How to Spot Fake Antiques and Collectibles

When you’re shopping at a garage sale and looking for antiques or collectibles, you need to be extremely careful. Sometimes, what seems like a good deal is too good to be true, and you end up buying a fake antique. Use these strategies to help avoid buying a fake antique.

Identifying Antique Furniture

Unfortunately, identifying the style of a piece of furniture won’t help you determine if it’s an antique. Manufacturers often reproduce pieces from other eras, and some styles, like Shaker wood furniture, never really go out of fashion.

  • Examine all sides of the piece. If it’s a table, turn it over and look for marks or labels. If it’s a sofa, remove the cushions to look for a tag or label. Most factory-made items will include some sort of identifier.
  • Check the surface of the piece. Do you see saw marks? What about underneath or on the back panel of a drawer? If the saw marks appear to be semi-circular, the piece was probably made using a circular saw after about 1880. If the saw marks appear to be straight lines, the piece was likely made before 1910 using a straight saw.
  • Look at the joinery. Are drawers dove-tailed? How many dove-tails are used to join the panels? Are they all the same, or do they appear to be cut by hand? If the dove-tails are uneven, few in number, and appear handmade, your piece of furniture likely predates the Civil War.
  • Check the finish of the piece. If possible, find a hidden spot on the bottom or back of the furniture to test the finish. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol, and rub it gently on an inconspicuous surface. Does it dissolve the finish? If it does, the piece may be finished in shellac, a popular option before 1860.

How to Identify Antique Silver

Before the invention of stainless steel, sterling silver and silver-plated items were found in every home. Even today, silver-plated picture frames and other decorative items are popular gifts. There are several steps involved in identifying an antique.

  • First, examine the silver for marks. If it’s sterling silver, it will be marked with the word “sterling” or “925.” You’ll also see a symbol that represents the manufacturer of the pattern.
  • Use a silver hallmark guide like the ones on Antique Cupboard or the Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks to identify the manufacturer.
  • From there, examine all the patterns made by this manufacturer, and match one to yours. Most silver websites, such as Antique Cupboard, will tell you when your pattern was made. If it’s more than 50 years old, you have an antique.

How to Identify Antique China and Glassware

Wondering if your grandmother’s china is antique or something she picked up a few years ago? The process for identifying china and glassware is similar to identifying antique silver.

  • Start by looking for any markings. On many pieces, you’ll find a maker’s mark stamped on the bottom of the dish or plate.
  • Use a site like How to Identify Antique Ceramics to match the mark to the maker.
  • Browse a service like Replacements, Ltd to identify and date the pattern.
  • For glassware, which often does not have marks, visit the Glass Encyclopedia from 20th Century Glass to find the type, age, and pattern of your piece.

With a little attention to detail and patience, you can put these tricks to work and identify fake antiques from real antiques.

Ultimate Garage Sale Checklist

If you’ve decided to throw a garage sale, you probably know that there’s a lot of planning that’s involved for a successful sale. Moreover, you probably know that following a timeline and remaining organized is essential to avoid forgetting something. Knowing where to start though, can be tricky, especially if you’re new holding garage sales. But, don’t worry. We’ve put together the ultimate garage sale checklist to help you run a successful sale at every step of the way.

Preparing for the Sale

Up to Six Weeks Out from the Sale

– Choose the sale date

– Research and purchase any required permits

– Research any regulations regarding yard sale signs or other marketing

– Go through your home to gather yard sale items for sale

– Conduct some market research to help you determine proper pricing

– Research online sites to determine proper pricing for hot-ticket items

– Start saving shopping bags and boxes

– Rent tables, if you don’t have enough of your own

– Research credit card payment options, and order one if you think it’s right for you

Two Weeks Out from the Sale

– Find the best spots in the neighborhood to advertise your sale

– Make your yard sale marketing signs. Make sure to purchase thick poster board and markets,   and duct tape or wooden stakes so you can fasten your signs

– Purchase your pricing supplies (think: neon price stickers and a fine-point marker)

– Clean/wash your yard sale items on an as-needed basis

One Week Out from the Sale

– Put out your yard sale marketing signs

– Put out a yard sale advertisement in your local paper, on Facebook and on any community apps

