The Junk Lady: keep your day job

by Leslie Turk

Junking is a hobby, not a way to make a living. So you should definitely keep your day job.

Many times I have been asked if the cable shows Antiques Roadshow, American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, etc. have helped or hurt the "junking" hobby and whether they paint an accurate picture. Without a question, they have made this hobby more popular, and I am beginning to see a surge of young people at my sales where before it was the domain of the retired who had plenty of time and money. It is very refreshing to see that young mother with child in tow, that cute couple looking for a 1960s vintage find, or a college student searching for 1950s furniture to complete an apartment. Without some new shoppers who become "taken" with this hobby, the antiquing business would die, but these shows have definitely changed the way I do my estate sales business.

There is, however, a downside to some of these popular TV programs. I am now overrun with people who are trying to support themselves and maybe a family by buying second-hand items and selling in flea markets, antique mall booths, or on ebay. These customers have seen these appraisal shows and are entranced with the idea that someone brings in a vase he bought for 10 cents and  finds out that it is a $4,000 Tiffany. Let me tell you from experience, that while that can happen, it is very very rare. So while it makes great TV to find out that your grandma's lamp might be very valuable, it is only valuable when you can find someone to buy it. Often these shows have inflated price quotes and don't show the many disappointed people who find out that although their item is old, it's still junk. So remember that buying and selling is a wonderful hobby, (I've done it for 30 years) but it is really hard to support yourself doing this. So I guess I'll keep my day job - I teach school. I hope to see you at the next sale!

[Editor's Note: Check back weekly for The Junk Lady's blog,"The Weekend Hunt." Read more about her and get info on upcoming sales, like this weekend's at the Dr. Ross Judice home, 317 Smith Reed Road in Lafayette, here.]