|Tue Mar 20 2012 13:32:53|
How to Pick Antiques Like the Pros: Picker's Bible
By: Julia Wilkinson
Recent TV shows like the History Channel's "American Pickers," where buddies Mike and Frank comb the back roads of the U.S., plucking rusty old Americana from obscurity and turning it into collector glory, has made this particular type of treasure-hunting known as "picking" more popular. (In the case of Mike and Frank, the treasure is often in the form of old oil cans and bicycles, but there's something for everyone out there).
In the "Picker's Bible" (Krause Publications), professional picker Joe Willard shares secrets of scouring all sorts of locations, from private homes to swap meets to thrift stores, for this previously undiscovered treasure, and how to buy and sell (and, in some cases, re-sell) those items for decent money.
Reading the book was like sitting down with an old friend who was willing to brain-dump all his accumulated years of experience into practical lessons over a cup of coffee. And as a picker "character" myself, I could identify with some of the emotional and other traps he warns of: hoarding, getting too attached to your "stuff," not turning over your stuff quickly enough, not always being discerning enough when buying items, etc.
One of the points he emphasizes is how deep any given niche can go, and how important it is to specialize, so you have enough knowledge to trade successfully in a certain type of collectible. He introduces us to the concept of the "Buried Pyramid," where when you first get interested in a certain field, you start learning a little about it, and are at the very top of the pyramid. As you dig deeper, more and more you didn't know about the field opens up, and "you discover your pyramid is larger than you imagined."
He also introduces the layperson (or lay-picker, if you will) to picker concepts such as "parlaying," or taking profit from one sale and re-investing it in another, more expensive item; and that item is then sold for still more. And so on.
There are also good tips about getting your name and list of "wanteds" out there, including some unique techniques I hadn't thought of, such as taking business cards and "wanted" lists with you to tack up on local bulletin boards whenever you travel.
There's a strong emphasis on reading widely in your given field or fields; to always be learning. And on that note, I think this conversational book, at $14.99, is a good investment in any up-and-coming picker's reference library.
If you sell antiques and collectiles, do you consider yourself a "picker"? Have you ever trolled back roads and obscure places for items to sell? (Maybe even a dumpster or stuff on a curb? Shhh...don't tell!). Post a comment here!