- Apr 16, 2018
Everything old is new again, including ways to make money. Sure, bitcoin investments may be all the rage today, but when it comes to making a quick buck, many still raid their basement, attic, or closet for vintage stuff they can flip. This is because nostalgia sells. There’s just something about holding a piece of vintage merchandise in your hand, and feeling (and smelling) all the good memories it evokes.
In this article, I’ve made a list of ten of the best thrift store items to resell, along with where to sell them. Ebay and Etsy are two of the most popular e-commerce sites offering a staggering amount of vintage thrift store finds that sell for more than their original value. The good news is that there plenty more of these online shops, and buyers willing to take thrift store and vintage items off your hands!
1. Vintage concert shirts and merch
The iconic red lips with the tongue out, the yellow smiley face with two X’s for eyes, the two stylized lightning bolts to replace the two S’s in the word “Kiss”, and a ray of light passing through a triangular prism to form a rainbow are just some of the most iconic band logos found on t-shirts and other concert merchandise. True fans of 90s (and older) bands and other recording artists are always on the lookout for items like these, especially autographed ones! It’s like owning a piece of musical history, especially when they were there to witness the event themselves.
Selling pre-owned shirts and merch means you have to be upfront if they have flaws. If you’re unsure of the provenance of the shirts and merch you want to flip, its best to do some research so you can give a detailed description of the items. And if you want to get an idea of how much similar items are selling for, visit the vintage rock concert T-shirts section on Ebay, linked below.
2. Used classic books and comics
College students usually turn to Amazon Marketplace to sell their old textbooks. But if you have vintage paperbacks, rare first-editions, and other publications that are considered collectibles, Abe Books is a good place to sell them. It’s also under Amazon, but focuses more on rare and signed editions, and even pre-press manuscripts!
Now, if you have old comic books to sell or stumbled upon a box of them at a thrift store, Sell My Comic Books is an online store that has an appraisal button and a helpful video to guide you on how to flip them for cash. The shop appears to prefer buying in bulk, although there’s a customer testimony that says they buy single issues, too.
3. Vintage clothes
Vintage clothes are some of the easiest thrift store finds to resell because obviously, fashion is here to stay. All too often though, sellers are intimidated at the vast array of similar merchandise being offered online. A good practice is to narrow down the kind of clothes (period, style, designer, etc.) you want to sell, look for the best online shop for it, and be as detailed as possible in your description (including the measurements, designer, condition, etc.). It would also help to have very clear photos of the clothes, including any possible flaws they may have.
Cheeky Vintage is an online store specializing in vintage finds. They usually buy pieces outright, but also encourage the occasional consignment. If you have vintage designer clothes from the 1940s-1990s, and good quality unlabelled items including handbags, scarves, jewelry, and hats, this would be a great place to resell them.
4. Vinyl records
There’s a scene in High Fidelity where Jack Black’s character, a vinyl record store assistant, is deliberately teasing a potential customer about a particular record the latter wants to buy. It seems the dude is a returning customer, but that record he wants to buy always seems to be not for sale every time he wants to buy it. Jack Black’s character knows how much this guy wants the record, obviously for any amount of money, but his snobbery and musical arrogance prevents the customer from getting it.
That’s not to say you have to be a snob to sell your vintage record collection. But with the increasing popularity of vinyl records among audiophiles willing to pay thousands to get a vintage platter, it’s hard not to be picky about where to flip your collection.
Vinylom.com is a vintage record marketplace selling sealed, mint, near mint, or very good-condition records (also CDs, cassette tapes, and music DVDs) from all over the world. All you need to do is sign up for an account, choose to sell or trade your records with other music enthusiasts, and rest assured that your collection will end up in good, capable hands.
5. Old-school video games
As the closing narrative in Wreck-It Ralph goes: “The gamers say we're ‘Retro’ which I think means "old but cool".” There’s no denying it, retro video games are popular once more, even with the recent deluge of gaming apps. Adults who grew up with them want to go back to a time when setting up a video game or bugging your parents for a ride at the arcade meant at least half a day’s worth of getting lost in another world. Today’s instant gratification version is no match for that, which is why there’s such a huge demand for the consoles, cables, and joysticks of the past.
Among avid gamers, Game Stop is the go-to shop for buying and selling video games. With a physical and virtual store, many resellers make it a point to flip or trade their vintage wares for cash, or even store credit, accessories, and other merchandise.
