Now Is The Time To INVEST In Antiques

Written by Garrett Balsick

Rancher, Father, Entrepreneur, Antique Enthusiast

May 15, 2020

Antiques are an Investment

I truly believe that most antiques should be considered as an investment. (Junk—not so much) I am strictly talking about pieces that are in decent condition or better, and that have some historical value. Take a quick step back and think about an item that you wish you would’ve bought about 10 or 12 years ago. For my dad it was a porcelain sign (Power-Lube in great shape) He still remembers they were selling them for $40 dollars and at the time he didn’t think that was a good enough deal. Now these signs are worth 10x or better. So for example, if you were to invest 40 dollars in the stock market and you wanted to have $400 in 10 years. This would require around a 26% annual return. That is just about everyone’s dream who has invested money anywhere. IT IS A REALITY WITH ANTIQUES!!  But I am sure that you know anytime there is a larger return, there is a greater risk that must be taken into account. Another benefit is that antiques do not take much capital to get started. So anyone can get started investing, no matter age, income, or amount!

6 Ways You Make Money On Your Antique Investments!

1) Your main money will be made in holding items for a certain amount of time, until a “hot trend” or new discovery of your item hits and then you take advantage of the spike in the market (just like you would do in the stock market). So for example, signs back 10 or more years ago were worth good money, but nothing like they are today! There is a large upward trend in the sign market, and there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon. Just talk to someone who has a small idea of what antiques may be worth and they will tell you that signs are like gold right now. Try to walk out of Cadillac Jacks antique store spending less than 200 bucks on a porcelain sign. Good luck! The crazy thing is, is that even at high retail prices such as his, the people who purchase those types of signs know they will make good amounts of money if they hold onto the sign 

2) I know that most of you didn’t like economics in school, but hopefully you remember the law of supply and demand. The law states that price equals the intersection of the supply and demand lines. So when you hear the word rare, or antique, you generally do not think of the words overabundant or excess. So my point is that the supply of antiques for sale is continually going down (fires, mishandling, condition decrease). You can’t go back in time and make more. It is just not possible until they invent a time machine! That means that if the demand either remains the same or increases, the price will also increase! You see where I am going here? Since the supply for antiques is going down and the demand stays the same the prices are going up. I think that is a no brainer. The price is rising (very slightly) every time someone throws away an antique similar to what you have. In theory of course.

3) There are ways to make extra profit with antiques. That is not easy to do from stocks and bonds without extensive training and mathematical knowledge. Basically what you are trying to find is a “gap” in the market. (gap= something in the market that you feel is undervalued, and can make money off of) You make most of your money on the buying end. (You can do this in real estate as well but antiques generally do not require thousands of dollars) Antique investing is all about knowledge. If you know of a market, collector, or club that the person selling that item does not, generally you can get a good buy on a particular item, or if someone simply does not have room or desire an item anymore, it may come up for sale at a reduced price. I know that if you have been antiquing for very long you know about how important this is.

4) Another way to make extra profit is to bring items back to life through restoration. A good restoration of most (NOT ALL) items will bring an increase in value. There is a large risk with this because generally there will be more wrong with the item than when you first look at it. Because when you tear into a project there will almost always be something wrong that you were not expecting when you bought it. Restoration takes lots of time, patience, ingenuity, and a touch of perfectionism. There are ways to, and items that, make money with restoration. But if you are not careful, it soon turns into a labor of love instead of giving you a return.

5) The other part of restoring includes repurposing, combining, recreating, or upcycling your item. This reason right here is why Pintrest is such a popular app. By purchasing “raw” antiques, you can get a much better deal than purchasing items in a “finished state”. Again just like restorations, repurposing antiques takes time, effort, patience, and ingenuity. But lots of people enjoy this part of antiques because they are very creative, and have a vision of what the item could turn into. So for example something hot right now are pulley lights. If you go out and purchase a pulley, and make a lighting fixture out of it, this would be a way to add much more value to that pulley than just the pulley itself would have. Another great example of this point are saw blade paintings. Saw blades by themselves are not worth very much, but when they have been painted on, they can be worth quite a pretty penny.

6) And finally on the selling end you can make extra profit as well. Marketing is the key to selling antiques. Your item is worth as much as someone is willing to pay. I believe there is someone out there who collects everything! There are national tool collector clubs, national Buddy L toy collector clubs, an International Windmill collectors club, there are national clubs for more than you can think of. So if there are national clubs for these items, which means that, someone out there collects them. That is where I come in, I can help you find, contact, and sell items for top dollar to people you may not have even know existed. That is what an antique broker like B/K Antiques LLC does. This part of the extra profit takes lots of time, research, effort, and advertising.  So sometimes it is not cost effective to focus on this element, although there are lots of times that it does!

Antiques should be considered an investment. You make money by holding onto them and effectively taking advantage of the antique market. The supply of antiques are decreasing so keeping everything else equal, the price is rising. You make extra profit on the buying end, by restoring, repurposing, upcycling, or recreating, and on the selling end. B/K Antiques LLC is the perfect place to buy and sell antiques.

