9 of the best things to look for at thrift stores to resell

“Buy low, sell high” the old adage goes. Have you ever dreamt of making some serious side money by finding undervalued items and flipping them quickly for profit? In this article, we’ll find out what items you should try and resell for profit. 

What makes an item ideal for flipping? 

The best items to flip are those whose value isn’t readily apparent just by looking at it. Often owners of these items might not appreciate its value, so they sell it for cheap. On the other hand, there might be groups of enthusiasts that place a high value on such items. 

Don’t underestimate how much people will pay for seemingly normal items. An item may have been ‘normal’ at the time they were bought. Over time though, a little knick-knack might rise in value due to the cultural significance of a particular era. If the item is rare, then its value can skyrocket. 

Finding good flippable items is just a matter of understanding what things appeal to a certain interest group, then keeping your eyes peeled for places where these items are being sold!

Antiques and vintage items are great for flipping for this very reason. Fashion and styles come and go. So vintage items are an icon for a particular era. For example, furniture from the 1960s harken back to the days of the hippie movement, which can hold a lot of nostalgia for some people.

Here are some items that meet this requirement:

1. Records

You can make a fortune with vintage records if you own albums from the Beatles, David Bowie, Hank Mobley Etc. 

The great thing about records is that they are still numerous and in supply – i.e. there are many lay people who still own records and may want to get rid of them without realizing their true value. 

They are also relatively easy to store, allowing you to collect vintage records now and sell them as their value goes up with time!

Some examples of records that have sold well are:

  • The Beatles’ self-titled double album (White Album 1968) was sold for $35,000
  • David Bowie Diamond Dogs 1974 was sold for $3,550; and
  • Hank Mobley’s Bluenotes 1568 album was sold for over $10,000 according to some estimates

Vinyl record prices range from $3 to $1,500, this provides a lot of opportunity for aspiring record flippers who’ve done their homework and can accurately price these records. 

2. Vintage or antique coins

Like vintage records, coins are frequently traded and are very easy to store. This makes them ideal if you want to store these items for long periods of time, waiting to sell when the value goes up. 

It is also very easy to compare and view an entire collection in a small space, making it easy for you to meet up and to show to buyers.

  • The 1943 Lincoln head Copper Penny recently sold for $240,000
  • The 1955 double die penny is worth at least $700 
  • The 1982 no mint mark Roosevelt dime has an uncirculated price of $238 and you can sell one of these at approximately $24,000
  • 1983 new Pence 2p coin its value is worth about $650 and the highest value was ever sold it was GBP1,000.

Here’s a handy list of some valuable coins that you might just happen to have!

3. Fine China

If you’re the type who is very careful (unlike me), you might be suited to deal in Fine China. Fine China is a diverse category of kitchenware that has a large market of enthusiasts. Perhaps, it’s the fragility of Chinaware also makes it valuable!

An example of Fine China that was sold for an exorbitant price is Joseon Porcelain, which was sold for $1.2 million and blue & white porcelain, which costs $21.6 million. 

Even if you don’t get your hands on fine china in this price range, most online shops that sell fine china list them from between $20 to $150.

4. Jukeboxes

Jukeboxes have a lot of value because they are hardly produced anymore and they carry a lot of nostalgic value. They can be an attraction at diners and restaurants. The price for jukeboxes ranges from $150 to $5,000 and most of them can be found at auctions.

One of the most expensive jukeboxes is the Rock-Ola 1414 President which costs 125,000 euros.

5. Phonographs

Photographs are so valuable because it was a revolutionary piece of technology. Furthermore, unlike the music playing technology of today, the records that phonographs play are not easily duplicated and distributed.  The starting bid ranges for phonographs range from $100 to $700.

For phonographs, condition and brand are the most important factors. For example, the Edison spectacle machine is said to have been sold for $40,000!

6. Vintage side tables

Vintage side tables are a great way to enter into the antique flipping space. The reason is that they are relatively light and small. Therefore, shipping costs are usually a lot less, reducing the friction that buyers might feel when purchasing a vintage piece of furniture online.

