One of the words that I hear a lot when I am shopping at a local flea market, or even on the Internet, is the word “rare.” What goes into labeling an item rare?
The first thing to consider is how many pieces were
originally made. The fewer items that
were made means that there are not as many on the secondary market.
Materials that an item is made of will help drive
rarity. For example, enamelware will
have quite a few common items, but there is an area called “End Of The
Day.” These were literally made at the
end of the day and have at least 3 different colors on them. The employees that produced this type of item
used up the excess materials that were left after a full day’s work. So there will be very interesting color
combinations on different pieces.
Another thing to consider is how often an item is
used. This could be a toy that is played
with, or even a piece of jewelry that is worn.
The more an item is used, the more wear and tear (and even damage) can
occur. It’s harder to find an item
that’s used every day that’s in excellent, or even mint, shape.
Items like clothing, glassware, or even pottery are going
to be more fragile. This will lead to
chips, moth holes, cracks, or even rips and tears. Damage like this will help drive up the price
of the good examples.
Handmade pieces also tend to be rare as well. This is a wide range of items that include
autographs, paintings, tramp art, and even primitive furniture. Because they are handmade (rather than mass
produced items), they are one-of-a-kind pieces.
Collectors are often willing to pay more for an item they love that they
will never see again!
We all know that plenty of homework helps uncover what
items are truly rare. What kinds of
rarities are you on the hunt for?