Monday, September 26, 2011

Flea Market Treasures

This past week I had a chance to visit a flea market in a nearby town in south Mississippi.  The trips are always exciting, but generally don't yield great finds.  This weekend however, was the exception.  I noticed a young couple sitting at the very end of a long row of vendors. Keep in mind, this was very early in the day.  I always get there early to get the best buys.  To make a long story short their Great Aunt has recently passed away and the items were from that estate. They had many great items at bargain prices, but what caught by eye was  a box in the back of their tent. That was full of old costume jewelry. I immediately realized that most of the some 100+ pieces were from the 1930's-'40's.  I tried not too show to much interest but my heart was pounding with excitement. I've often sold old pieces like the ones I was eyeing for over $100 each.  I knew what I was going to do---heck, I wanted the whole box.  I filtered through the items and asked what they wanted for the pieces and they said they were planning to ask $5 each for them. I think my jaw dropped.  I ended up getting the whole box for $275 dollars---they were happy and I was over-joyed.  When I got back home I counted the items and found the box to contain some 87 pieces.  I can easily sell them items for over $2000.  Not a bad days work. Below is a repost of some Flea Market tips.

Flea markets are a great place to find hidden treasures. Often for a few dollars you can buy something worth much more. Below are just a few tips to follow on your Flea Market Treasure Hunt.

1. Dress down. If you look too dressed up, I guarantee you'll pay more. A sweatshirt and comfortable walking shoes are appropriate attire. I once made the mistake of going to a flea market in my Sunday best. I certainly don't remember any bargains or savings from that outing! Also bring a hat, as too much sun can deplete your energy and concentration, not to mention giving you a sunburn.

2. Get there early. You know you've arrived too late if all you see is people walking out with lamps and picture frames. These, according to flea market specialists, are the two most popular items. When they're gone, you know the place has been picked over.

3. Take cash. Lots of single bills and nothing higher than a $20 bill will give you some bargaining power. I like to take $5 bills, which seem to be the most versatile. If I have a list of items to find, I usually take about $300. This doesn't mean I have to spend it, but it assures me that if I find a true treasure I can buy it.

4. Don't be fooled by booth appearances. A few things on a blanket will cost less than a fully arranged booth. The general rule is that the higher vendor merchandises, the more you'll end up paying, so shop carefully. Many of these booths are simply extensions of retail outlets. If that's the case, you might as well get the benefit of retail services and purchase the items in the store.

5. Make a list. Write down the accessories for which you're searching. This prevents impulse buying and makes sure you don't end up with something you didn't want or didn't need.

6. Bring plastic bags. Your old grocery bags w ill come in handy if a vendor should run out. If unused, the bags simply collapse into nothing.

7. Drive an appropriate vehicle. Flea-market shopping is usually cash-and-carry, and most vendors don't deliver. Consider borrowing a friend's truck or van if you don't have one and know you'll be looking for a large-sized item. Sometimes a vendor will let you pay in full for an item and pick it up later, but that makes me nervous, especially when I pay with cash.

Remember, the flea-market experience is about finding hidden treasures. The most valuable items are not those that you think will be valuable for resale. The really priceless things are the objects you personally love.

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