6. Action figures
When it comes to toy collecting, the more vintage it is, the better for true connoisseurs. So if you’ve kept your 80s-era Star Wars, GI Joe, and Masters of the Universe (He-Man, et al) figures, you may just have a treasure trove of childhood nostalgia in your hands. Today, even social media platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Pinterest, and even Instagram have vintage toy sellers, using tools like hashtags to generate interest among collectors.
Long-time collectors and sellers swear by the action figures category of Ebay, because there’s a wide selection of both contemporary and vintage figures to choose from - from anime to comic book heroes, to TV, movie, or video game figures, through to rare designer vinyl figurines and robots. You can choose to flip your merchandise in mint, boxed condition to fetch a higher price, or sell loose, unboxed figures by the lot. If you want to get an idea how much other people are selling similar action figures, go to the link below and search by category, price, or brand.
7. Limited-edition sneakers
Avid sneaker collectors (or “sneakerheads” as they’ve come to be called) really go out of their way to find limited-edition rubber soled shoes - even vintage ones, if they can have them! Many of these collectors already own enough pairs of sneakers they can wear for every single day of the year. It may sound impractical (and downright decadent), but practicality isn’t really the point of collecting. The search, the pursuit, and the chance to outbid other rabid sneakerheads is what makes the hunt for vintage sneakers such an exciting one for them.
Classic Converse rubber shoes have been known to sell for thousands, as long as they are not discolored and are still in good condition. Limited edition shoes are even more coveted, especially if they still come boxed (and preferably with the receipt or price tag intact). So if you like thrifting for shoes, keep your eyes peeled for potentially flippable rare sneakers you can resell. Kixify is a good place for vintage sneaker reselling. They don’t charge a setup or listing fee, but only take 8% from each sale you make.
8. Tea cups and tea sets
Having tea in dainty English cups has a way of making an afternoon seem more elegant, refined, and altogether cosier. Beyond that, matching tea sets are just so pretty. Those who love Alice in Wonderland and the general pleasures that tea-time brings usually have a tea set or two to their name.
And then there are the rabid tea set collectors who will fight tooth and nail to outbid anyone for that last set of Royal Albert collection, complete with milk jug and creamer. Over at Instagram alone, there are tens of thousands of tea cup resellers all over the world with competitive prices for their wares. So if you find yourself with a hutch full of vintage or even antique tea sets in good condition, consider selling them online - you might just be surprised at how much they sell for.
The Teacup Attic is an online shop based in Canada catering to lovers of vintage English tea cups and tea sets. They can buy your porcelain or china pieces, as long as they are in good condition, come in lots, and fall under the particular brand and patterns they are looking for.
9. Film cameras
With the advent of digital cameras and smartphones, photography has gone in the general direction of convenience and instant gratification. It seemed like the era of bulky film cameras and even the slim, pocketable ones was over at last. But vintage camera enthusiasts have been around forever, searching high and low for antique but usable parts; proving that someone somewhere will still find your old photography equipment valuable.
Dan of AntiqueCameras.net has strict rules before buying your vintage camera, including no Kodaks, Polaroids, or movie cameras. He is simply a collector with a love for good quality vintage cameras, so if you pass all his rules and have the equipment he’s looking for (there’s an extensive list in the link below), go ahead and send him a message.
KEH.com is also a camera store that buys and sells photography equipment. They boast of the largest inventory of previously-owned camera gear, with strict appraisal and inspection, plus instant quotes and payment on cameras and parts they end up buying.
10. Classic board games
If you have so many board games (and not a lot of people to play them with - kidding!) that you need to unload them, consider reselling online. There are plenty of board game forums and Facebook groups built for that very purpose. While new board games are in demand, you’d be surprised at how many people look for the classic and vintage ones, as well. From Scrabble to early-edition Monopoly to rare, controversy-addled ones like Dark Tower (an idea plagiarized from Milton Bradley and was therefore taken off the shelves too soon), an intact, still-in-box, and good-condition board game can fetch up to $800 if you’re lucky!
Unless you’re unusually attached to your vintage items and thrift finds, these suggestions are likely to give you fast cash with little to no capital involved. Ebay is always a good place to unload vintage stuff because so many people look for them there, and categorizing them is very easy and convenient. It poses minimal risk in getting cash from things you already have, and you’ll be helping to reduce carbon footprint by encouraging others to recycle instead of buying newly-manufactured stuff.
Have you ever flipped vintage items or thrift store finds because you needed the money ASAP? How did you find the experience, and will you do it again? Tell us your story because we’d love to learn from it in case we want to make reselling vintage thrift store goods a full-blown career.
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