Where and How to Sell Vintage & Antique Items

To understand the selling process better, also read our article explaining valuations.

You probably have used the What Is It antiques valuations service and have already valued your item. Now you would like to know where to sell it. We have compiled a short guide about where and how to sell your stuff.

Two golden rules you should know:

  1. Be prepared to work in order to sell.
  2. Be prepared to work hard to sell at a good price.

Most items valued up to a few hundred GBP or USD are best sold via online marketplaces (experienced sellers sell much more expensive items too). Some of the widely known marketplaces are:

  • Etsy.com and eBay.com — global marketplaces
  • Amazon.com — good marketplace but not exactly suitable for antiques. It also requires you to have an International Article Number (a barcode for your item — EAN or UPC)
  • Dawanda.com — mainly a Continental European marketplace, similar to Etsy
  • Bonanza.com — mainly an American marketplace

When it comes to selling antiques and vintage, all the above marketplaces are fairly similar in terms of requirements, apart from Amazon, and mainly differ between themselves in the fees they will charge and the locations they serve.

Main advantage: fast sale.

Main disadvantage: you have to work — photograph, describe, list, answer questions, pack and ship the items. Be prepared for a post-sale support too, in case your item is damaged in transit, appears to arrive not in the same shape/condition as you described it, or if the buyer just changed their mind. In most cases you will have to accept a return or provide a partial refund.

Auction Houses

Expensive items and specialist items can be sold in traditional auction houses. There are local auction (typically small), regional auction (mid-range, typically good specialist sales for expensive items), and national and international auctions (ideal for top of the market art, antiques and collectibles). Want to see what’s going at the very top? Start with Sothebys.com, Christies.com and Bonhams.com. Then search for your local auction — most will have an online presence.

Main advantages: great if you are inexperienced in selling, as they do the work for you; a specialist auction house should achieve a good market price for your specialist items.

Main disadvantage: not a fast sale, you may pay high selling fees (depending on the auction terms).

Other ways to sell antique and vintage homewares

Antiques market and antique shops — it is possible to go to these venues and ask for the dealer who buys the type of item you have. This is a common practice.

Advantage: fast cash sale

Disadvantage: you may need to visit many such places and the price you will get is fairly minimal, because dealers buy to resell.

Flea Market, Car Boot Sale and Garage Sale — fun and fast way to get rid of any item cheaply. But don’t take these venues as serious indicators of your items value.

Classified sites and online local sale apps — these are good channels to sell generic second hand goods for which you can check prices elsewhere. Antiques will get a fairly minimal attention and price.

ceramics on the table





Written by Lavish Shoestring

The largest online vintage & antique homeware store. The What Is It™ service — identify vintage items on the go. Free. Fast. Simple.

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