I’m not a huge fan of that peculiarly English past time of car boot sales. First, at the risk of sounding posh, it is hardly a ‘quality’ shopping experience (apart from the bacon bap of course). You never know what to expect, so there’s no chance to research online and purchase offline, which is all the rage with high street shoppers these days.
Then there’s the weather. Everything looks sadder in the rain; including me and my pre-loved possessions. And when I need to clear out the loft and play ‘Del Boy’ market trader for a day, I don’t like how hordes descend and start rummaging through my belongings before I’ve scarcely opened the car door. It’s like a scene from World War Z but without Brad Pitt to give it the needed star quality.
The Americans have a better idea with their garage or yard sales. You choose a neighbourhood with kerb appeal (which you aspire to live in one day) and wait for the signs to appear. It’s like dressing for a promotion. Fill your modest townhouse with quality second-hand furniture and then when you move up the property ladder you’ll fit in like a chaise longue in a Paris apartment.
As an investment strategy, you could do a whole lot worse than buying second hand. For example, there was a family in New York who bought a dish the size of a cereal bowl at a garage sale for 3 dollars. It turned out to be quite old. One thousand years old (I guess it was imported). It later sold for over 2 million dollars. It’s the kind of ‘instant win’ discovery that gets some people excited about watching the Antiques Roadshow.
Publicly, everyone pretends that they love that dusty old curio from Great Aunt Flo and would never dream of parting with it for sentimental reasons. But I bet if they did a roadshow revisited you’d see that as soon as the filming stops it’s a whole different story. Those same people would be on the phone trying to flog it to Christie’s auction house. Or if it’s a “real bobby-dazzler” of an item, get television bargain hunter, David Dickinson on the line.