Selling antiques is a great business opportunity. Want to make the best out of it? In this guide you’ll learn how to sell antiques online.
Selling antiques online can be a great way to make a nice side income. It even has the potential to become a full-time job replacement. Whether you already have antiques at home you want to sell, or want to buy antiques and start an antique business, we’ve got you covered! In this article, you’ll learn everything about how to sell antiques online. We’ll see how to find antique buyers, the best place to sell antiques and collectibles, and how to assess an antique value.
We’ll cover the following:
- How to sell antiques online
- How to find antiques to sell
- How to market antiques
- How to price antiques and collectibles
- How to sell antiques online FAQ
Let’s dive into it!
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How to Sell Antiques Online – Overview
Before going into the details, let’s see the best places to sell antiques online.
Here are the top ways to sell antiques and collectibles online:
- eBay – Best to get started easily
- Your Online Store – Best to build your brand
- Ruby Lane – Best for higher-end antiques
- Go Antiques
- Specialty stores
In addition to how to sell antiques, this also applies to how to sell collectibles. Most of the article will apply to both categories.
And now let’s review the different options in more detail.
Where to Sell Antiques Online
Your first goal is to find the best place to sell antiques in your particular case. There are quite a few options, from sponsored listing sites to platforms specialized in antiques and collectibles.
Let’s review them in detail.
eBay is one of the most well-known resale platforms on the internet. As a result, it’s also one of the most common platforms for people to list antiques.
As a very well-known platform, eBay has a very strong brand name. The platform also has a lot of traffic, which means that you will get access to it when you list your antiques there.
However, the popularity of the platform also means that you’ll see a lot of competition. eBay is also still a buyer’s market. Only the rarest pieces will sell at high prices. To get the most value out of your items, you might want to auction them. eBay also takes a large commission out of your antique sales, typically 13% or more.
- Easy to sign up.
- Strong brand name and trust.
- Lots of traffic.
- Complicated fee structure.
- Listing fees to publish your antiques and collectibles.
- The defect removal policy can be risky for antique sales.
Craigslist is one of the early listing platforms back from the days of the old internet. That said, Craigslist is still bustling with a host of classified ads.
In the antique business, Craigslist is great for listing small items. That includes collectibles like barbie dolls, vinyl records, and much more. The best part? Craigslist doesn’t charge any listing fees.
However, Craigslist does not offer an escrow facility or online payment options. This means that you will typically need to meet customers in person or send them their items, and accept cash or wire transfers. This makes the business more difficult to manage. You also need to take precautions linked to face-to-face meetings with strangers and cash transactions.
- No listing fees.
- Good for selling antiques near you.
- Lots of traffic.
- Requires cash or wire transfer payments.
- Pay attention to scammers.
- Need to take precautions linked to in-person meetings and cash transactions.
Vinted is an online platform focused on allowing its users to sell second-hand items. The main focus of the platform is clothing and accessories. However, you can now find all types of products on Vinted. Using it to sell antiques online can be a great opportunity.
One of the big advantages of Vinted is that it offers a great user experience. For instance, one of the parts I like most is how easy it was to search for items. It is a big difference from other second-hand sites, which are usually more difficult to use.
On the other hand, a lot of buyers also like Vinted because it’s easy to get refunds. In the case of antique sales, this could pose problems. In addition, buyers on Vinted are mostly looking for second-hand clothing. It is most likely not the right place to sell high-end antiques and collectibles. However, entry or mid-market items can be a great fit.
- You can list items on Vinted for free.
- Great user interface.
- Less competition for non-clothing pieces.
- The buyer must confirm that they are satisfied with the product for you to get your money.
- Buyers are mostly looking for clothing and accessories.
Your Own Online Store
Another option to sell antiques and collectibles online is to start your own online store.
With online store builders like Portmoni or Shopify, starting your online store is easy and fast. Portmoni for instance gives you all the tools you need to build your antique site. And once you’re done, it will allow you to stand out from other antique sellers.
