October 14, 2019

Have you become interested in the world of antiques and collectables and want to be a part of it? Perhaps you’re also looking for a way to make some extra money on the side. If that’s the case, you may have considered becoming an antique picker – someone who scours around for collectables in the hopes of selling them for more than you bought them for.

It can be an exciting business, especially when you land a great find. There’s also the bonus of getting the opportunity to learn an item’s story and possibly even about its historical relevance. But it can also be hard work, especially if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.

As the storefront of the Great Canadian Roadshow, Muzeum is not only a place that people can go to when they want to sell gold, silver, or other items, but also one where they can go to learn. We believe in sharing our knowledge and spreading the joy of antique collecting. Let us share some of our insider insights with you now that will help you be a better picker.

Start at Home

One of the first things you might be wondering is where you are going to starting looking for rare and valuable items. We have a number of tips on finding antiques and collectables – even in your own home. In fact, it’s best to start there. Start by clearing out your storage, basement, and attic – anywhere that may have old, valuable items just waiting to be found.

Don’t think you’ll find anything? You might be surprised. Old toys and even books from your childhood could be worth a lot of money, especially if they are still in good condition. Still have a first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone somewhere? That could be worth some decent cash.

old collectable toys in toronto

Look Online

What about buying and selling online? Lots of people make money from buying items off eBay for low prices and then reselling them. It takes a keen eye, patience, and experience, but eventually you will learn how to spot the right deals for the right stuff. Things to keep in mind:

  • Carefully look at the photos and description – is the description accurate? Does something seem off? Don’t be afraid to ask for more photos from the seller.
  • What’s the condition? Items in poor condition don’t sell for much unless they are extremely rare; it may not be worth your time.
  • Look out for any feedback provided about the seller. Negative reviews can help you stay clear.
  • Check out the return policy. A seller that doesn’t offer returns is suspicious.

And lastly, it’s important to compare prices. Do a search and see what the item you’re interested in sold at in the past. Is it of a similar condition? Are you getting a good deal? Sounds like a lot to consider, but the work will definitely be worth it.

Beyond the Front Door

Before setting out on a picking adventure, it’s important to plan out where you’re going first. Start by keeping a close eye on your local paper and any online listings for things like local estate sales, garage sales, flea markets, and live auctions. Keep a calendar of these local events and set aside time to attend them.

Also make it a habit of visiting local thrift stores as well as brick and mortar antiques shops (like Muzeum!) every once and a while to see if you come across something interesting. Particularly in the case of thrift stores, there may be a hidden gem that wasn’t recognized as being valuable.

What to Look For

This is probably the biggest and most pressing question you may have: what items should you be looking out for? The answer isn’t very simple as there are a ton of items that collectors and antique shops may be interested in buying off you, but here are the basics:

  • Old paper money
  • Rare and old coins
  • Antique silverware
  • Gold and silver jewellery and scrap pieces
  • Antique and collector watches
  • War memorabilia
  • Movie memorabilia
  • Old toys and comic books

Some people start off by specializing in a certain area. For example, you may be interested in buying and selling silver coins in Canada. We buy both silver and gold coins from all over the world, including bullion, numismatic, commemorative, uncirculated coins, and more. When scouting for rare coins, look out for Canadian coins dated 1968 and earlier and American coins 1964 and earlier (created before silver stopped being the primary material).

how to sell our coins in toronto

Worried that you might run into a fake? You can learn about detecting fake coins from a previous blog entry where we did a Q&A with coin expert Sebastian Wieschowski, the author of Fake Coin Bible: How to Protect Yourself Against Counterfeiters. One important thing to remember is that precious metals are heavy, and thus a counterfeit will typically feel light in your hand.

Want to know how to sell your coins safely and wisely? We covered that too in our article, “How to Sell Your Coins,” where we discuss some tips and things to look out for. Of course, the wisest place to sell silver coins is at Muzeum, where we offer a fair market evaluation at the actual sellable price (meaning not based on the insurable price).

We believe in transparency and trust, and provide free, upfront evaluations so that you can see first-hand how your coins and other items are valued. Our prices are the best you’ll find, and if we don’t buy your item then we can connect you with a collector through our vast network.

So if you’re a picker in the making and you want to know who you can trust then look no further than Muzeum. We are always happy to share in our joy and knowledge of the antique and collectables world, and offer the best prices for your rare goods. There’s no reason to be shy – you’re sure to fit right in.

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