Estate Sale shoppers are always on the search for the next great find, with certain types of items shifting in popularity each year. At EstateSales.org, we decided to dig into our website logs to see what types of items buyers are searching for the most, and here’s what we uncovered.
The Top 20 Search Terms on EstateSales.org In 2021
At the very top of our list of popular searches was “tools”. A sizable tool collection purchased at an estate sale can save the buyer hundreds or even thousands of dollars vs buying the same set at retail. Some of the best tool brands can be found at estate sales: Dewalt, Craftsman, Milwaukee, Makita, Bosch, Stanley, Ryobi, Kobalt, Husky, and many more. Some buyers are also after old tools for their antique value. This antique woodworking tool by Nicholson fetched a hefty $5,140 at auction.
Find tools for sale on EstateSales.org
Coming in at #2 on our list of most searched for terms is “records”. You wouldn’t think someone would drop $40,000 for old vinyl, but they do. Avid record collectors are willing to dish out a lot of dough for a coveted vinyl record. Estate sale buyers that specialize in reselling vinyl records are eager to shop your estate sale if you have plenty of records for them to sift through. Remember to add that to your estate sale advertisement if you have an estate sale coming up and feature photographs of the vinyl records.
Rounding out the top 3 most searched for terms is “books”. If your client is a bookworm, they probably have a wide range of books in their library and buyers know that estate sales often have large collections for sale. Certain books, such as first prints of iconic titles and very old books can be worth quite a bit of money and are sough out by collectors. There are some iconic books to keep a watchful eye for and price accordingly.
- Religious Bibles
- The Hobbit first editions
- Harry Potter first editions
- Cat in the Hat first editions
These are just a few of the books that are currently being sold by estate sale companies using EstateSales.org
At #4 on our list of most popular searches is “comic books”. The comic book market is currently at an all-time high, with many of the older gold, silver and bronze age key issues seeing astronomical price growth over the last year.
GoCollect, a popular online comic price guide, attributes some of the recent price spikes to the explosion of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). With blockbuster movie franchises such as The Avengers, Black Panther, Iron Man, Captain America, and Spiderman all making the top 25 highest grossing movies of all time list.
One popular theory as to why comic books and other tangible collectibles are skyrocketing in popularity and price in 2021 is due to the global covid pandemic causing uncertainty with the stock market. With this uncertainty, investors are turning their attention to tangible, value-stable investments, and comic books have a hugely loyal following.
Buyers are keen to find deals on comic books collections found at estate sales in the hopes that they can score a good price and hold onto it as an investment or flip it for a profit.
At #5 on our list is “coins”. Having a numismatic appraiser in your contact list is extremely important. Estate coins, even non-precious metal coins should always be evaluated by an experienced coin dealer.
Some ancient coins are rare to find and many don’t even look like today’s coins, so don’t be quick to judge and price without doing the proper research. Coin experienced estate sale shoppers know what they’re after, so put the coin photos front and center when advertising an upcoming estate sale.
#6 on our popular terms list is “clothing”. Buyers that covet styles of the past really enjoy shopping estate sales. There’s no vintage cloth like the ones found at sales across the country. Recycling and upcycling is the latest crave among younger shoppers. Whether it’s for style or environmental reasons, estate sale clothing is more popular than ever in 2021.
At position #7 is “clocks”. With digital clocks all around us, does anyone really need a wall or mantel clock anymore? Of course they do. As items begin to dwindle from everyday life, they also tend to become desirable by the masses.
Estate sales offer a unique variety of clocks to choose from and estate sale clock buyers are out in force hunting for the next great clock to resell or add to a collection.
Coming in at #8 is “baseball cards”. Baseball cards are possibly one of the more difficult items to research and price, but shoppers looking for them at estate sales know exactly what they’re looking for. Every year, a new card is released for collectors, making the older ones much harder to come by. Buyers across the country have been asking for baseball cards at estate sales much more than in prior years. The resale value has increased therefore so did the demand.
Mid Century Style
#9 on our list is “mid century”. What was thought of as a trend prior to 2020 looks like it’s here to stay. As more and more homes are built with the sleek mid-century modern design, the interior of a home and its furnishings are following the same pattern. There is no particular age group that loves the mid-century modern style, it’s across all age spectrums. From furnishings or accessories, all mid-century style items have reached a new popularity spectrum with estate sale shoppers.
Rounding out the top most 10 popular search terms is “camera”. With Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media platforms, you’d think non-digital cameras are the thing of the past. Well, they are, but they are still the cool cam with younger people. When we’re young, being a little different just sets us apart, and maybe that’s exactly why younger generations are into vintage cameras.
Of course, many estate sale shoppers are searching for estate sales that may be offering used high-grade digital cameras and equipment for professional photographers or those looking to get started in the field without breaking the bank.
