Monday, February 1, 2010

Collectors On The Couch: Buying Your Friend's Junk

Introducing a New Series About
The Psychology of Collecting

"Collectors on The Couch"

Part I Buying Your Friend's Junk

Do you have junk envy? Do you feel like a "Desperate Antiques Dealer" constantly thinking of ways to keep your inventory fresh? If you are like most dealers I know, you have found a perfectly reasonable solution, you buy your friend's junk. And they buy your stuff and soon a twenty five cent collectible is selling for $18.00.

Keeping Your Merchandise Exciting

When you own a brick and mortar shop or you sell on-line, you have to constantly go out on buying trips to keep your merchandise exciting and crisp. Who said antiquing isn't work! And where do you suppose we all get our stuff from? Yep, we buy each other's "junk". O.K., let's not call it junk. Let's call it "collectibles'. But the truth is that we all buy from each other and sometimes even from ourselves.
Is this neurotic or the truth about our biz?

Relax...with a few exceptions your behavior is probably with in normal limits (WNL). So read on and learn more about rules of the trade.

Rules About Buying From Each Other

Most multi-dealer shops I have rented booth space in, allowed dealers to buy from each other. The philosophy was that a sale is a sale. Everyone needs a buck. The philosophy in many places is that if you wanted to mark up an item you bought from a fellow dealer and re-sell it in your booth... let the force be with you! So don't feel guilty anymore.

Tricks of The Trade

But one large antique mall I rented space in years ago, had owners that were wound too tight. They had a policy that if you bought something from another dealer you could not re-display it in your booth. So what most of us savvy sellers did was put the item(s) away for a few months and then we squeezed the stuff in when we brought in a big load at a later time. There is no need for anyone to lose sleep over this....ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Does Anyone Really Know What Came From Where?

Believe me, if your booth looks anything like mine, there is so much stuff packed into this space that no shop manager would know what came from where. We all need to stop worrying about what others think! And who said that there is only one polka dot pig creamer in the world?
Surely one could have bought another polka dot pig creamer somewhere else and not from a neighboring dealer ?

Falling In Love With Your Friend's Junk

But the point is that we all shuffle around our inventory. We fall in love with something from a friend's shop and than put that goody into our shop and the cycle goes on and on. That is what I mean when I say that antiquing is work. All this hunting and wrapping and packing and unpacking....and worrying about etiquette...forget about it...we are all desperate collectors!

Buying Back Your Own Warped Tupperware

In fact I believe that I have even bought back some of my own things which ended up at my local Thrift shop. And you would think that the gray haired lady at the cashier desk would give you a discount when you buy back your very own warped Tupperware? No such luck. One time I shlepped in ten big black heavy duty plastic bags filled with donated stuff to our neighborhood Thrift shop. We are probably talking about five hundred dollars worth of perfectly fine merchandise.

That Will Be 50 Cents Please

As I was exiting the store, I spotted a few old greeting cards I liked. I had imagined, Shirley who was the volunteer on duty that day would say to me," go ahead pick out a few cards, it will be our treat" such luck... Shirley said " 50 cents please".

Photos courtesy of:

Burlington Inn Antiques
304 Spielman Highway
Route 4
Burlington, CT 860-404-1780

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©.

To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link:
C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff

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1 comment:

  1. I've always wondered if dealers buy each others merchandise and then sell it themselves! I see nothing wrong with this, but then I'm not a seller. Only a buyer! Thanks for the great insight into the world of antique dealers!
    Happy Monday!