If you want to turn your antiques into cash, you'll need to look beyond the standard places like eBay and Etsy. These sites and others like them pay via PayPal or check, not actual cash. For cash, it's all about the local options.
Craigslist - Top Dollar
Selling on Craigslist is as simple as taking great photos of your antique, setting up an account, and creating a listing. You set the price, and potential buyers will see your ad and sometimes make offers. There's no middleman to take part of the sales price. You can specify cash only in your ad.
Craigslist is especially great for larger, heavier items like sewing machines, kids' ride-on toys, and furniture. It's also awesome for getting a fair price for your items, since you can decide whether you want to sell for a certain price. For certain types of items that are especially desirable, it can be a fast way to sell.
This is a great option, but there are some specific challenges that come with it. One is that people only see things they search for. If your item is not a popular search, it could sit out there for a while. It's also important to remember you're interacting with people you don't know, so it's essential to keep security in mind. Meet in public.
Consignment Stores - Built-In Audience
Many antique stores take items on consignment. Basically, you set a price for the item, and the store sells it for you for a certain percentage of the sales price. Stop by your local shop and ask if they do this and how the process works for them, or look for a consignment shop in your area through the Association of Resale Professionals. Be sure to tell them you want cash for your item since some stores may deal in only checks.
You get full control of pricing your item, which means you can ensure you get a fair price. Your antique items also get seen and noticed by shoppers. They may not be looking for your specific piece, but when they see it, they might have to have it.
Even though you can set the price, the shop is taking a chunk of your cash. Consignment fees can be as much as 50 percent of the sales price. This method can also take some time, since you have to wait for someone to walk into the store and buy your item.
Antique Dealer - Fast Sales
There are many people who make their living buying and selling antiques. You can find dealers through the local antique mall or by walking into nearby shops. You can also look up specific specialties or locations of members who belong to the Antique Dealers Association. You'll need to know the value of your item ahead of time so you can clearly state what you'd like to receive in cash.
This is a fast way to sell your antiques. Provided the dealer is interested and the price you ask is reasonable, you can walk into the meeting with your item and walk out with your cash.
The biggest challenge to this method is getting a fair price. You know your item is worth a certain amount, but the dealer will need to offer you a lot less to cover overhead and make a profit.
Pawn Shops - Fast and Flexible
If you're really in a hurry and want to get your cash right away, a pawn shop is another option. These shops take anything of value and give you a certain amount of cash for it, often far less than its retail value. Then you can buy the item back at a higher price if you only need the cash for a short period. You can find a pawn shop in most cities or look for a local one on Pawn Guru.
The most significant benefit here is speed. If you need cash right now, a pawn shop may be the way to go. It's also handy that you can re-purchase the item if you change your mind or don't want to part with it permanently. You'll just need to get there before someone else buys it. Some shops also let you make payments on a loan to keep the item from being sold.
This is absolutely not the way to make the most money for your antiques. A good offer from a pawn shop would be about 75 percent of the item's market value. You'll also need to be a skilled negotiator, since many pawn shops will open with a low offer and expect you to haggle.
Selling It Yourself - Total Control
You can sell your item yourself at flea markets, antique fairs, or yard sales. These methods take a bit more work, but they offer you total control over the entire sales process. You'll need to handle advertising your sale or renting a booth. Find a flea market or antique show near you by checking out Antique Trader's Antique Show and Flea Market Calendar.
There are lots of benefits to selling your items yourself. At antique shows, flea markets, and yard sales, people are there to buy exactly what you're selling; it's a built-in audience. You also get to set the price and specify cash only, and since there's no middle man, you get to keep the profits.
This method is a lot of work. You'll need to research and price your items, handle advertising and promotion, work the booth or sale, and negotiate with potential buyers. You also need to handle your own security when dealing with large amounts of cash.
Think About Your Priorities
There are lots of ways to sell your antiques for cash, and each has its pros and cons. Deciding which is right for you comes down to thinking about your priorities. How quickly do you need to make the sale? How involved in the process do you want to be? Choose the method that best fits your needs.