Periodically, I receive an email where the writer is asking what their vintage metal lawn chair might be worth. Then there are the ones where someone has had a great day in the flea market/garage/estate sale and run across a fine old piece and want to know if they got a good deal or not. I’m always happy to receive these emails as they allow me to see how other parts of the country are pricing their period pieces. It’s quite interesting when you know what things are selling for near you only to learn that other areas of the Nation are pricing vintage pieces differently. There has always been the “ghost” story of someone locating an especially nice piece in a yard sale at scrap iron price, which by the way is about $.05 per pound or there abouts. Or on the other side of the coin, a rather cool chair with perfect pealing paint, AKA “patina” is in the front window of a chic little off the beaten path shop and the price tag is well into three digits! It’s the old story the realtors like to say, it’s all location, location, location. Of course the other aged old thing they also like to say is “It just takes that one/right person!”. So, if this theory runs true, provided one is in the right location and if the right person happens by then your offering of a perfect example of an all steel, stamped metal, retro motel clamshell, tulip bouncer chair will bring you enough money to make a house payment! The chances of this are between slim and none and I’m betting on none!
So, what to do if your selling an old metal lawn chair? First, what style is it? Is it a more common variety or rare? Is it functional, meaning can you sit in it without fear of breaking it? Common, good used chairs are on the average bringing about $35 to $65. If you bought the chair for 5 bucks then sold it for $40 you’re way ahead of the game. On the other hand, if you’re into the piece for $45 and the market is looking like the common price is $55 or $60, then you may just want to take your profits and go buy some ice cream. At last that way you’ll have some enjoyment.
Selling old pieces is rarely a good business plan. For one, supply isn’t always dependable nor is the quality. It’s always a crap shoot! But, if you can get established, then folks will bring you their old furniture and then you have a material stream to work with. I’ve seen this happen more than once. But then the problem becomes, how many of the so called “good” finds are still left our there?
I think by now you can see the jest of the subject. And, we haven’t covered refinishing which adds another blanket layer to the subject!
Remember. save ’em, don’t scrap ’em!