Expert "Flea Man" Jimmy Kaplow’s Top 10 Tips on How to Find Second-Hand Treasures

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1: Specialize. Pick something to look for that you enjoy, because you’re most likely to be knowledgeable about it. Everybody knows something about something, whether it’s music or sports, or even a particular kind of wood, such as oak. I like rock’n’roll, so when I go to the flea market, I look for albums, autographs, promotional materials. There’s a better chance that when I see something, I’m going to know what it might be worth. I’m going to have more knowledge about that than somebody who’s into opera.

2: Shop Systematically. Work the rows first. You want to take in the whole place and see what’s out there, before you start zeroing in on items.

3: Avoid the Pros. Your goal is to find something that’s undervalued, a vintage or collectable item that’s worth more than the seller realizes. That’s why I try to stay away from dealers. They bought their items, and they’ve done the homework too, so they’re out to get the high price. They’re not going to work with you on price. You can usually tell the professionals by the way they’re dressed, how they act. They look like they’re in business, which they are.

4: Look for the Ordinary People. Think of a flea market as a bunch of garage sales, all in one place. Or at least that’s what it should be. Look for the regular people, the ones who cleaned out the garage, the attic, the shed, or the house of their uncle who just died. You can tell them because they’re the ones who look happy and relaxed, because they’re out to get rid of stuff. You get the best prices from them.

5: Disorganized is Good. Unlike dealers, ordinary people just put everything out there, in no particular order. They’ve got dishes and baby clothes piled up next some really valuable item, like a collectable autograph. That’s a sign that they don’t know what the item is really worth.

Click here for the complete list of Top 10 Tips and be sure to tune into Flea Man this Friday at 8P et/pt. 

Watch Jimmy break rule #6 in this clip from Friday’s premiere:


  1. DarrellEnglish
    July 5, 2011, 11:41 am

    Anyone got the guts to do a show with someone who has been collecting WW2 Stuff…