– Price all of your items. Consider keeping a running book of prices too, just in case a sticker falls off

– Decide on a plan for unsold merchandise so you’re not scrambling after the last day of the sale

Two/Three Days Prior to the Sale

– Consider the layout for your sale

– If your sale is in your garage, make sure to do these things:

  • Move non-sale items out or mark them with “Not for Sale” signs.
  • Set up your sale tables by item type
  • Reserve a few big showy items for the driveway to attract customers
  • Set up small, expensive items in an easy-to-watch area or by the cashier’s table, if    you’re having one
  • Set up a table or box for shopping bags and newspapers so customers can wrap fragile items
  • Clean out the garage

– Start setting up your sale items

– Go to the bank to get change for your sale

  • Make sure to get 25-50 $1 bill, at least one roll of quarters, dimes and nickels, and a few packs of $5 and $10 bills
  • Set up your credit card payment machine if you ordered one

Day Prior to the Sale

– Hang or place yard sale signs on your yard to advertise the upcoming sale

– Rope off areas where you don’t want to have customers going

– Charge your cell phone

– Set up your cash box

– Set up all remaining items and tables

– Move non-sale items away from the sale area

The Sale

Morning of the Sale

– Finish any last-minute set up

– Keep your cellphone on your person at all times

– Arrange items in a way that’s easy for customers to browse

– Consider putting large furniture or other hot-ticket items near the street to attract foot customers

– Put smaller or more expensive items near the checkout table to make sure none slip out of your site

– Put your collected boxes and bags next to the checkout area so you can wrap items up for customers after they check out

After the Sale

– Clean up any messes from the sale

– Return any borrowed tables

– Take down all of your yard sale signs

– Gather your leftover items for donation or resale, whatever you’ve previously decided


Use this checklist to get yourself set for your upcoming garage sale. Remember, staying organized and being prepared is key for your sale’s success.

Why Government and Local Policies Are Important to Host a Garage Sales

If you’ve decided that it’s time for you to declutter your home and make some money getting rid of the things you no longer use, it’s time for a garage sale. In addition to planning the perfect weekend, setup and pricing of your items, there’s one extremely important planning step you’ll need to consider for your garage sale. That step is: checking community, local and statewide regulations regarding garage sales. Read on to learn more.

Check Legal Regulations for the Sale Itself

Business owners in cities and towns are required to get a business license or a type of permit in order to open and run their business. Some cities, towns or states view garage sales in the same regard that they view businesses. As such, there may be a requirement for you to obtain a permit or license in order to legally hold a garage sale. Some cities or towns will have specific requirements for the frequency you hold garage sales. Others will have other requirements as far as the time and length of your sale. That’s why it’s so important to check regulations before you hold your sale.

In fact, not obtaining the proper licensing or permit requirements is one of the top 10 mistakes people make when they hold a garage sale. When all is said and done, the cost of obtaining a permit is much less expensive than the cost of paying fines or litigation in the event that you run an illegal sale.

The town in which you live might not have specific requirements for hosting a sale, but it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry. To find out if there are legal requirements surrounding your garage sale, be sure to reach out to your local civic center. You can also try searching their website to see if there is any information available online. While it may seem like a pain to do, it will be a bigger pain and inconvenience if you have to go to court or pay a fine over an unlicensed yard sale.

Check Marketing Regulations

Even if a city doesn’t impose regulations on a yard sale itself, there may be rules on how you can market the sale. As such, it’s important to investigate these potential regulations to ensure that you’re not breaking any laws, which can cause a legal and financial headache down the road.

For example, some cities have rules on how many signs you can post for your yard sale, where you can post the signs and what types of signs you can post. While posting a sign may seem inherently harmless, if you’re not careful, it could get you into trouble.

And, even if there aren’t explicit laws in place surrounding yard sale marketing, it’s always important to practice common curtesy. That means that you should check with the owners of a corner home before putting signs in their lawn advertising your sale. You should also avoid posting your sign over someone else’s sign, or at least check with the other sale before you post anything.

Notify Your Neighbors

While you may have the best neighbors in the world, it’s always a great idea to let them know about your upcoming sale, including the times the sale will run and the days the sale will run. This lets them know to expect cars they don’t recognize being outside their home and that there will be more people than they’re used to in the neighborhood. Try to be as considerate as possible.