Having your own site also enables the use of a range of marketing tactics from email newsletters to SEO. It will also allow you to rank for local searches in Google. For instance, people asking questions like “who buys antiques near me” or “who are the antique buyers near me” will be able to find you more easily.
However, having your own website requires putting a strong effort into marketing. Indeed, with your own site you cannot rely upon the traffic of an existing platform. Still, you can also list your vintage items on websites like Craigslist or Vinted. This will give you multiple channels to attract customers.
- Online store builders like Portmoni make it very easy to start your online store.
- No seller fees to pay.
- You have to market your site yourself to generate traffic to your store.
- Not as easy as listing on a platform.
The Internet’s Antique Shop – TIAS has been open since 1995 and sells a wide range of antiques. In terms of features, the platform allows opening your business page to list your items under your brand. Otherwise, you can also just publish standard classified ads.
According to their website, over 700,000 people visit TIAS every month. This allows putting your collectibles and antiques in front of a lot of potential buyers. If you want to see if you can capture some of this traffic, they even offer a 60-day free trial.
On the downside, the interface of the site feels a bit dated. They also charge a 10% commission fee on all sales, which is not cheap.
- Gives the option to open a business page on the platform.
- No listing fees per item.
- Very qualified audience and strong traffic.
- The user interface feels quite dated.
- 10% commission fee.
- The search function doesn’t work well.
Ruby Lane is another online retail platform where you can sell antiques.
On Ruby Lane, there is no monthly fee if you list a minimum of 15 items every month. In addition, this website is known for its high-quality items. It is a great place to sell vintage items that are fine crafts, unique, or one-of-a-kind.
As part of its positioning as a high-end antique site, Ruby Lane wants you to take the time to write detailed product descriptions for your antiques to entice buyers. This makes the listing process more involved. They also charge a 9.9% service fee on all sales.
- Focused on higher-end items.
- Easy to use.
- Known for its excellent customer service.
- Doesn’t list certain items properly.
- More involved listing process.
Go Antiques is another antique dealer that’s been around since the 90s. Unlike other antique sites, they charge a monthly subscription and no commission.
On Go Antiques, you can find a huge variety of listings. People sell everything from antique kitchenware to firearms. Better yet, the platform allows featuring items on the home page for free so that you can attract more customers.
- Good for listing antiques at a higher price.
- They don’t charge commission.
- Items can be featured on their home page for free.
- Limits the number of item listings, must pay for more listings.
- Not much info for sellers.
Some antique categories even have their own specialty antique selling sites. Let’s briefly go over three of the best ones.
Vintage Dishes: Replacements.com
Replacements.com hosts a massive collection of dinnerware and fine china. Better yet, they have people on their website who identify china patterns. This is a great service, as this is a common challenge for antique dealers in this niche. If you’re looking where to sell antique dishes, this is a great place to look into.
High-end Antiques: 1stdibs
One of the greatest websites for high-end antiques is 1stdibs. For instance, they list impressive jewelry and designer antiques. They also offer an auction feature that you can use to sell your antiques and collectibles.
Antique Books: Abe Books
Abe Books is the ultimate antique books website. If you intend on becoming a serious antique bookseller, this can be a great platform to add to your options. Books on this site regularly go for 5-figures.
Choosing the Best Place to Sell Antiques
The best place to sell antiques will depend on your end goal. Here are a few key criteria to help you make your choice:
- Do you want to build a brand? If yes, selecting a platform that allows you to have your own storefront will be a plus. Starting your online store, or using a platform like TIAS offer that option.
- Are you building a business or reselling spare antiques on the side? In the second case, sponsored listings like eBay or Craigslist might be easier to manage.
- Is offering an easy user experience key for you? If yes, using modern platforms will be a plus. Vinted, your own online store, or Ruby Lane could be good fits in that case.
