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Flipping Stuff: What to Buy and Resell to Make Money at Auctions

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If you’ve watched the house flipping market in recent years, you’ve probably seen the trends that the returns are actually starting to shrink. If you want to make money by choosing to buy and resell items, you might want to start acting smaller and more frequently. When you know how to make money at auctions, you could find even more lucrative ways of investing your extra capital.

Here are four things you should be investing in as you consider flipping items in the coming years.

1. Furniture

When you’re looking to buy and resell things online, one of the most popular items to turn around and flip is furniture. Most people who are selling furniture at a flea market or an auction only have a nebulous idea of how much it’s worth. There are so many different eras and materials that have their own particular trends and specificities that it’s hard to keep track of.

One of the things to look at with any piece of furniture is the materials. If something isn’t well made, it’s not going to have a lot of value. When you’re trying to decide on whether or not to invest in a piece of furniture, you need to take into account that you might have to work on it or travel with it. It’s not going to be as easy of an investment as buying a stock.

If it’s set to fall apart soon after you get your hands on it, then it’s not worth the price.

Many pieces of furniture that are designed by a specific person or design house come with some kind of signature. Don’t buy that it was built by so and so unless you can find some evidence of it. In the world of furniture, there are many copycats and expert builders who were able to copy the ideas of other designers to use as their own.

2. Artwork

Artwork is a great investment for anyone looking to build their wealth at an auction. Purchasing artwork is a smart way to start building up a stock of items that you can resell later. Much like land, art is one of the few investments you can make that almost never loses its value. 

If you know what you’re looking at, you could make a lot of money from artwork at auctions. Artwork is an often over- or under-valued commodity at auctions. At estate sales, you can find valuable pieces of art that were incorrectly valued by the people appraising the estate.

While buying and selling art is no easy task, if you know what you’re looking for, you could make a small fortune.

Start by buying artists that you can find information about. If you find that you can access a few artworks by a given artist, you could be able to increase all of their value together. Pairing up with a gallery owner, you can put those artworks on display and build some hype around them. 

If you have a relationship with a local museum, you could ask them about putting together an exhibition about that artist. If they’re still living, pair them up with the latest work by that artist and you could have an exciting way to increase the value of all of their work.

3. Comic Books and Cards

For the last few decades, baseball cards and comic books have been a stable set of investments that always go up in value. While it’s hard to know what’s going to be valuable 20 years from now, if you can get complete sets of anything, you can start building some value.

One of the things you’ll have to invest in as a collector of these items are some items that already have some small amount of value. While you won’t be able to get a sweet deal on a rare first Superman comic, you could get a similarly popular character’s first appearance at a low value. Remember that if you want to do more than just own a valuable item, you need to sell it, so you’ll have to price it at a lower price.

The same thing goes for baseball cards. It’s hard to know whether or not a baseball card is going to be valuable unless something happens to a player. If you want to make a safe bet, buy into whole collections of cards rather than just a single card.

A high performing player today could be tomorrow’s benchwarmer. Avoid dealing with lost value by getting everything you can.

4. Historical Artifacts

When you’re looking to make some money off of things that are sure to have value, then get to know local history. If you know that a well-loved president once lived in your town, an auction of items they once owned could have significant value. Even if these items aren’t going to find a home right away, you could shop them around to historical societies and museums.

If you have a connection to a museum or have heard about a new site opening up around a historical figure, this could be your chance. If you hear about an Alexander Hamilton historical site opening and you attend a historical gun auction, see if you can find his weapon. You might end up making yourself a small fortune.

It’s never easy to know what’s going to bring in value and what won’t so think carefully before investing in anything. You could sink thousands into what amounts to a very expensive paperweight. Talk to other people who attend auctions or look at message boards online for tips.

It Takes Energy to Buy and Resell

If you’re looking to get into the auction market to buy and resell items, you need to know what you’re in for. You could sit on several thousands of dollars in items if you don’t make the right investment. You need to know what you’re looking for and what will bring in results by doing your research in advance.

While you’re at auctions, check out our guide for finding gifts for your loved ones that could be cheaper than what you’d find in stores.

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