How to sell vintage furniture and homeware
(Guest article by Layer)
Have you got some vintage furniture – or bits and pieces you think might be vintage?
Well, it’s quite possible that you have something there that could make you a bit of cash.
Holding onto inherited pieces just for the sake of it? Bought a vintage chair years ago that you’ve fallen out of love with?
It might just be time to let go (and maybe make some extra money!). Here’s how to do it.
1.Know what you’re selling
This may sound obvious, but to sell a vintage piece for the best possible price it is imperative that you gather as much information as possible.
When was it made? Who made it? Where was it made?
Each piece tells a story, and buyers want to know as much of this story as possible. It adds value, life and character.
Another important aspect to research is: how much are similar items selling for? This will give you a good indication of what your price should be.
2. Talk to local traders
Attend your local vintage and antiques fairs. Locate traders with similar pieces to the one(s) you are selling. They may well offer to buy the piece from you in the hope that they can sell it on for more.
They’re the professionals and will be able to offer guidance (N.B. but do refer back to point 1 – know what you’re selling so you don’t get ripped off!).
3. Trade at local fairs
If you have more than a few items to sell then you may want to explore the option of setting up your own stall at a local trade fair. Casual traders are welcome at places like the Collectors Fairs at Ardingly and Newark, and the bi-monthly Sunbury Antiques Market.
If the official vintage and antiques fairs seem a bit daunting, selling at car boot sales is another good option. It’s an easy and fun way to get rid of those items you no-longer need.
4. Vintage shops
If you’re more of an indoors bod then perhaps fairs and car boots aren’t for you (especially if it’s raining!).
Fear not! Vintage shops will be more up your street. Google local vintage and antique shops in your area, and we can almost guarantee they’ll be able to help.
An increasingly popular way of trading vintage and antique furniture and homeware is online. Of course you have mega-site eBay there as a tool.
But for a much more personalised and friendly approach take a look around our site – Layer. We live and breath pre-loved pieces (we’re obsessed!), and we promise to provide you with a free listing on our website, a bespoke service, and a warm experience, all in return for a small fee once your item has been sold.
6. Newspaper Ads
If you’re super old school you could try the approach of paying for your piece to be in the classified ads section in your local newspaper.
7. Auction House
If you have done your research and you discover that your item is of considerable value then you may want to go down the route of selling your piece(s) through a reputable auction house.
The benefits of this is that your piece will be exposed to a targeted audience, however the downside is that auction houses can charge very high fees for their services.
8. Consider restoration and repairs
If there is noticeable damage to a piece then don’t be afraid to explore the option of restoration and repair. For collectors’ items in particular, the condition of the item greatly affects the value. It may well add hundreds or even thousands onto the selling price.
9. Be patient
Try not to get frustrated if your piece doesn’t sell immediately. The vintage world is a funny one, and the desire for certain pieces is constantly shifting and changing. Trends come and go. It may well turn out that your piece of vintage furniture will be all the rage this time next year, and your piece will be snapped up for a great price!
Top tip: if you’re holding on to any pieces from the mid century period (roughly between 1933-1965) then these pieces are incredibly à la mode and will sell well. This is particularly true when a certain name can be accredited to the piece such as Eames, Hans Wegner or George Nelson (to name a select few).
It can be very difficult to know whether your piece is truly vintage, so if you need a helping hand here, then take a look at Layer’s recent piece demystifying the definitions of “antique” and “vintage”.
…or give it to charity
Jasmine says: “Recently I cleared out a storage unit full of family junk, including some items of furniture that we mostly bought at secondhand shops. We didn’t want to bother with selling the items but wanted to give it to charity.
Happily I found a really good website that will direct you to local charities and housing associations that take old furniture. It’s called The Furniture Re-Use Network and if you just put your postcode in, it will come up with a list of local organisations with their contact details. It’s quick and easy and you can know that your old junk that’s taking up room in your home or costing you money in storage will go to help someone else.”
Bon chance de-clutterers! Go forth and tidy! And never forget, that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure…