Tips for Navigating Outdoor Antique Flea Markets


I discuss the economics of antiques frequently and comment on a wide range of topics from efficiently settling an estate to obtaining a big return when building an art and antiques collection. Some important aspects of successful antiquing are to avoid financial missteps. Here are some tips to enhance your antiquing experience.

Never Pay the Asking Price

Always be prepared to negotiate on the asking price. Negotiation, as many seasoned antiquers know, is part of the fun of antiquing. To develop this important collecting skill, simply ask if there is a discount on a particular work of art, collectible, or antique. In most cases, a seller will reduce the asking price as much as 10% without even batting an eye. Once you try negotiating during an antiquing trip, you will see it is easy as pie.

Just formulate a question like:

“Would you consider reducing the asking price?” or “Is that your best offer?” If the seller doesn’t comply with your price reduction request, seriously consider walking away from the object altogether. Often sellers will try to keep you interested by dropping the price. Walking away can be your best negotiation move.

Don’t Feed the Early Birds

Have you ever hosted a yard sale? Your online ads and posters say “No early birds” yet there were shoppers knocking at your front door before the roosters woke up! The best way to stop this inconvenience and make some extra money in the process is to charge early birds a premium fee. If someone wants first review of your yard sale offerings, then make them pay for it. You can charge a fee to that person who woke you up or interrupted your last minute yard sale pricing. There is a real value in getting first pick at a yard sale. You should be compensated for offering that valuable opportunity to to early birds. The early birds are trying to get items for the lowest price and avoid competing with other yard sale shoppers who want the same item and who will show up throughout the sale.

Smart Marketing

My yard sale premium fee may sound new to you but it is not unlike slipping the maitre d’ some cash so you can get the best table at that chic restaurant before a long line develops at opening time. Remember if you market your yard sale properly, all of your items will sell for a higher price. If the early birds don’t like your yard sale fee structure, they can just fly away. There are always more yard sale shoppers coming along.

I’ll discuss more tips about the economics of antiques in future columns. Remember, keep your emotions in check when you are antiquing and you will get the best deals.

Celebrity Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events nationwide and antiques themed cruises. As seen on NBC’s The Tonight Show and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, watch Dr. Lori on Lifetime Television. Visit or call (888) 431-1010. To learn more about the value of your antiques, follow Dr. Lori on


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