Antiques are an Historical preservation

Historical preservation is huge when investing in antiques. It is a large reason B/K Antiques LLC does what it does. It is a hidden value (so most times you do not see monetary value from it). But you are part of the reason that History, whether local history, or larger moves on to the next generation. Because let’s face it. Most antiques have a story and you are likely the only one who knows it and can pass it on. That story an item has adds soooo much value to your antiques that can’t be regained anywhere but by you keeping it with the item. So I challenge you to either write down the history of some of your favorite pieces, or to at least tell someone about the story behind them.  The story is so important to people because it brings an emotional attachment to the item that people are looking for when they purchase an antique.  For example I only purchase antique photos if there is a story behind them. That is where the value is, I am buying a story that is attached to a piece of paper.

Four Reasons Why

1) B/K Antiques LLC recently sold an antique map. It is a “Mining Investors Claim Map of the Cripple Creek District” from 1911. After lots of research and phone calls and emails and headaches, I finally found out some more history on the map. This map was one of less than 10 made. It is printed on a cloth backed paper material, with blueprint style ink. And there is 1 other 1911 map known (so far in my research). After researching the map and finding the value, which is between $3000-$5000 high end retail. I talked with the owner and described the history behind this map and how important it truly was to this area, she agreed that it would be worth more to her in a museum for research and public enjoyment, than getting top dollar to by some collector who will most likely put it away, where few can see it. We ended up finding it a great home in the El Paso Public Library Archives where the public has access to it and it will be preserved for generations to come.

2) Valuing antiques is also very important to historical preservation because when an item is thrown away a chance to teach the younger generation about that item and what it is used for also is thrown away. So when we don’t value antiques, we have a generation who has no idea what these items are for, why they matter, and where we once started. They forget that we didn’t always have the luxury we are accustomed to. To me the last point is the most important. Most kids in America have no idea how hard our fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers, and great-great grandfathers worked for us to be in the position we are in today. They have no appreciation of what the scythe, or the railroad spike hammer, or the horse drawn plow did for this country. Our ancestors used these tools to build this nation. They were some of the hardest working men we could ever imagine. We are very lazy today considering how hard they worked. People will say, “well that is because that’s all they had”, you’re darn right that’s all they had, and they were glad for it because before they had those tools, it was even harder work. And the ladies, wash boards, lard presses, crocks, and butter churns. Back in a day when most rural Americans were truly self-sufficient, the ladies made ALL of the food that their family would eat. So they would slave away in the kitchen, making ingredients for the delicious dishes most of us still eat today. They didn’t do this because they wanted to, but because there was no other way. So these types of stories that are associated with certain items, are worth future generations being deprived of knowledge that could be lost without the items and someone to tell the story of them.

3) There are certain items (whether antique or not) that everyone has that they will never get rid of and hope their children and grandchildren will never get rid of. I know for my family it is our windmill collection. There are a few reasons for that the first is that there are some family related history pieces in there. The model 1898 Aermotor was the original windmill on the Balsick Homestead back when Great-Great Grandpa Mike Homesteaded. There are also a couple of relatives windmills, the 10 and 14 foot Eclipses, and the 10 foot Gem were on the Trojanovich place up north just East of the Churches. So they all have significant meaning. Another reason we never plan to get rid of the windmill collection is because of all of the memories associated with them. My Zedo, dad, and I have spent endless hours driving all over creation (Zedo has been to Canada for a windmill) for windmills, auctions, and trade fairs. So when I see the windmills it brings up all of the countless memories of what we have done to get them. And it also makes me think about how Zedo would go into his shop every single day and work on them. He was always creating, inventing, and finding a way to fix something without spending any money. He was an engineer who could fix anything with nothing. He built countless jigs and patterns for rebuilding the wood of the wheel and tail (which some didn’t even have a pattern to go off of). So as you can see there is much more of a history to the windmills than just the windmills themselves. (Even though they have a pretty neat history by themselves.) I’ll write about that one day so stay tuned!!

4) One more way that investing in and owning antiques preserves history is that they are a conversation starter. If you ever have people over you can spread the history of the item you have to more than just your immediate family. And when they know the history of an item, they most likely will start noticing and watching more for that particular item. At college I was known as the windmill guy. I basically branded myself to almost everyone I knew that I liked windmills and was always looking to find them. I still today get about 1 snapchat per month or better of a windmill asking me what kind it is or if I know where it is at! This gives me such joy to me, and gives me a huge platform to spread the little known history of the American windmill!! So once you get people to start noticing things that you like, you will have a whole bunch of people on the lookout for you which makes finding items you like much easier, and spreading the history and your passion for the items easier as well.

There is sometimes just as much value in the history of the item as there is in the item itself. Putting items where they go sometimes give more satisfaction than getting more money. If you don’t have the item, the story behind the item is much harder to tell, and is usually never started. Sometimes emotional connections are stronger than any monetary value. And antique investments are a conversation starter to help share the history of particular items to many people. B/K Antiques LLC is the perfect place find items to preserve, or to preserve the history of your items.


This is not meant as investing advice. It is simply an opinionated article that Garrett Balsick wrote for pleasure reading. As well as to promote and share the values of B/K Antiques LLC.

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