Regular car booter Nick Richards gives his tips on items to look out for that are worth buying
While casual car booters may enjoy arriving late and gently rummaging through boxes of old items for a bargain, hardcore booters love getting to them early and snapping up valuable collectables.
Most of the items worth anything are snaffled within the first few minutes of a boot sale opening – and you’ve probably seen the crowds gathering around late-arriving cars as they pull up like gulls around a portion of chips.
While it may be uncomfortable for the seller, buyers know that they can get first dibs on items freed up from the darkness of lofts and garages for the first time in years and often pick up a bargain.
Over the last few years, the reselling market has thrived in the UK – helped in a big way by a growing reseller community on YouTube with resellers filming themselves at car boot sales and then revealing how much the items are really worth and sometimes how much they sold them for on sites like eBay.
If you need more inspiration, check out the likes of George Ross’s Retro Reselling, The Reseller Kid, Brum Reseller, Nic and Andrea Hills, Global Thrifters, Flipping Sloth and Kola Flipper. American resellers like Cincinnati Picker, Hairy Tornado and Thrift Mine can offer a different take on the thrill of the chase Stateside.
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Despite being in a different country, they all tend to work in the same way – they know a bargain instantly, know its reselling value and know their profit margins.
To save you from spending hours watching the sort of things they buy, here is an in idea of the kind of items to look out for at car boot sales, garage sales, jumble trails and even charity shops in Norfolk and Suffolk this summer.
The New Retro
When you think of ‘retro’ items you probably think back to the 50, 60s, 70s or maybe the 80s. You need to update your thinking.
Often the people doing the collecting are people in their mid-30s without children and with plenty of expendable wealth.
They’ll be looking to buy things from their childhoods – from the 1990s.
So things like Furbys or N64s will have big appeal to them but also anything to do with wrestling, such as WWF figures, anything Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-related, anything from the original Pokemon series and, of course, Harry Potter.
Look out for: First edition Harry Potter books in hardback are always worth buying in good condition.
Early copies of the Now That’s What I Call Music series are always worth picking up on CD or vinyl – Credit: Nick Richards
Records, CDS and DVDs are all car boot staples. Most of them are worth very little and, especially with records, anything that has a value will probably have been accurately graded by a collector and certainly won’t be a bargain price.
The key to look for is release dates and trends. With records, anything from the mid-90s in good condition is worth looking out for as vinyl sales were low and people picked up items on CD back then.
What was pressed on vinyl had little retail appeal so finding anything from this era is a big success.
The first Spice Girls album, released 25 years ago, is a rare vinyl find. And some of the Now That’s What I Call Music compilations on vinyl – those around Now 22 – Now35 are good finds. Now 35, released in 1997 is worth more than £100 in good condition.
Similarly the early Now CDs in the big ‘fatboxes’ are probably worth £20 each – anything before Now 20 as these were released before 1991. Now 4, released in 1984, is probably worth the most.
DVDs are everywhere at a car boot, the ones to look out for are BBC series that aren’t on iPlayer and may have a bit of value, especially if they are in box sets, even better if they are still sealed.
Look out for: Live Aid concert DVD box set, worth around £40
Le Creuset dishes and bowls are a great thing to pick up – even if they’ve been well used – Credit: Archant
The one brand on every car booter’s list is Le Creuset, the popular and very heavy pots and pans that seem to last for ages and are often brightly coloured orange or blue.
They’ve got a big resale value and go for big bucks online – if you can find a seller who doesn’t really know their value you could make a healthy profit, or simply grab a nice bit of kitchenware for yourself.
Famous brands such as Guinness, Starbucks, Lurpak, Dolmio, Tetley, PG Tips, Cadbury’s and Marmite produce collectables that you’ll often see at a car boot – from Guinness glasses to Tetley figures to Lurpak toast racks.
All are worth picking up but there are a few nuggets out there, such as a branded Dolmio lasagne dish that’s valued at around £20.
Starbucks brought out a range of mugs with different locations on around the world which, if you can pick up for £1, are possibly worth 20 times that.
Look out for: Anything Le Creuset
PG Tips gave this Wallace & Gromit mug away for free in 2005 – it’s now worth around £20 – Credit: Nick Richards
Back in my early car boot days 30 years ago it was all about things like Wade, Lilliput Lane, Denby, that kind of thing that was seen as collectable.
The one item you saw at many car boots were the Wade Nat West piggy banks, that were given out to collectors in the early 80s as an incentive to save more. While every saver picked up the baby Woody, few managed to save enough to get Sir Nathaniel, the largest of the five pigs. He is where the money is with these, though any are worth investing in if they are cheap enough.
Be on the look out for anything else that was produced for a short time or one-off event – the London Olympics from 2012, Euro 96, the 1966 World Cup etc. I’ve mentioned Live Aid already – an original T-shirt from