In previous columns, we have written about specific collectibles and their values, condition, rarity. It's great to know those things about items you might already have, but where do you find those things?
Here are some thoughts about where to search for your specific wants. In no particular order, here's a list of how and where to proceed with your chase for the collectibles you desire.
- Garage or yard sales. Generally, you will find mostly cast-offs and contemporary objects. However, sometimes a rarity might be found. You have heard stories about these kinds of items.
- Antique malls. Many cities have these larger shopping meccas filled with varied vendors. Caution: Beware of reproductions and restorations. Know whom you are dealing with.
- Internet. Many scarce collectibles have been found on eBay at surprisingly low prices. Once again, be sure you have recourse before spending your money.
- Advertising in trade papers. You will get good response but not many quality replies, plus you will have the expense of the ads. A good source is a fair-sized rural community, as residents generally have lived there for many years and desire to divest.
- Antique shops. It's fun to shop in good shops as the owners like to discuss their wares and can recommend other local shops if they don't have your category.
- Antique shows. These can be rewarding and they can also be a waste of time. Be aware of the type of show being held. They might be devoted to art or glassware or furniture. You'll be very satisfied if a show has a combination of all categories from toys, signs, fine art and whatever other items you seek.
- Top-grade flea markets. There are good flea markets and poor ones. The latter feature T-shirts, clothing, contemporary plastic and all kind of junk.
Barnes & Noble has guides to the best markets to visit. The very best we have visited is the massive Brimfield, Mass., market. Some 1,500 to 2,000 vendors set up and promoters restrict all goods to be vintage. You can find anything there.
Also, if you want a true adventure, get up at 4 a.m., bring a flashlight and a Thermos of coffee and search the fields. Honestly, we have done this twice a year with great success and a lot of fun.
Renniger's markets in Adamstown, Pa., and Mount Dora, Fla., are two other excellent large markets.
For 20 years, we were weekend New York show dealers. Searching for and finding items at markets that we knew people shopped for, as well as finding additions to our own collections has been one of the great highlights of our lives.
You too can experience this joy.
Jerry Glenn is co-owner of Reminisce in Bluffton, where sports collectibles are bought and sold.