Top 7 tips for finding treasure at flea markets

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Friday, June 26, 2015
Top 7 tips for finding treasure at flea markets
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NEW YORK (WABC) -- Flea market finds, experts say it's equal parts effort and smarts. But how do you tip the scales in your favor? There are some tips to separate trash from treasure at garage sales and flea markets.

Whether it's the church basement flea market or the fancy estate sale. The key to scoring great garage sale finds anywhere is knowing what has value.

"This was a garage sale, stopped my car walked up, 5 bucks." That's how much art and antique appraiser Jon Felz says he paid for this bronze wiener dog. Felz says the pricey pooch could now fetch $750 to $800.

How about this tobacco holder he bought at a yard sale for just $10.

"It's probably worth in this market, $75," Felz said.

The antique dealer's tip, study the bottoms. These are both marked Nippon, antique Japanese ceramic. On this blue vase, crude initials, But they stand for Louis Comfort Tiffany. Yes, that Tiffany.

Rare books, Jon says look for a dust jacket in good shape. And first editions are the most valuable.

When shopping for beer steins, look for a lithographs on the bottom, that usually means it's a collectors item.

And if you see old toys in mint condition, Jon says buy it.

He showed us this "buddy bus." He says a similar one recently sold at auction for $16,000.

You never know where you'll find treasure. Ed Ramirez's Salvage Company is run out of the Hudson flea market in Jersey City. Ramirez says sellers often undervalue what they're throwing out.

"They should keep their eye out for furniture, for art, for vintage clothing," Ramirez said.

He recommends re-purposing relics. "This is more than a sled. It can go on a bedroom wall and becomes a piece of art," Ramirez said.

So can clothing, look for classic style to hold their value.

"This is vintage boutique Pierre Cardin and we sell it for $75," Ramirez said.

And Ed says if you find designer brands snatch them. There's a huge audience paying top dollar for old Armani.