Through practicing due diligence and pulling the necessary permits, you can avoid a potential legal and financial disaster. Don’t make the mistake—research the permits and legal regulations now!

Purchasing Vintage Items at a Yard Sale

If you’re someone who loves finding good vintage items, you’ll be in heaven when you visit local garage sales. What’s one man’s trash is another’s treasure, and you’d be surprised at what people are looking to get rid of. Here are the things you can commonly find at garage sales across town.

Vintage Tools

Current design trends are embracing rustic and industrial elements. If anything fits that bill, it’s vintage tools. Next time you hit up a yard sale, keep an eye out for the box of discarded tools in the corner. Many other shoppers will overlook rusty or dirty tools, which will work in your advantage.

With a little bit of elbow grease, you can easily clean up the tools that you find to resell or reuse at your home. Or, you can resell these charmingly rustic items online for a pretty penny. Another option for you is to use these vintage tools as decoration throughout your house. Pretty much anything found in a basement or garage tends to be overlooked by most people. And that’s where you’re likely to find tools, and because many people don’t maintain their tools very well, they are often dirty and/or rusty.

Vintage Frames

You can use vintage frames for just about anything. From using them as actual picture frames to using them as mirrors, the options are endless. Vintage frames are another item that’s typically overlooked at garage sales, you can typically get a good deal. You can find beautiful ornate frames, gold-gilt frames or even mahogany frames at your local yard sales.

If you plan on reselling items that you buy from yard sales, frames are one of the easiest items to refurbish. All you’ll need to do is clean up the frame, patch any holes and throw on a fresh coat of paint for a brand-new vibe. If you want to preserve the vintage vibes, be sure to still clean any frames before you sell them.

Vintage Jewelry

One thing that will always be popular to purchase from yard sales is vintage jewelry. There’s something uniquely classic about adding a piece of stunning vintage jewelry to an outfit. Often, you can’t enhance an outfit with modern jewelry like you can with a piece from the past.

There are plenty of people who discard old jewelry for next to nothing price-wise, so you can usually get a good deal on the pieces you like. Consider purchasing a few different pieces and asking for a bulk discount to get a good deal.

If you plan on reselling any vintage jewelry that you find, please make sure that you clean it before trying to resell it. You’re sure to get better offers if your jewelry is clean.


Your community’s yard sales are a vintage treasure trove waiting to be discovered. With a keen eye for detail and some patience, you’re sure to uncover the vintage items your heart desires. Make sure to look for obvious signs of wear and tear before making a purchase and remember to be respectful when you go shopping.

The 5 People You’ll Meet at a Garage Sale

If you’re thinking about hosting a garage sale, you need to prepare yourself for the many different types of people you’ll meet. Obviously, there’s no true way to tell who’s going to walk up your driveway to shop your goods until the garage sale officially starts, but you should be prepared to deal with any of the following types of people that frequent garage sales.

The Extreme Early Bird

It’s a pretty common saying that the “early bird gets the worm.” Following that mindset, there are diehard garage sale fanatics who believe that the only way to get the best items is to be the first one to look around your sale. That means that they’ll be there while you’re still setting up and they’ll want to look around right away.

The Moms

You’ll hear this group of shoppers before you see them. Often arriving in a large car with one or two children, this well-dressed group of ladies will pull up together ready to shop for all things related to their kids. While these shoppers are often a fun bunch and extremely polite, be sure to watch out for their unattended children who will want to touch everything that’s in their site. If you’re polite to these ladies, they’re sure to come back next year or spread the word about your sale to their other friends.

The Garage Sale Buyer Aficionado

This type of person knows garage sales like they’re a true professional. As such, they come into your sale with a strict mindset on how your items should be priced and how your sale should run. This person will question your pricing and most certainly try to lecture you on how to run your sale. Try to not let this person get in your head or make you lose your cool.

The Negotiator

It’s human nature for shoppers to want to strike a deal, and that sometimes will come at your expense. Even if you’ve fairly priced your items, you need to be prepared for the negotiating-type people to walk through your door. They’ll be dedicated to getting the best deal possible, even if it offends you. Keep your cool and don’t give in. Only negotiate if their offer is fair. At the end of the day, it’s better to have them leave empty-handed than to sell your items for too low of a price.