How to Find Antiques to Sell
In this section, we’ll see how to find antiques to sell. You might already have some vintage items that you collected over time. But if you want to create a sustainable antique business, you’ll also need to buy items to add to your stock. Let’s review the channels you can use for this.
Thrift Stores & Yard Sales
Thrift stores and yard sales are both great places to find antiques. They become even more interesting in the springtime when everyone is getting rid of old stuff. People might not see the value that you do when getting rid of their vintage items and collectibles. At both places, but especially at yard sales, it’s customary to use cash.
For yard sales, a great tactic is to go first at the beginning of the day, to buy the most interesting items that you don’t want to miss. Then, you can visit again at the end of the day, when the sellers feel pressed to sell everything they still have on hand. This way you can get great deals on items you might not have purchased otherwise.
Flea markets are another interesting venue for antique collectors and resellers.
With flea markets, your best bet is to get there before it even opens. You can talk to vendors as they’re about to set up shop and get antiques right then and there. Don’t haggle too much; reputation is important in such places.
Another option to buy antiques is through auctions. There are plenty of them, both online and in real life.
You can look for live auction listings in your area by searching on Google. Some of the most popular ones are Liveauctioneers.com and Auction.com. With online auctions, you should be able to use a credit card. Be wary of auctioneers that only accept cash and wire transfer. If you can’t make it to a live auction, but it has a piece that you want, you can always bid on the item via phone.
With auctions, it’s important always keep in mind your goal and budget. Otherwise, you might get carried away.
Other Antique Dealers
Other antique dealers can also be a great source of vintage items and collectibles.
Offline, you can also visit antique dealers in person. They are generally not as expensive as you think. Moreover, most dealers are a pleasure to do business with. Just make sure you’re prepared when you go into the store.
Look out for dealers that place medium-quality items amidst a variety of low-quality ones. This is a common tactic to make the medium-quality antique stand out and thereby justify an exorbitant price.
Also known as pawn shops, consignment shops can be great for finding antiques. However, you should also expect antiques from these shops to command a higher price. Indeed, the shop must agree on a price ahead of time with the person who gives up the item to them. That makes negotiation difficult. Although, you can still find some gems!
Estate sales usually take place a few years after someone passes away. The sale helps the heirs of the deceased get rid of items they are not interested in. This can also be a way to convert antiques and collectibles into cash that can more easily be split between heirs.
An estate sale can sometimes offer great deals if items are priced to go, or have not been appraised correctly.
Finally, craft fairs can also be interesting to buy antiques and collectibles. They will typically pop up regularly, perhaps even right in your neighborhood. You can find some great pieces at these fairs.
How to Market Your Antiques Online
In addition to selecting your platform of choice to sell antiques online, you will need to market them to attract buyers.
Showcase Your Antiques
Before marketing your antiques, you’ll need to showcase them so that they look attractive to buyers. To showcase your antiques, you’ll need to take some great photos of your wares and use exciting product descriptions.
As antiques often serve an aesthetic function, you will often depend on visuals to get your point across. In many cases, you’ll only have one shot to show your products off. If you list your antiques on an online marketplace, your images will be competing with the dozens of others that surround them. Therefore, you want to take the best antique photographs possible.
Usually, you want to use a white background for maximum clarity. Another option is to take pictures of your antiques in a home-like setting to give your customers more context. If you have the resources, you can even hire a professional to do this.
A product description usually contains details like age, dimensions, condition, functionality, and history. Take note of all those details when you buy the antique.
Of course, a dry product description won’t inspire anyone. Instead of saying what the antique is, you can also focus on describing the benefits clients will get if they buy them. Once again, you can also hire a professional copywriter to write these descriptions.
Where to Market Your Antiques Online
There are numerous places where you can market your antiques online. Let’s review a few of them.
Several of the platforms that we listed offer sponsored listings or classified ads for antique sellers. eBay is of course the most notable one, but there are numerous others, from Gumtree to Craigslist.
