Our band, TagYerit, wrote the song, "Neat Junk" about collecting, and now suddenly there's a lot of reality TV programming about collectors, collecting and finding all kinds of stuff. And that's a good thing. We're totally into this. Well that's why we wrote the song, "Neat Junk". When I created this page, I wrote, "Would be a trip if one day one of these types of shows played our song.". A few months after that we were contacted about our toilet paper collection to be featured on The Travel Channel show "Bizarre Collections" (airs periodically since 1/1/2012), which also used this song. Now we'll have to see if lightning strikes twice with this song.
As we modified our collecting interests over the years, we ended up creating a toilet paper collection that has been featured by on television, print and online. Also from time to time we find something to add to our online antique store.
Years ago my folks had an antique store in Waltham MA. They'd find some unusual stuff. But no matter how old or unusual or even rare, you couldn't know the value. My dad used to sell rocks too (geodes and fossils ...) so when someone wanted something really old, he'd always point the rocks out as the real antiques.
One day in 1975 my dad picked up a pretty small vase - beautiful colors. Turned out to be a Burmese glass tooth pick holder (I said it was small) at the time worth easily $100. Today with the internet and easy access to so much stuff, you can find it for about $60. ... you just never know. Everybody's guessing. If something has a story with provenance (something written that authenticates it) well, that helps the price - or at least the desirability.
I never went into auctions that much. There's too much that has to do with personalities that mess with the final price. My mom was a pro at buying stuff she often knew nothing about at auctions - but she'd know how much to bid by who she was bidding against.
When we had a store for a few years, my strategy was to pick out the stuff that no one else was interested in. In Connecticut there were all these dealers who were crazy for early American antiques, so I'd buy all the oak furniture. - stuff like that. When I'd walk into an antiques store or a booth at an antique show, I'd size up what the person was into selling and then see what they had that they didn't know or care much about. There's lots of tricks to the trade and maybe the most important one I learned was that I could easily invest all my money before I ran out of things to buy, so it paid to be picky.
My dad had a different philosophy than anyone else I know. He'd pay more and sell for less. While others were shooting to double their money, he was looking for a quick turn around. So if an oak piano stool retailed for $80.00, most dealers would try to buy one for $40 and ask $80. My Dad would pay $50 and be happy to sell it right away for $55 Imagine if you put $100 in a bank that paid 10% interest in a year. After a year that $100 would be worth $110. But if he bought something for $100 and sold it the next day for $110 (often to another dealer), then he'd be turning his money over and over and over. That was the philosophy that he bought and sold by and it worked out very well for him. And when he'd get a house call to buy the contents of an estate, he wouldn't go unless he could figure out how to be the last dealer there. Then he'd have the chance to outbid the previous dealers. Like my mom would say, " You'll never go broke making a profit."