The Shopper

Every sale has at least one guest who has zero intentions of making a real purchase. Instead, they want to just walk around looking at your items and telling you how overpriced they are. If you try to ask them what price she’s comfortable with, they’ll likely just give you an exasperated sigh and leave empty-handed. Don’t take it personally. 


By being prepared for the potential buyers that will be in attendance at your next yard sale, you can ensure a smooth experience. Remember that you’re in control, because it’s your sale, and don’t make any deals that you’re not comfortable with.

Everything you need to know about Estate Sale Auctions

If you have an estate that you need to liquidate, you can hold a yard sale, sell each item individually, hold an estate sale or hold an estate auction. When it comes to estate auctions, there are a variety of options to choose from. This article provides an overview of each option and details the pros and cons.

Hire a Professional Company

If you’ve never held an estate sale or auction before, it might your best option to turn to the professionals. Professional estate auction companies will take care of everything you need to make money and get rid of the estate’s items, but it comes at a cost. Some auction companies can charge you up to 50% of your total sales in fees and costs. Additionally, it could take a few months to get the payment from the sale.

Many professional companies will take your items from your home and sell them in an off-site warehouse. This is a benefit for some sellers because they don’t have to worry about random people being in the estate. However, in addition to the price tag of hiring auction professionals, you have to deal with some other downsides. One large downside is that these companies may only take high-value items, leaving you with the responsibility of getting rid of the other items in your estate. Some companies also have a minimum project size that they work with, so your estate may not qualify based on a company’s specifications. Be sure to read the fine print and call around for quotes to find out what service is best for you.

Consignment Auctions

Some professional services operate on consignment terms instead of percentage fees. Consignment refers to the agreement made between you and an auction company to sell your merchandise at our auction, after which we are paid a percentage of the sale price and you are paid the balance. This option works best for high-value items that you don’t have the time to sell in other ways. With consignment auctions, you should know that companies typically reject about 50% of the items that come to them, so you shouldn’t be upset if your items aren’t accepted. Consignment auction services are typically very selective with what they try to sell.

DIY Auctions

If you have time on your hands and you don’t want to lose your earnings in fees, hosting your own auction or selling your estate items online may be the way to go. You can use any online sales platform to sell your items. Many of these platforms are free to use. If they’re not free, they will charge very nominal fees, helping you keep as much profit as possible.

When you’re selling your own items, you’ll need to be aware of potential scams and always keep safety a top-of-mind-concern. Moreover, you’ll need to be prepared to do the extra work of transporting or shipping your items to their new owners. If it’s a large item that will cost a significant amount in shipping costs, consider charging buyers shipping costs to protect your profits.


If you need to get rid of estate items, there are plenty of options available to you. Be sure to take enough time to carefully review all the options and make the smart choice for you and your family.

5 Ways to Get a Good Bargain at a Garage Sale

Let’s face it—who doesn’t love snagging a good deal? Whether it’s a discount on your coffee or a discount on your groceries, it doesn’t matter. The fact of the matter is that people love saving money. If you’re a budget-smart adult, you probably already know about the money-saving possibilities that can be found at a garage sale. While these goods are typically already well-priced, there’s some simple ways that you can save even more money when you’re shopping. It may take a little perseverance and a few uncomfortable feelings, but by sticking to your guns and keeping these negotiation tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to saving a few extra dollars on your next trip.

Bring Small Change

Put yourself in a seller’s shoes. If someone came up trying to talk down a $20 price tag to $10, but then offered you a $20 bill to pay for the goods, you’d probably be annoyed, right? That’s why it’s so important to bring small change with you to garage sales so that you can be polite and courteous when trying to negotiate. Plus, there will be plenty of other people at the sale with large bills who will need change back, so a seller will welcome any small change that they can get their hands on.

Ask for a Bulk Discount

Buying in bulk is a great way to save money at grocery stores and it’s a great way to save money at a yard sale. While it’s true that many people hold yard sales to make a few extra bucks, you should keep in mind the fact that they’re selling goods they’re trying to get rid of. As such, if you offer to take a good amount and mix of their items, they may be willing to give you a discount on the whole purchase. Before you ask, be sure to have a fair number in mind in case they ask what you’re willing to pay.