Social Media Ads
Many people spend a lot of time on Instagram and Facebook. Antique buyers are no exception. Social media ads are one of the most effective ways to market visually attractive products like vintage items and collectibles. Antiques are perfect for the type of audience that social media provides.
Search Engine Ads
Pay-per-click search engine ads are one of the lynchpins of online marketing. With this marketing channel, you will pay for your ads to appear at the top of Google or other search engines when people search for certain keywords. This means that you’ll target specific keywords with each ad. For instance, you could target “antique store near me” to go for local customers or “good condition antique lampshades” to focus on a specific item.
Publish Content on Social Media
To promote your antiques and collectibles, you can also create content that will spread organically. For example, you could post your antiques on your Instagram page. A great tactic to attract followers is also to show off your daily life as an antique dealer using features like Stories or Reels on Instagram.
Organic Content on Your Website
Another great way to get traffic is to try to rank your website on search engines for specific keywords. For this, you’ll need to learn how to get your website to show at the top on Google. Typically, you should create a blog on your website that relates to antiques and create interesting content. If you answer people’s questions thoroughly, they will keep coming back to your website. Over time, that could compound into major sales.
That said, SEO takes a lot of time. You need to develop a content strategy and post several articles every month to give your website good traction. Google ads and other PPC ads tend to be faster.
How to Price Antiques
Antiques are difficult to price, as there are many variables involved in the process.
When you start, you want to research the antique value of similar items to the one you’re trying to price. Take note of the condition, age, and price of those items and compare them to yours. From that information, you can come up with a fair price. You’ll get a better feel for this process over time, and you can also learn strategies to appraise antiques.
Another option is to hire an antique appraiser and outsource this work. Antique appraisers are experts in this field and will be able to give you estimates of your antiques value. This will add an extra cost to your business, but it could give you peace of mind and also allow you to learn from their expertise.
The Bottom Line: How to Sell Antiques Online
Selling antiques online is a great business opportunity. To get started choose a source for your antiques and a platform to sell them on. Then, focus on pricing your antiques and find ways to market them. Over time, the antique hunt will get easier, and you’ll start to build momentum. That’s the recipe to successfully selling antiques and collectibles.
How to Sell Antiques Online – FAQ
Here are some frequently asked questions that novice antique dealers tend to ask.
How Do I Sell Antiques Online?
To sell antiques online, you’ll first select an online selling platform. You can use a marketplace like eBay or Craigslist. Another option is to create your own online store. Your next step is to find a source for your antiques. Some common venues for purchasing antiques include local dealers and online auctions. Once you have some antique stock built up, you begin to sell them!
What Kind of Antiques Sell Best?
Here are some of the antiques that sell the best:
- Original art
- Porcelain dolls
- Sterling silver
- Vintage railroad items
- Outdated Electronics
- Rare books
Where to Sell Antiques Near Me?
If you want to get started selling antiques near you, you have plenty of options. Here are the best ways to sell antiques and collectibles near you:
- Thrift Stores
- Yard Sales
- Flea Markets
- Antique Dealers
- Consignment Shops
- Craft Fairs
- Local listings such as Craigslist or Gumtree
Those are also places where you can source antiques for your business.
Who Buys Antiques Near Me?
People at flea markets, consignment shops, and antique shops will be willing to buy antiques from you. These people will send an appraiser to value your items, or you could bring these items in and get them appraised right there. If you want to be sure you’re getting a good deal, you can also contact an independent appraiser on your side.
Is There an App to Help Identify Antiques?
Yes, there is an app to help identify antiques. It is called Go Canvas. Once you have access, you can easily submit antiques on mobile or desktop to get them identified and even appraised.
What are Antique Collectors Looking For?
Antique collectors have plenty of details that they always pay attention to when deciding whether to buy an antique. These details include:
- Decoration & Design
- Historical Value
- Repair & Restoration History
Want to start your online store and sell antiques online?
Create your online store and start selling in 5 minutes.