like to change my inventory often, to put it bluntly my house is a maze of boxes and the basement is an organized mess.

I have had to pass on numerous items I would love to have in the shop but the seller has already looked at eBay listing prices so that amount is what they want. Few people take into consideration that all resellers need to make a profit. I love what I do but not enough to sell wares and not make some money.

No matter what it is you have to sell, the first consideration is how much effort you want to put in to the process. The absolute easiest way to get rid of boxes of goodies is to donate them and most thrift stores offer free pick-up, no fuss and no muss.

If you feel that you have some items that might be worth some money it is relatively easy to do some online research. Let's say that you have a porcelain figurine marked "Lladro," depicting a mom holding a baby. You want to search in the images for "Lladro figurine holding baby." Notice I left off "mom" or "woman." This will give you a lot of results, which will show a woman sitting with a baby, swinging a baby, standing up with a baby and similar baby figures. If your particular figurine doesn't appear in the first few images you can narrow the search by including the word "woman."

The Lladro Company has been in operation since 1953 so you also want to use the mark on the bottom to date your figurine. Lladro is still in operation in Spain so your first stop should be the Lladro website. Once you get this information nailed down, look at several online retail venues, NOT eBay, to get a few prices and take an average on those to get YOUR sale price.

There are a number of venues available to post items for resale. Facebook has a free marketplace, if you have a smartphone get the "Nextdoor" app; it too has a venue for selling items. If you have larger pieces such as furniture I recommend or one of the above venues but narrow it down to your area. These are wonderful if you have just a handful of items to sell.

If you have quite a few items to sell, you can try an antique shop with the knowledge that you will be offered a below retail price. Some dealers are more honest than others when it comes to buying from an individual, and then you have the others.

A garage sale is always an option if you are willing to put in the work. Or you might hold a "living estate sale" if you have a houseful of goods; these also bring somewhat higher prices.
Etsy is a great online site through which to sell. Selling online is daunting for some because of the shipping. Etsy is good for selling small items that are easier to ship. The Post Office will provide you with free boxes, print your postage out online and set a pick-up date. Of course you will want to purchase bubble wrap, tape, peanuts and other packing material.

Note: All prices given are for sale in a private sale, antique shop or other resale outlet. Price is also dependent upon the geographic area in which you are selling. Auction value, selling to a dealer or pawnshop prices are about half or less of resale value.

Michelle Staley is a Lenexa, KS-based dealer and researcher with 35 years of experience in the antique trade. Send questions with photos to Michelle to Please keep queries to one question; questions without photos of the item may not be answered. Michelle is also available for consulting and extensive research work beyond this column. If you would like an appraisal on an antique or collectible please go to for a one-on-one appraisal.