Consider Going Toward the End of the Sale

While you might not be able to score the best finds at a yard sale by waiting until the ending hours, you will be more likely to score a deal. By the end of their yard sale, sellers typically just want to get rid of whatever they have left. As such, they may be more likely to offer you a discount.

Be Kind in Pointing Out Flaws

Pointing out general wear and tear on an item can be an effective way at negotiating a price down if you do it politely. No one wants to hear how crappy their items for sale may be, and you’ll want to tread lightly as the item for sale may have sentimental value to the seller. Be kind in saying that you’ll need to find replacement parts or do a cleaning on an item to work the price down.

Be Reasonable

You run the risk of insulting the seller and turning them off from making a deal with you if you give them a low-ball offer on their goods. Try to not go above 20-30% of a discount. Sometimes, it works best to ask them what the “best price” they can give you on an item may be. That way, they dictate the terms and you don’t have to worry about insulting them


By keeping these five tips in mind, you can potentially save a significant amount of money next time you go to a yard sale. Good luck!

How Much to Pay for Estate Sale Services

If you find yourself in need of having an estate sale, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve looked into hiring a third-party professional estate sale company to run the sale for you. As with any service, you’re probably keeping cost at the forefront of your mind. When you’re shopping, especially if you’ve never held an estate sale before, it can be tricky to know what to pay for an estate sale professional, and it can be equally as confusing to figure out the different pricing options. Have no fear. We’ve put in the hard work to give you an easy-to-read overview of estate sale services charges.

Services Typically Provided by Estate Sale Agents

When you’re shopping for an estate sale professional, you need to ask exactly what their fees include. And, while it seems obvious, you should always triple-check that the agencies you’re contact are insured estate sale agents. While you’re contacting local companies, you’re going to find that there’s a wide discrepancy in what services are included. Be sure to review each bid you receive carefully and ask clarifying questions if need be.

How Estate Sale Companies Structure Pricing

This is probably the area that you’re most desperate for information on. Unfortunately, every company in every region will have differing prices. Some companies will charge you a commission fee in addition to charging based on the duration of the sale. Sometimes payment is due up-front and sometimes payment is due after the sale is completed. Some companies may even offer additional, optional services like trash removal for an additional charge.

To break things down for you, here are the three most common ways estate sale professionals determine the percentage that they’ll make on your sale.

  • General set percentage: While it’s the least common option out of the three listed here, some estate sale agents will charge a flat, set percentage commission fee for their services, regardless of the size of the sale. This option is great for those who have larger sales but don’t want to give up an extensive portion of their sales, but it could potentially be detrimental to those with smaller sales.
  • Sliding scale percentage: Some companies vary their commission scales based on the sales gross total. In short, the higher your estate’s sales, the higher percentage fee you’ll be charged.
  • In-person evaluation: Out of the three methods described, this is probably the most common. A company will come into your estate and evaluate the work load it’ll take to sell the items and the value of those items. If a company you’re contacting wants to do this, make sure to clean up the estate as best as possible so to not deter any good bids.


Unfortunately, there’s no right answer or golden number to keep in mind when it comes to how much you should pay for a professional estate sale service. Across the board, the national average is between 30-50% commission on your sale. While this seems high, many reputable companies take care of absolutely everything in relation to your sale for that charge, so it may be worth it. Contact a few reputable agents in your area and compare quotes to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.

6 Reasons Why Estate Sales are held

To start, it’s important that we make a distinction between an estate sale and a yard sale, as the two aren’t interchangeable. An estate sale is held when you need to get rid of the majority of your or a loved one’s estate. A yard sale is held when you need to get rid of unwanted items or are looking to make a bit of extra money. You might be thinking; well why would someone want to get rid of all of their items? The answer isn’t always simple, and the truth is that many estate sales are sometimes held for extenuating circumstances. Read on to learn about the most common reasons people have an estate sale, and if hosting an estate sale is right for you.

Top Reasons People Hold Estate Sales

When it comes to holding estate sales, there are generally common themes as to why someone would hold such an event. Here are the top seven reasons:

6. Death of a family member or friend: This is probably the most common reason a person would hold an estate sale. Often, the family member that has passed on has it written in his or her will that their estate should be sold by an estate liquidator to avoid their living family members fighting over what to do with the estate. Even if it’s not required by a loved one’s will, many families choose to hold an estate sale to get rid of the items that exist after the family has gone through and claimed their wanted items.

