One of my favorite new shows is History Channel's American Restoration featuring Rick Dale, who regularly appeared on Pawn Stars. Rick Dale takes rusty, beat-up items and restores them to their original glory. The show is quite entertaining and could be used as an educational tool for storage auction buyers.
Shows like American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Baggage Battles, Auction Hunters, Auction Kings, Storage Wars, American Restoration & Desert Car Kings, all have one common element. They offer a free education on the history and value of vintage and antique items. For those in the storage auction business, learning about vintage and antique items is a must.
Finding antique and vintage items in a storage unit is a fairly common occurrence. Being able to identify these items and knowing their value is essential. However, knowing the value isn't enough. A lot of the vintage and antique items that you will come across in storage auctions, need to be refurbished. You will need to know what these items could potentially sell for if they were in like new condition. I recommend weighing the cost to have the item restored and selling it for top dollar, against selling it as is for a quick profit. If you can make a substantially higher profit by reconditioning an item, it may be worth time & cost involved.
For those in the storage auction business, having contacts who can repair or refurbish your merchandise, is extremely important. Not only for antique and vintage items, but for common items as well. It is a good idea to get to know people who repair and refurbish appliances, electronics, furniture, computers, antiques & upholstery. These service providers can be excellent sources for determining an items value, reconditioning the item if necessary & possibly even be an outlet for selling some of your merchandise.
Allow me to give you an example. Some friends of mine own an upholstery business. They had mentioned to me that they were always looking for furniture that could be reupholstered. Over the years, any time that I had a sofa or chair that I couldn't sell, I would call them first. Some of these items, I had restored. Others, I sold to them directly.
I recall being at an auction where nobody would bid on this one particular unit. It contained a hand carved, antique sofa & loveseat; however, the fabric had several tears in it and the wood needed to be refinished. I knew that they were quality from the moment I saw them. I also knew that even if the cost to have them reupholstered wasn't economical, I had an outlet to sell them quickly.
I purchased the storage unit for $5. After considering the cost to have them covered in new fabric and the amount of time that would be involved, I decided to just sell them directly to my friends in the upholstery business, for a quick profit. I was happy & they were happy. They actually loved this sofa and loveseat so much that, after refurbishing them, they decided to keep them for themselves.