Category Archives: Antiques Business Articles

Sin City Pickers

Fine Estate Visits Sin City Pickers in Las Vegas!

This Link will take you to Spike TV's Thrift Hunters Show

Recently while in Las Vegas I had the experience of shopping at Sin City Pickers, an Antiques and Collectibles store owned by a very savvy and cool woman named Bonnie. Jason T Smith, and Bryan Goodman have a space in her store. If those two names sound familiar it may be because you have seen them traveling the country, while a Spike TV crew films their mad  dash crazy  shopping sprees for the show called Thrift Hunters.

Sin City Pickers Offers Vegas its Own Eclecticism

Kook is as Kook Wears

Kook is as Kook Wears

The range of collectibles and semi antiques to be found in the store is as varied as any competent index of antiques and collectibles you might find at the back of an Antique Trader price guide book.

It’s all here, want an antique phone? They got it. Want to find an endless variety of costume jewelry? They have that too. Tiki Stuff, old radios, and Hawaiian shirts are displayed attractively alongside such stalwarts of collectibility as China, fine jewelry and furniture.

Sin City Pickers Has Colorful Stuff!

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Las Vegas Multi Colored Dream Horse

Color is everywhere, the kind of kitschy color you find in the 1950′s homes of your grandmothers and grandfathers, or in your uncle Earl’s basement bar diorama with its still life party of paper hats and New Years Eve whistles.

Here you will find every kind of cookie jar, captioned mug, knick-knack or patty wack festooning its shelves and or buried in the corners of its many booth spaces. But this is not a messy place. No way! This place, even though its inventory may have come from multiple middle class houses piled high with jumble, is a very well ordered store. Thanks I am guessing to the able efforts of the stores staff, led by Bonnie.

Sin City Pickers Has Steampunk Too

Radiohead Dancing or Twerking? You Decide...

Radiohead Dancing or Twerking? You Decide…

Upstairs they are creating a shrine/store to steam punk. This just adds to the quirky nature of the place. There you will find repurposed and or castaway objects composed into items of curiosity. Nuts and bolts attached to old picture frames holding images at once familiar, but really something new… Steam punk is a way of connecting old-time technological achievements with contemporary ideas about art.

Jason T Smith Reads our book “Liquidating an Estate”

Jason, Thanks for reading our book...

Jason, Thanks for reading our book…

Thanks Jason, for helping to create a great Las Vegas antiques shopping experience. Sin City Pickers is a store, that on one hand stands distant from the glitter of its casinos, while at the same time still honors its bygone ethos.

Sin City Pickers
Address: 10 W Wyoming Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89102
Phone: (702) 366-9166
Hours: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"


Liquidating an Estate Book Crop

Are your Antiques Grotesque, Gothic, or Unusual Enough to Sell?

Are your Antiques Grotesque, Gothic, or Unusual Enough to Sell?

I certainly hope so!

Martin Brothers Grotesque bird stoneware jar sold by Rago Auctions for $30,000

Martin Brothers Grotesque Stoneware Bird Sold By Rago’s for, $30,000 

It doesn’t matter if you are a buyer or a seller, this maxim is always true, Unusual Trumps “Normal” in the antiques and collectibles marketplace. “Crazy”especially “Olden Days Crazy”sells quicker than whatever is sane and boringly predictable.

The pottery on this page, circa late 1800′s, is proof of this, judging by the prices these pieces sold for.

Here is a link to the history of Martin Brothers Pottery.

Get out of whatever antique box you’ve been in

Martin Brothers Large double stoneware face jug Sold By Ragos Auctions for $10,000

Martin Brothers Double Stoneware Face Sold by Rago’s for $10,000

When I started in this business, I read several books about the industry and there was one book in particular that offered up a piece of advice that I have always remembered. Curious enough, I don’t remember the title of the book, but this sterling piece of advice I have turned into a skill – “In order to succeed in this business, you have to find ways to distinguish your stock from the stock of other antiques dealers, and that the best way to do that is to only buy things that you can say this of – “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Estate sales are the same way, in order to have a successful estate sale, you have to include some of the more unusual items from your estate into the sale. If you are an antiques dealer, try your best to find the most unusual items you can, and include them in with your general stock or inventory.

Even after almost 20 years in the business, this is still my principal buying strategy – if I see something for sale at a flea market, estate sale or even at an antiques store that I have not seen before, I take notice, ask questions , then I generally take the leap, and buy it.  I have been very successful employing this technique.

Find Crazy, and Sell Crazy Antiques

Martin Brothers Stoneware Wally Bird  Tobacco Jar sold by Skinners Estimate $12,000 - $18,000

Martin Brothers Wally Bird Tobacco Jar Sold by Skinner’s for $59,250

Anyone can source, find and offer for sale a bin table, or a mahogany sideboard, or stock their antiques store full up with Victorian furnishings, but the dealer who can find something like the Martin Brothers pieces pictured in this post, that dealer gets invited to the best parties. Don’t you want to go to the best parties? Of course you do!

Today’s Marketplace Demands “The Extraordinary”

Martin Brothers Stoneware Grotesque spoon warmer Sold By Ragos Auctions for $5,500

Martin Brothers Stoneware Spoon Warmer Sold By Rago’s for $5,500

Don’t make yourself too nuts about sourcing out items that you will be able to sell for more than $25,000 though, there aren’t too many of those around. Instead concentrate on what is more easily achievable – there are hundreds of categories of items waiting to be found by you at flea markets, local auctions or estate sales; those that could be purchased for a few hundred dollars and then sold for as much as $500-$1,000. Look for items that have a bit of an edge, that are strange or crazy – that have that certain “Unusual Cool” factor going for them.

