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NJ Estate Sale: What's Hot and What's Not? Items Showcase


#TBTRareFinds series will take you on an adventure into the culture and trends of the past including antiques, vintage items, art history, jewelry, clothing, collectibles, and other related topics.

Watch #TBTRareFinds Episode 1 Part II and learn about Collectibles: What’s Hot and What’s Not 

Hosted by: Dennis Harabin

In this Episode, George shares with us the following:

  • Importance of knowing what’s Hot and What’s Not?
  • How much profit you can earn on flipping good items and;
  • What he does to know the selling price of each item

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What’s Hot

Napco Figurines

Napco, in the ’50s or ’60s, made pottery, ceramics, figurines, and a host of different things. A small flower vase like the picture below is only about five to six inches tall. 

For people who like to flip items or spend a couple of hours on a Saturday on an estate sale, buy cheap things, and then put them onto eBay and sell them quickly for a nice profit, this is a good find.

For example, George bought the Napco flower vase below at an estate sale for $5. He cleaned it up a little bit, put some flowers in it, photographed it nicely (which is a secret to making money out of estate sales) and George was able to sell this beauty on eBay quickly, within a matter of a few hours for $36!

Napco figurines

In addition to these vases, Napco made ornaments and plates like the one posted below.  So, if you were brought up in the fifties and sixties, you probably had one of these in your house. 

 Napco plate

Do you live around New Providence area? Check out the newly-opened shop Rare Finds and Hidden Treasures located at 43 Floral Ave, New Providence, NJ

George bought one for $3 at a consignment shop and sold it within hours for $18! Grandmother’s used to having one of those, that's why he loves to see  Napco items when he goes to an estate sale.

George also loves things that are sold in lots. Lots mean that whoever's running the sale doesn't really know what to do with all these things. Sometimes they feel that there are just too many of them to price individually. The thing is, if you know what you're looking for, you can often find treasures in a lot.

Below is an example of a lot. These go back to the flower vases at another estate sale. He bought all of these for $65 and sold them individually as individual pieces on eBay for a total of $225.

 Napco ornaments

And of course, it's this time of the year when you find a lot of Christmas ornaments or Christmas figurines. If sold individually, this lot right here we'll make five times the amount it was bought ($50-60).

 Napco ceramics and figurines

Harley Davidson Collectibles

Next are the Harley items. He continues, “This is interesting if you're in the business, maybe you ask ‘how did we find this guy?’ Well, I was at this rare finds consignment shop. It is a project that I'm helping out a friend with. There was a guy over a few weeks ago who was changing the locks on the doors.

And I just started talking to him, he was asking about the store and he mentioned over the years he's collected, he's been a collector of Harley Davidson memorabilia and things. So the locksmith invited us over to see it and we're going to be doing an auction with his collections.”

This guy's got Harley figurines and Harley posters like the one you see below:

 Harley Davidson collectibles, Harley Davidson posters

He collected these items that were made exclusively for dealers and were not available to the general public. There were about 115 of them printed and when George started researching he found out that last year, this poster got sold for $1,800 and change. Last week, when doing research on it, the latest sale of this poster was $2,300.

So that comes just through having a conversation with somebody and finding out that he had no thoughts about putting this stuff up for sale. He had just collected it over the years. 

But now he’s ready to let go, monetize them, and declutter at the same time.

The beauty of these collections is he's been collecting them, saving them in the original boxes so they're like brand new. He also has a Harley Davidson Barbie and they're really cool. 

Are you interested in these items?
See Rare Finds NJ and find a lot of cool items at such friendly prices! 

Expert Tips from George: 

  • Do a lot of research - not necessarily every single item but those that you think have a good value (ex. Harley Davidson Barbie Doll, Harley Davidson poster)
  • Put an effort in professionally photographing items - particularly if you're going to be holding an auction because, in an online auction, people can't hold things in their hands.
“With Caring Transitions, we go through that expense and that service for our clients. We work on a commission when we do an estate sale at an auction. So we want to get as much money for the item as the owner does. So we go through that expense to ensure that we get the most that we can.

We don't want to end up on an Antique Roadshow one day and somebody saying, “we went to this estate sale that Caring Transitions ran and we bought this thing for $10 and it's worth 150,000.”  That's not the press we want to get.”


What's Not Hot

Hess Trucks

I think a lot of us collected Hess trucks thinking they were going to increase in value over the years. You almost can't give them away, if you can get $10 for one in like-new condition in a brand, in a box, that's all you're going to get for it.

And that was where the old metal ones, like when they were hot. And then now they're not, it's like anything else. We ran across Hess trucks fairly recently. The woman that's opening up rare finds in the store probably has 30 sitting in that store. And they're in a pile back in the corner.

Used Furniture

When running an estate sale, there's always furniture involved. Furniture is very iffy that some things will sell little, and tables tend to sell very quickly. But the dining room, tables, and China, nobody has them in their house anymore. We have a very difficult time even donating those, or giving them away. 

Books and Magazines

When somebody is running estates, other books, and magazines, some are just extremely valuable. It's just a matter of knowing what you have, what you're looking for. And again, we'll have experts on the show to talk about things like that. What magazines are hot, what magazines are going up in value and comic books is another big one. Certain comic books are extremely valuable.

Others are not even worth what they sold for the day. So, that's an expert’s skill. You must invest a lot of time, money, and effort, and really pricing out the items and finding out what it is for someone as well.

Learn more about George Pizzo here.

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