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Antiquing 101: Where to find Antiques

September 09, 20235 min read
Where to find antiques

Antiquing is an art that requires a great deal of knowledge, skill, and experience to pick that perfect piece from a heap of worthless junk. Knowing the right places to buy antiques is a must, especially if you want to make an opportune investment. From auctions and antique stores to rummage sales and curbsides, there are many options to choose from.

Antique Stores

What better place to shop for antiques than one solely dedicated to them? Antique shops are a gold mine for antique enthusiasts where you can spend your afternoon combing through treasure after treasure. You can find many items, from small decorative pieces to large furniture, if you shop wisely.

Antique stores also allow some extent of bargaining and will take off some percentage if you ask nicely. Plus, you can examine each item thoroughly and take all the time in the world to decide if the item is worth your money. Unlike thrift shops or yard sales, you do not have to go through piles and piles of items to find something of value; most items in an antique store have some type of value so that you can rest assured. However, to avoid scamming, it is best to stick with reputable dealers who have been in the industry longer.


Auctions are another ideal place to start your search for antiques. Whether you are looking for furniture, a decorative perfume bottle, or comic books, auctions have it all. A good thing about buying antiques from auctions is that you can see and examine the items in person. You can place your bid when you have found what you're looking for. Since auctions handle private collections and estates, they provide access to one-of-a-kind items that have remained in families for generations.

The price of an item is determined based on various factors, including its rarity, provenance, authenticity, and historical value. Consignors and specialists work together to thoroughly research and appraise every item based on their current market values, which can fluctuate with time.

When attending an auction, it is essential to do your homework beforehand. If you have your heart set on something and are sure it will appreciate in value, go for it. On the other hand, make sure to keep your calm, so you don't get too carried away while bidding.

Thrift Shops

Thrift stores contain many hidden antique gems at reasonable prices since the items benefit a good cause. You don't have to worry about bargaining either – if you find a piece you like, just go for it! Take your time digging through the stuff, and you will find something worth keeping. There's something so exciting about shopping at a thrift store – you go in with no expectations but might come out having discovered gems.

Remember that thrift stores generally have set prices with no room for negotiation, so follow the shopping etiquette and avoid aggressive haggling. It is important to remember that bargain-hunting is about finding rare pieces, not actively trying to swindle someone. Besides, the quest for cheap prices makes it all the more fun.

Maintaining a good rapport with the employees may pay off. So, the next time you visit your local thrift shop, make it a point to be extra friendly and ensure they have some idea about the kinds of pieces you are searching for.

Antique Shows

If you are new to antiquing, you might assume antique shows to be a rip-off. While this may be true in some instances, it doesn't hurt to consider what's being offered. Sometimes, sellers who display items outside their expertise may put them at a very reasonable price. The same applies to specialty shows with dolls, glass, ephemera, and other valuable items. Even if you do not find something worth buying, antique shows are a great way to learn from other dealers, make contacts, do market research and meet like-minded people.

Rummage Sales

Rummage sales are similar to a thrift shop minus the permanent building. These sales are typically organized in schools and churches to support charitable causes and non-profit organizations. You can look for many antique pieces in such sales, with the added benefit that your purchase goes towards a good cause.

Collection Sales

A collection sale is when a family or individual auctions off their belongings via an auction house. The most popular items are usually linked with celebrities and high-status people. The most famous collection sale occurred in 1984 when the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos auctioned his belongings at Stowe House due to the fear of getting bankrupt. The sale spanned over 40 days and generated $6 million (present-day value). Collection sales are comparatively less common nowadays, but they offer a great way to get your hands on items that will amass immense value over time.


There's no embarrassment in stopping at the curbside and examining the stuff people have put out – you might find treasure in what they consider trash.

Estate Sales

An estate sale is a means of selling all (or almost all) of the contents of a house. They usually occur when the inhabitants have to quickly move from their home and get rid of their belongings quickly. Estate sales can last for several days and are open to everyone. They are different from yard sales because they come with marked price tags.

In an estate sale, you can browse through an array of items, including some hidden gems, such as fine jewelry, art, or other collectibles. You never know what you may find during these sales, so it is always a good idea to stay on top of any estate sale happening in your local area.

Bottom Line

Whether you are a novice or an expert at antiquing, there are many options to start your collection, but do your research on what you buy. Online auctions and shops like Etsy are also becoming popular for antique shopping, but it is best to stick with physical stores, auctions, and sales so you can better understand what you are buying and learn more about items from the people you visit.

Looking for a great place to go antiquing? Visit the Saugatuck Antique Pavilion!

For one of the best antiquing experiences in the midwest US, visit the Saugatuck Antique Pavilion in Douglas, Michigan.

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