5. Divorce: When couples split up, sometimes it’s easier to have an estate sale to get rid of joint assets instead of dragging out the divorce proceedings by splitting up every single shared asset. In the event of a divorce-generated estate sale, it’s best to employ a third-party professional to facilitate the estate sale to avoid any hostile feelings.

4. Downsizing: When a family or couple is forced to or chooses to downsize, it’s pretty likely that they’ll have many items that they can’t take with them to their new, smaller space. In this event, couples will generally hold an estate sale to get rid of their unwanted items for a profit instead of donating or just tossing out their items.

3. Debt/bankruptcy: In the event of crippling debt or bankruptcy filing, an estate sale is generally held to recoup costs and payoff some of the debt. Whether this is court-ordered or facilitated, debt-related estate sales generally don’t compromise on prices because they’re trying to get as much money back as quickly as possible.

2. Relocation: If a person finds out they have to move across the country to help out an ailing family member or for their job, chances are they’re probably not taking all of their belongings with them for the trip. When this is the case, they typically hold an estate sale to make money on the items they have to get rid of.

1. Retirement: When people retire, they’re entering a new phase of their life. This new phase generally prompts questions about if they need to keep their items or if they should liquidate their estate to start from scratch and make some funds while they’re at it. Whatever the case, retirement-related estate sales are generally very popular.


There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to holding an estate sale. If you’re considering hosting one, you should reach out to a professional to walk you through all your options!

5 Tips to a More Profitable Garage Sale

So, you’re holding a garage sale. Chances are, you’re not just holding it for fun—you want to make some money! We don’t blame you. Garage sales can be hugely profitable, if you put in some effort and come up with a plan of attack to make it successful. Don’t be intimidated—it’s actually easy to host a profitable garage sale. Read on to learn about five simple tips that will boost the sales at your next yard sale.

Tip #5: Variety Is Key

If you only have niche items to sell at your garage sale, there’s a good chance that you won’t attract as many potential buyers to your sale, which translates to fewer buyers and lower sales. In order to attract the widest possible array of buyers, you’re going to need to make sure you offer a wide variety of goods. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure is a saying that you’ve probably heard countless times, but it rings true. Make sure to compile household goods you don’t use anymore, clothing that doesn’t fit or you don’t wear, jewelry, electronics and furniture. Anything can be fair game and you never know what a buyer will be in the market for.

Tip #4: Organization Is Important

Think about the last time you were at a disorganized store. Did you leave with many items? Did it make you upset? As humans, we like when things are organized, and a state of clutter and disarray will send many potential buyers into a bad mood. Many will probably also leave empty-handed if it’s hard for them to find what they’re looking for if your sale is messy. Organization will go a long way to having a profitable sale. Don’t forget this simple step!

Tip #3: Price Strategically

While your first inclination may be to price your items high so that you get the most bang for your buck, buyers may be scared away by high prices. On the flipside, if you price your items too low, you’ll risk not making money by nature of the items being priced low. You’ll want to try to find the middle ground that won’t scare buyers away, but still leaves the opportunity for you to profit even after a little haggling.

Tip #2: Offer Freebies

Let’s face it—everyone likes freebies! And, while you definitely don’t want to go crazy giving away your items for free, offering up some odds and ends items will be worth it. The idea is that if you have a box of “FREE” items, buyers will walk over to that box to look, but then they’ll also see all the other reasonably priced items that you have for sale. Because they feel like they’re getting a good deal on their freebies, they’re more likely to spend money at your sale.

Tip #1: Sell Goodies

When people shop, they tend to get hungry or thirsty. Consider buying a value pack of drinks from your favorite stores, as well as pre-packaged snacks that you can sell by the register. You might not think that you’ll recoup your money, but considering the average 24-pack of water is under $4, and you can get a bag of prepackaged chips for under $10, selling these items at $1 or $2 a piece will add up quickly.


Garage sales can be a huge success financially if you put some time and planning into your sale. Consider implementing the strategies from the above tips at your next sale and reap the rewards!