Things I Tend to Buy for Resale



Nothing is off limits for the most part, but I find myself gravitating on a consistent basis to certain things. I don’t really follow the analytics on “what sells” and “the best categories”. I stick with things that interest me and have proven to provide profit/selling history, highly unique, represent my brand or at least enjoyment in having them for a period. So here are some of my favorites - all contingent that I can get at a reasonable cost:

  • China Sets and Singles: I am doing some “replacement” business on a limited scale, but enjoy finding good sets, in excellent condition, no chips or crazing, and a pattern that is generally classic or has some sales history to anchor to. UPDATE 1/23/23 - Now that I have a decent inventory of china replacements, the Q4 sales for 2022 were awesome and definitely seasonal.
  • Signed and Limited Edition Prints: I will do an occasional unsigned print here and there if the subject matter and framing is nice, but generally I tend to focus on limited editions with lower numbers of copies and hand signed. I am staying away from flowers and stuff and leaning more toward abstracts and nice vintage / antique.
  • Iconic posters: Love these, as they remind me of my childhood. You can spend a lot here but now that I am doing my own framing, I don’t worry about the frame at all, just the poster and try to find out of it is glued to foam core or still in its original detached state which is ideal.
  • Boots: Had a good experience with boots pretty much of any kind, but cowboy boots seem to do pretty well and I will normally do these only if they have the original box and ideally top brands.
  • Hats: I have been doing a brisk business in hats and seems to do pretty good. Try to do ones in like new condition and something that isn't flooded in the market.
  • Signed and Vintage Books: I still don’t do any scanning, strictly on gut. Can go through books pretty quickly to find signed ones and you can read my methods in another blog entry. Vintage books are primarily on feel and I like odd and obscure topics. I have another Blog post on this topic. UPDATE 1/20/23 - I don’t specifically go seeking them but when found, will pick them up. While common sense dictates that personalized devalue a book, my experience is that I sell just as many personalized as I do flat signed. That said, going to focus primarily on flat signed going forward. 
  • Puzzles: Anytime I see a sealed puzzle, I will usually pick it up. COVID isn’t going away any time soon. UPDATE 1/20/23 - They don’t ring in a ton of money, but I am a sucker for anything factory sealed.
  • Dinner and Kitchenware: I try to only get these if they are in above average condition, look for brands like Corelle and Emile Henry…they always do well. For some reason I am drawn to Arcoroc glassware and have sold almost every piece. And don’t get me started on cloches (glass domes for cheese and cake plates).
  • Asian/Japanese/China vintage and antiques draw me in as well. Normally sell pretty well and we have a personal interest in this category.
  • Top brand motorcycle and track/auto/racing helmets (Shoei, Arai, etc)
  • American Girl Dolls and accessories. UPDATE 1/20/23 - For some reason I keep buying 18” cribs and beds. Only sold one, but maybe…must maybe…
  • High quality precision tools, drafting/drawing equipment (like Starrett and Koh-I-nor)
  • Unassembled scale model ships (even open box and partial sets sell very well)
  • Vintage Porsche, Ferrari and sports car collectibles (obviously due to my personal interest in cars)…and I could care less if it sells.
  • Quality motorcycle and car hemets (Arai/Shoei)
  • Scale models (Revell, MPC, etc) are great, get only if they are sealed. Not just taped, but with factory cellophane. 
  • Oh…bookends, good quality ones…..sell. 
  • Neilsen frames in good condition. You can usually find large framed posters for $5. I had paid $5 on eBay for just the hardware pack alone but now source it myself. I use the frames for other projects. UPDATE 1/20/23 - I don’t do as many metal frames and now more focused on wood. I have more than enough metal…BUT I have some metal frames that are older and the corner brackets are more hard to find, so sometimes I will buy a metal frame just for the hardware on it…but that is more for a framing need and not resale.
  • If I don’t know what something is, I will normally buy it if it look interesting or cool.
  • Silver plate champagne ice buckets always do well, even if monogrammed.
  • UPDATE 1/20/23 - Vintage electronics like 50s and 60s movie projectors and recorders and reel-to-reels. Even for parts they bring decent money.
  • Parker penman Sapphire fountain pen ink…the gold standard, $100+ per bottle.
  • UPDATE 1/20/23 - Just acquired all the components for a stereo with turntable and have been stockpiling LP albums…want to test and grade them, so once I get it setup will update progress.
Of course, all this heavily depends on ability to get things at a price which allows you to make a profit. 

What do I stay away from and avoid? There are exceptions like for great low cost, unique, no comps.exceptional quality beyond other listings.

  • Clothes, jackets, coats
  • Anything Christmas
  • Unsigned contemporary books (post 1980)
  • Bowling balls and holders
  • Pewter
  • Magazines
  • Tools, just too competitive and crowded - but I will buy them from time to time if they look interesting, but competition to purchase is high
  • Musical instruments (mostly because I have no interest here and thus no expertise, along with high cost)
  • UPDATE 1/20/23 - Shoes and accessories that require authentication (LV, Jordon, etc.) - I have been burned with clones more than I have sold, just so turned off on them right now. 

After 2 years, I am making mistakes still, but far less often and more successful following my gut, rarely do I look stuff up.

John

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