Number 11 was a surprise – it’s “pokemon”. Pokemon started as a video game made for the Nintendo Gameboy in Japan in 1996 and has since gained in popularity. Later in 1996, the producers of Pokemon created a trading card game consisting of 102 cards sold in packs of 11 cards. Parents who threw out their kids old Pokemon cards might be kicking themselves. These cards have become extremely collectible, with the rarest one, a first edition “Charizard” recently fetching over $300,000 at auction.
While your chances of finding a first edition Charizard at an estate sale are slim to none, this doesn’t deter buyers from scouring estate sales for the more common but still very collectible Pokemon cards that came in later series.
Number 12 on our list is “dolls”. Dolls have been a consistently popular category searched for at estate sales with some collections spanning multiple full rooms.
People collect and seek out dolls for many reasons that align well with why people shop at estate sales in general – a love of antiques, history, vintage fashion and nostalgia to name a few. Dolls can also be part of a home’s decor and soothe the soul. It’s no wonder why this term consistently makes our list of top search terms.
Read our full article on identifying and selling antique dolls
Sewing Tools & Patterns
At number 13 is “sewing”. Sewing is what grandma did but not anymore. From young to old, sewing is one of those hobbies that’s finally getting the attention it deserves in 2021. It started with making unique masks, and it continues well into 2021 by making pet clothing, fun costumes, and more. Patterns, thread, sewing machines have all increased in prices thus driving new buyers to shop estate sales and other community sales with a specific focus on buying sewing items.
Bottles and Glass
“Bottle” was our # 14 search term. Colored glass from mosaic art to DIY displays, colored glass and bottles are in high demand. There are so many uses for bottles and glass. From soap dispensers to bird feeders and everything in between, the ideas are endless. Check out these tips and price your colored glass and bottles at the next estate sale accordingly, because they are definitely in demand by estate sale shoppers in 2021.
Guitars & Musical Instruments
Coming in at #15 was “guitar”. Besides staying safe in 2020, taking up a new hobby was the thing to do. Everyone had more time on their hands. Youtube videos teaching musical instruments saw a huge 200% increase in views during the height of the pandemic months. While some people’s hobby’s fade away, many continue with their newfound passion. Musical instruments such as guitars can be quite expensive when you’re just diving into something new. Estate sale guitars serve as a great hub to find the next musical instrument or guitar at a fraction of what someone might pay retail.
A piano might’ve been difficult to get rid of in prior years, but in 2021, musical instruments of all types are flying out the door at estate sales
Cars and Vehicles
Our #16 most popular search term was “car”. This year, there is a huge surge in vehicle prices. The demand for used recreational vehicles, trucks, and campers has increased thus increasing the value due to the short supply of used cars. Auction houses shut down their doors during the pandemic, resellers of used vehicles could not access the supply easily thus creating a big demand that continues to be felt well into 2021.
If your upcoming estate sale has a vehicle for sale, no matter what year, you won’t have any trouble finding a buyer that will purchase it on the first day of the sale.
Coming in at #17 was “Jewelry“, which is even more popular this year due to the fluctuating market and economy. Precious metal jewelry such as silver, gold, and platinum are sought after more than ever. Fear of inflation followed by the recession; buyers find a safe haven in putting their money on precious metals even if it comes in the form of a jewelry piece at estate sales.
Patio Furnishing & Accessories
At #18 we had “patio”. As more and more people find themselves working from home, the patio became a focal point and a central hangout hub for families and professionals alike. Turning a patio area into an enjoyable oasis can be expensive if shopping retail. Items at estate sales are generally well cared for, so patio furniture and accessories have been flying out of the front door at estate sales across the country.
The 19th most popular search term we saw was “rug”. Anything to do with the home has increased in popularity. Along the same lines as appliances, it’s easier to walk into a local estate sale, see the rug, buy it and take it home. Many retail shops will show a sample and place an order for a rug, only to wait months for it to arrive. What used to be a difficult item to sell in prior years, just became much easier post-pandemic.
Use this estate vintage and antique rug pricing guide before your next sale.
Rounding out our top 20 list of popular search terms was “bike”. Last year, there was a shortage of bicycles. Even Walmart sold out of bicycles and other outdoor activity-related items such as skateboards and rollerblades. That shortage has not subsided. A big increase in gas prices, combined with inflated new bicycle prices has driven new buyers to shop estate sales on weekends just to find a bicycle at an affordable price. Whether for fun or to use it for commuting, it’s definitely an item that will continue to be in demand for 2021.
When we had our developers pull a report on our search dataset of over a million searches, these are the top 20 items that have remained consistent across the board. It’s not an all-inclusive list, and the list can possibly change at any time.
As we navigate our way through the ever-changing landscape of the recent pandemic, the economy and availability of certain items will also shift. Some items that may seem popular at this time may become less desirable and others will increase in demand.
We at EstateSales.org bring estate sale buyers and estate sale companies together by sharing information that will help both parties achieve successful results no matter what they’re searching for.