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Finding Antiques Parked at a Garage Sale

Although you may visit many garage sales or yard sales before you find something you love, when you do find that special piece, the price can be very right. If you know your antiques and the seller doesn't, you have a chance to score wonderful bargains.

A strategic game plan

Going to garage sales and yard sales can be an entertaining experience, particularly if you invite other people to go along with you. Choose people who are interested in searching for a variety of things. With different types of collectors in your group, you have others who can help you scout out the things you're looking for without adding to the competition. In addition, you can learn from them about other collectibles and antiques. Plus, it's simply more fun to have companions when you search for your treasures.

Garage sales and yard sales have one major drawback: Because many garage sale ads don't list a phone number, you frequently can't call ahead and ask questions in order to save yourself some legwork.

Finding the right garages

Find garage sales by looking in the classified section of shoppers and free newspapers under Garage Sales. The sales are usually broken down into sections of the city. Some garage sale enthusiasts even line up to get an early newspaper. That way they can plan their strategy, mapping out sales by area, so they can cover the most territory in the least amount of time.

Military bases are good places to look for garage sales. Sometimes the entire base gets involved. You can acquire some unusual pieces (along with run-of-the-mill garage sale fare) because military personnel often travel the world and bring a variety of stuff back home with them.

Neighborhood associations, schools, and churches frequently have giant garage sales where you can cruise through loads of merchandise presented all in one place. Multi-family or block garage sales save you driving time and energy.

Sailing through the sales

When you're driving by garage sales, stop at those with lots of cars and people crowded about. That's usually a sign of a good sale. Ask the other buyers what other sales they've been to that day and if they recommend any of them.

The homeowner is pricing the merchandise and may be simply guessing on price. They may put a lofty price on something they consider old or a cheap price on an antique they know nothing about.

If you can go during the week, instead of on the weekend, you'll miss some of the crowds.

You just paid cash for a wonderful Victorian chest of drawers you found at a garage sale. In order to get the chest home, you have to borrow your former brother-in-law's pickup truck (and your former brother-in-law). To be on the safe side, take one of the drawers with you. That way, the seller won't be tempted to sell your treasure to a bounty hunter.

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