Trash vs. treasure: Expert tips when hunting for authentic garage sale finds
by Brandpoint (ARA) Sponsored Content
Feb 03, 2013 | 20026 views | 0 0 comments | 293 293 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(BPT) - Collecting relics isn’t a hobby just for Grandma and Grandpa any more. With the explosive popularity of TV shows centered around unearthing historic memorabilia and valuable pieces of Americana, searching for knickknacks and artifacts that make one-of-a-kind home decor is now a popular pastime for people of all ages. But how do you know the difference between what’s really treasure and what’s simply trash?

Larry Singleton, decor manager at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., is an expert when it comes to collecting historic relics.  Singleton and his family have been collecting for more than 40 years, providing real American artifacts, memorabilia and signage to the more than 600 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations nationwide. He offers these insightful tips for the next time you’re on the hunt at a garage sale, flea market or thrift store:

1. Research and learn

Research and learn as much as you can before you shop. Watch TV shows, search on the Internet, visit local collector’s stores. Discovering what’s valuable and knowing what’s currently in-demand helps guide you in making that “big discovery.” It’s important to be willing to invest the time and never be afraid to ask questions.

2. Know your interests

If you have an interest in a particular type of item – such as vintage advertisements, folk art or children’s toys – familiarize yourself with what makes a piece authentic and what might indicate a reproduction. Plus when you have a personal interest in the item you’re seeking, the hunt becomes that much more fun.

3. Keep a smartphone close

A smartphone can be a treasure hunter’s best friend because you can conduct research quickly while on location. You can also research similar items to compare prices and see if the price is reasonable or inflated.

4. Know an expert

Keep an expert’s number on hand – every collector runs into questions and having a knowledgeable contact you can call or to whom you can send a picture is invaluable. Good resources include community associations, historical societies and friends or family members.

5. Network

One of the best ways to learn about items as well as where to find them is to talk to likeminded people. Treasure hunters and collectors love to share info on what they collect, buy and sell. Use this information (and camaraderie) to your advantage.

6. Know the story

While some items might have plenty of monetary value, other historic relics might be valuable simply because of the story they tell. Seeking historic artifacts and memorabilia provides a piece of decor that is more than just pretty; it’s a conversation piece when guests visit your home.

These expert tips are what Singleton follows to find the authentic memorabilia that decorates all Cracker Barrel locations. Each store has about 1,000 artifacts displayed, giving patrons a taste of American history. You, too, can create an interior space that pairs modern comfort with the panache that only unique historic relics can bring to a home’s decor. Start your own treasure hunt today.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.