6 Jun

Antique eye

The car boot season is upon us. Antiques expert James Braxton explains why they can be one of the best places to pick up a bargain

Tips for buyers
Get up early, arrive 30 minutes before the start time, and have a cup of tea, check out the look of the cars and vans. Are their boots bulging with antiques?

Don’t worry about being in the first wave of buyers, they are the local dealers questioning and pouring over boxes, as sellers are still unpacking their cars and vans. As often sellers decant the lesser goods first, waiting for the pouring hands to move on, before they bring out the more valuable goods, as naturally they require a greater level of supervision and care.

Once the car boot has settled down, go back to the pitches you thought had the goods for you, as they may have unpacked more items.

Remember, there is no fixed price for secondhand goods, values are given because the seller may have sold something similar, or the price reflects what the seller paid for the item. Negotiate, remember the longer it’s for sale, the less confidence the seller will have in its price. Lots of people have walked past it, some have handled it, but nobody has bought it!

A boot fair is a primary source of antiques, ie the bottom of the pyramid, and as goods rise up the pyramid, so does their price. So seize the price at the boot fair. As it moves through every pair of hands the price will rise, until it’s sold to a private buyer or a dealer takes a loss, because he is unable to pass it on.

Two last tips for car boot buyers: always buy in bulk, as a house clearer is always keen to make space on his/her van, and always look in the bottom of boxes!

Tips for sellers
Firstly, choose the right car boot sale, and then pray for good weather. Blessed is the ‘Booter’ in the sunshine, woe is ‘they-in-the-rain’. Remember a folding table, pack the car, and the earlier you arrive on site, the more buyers you will see. There are 4 phases of selling at a car boot sale:

First phase is your regular local dealers.

Second phase are your bargain hunters.

Third phase comprises  your 8 o’clock foragers.

And the fourth phase and final phase is when you make another £100 by being slow to pack away.

When it comes to pricing –  start high, and don’t let your buyer walk away. After all, the buyer didn’t know they wanted it until they saw it on your stand. So be gentle, the buyer wants it, the item owes you little, all you need is the sale and don’t let them walk away.

Regular car boots in Surrey

Hook Road Arena Car Boot
Chessington Rd, Hook Rd, Epsom KT19 8QG
Sunday And Bank Holiday Mondays from March to November
More info: Hookcarbootsale.com

Horley Car Boot Sale
Central Car Park, Consort Way East Horley
Every Sunday from February to December
More info: Horleycarboot.com

Rusper Car Boot Sale
Cophatch Farm, Newdigate Road, Rusper, RH124RR
Every Sunday
More info: ruspercarbootsale.co.uk

Shepperton Car Boot
Every Saturday from 21 May
New Road, Shepperton Middlesex TW17 0QQ

Nuthill Fruit Farm Car Boot
Three miles North of Guildford on southbound A3
GU23 7LWA3
Every Sunday April till October
More info: nuthillcarbootsale.co.uk

Cranleigh Lions Boot Sale
Market Square, Village Way Car Park, Cranleigh, GU6 8AF
Sundays July-September
More info: cranleighlions.org/carbootsales

Dorking Car Boot
Dorking railway station, Station Approach, Dorking, RH4 1TF
Every Sunday, open all year round
Tel: 07807 609283