Here at Storage Auctions Kings, we’ve talked in the past about the effect that certain TV shows have had on people’s expectations of storage auctions. Some now see them as a great way to make a quick buck – and in some cases this may be true – but it’s by no means a rule. Just like any other pursuit or activity, getting ‘good’ at storage auctions is a matter of practice and experience. It’s tricky to make that happen overnight. But with the right coaching and information to hand, you’ve got a much better chance of finding a real treasure trove. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to spotting hidden gems when that door slides open…
There are of course many different types of electronics you can keep an eye out for: everything from TVs to stereos. But there are also a few vintage items which are currently selling for quite a bit – if you can get your hands on them. Items such as retro video game consoles are very popular right now. Look out for the Commodore 64, the Atari 2600 or the Nintendo Virtual Boy. These gadgets will fetch between 100 and 500 dollars each, potentially much more if the condition is right. Other valuable electronics include vintage wireless radios and Betamax players. If it’s possible to see from outside of the locker, try to ensure that these electronic items are in working order, because nothing sinks a valuation faster than an item that doesn’t work anymore, regardless of estimated value.
There’s nothing quite like the feel of a genuine, high-quality leather sofa, and in that regard, tastes haven’t changed much! What that means is that there are many items of vintage furniture that could be hiding in storage lockers all over the country. The 50s and 60s in particular were times when furniture design was at its most wacky and inventive, particularly that of leather sofas and sectionals. Because leather furniture is hard-wearing and, due to its expense, has generally been covered by insurance and well looked-after, you can find some examples in excellent nearly-new condition. Examples of furniture to look out for include the VIG Chesterfield sofa, the Padma’s Plantation sectional and the Fabio Leather Cinema sofa. It’s a good idea to do some research and discover the varying designs of rare and vintage furniture so that when that locker door opens, your trained eye will instantly spot that hidden gem – before any of the other bidders do.
As the home décor trends grow and evolve over time, objects you may never expect can easily become antiques. It’s not all dusty grandfather clocks and tables! In fact, some of the most mundane items by appearance may actually be the most valuable. When you’re glancing into a locker, don’t discount something just because it may appear to be a beat-up has-been. Some of the world’s most valuable antiques don’t look my much from the outside, but wind up being worth thousands of dollars. Take the Germain Royal Soup Tureen, for example. This outwardly seems to be a simple soup bowl, albeit decorated quite intricately – but its real value is over $8 million! It’s this type of unassuming object that can make the difference between an amateur storage hunter and a real pro… although we can’t make any guarantees of finding millions, naturally!
Don’t forget: if you want to be as successful as possible in the storage auction business, you’ll need to know exactly what you’re looking at in every bin. Why not take a ‘zero spend’ trip to an auction to test the waters. Observe what others are doing, identify the gems, and use that knowledge to make your next auction the best one yet. Alternatively, watching the many storage auction TV shows can be helpful for picking up hints and tactics. These are of course dramatized (it’s TV after all), but at its heart there is something to be gleaned by the budding amateur storage auction king. Another great tip is to follow your gut: if you spot something hiding at the back of a locker and you get that ‘feeling’ – just go for it. You never know, it might just be the piece that makes you rich.