Lets talk about car boot and table top sales, charity shops and the local municipal tip or refuse recycling centre. All of these play a vital role in helping to process many millions of unwanted household goods, toys, clothes and bric-a-brac each year. However, do you realise just how many valuable items are thrown away, sold for a pittance or valuables given unknowingly to charity? It will really surprise you. Take Charity shops, now I’m the first one to say that you should support your local or favourite charity, so does it really matter if you give something to charity that turns out to be valuable? Within reason, no of course not. However, charity shops are staffed by kind and caring individuals, who often research the items given to them before selling them, but they are not specialists in antiques and collectables, and all too often, the real treasures and valuables are picked up for a few pounds by a growing army of sharp eyed collectors and dabblers. Increasingly now, charities are turning to us for advice and assistance in identifying and selling their more valuable items, but they are still missing many of the more obscure things, selling them off for buttons.
Then we have the car boot sale, what a godsend for people faced with a good Spring sort out, house move or an elderly relatives house to clear. Now, no one in their right mind would sell a valuable treasure for a couple of pounds would they? Valuable Jewellery, Works of Art, rare ceramics? Well think again. Have you ever wondered why, when some cars arrive at the car boot sale, it is mobbed by an army of keen individuals? This regular band of treasure hunters quickly identify a ‘new arrival’ as opposed to the regular seasoned car boot sellers that make a living from selling at car boot sales, and are far less likely to sell a valuable item for a couple of pounds. The ‘fresh meat’ is quickly pounced upon, and an inveritable bun fight often occurs in an effort to divest the occupants of any treasures they may have overlooked, for a few pounds. Sound familiar? Now this doesn’t happen all the time, but often enough to keep the treasure hunters keen. How do we know all this? Well, it will come as little surprise that is to specialist dealers like ourselves that the treasure hunters turn to, for advice and assistance in selling, often gloating about how little they paid from a charity shop or car boot sale. Very recently, a Chinese enamel vessel was sold for £50,000, the vendor proudly boasting that he purchased this recently at a car boot sale. The owner is probably still completely unaware that they had given away a small fortune.
And last, but by no means least, its the good old local tip. You would not believe what people throw away. We are regularly asked to buy items that have been thrown away, jewellery, silver and coins being exceedingly common, and I can offer no rational explanation for this, but also a whole host of other items. Now in fairness, a lot of the valuables are either paper related, like old books and postcards, or are dusty, tarnished or otherwise not looking their best, but we are still talking about valuable things. Sadly, much of this material comes from deceased estates, where relatives are overwhelmed with the amount of material they have to deal with, and a very common situation for us is when we are asked to value some furniture and ceramics, prior to the house being sold, only to find that the executors have carefully thrown away all the albums of old postcards and cigarette cards, old leaflets and books, radios and old instruments that they thought was just old fashioned junk, the fountain pens and old corkscrews that were ‘worthless’ the list is endless, and we find time and time again that the potentially valuable items have been thrown away. However, companies have to tender to the council for the right to sort through the rubbish at the tip, not a pleasant job, but they PAY for the right to sift through all of the rubbish, and harvest off the goodies. The only reason is for treasure, and there is plenty of it.
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