It’s not how much the items you buy are worth that is so important, the trick to having a store crowded with shoppers is to find items that buyers want, and today, many shoppers are demanding stuff that is “Quirky.”

Find and offer that type of merchandise for sale, and you’ll never go hungry.

Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"


Liquidating an Estate Book Crop

How to get Ahead in The Antiques Business

How to get Ahead in The Antiques Business

Photo Credit: Harold Kahn, Via Clarke Auction Gallery

Always, always, always, find antiques and collectibles that are unique. If of an object, you are considering buying for resale you can say, “I have never seen anything like it” then that is precisely what you should buy for resale.

The antiques business has stuffed stores, malls, and showcases with the utterly mundane…you need to stand out, and to do so, there is nothing better than to present an object for sale, the likes of which is seldom seen.

Hey and While You’re at It: Please Offer Others Your Suggestions Below…

Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"


American Pickers In California, Oh My! What’s a Dealer to Do?

Mike from American Pickers Was In California Recently

…Me? I am just grateful he left something for me to find…

Vintage Boyhood Ambition Money Clip – Please Note The “Junk” Wagon

I recently started following Mike Wolfe from American Pickers on Twitter here: @American Picker He said that he was in California, that he hadn’t picked here in awhile.

I thought, damn Mike! Can’t you stay in your own area – do you think we need any more competition – I mean, how many barns full of stuff do you think we have here in California?

The answer is we have plenty of barns and warehouses, and garages and old out of the way storage rooms full of stuff in California…we’re just like the rest of the country.

American Picker Side-note: Sue over at Vintage Rescue Squad is about the biggest fan of American Pickers I have come across in the blogosphere…Go Sue

Dim the lights – Here’s A Recent True Story

19th c. Bas-Relief marble Panels Sold at San Rafael Auction House for $4,250.00

A Garage Sales shopper making their rounds of all the little Mom and Pop Yards in the San Francisco Bay Area recently came across these Bas-Relief Marble Panels – there were 4 of them…he paid a grand sum total of $30.00 for all of them.

For the dealer or collector – The Deals are Still Out There!

For the Mom and Pops – Please do your Research!

A Side Note of Plenty: “Michelangelo” Found in Buffalo

Possibly Worth as Much as 300 Million! Read about it Here

What makes the American Pickers so effective is that they follow their hunches as much as they rely on their knowledge, and what backs it all up is that they are most definitely following their passions.

And that is key – If you want to make it in this business, in any aspect of it, you have to have a passion for it – at the end of the day what will keep you sane, engaged and on the prowl for the next big score is your love of what you are doing…

Her’s an article from our archive: Pick an Estate Sales Professional, or be Picked by a Pro!

Sign Me…an Estate Liquidator Who Loves His Job,

Martin Codina
CEO Fine Estate Sales and Estate Liquidation

Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"


A Reader Asks…

“I’d Like To Know How To Work In The Estate Sales Business”

As you might imagine I get at least a few questions about how to work for, or how to start an Estate Sales Business every week. People are looking for different ways to generate additional incomes as a side jobs or they’re looking to start whole new businesses…the following post is my answer.

Let Me Just Say: There are far easier paths to cash than to start your own Estate Sales Business

Starting in The Estate Sales Business Is Like Entering a Maze


It’s Complex, Sometimes Difficult, and Always Challenging…

Here Are The 4 Questions from our reader:

  1. How do I go about working for an Estate Sales Company?
  2. What are the jobs that may be available in the Estate Sales Business?
  3. If I work with someone just starting, where online would we find free appraisals?
  4. How much would a starting part time hourly wage be?

“How do I go about working for an Estate Sales Company?”

The Estate Sales Business is a trust business, all of it, from the first entrance into a home to set it up, to all of the customer interactions, All Of It Is Based On Trust.

Expect any job inquiry of an Estate Liquidator to be met with a bit of skepticism. If you want a job in the Estate Liquidation Industry, first develop a relationship with them. The best way to do this is to go their Estate Sales from week to week – have them get a chance to know you before asking if they need any help.

“What are the jobs that may be available in the Estate Sales Business?”

The least known job in the Estate Sales Business is that of the marketer – if you have experience as a marketer or experience as a PR Person – especially if you have a demonstrable track record – I imagine, you could pretty much get a job with an Estate Liquidator any day of the week.

Estate Sales Professionals Want…

More Business… If you can help them get more business – You can have a job!

To be Better… If you can show them how to be more effective – You can have a job!

Increase Incomes… If you can help an Estate Liquidator make money – You can have a job!

If you want a job in the Estate Sales Business, then prove to an Estate Liquidator that you can do the above.

Other Jobs In The Estate Sales Business: Set-Up Staff – On-Site Sales Staff – Outside Consultants – Cashiers….

If I work with someone just starting, where on-line would we find free appraisals?

Free Appraisals are only worth their cost: In other words to find out how much something is worth you are going to have to either pay for it, have the experience to know already, or you are going to have to invest your time.

Here are two places to conduct research – by the way there are others: Our Research Antiques and Collectibles Pages, and a site I use everyday – Prices4Antiques.Com – If you like Prices4Antiques.Com then click the link to find out about a discount code for them.

How much would a starting part time hourly wage be?

In the San Francisco Bay Area, we likely pay more per hour for our estate sales staffing then most places in the country – at Fine Estate Sales we pay our staff between $12.00 – $18.00 an hour.

But I feel certain that in other parts of the country you’ll likely find that wages for Estate Sales Staff are lower.

Sign Me: Grateful To The Estate Sales Industry,

Martin Codina
CEO Fine Estate Liquidation, Inc.
San Francisco Bay Area

Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"