Show Me the Money

Yesterday I went to a local, but well-known, antique show held once a month.  I was there at 9:00 am to get in the door early enough to try and seek out treasures, but the strange thing was that no one was waiting in line.  At first, I thought maybe I had the date wrong.  I could not figure out why the attendance was so low.

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Granted, it was still early, and as the day went on, more people came but I didn’t see anyone buying much.

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I was lucky enough to find a motivated, successful dealer.  I use the word “successful” because he gets it … you must negotiate to sell items, unless you have very rare pieces that will command top dollar.  That is much harder to find than people realize.  I must have spent a couple of hours with this one dealer who let me “pick” through his tubs of scrap silver, jewelry, etc., and he gave me very fair prices, so I will be a repeat customer.

Picture this:  Dealers who have been there year after year with the same items, refusing to come down in price, even though the heyday for these items has come and gone.  The heyday may come back again one day, but not anytime soon.  Sadly, these dealers are so set in their ways; they will probably perish before they come down in price.  They have the mentality that they must double or triple (or more) their money and they won’t settle for anything less.  They are the dealers sitting in their booths, reading a book or newspaper, and not engaging in any human contact.  I almost took a photo of one dealer fast asleep!

When these dealers pass away, their kids will sell these items by sending them to an auction or through a liquidator.  They are holding out for a certain amount or perceived value that will not come to fruition.  Can you imagine traveling, packing, and unpacking these items for years and not selling all that much?  To each his own, but that seems like a waste of time to me.  I would be more motivated to move product.

Compare these dealers to the first dealer who cut me great deals and was willing to negotiate … Who do you think will find favor with more buyers?  Who will get more business because they negotiate, and are pleasant and easy to work with?

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Still, there are other dealers that are catching on and placing signs on their tables: “$1.00 Table,” “$5.00 Table,” “Nothing over $30.00 but ask for best price” tables, I even saw “FREE STUFF” boxes and they were still full!  These dealers are beginning to see the light.  It’s as if I wanted to jump on top of the table to shout, “ATTENTION EVERYONE!  We are battling weary economic times!  Come on now … this stuff is not going to bring in what it did in 2005!”

If you want buyers to show you the money, you have to meet them halfway.  It has, without question, become a buyers market.  For those with extra cash to spend, you can rack up some great deals, even investment quality pieces.

ESTATE LADY TIP:  Silver and gold are beginning to inch up again.  Buy what you can afford now.  It could go up rapidly depending on current global situations.

©2013 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising.  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation.

3 thoughts on “Show Me the Money

  1. What you say is so true! We have a second-hand shop where I live that is so successful he had to move to a larger location. He interacts wonderfully with his customers and is also a motivated seller and keeps his prices really low. He knows the importance of ‘moving’ the product. He ‘gets’ it.

    1. Sounds like my kind of business! He has obviously learned the art of being successful by turning things over very quickly, and speaks the language of the market — sell it at a good price and don’t hold onto it! Thanks, Julie

  2. I daresay, too, that some of the dealers are banking on a certain level of buyer ignorance about current demands, rarity, and values of things. I feel that some are mere vultures willing to stay mum and let a prospective buyer chat them up, in order to sense the level of that awareness. If they are relatively confident in the buyer’s lack of market value savvy for an item, I believe (I have seen it) they are too happy to exploit that. It does seem rather difficult for me to understand why they aren’t interested in appealing to the potential buyer in a more friendly way. Why would one want to go through so much trouble to cart around the wares, pay to do so, and then ignore the floor? And, on top of that, many of those sellers look sloppy, like carnival people, caring little about what they look like to the buyers. That always makes me wary because I wonder if I’m dealing with knock-offs or stolen goods if the folks appear too rough around the edges. I don’t go to swap meets or flea markets for that reason, mainly. But these types do show up at the nicer events as well. If those stubborn, uninterested sellers continue to hold fast to their goods, do you believe they are holding out hope (desperate) that by some great miracle the economy will somehow bounce back enough to warrant charging such a price to a buyer that the item of value will somehow even be worth more a short time later, justifying this? Or? Certainly if they were knowledgeable, they would not expect to see values climb back up for some time even if miraculous recovery in market. A flood of similar goods maybe about to come as we boomers start falling off as you suggest. Lots to consider here. Thanks for pointing this out. I am reading this late but it is timeless and helpful info for me.

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