Also with its small size, it is much easier to handle and as such you are less likely to damage it.

Another great thing about vintage side tables is that they are often easy to restore or repair.

But this comes with a downside as well. There isn’t a lot of profit to be made on selling vintage side tables – its price can range from a mere $50 to $100.

7. Vintage paintings

Victorian Vintage Antique Watercolor Old Fashioned

Art pieces are often considered a form of investment. There is an entire market dedicated to collecting art and paying homage to classic artists. Even if you don’t get your hands on an art piece by a classic painter, there are many people who are interested in adding a touch of vintage to the home through vintage paintings.

For vintage paintings, artist names and style the two big factors that affect the price of a painting.

While not in the price range you’d probably deal with, the following example shows how a different artist, era and style can significantly affect the price: 

Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi which was painted in between 1490 and 1519 was sold for $450 million because of how well known it was, its history and how prolific Leonardo da Vinci was. In contrast, Jackson Pollock was also a famous painter, but his No.5 which was painted in 1948 was sold for $140 million.

8. Vintage Cameras

Camera Nostalgia Vintage Photograph Old

Ever looked back on a photo from the 90s and 80s? There’s a certain quality about film cameras that tells you right away that it was taken in a particular era. This unique style isn’t terribly easy to replicate these days, so there are photographers out there looking for vintage cameras!

Some camera models you could sell include the Box brownie camera, Ricoh Cameras, Kodak, Graflex and Polaroid. 

Polaroid cameras are particularly valuable, with the originals fetching from $175 up to $950+! Box cameras can be sold for up to $500

9. Vintage Sofas

Sofas are a staple to any home or office waiting room. Anything between 20 to 100 years can be considered vintage for a sofa. 

Mid-century modern sofas have an iconic look about them and are quite rare making them one of the more valuable vintage sofas. They can go up to $40,000 depending on the year it was made, brand and model. 

For example, a Harvey Probber Sofa with Jupe by Jackie costs $19,900. This is because they were beautifully and embroidered by master artisans back in the 1960s. 

If you end up flipping sofas, you must have a clear conviction that you’ll be able to find a buyer. Sofas are not small by any means and can be a massive headache to transport and store. So choose your flips wisely!

Bonus: Vintage cars

Car Buntings City Classic Car Classic Automotive

Collectors place a high value on vintage cars as they are able to enter these vehicles into car shows and festivals. Also, if you put some work into restoring these vehicles you can add value and earn money that way.

Some vintage cars that you can buy for cheap are:

Where to find items to resell for a profit? 

One popular place to look is your local thrift store. People donate all sorts of things there, including items that they could have potentially sold for lots of money. Why would an owner simply give away something so valuable? 

Perhaps, the previous owner didn’t realize or bother to find out how valuable these items were. Other situations might include estate sales so where someone has passed away and their loved ones didn’t want to find a place to store the deceased’s stuff!

Garage sales are also good. People tend to accumulate all sorts of items until finally one day they decide to get rid of everything without properly going through and assessing the value of each item. This is your opportunity!

Where to sell items that you want to flip?

Finding places to flip your items is a matter of going to your target audience

Have vintage cameras to sell? Join a Facebook group on photography, or specifically film photography! You can also seek out forums where these enthusiasts gather. Other places include festivals and events catered to particular interest groups. The possibilities are endless!

For vintage items specifically, there are dedicated sites that allow you to list your items there. You can use this as a sort of catch-all for items that you don’t manage to sell in interest groups. 

Conclusion: what are the best items to flip?

As you saw above, most of the items here are vintage items. The great quality of vintage items that make them good for flipping is that they can be bought at a low price from laypeople who perceive it as junk and sold to people who hold it in very high regard. 

When choosing items to flip, look for ones where you can easily find their traded prices online (we’ve shared some of them in the article.) This will give you even more confidence when you do the numbers when calculating how profitable the flip will be.

Are you someone who is into flipping? Have you successfully flipped items before and which were your best items to flip? Please share that with us in the comments below!

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