5 Popular Antiques to Buy and Flip Now

Mid-Century Modern Abstracted Fruit & Animals by Atelier Rabiusla

Colin Reed Art & Antiques / Ruby Lane

Looking to turn a profit on antiques and collectibles? Check out these five categories of antiques and vintage that dealers are seeing an interest in now.

  • 01 of 05

    Chinese Export Jewelry

    Chinese Export Silver Rose Quartz Bead Carved Medallion Pendant Necklace
    Unforgettable / Ruby Lane

    Asian antiques have always had their fair share of admirers. Recently a few items have been stand-out sellers, however. Ever heard of Chinese export jewelry?

    "At the end of the Qing Dynasty around 1911, many pieces of jewelry were sold from personal collections and shipped internationally. Around 1920 there was a major increase in the amount of jewelry that was exported out of China for other markets. Older pieces of Qing jewelry, as well as new designs, were sold. In addition, many pieces of Qing jewelry were incorporated or re-purposed into new jewelry designs meant for export. It was not unusual to see a Qing jade centerpiece set into a new bracelet or pieces of court necklaces, beaded into a redesigned necklace," shared jewelry researcher Dana Bates in her blog. 

    This type of jewelry is found with traditional Chinese motifs, but can also include Art Deco elements and other western hemisphere designs. Those made with jade are quite popular. Much of this jewelry was made from the 1920s through 1948 using silver, even if only in the clasp. Pieces may be marked China Silver, Silver or Silver Made in China. Silver and gold plating were also used over brass, and those pieces may be marked simply China, according to Bates. 

    These jewelry items are often found at estate sales today, and worth picking up for resale when the price is right. 

  • 02 of 05

    Japanese Dolls

    Japanese Vintage Ichimatsu Doll
    The Many Faces of Japan / Ruby Lane

    When it comes to Asian antiques, also keep an eye out for older Japanese dolls. While sales are flat for many types of dolls, including composition examples, some dealers report moving Japanese dolls more readily.

    Known as ningyo in Japanese, there are many versions from which to choose. Some are friendship dolls, others mimic the geisha's beauty, and there are always popular warrior dolls with their very expressive faces. Reading up on ningyo and doing some pricing research before you head up to shop is a good idea since some of these dolls can be worth thousands.  

  • 03 of 05

    Limoges Porcelain With Roses

    Limoges France Hand Painted Square Cups
    Old Beginnings Antiques / Ruby Lane

    While not all Limoges porcelain is quite as hot at the moment, sellers specializing in ceramics report that pieces decorated with roses are moving well. This would be items with hand-painted decor rather than decals.

    To tell the difference between hand painting and a decal, look closely at the decoration with a magnifying glass or jeweler's loupe. You will be able to see the brush strokes on a hand-painted piece whereas one with a decal will have a pattern of dots instead. Sometimes a combination of decals and hand painting was used to decorate antique porcelain. Those pieces won't hold as much value as examples entirely decorated by hand.

    Dealers also report that these hand-painted pieces of Limoges featuring colorful roses are getting harder and harder to find, thus driving up prices. Rose-adorned cups and saucers seem to be particularly interesting to collectors, followed by plates, vases and other pieces.

  • 04 of 05

    Mid-Century Modern Everything

    Mid-Century Modern Abstracted Fruit & Animals by Atelier Rabiusla
    Colin Reed Art & Antiques / Ruby Lane

    While not all things made in the late 40s through the early 1970s are in huge demand, decorative collectibles with a decidedly modern look to them have never been more popular. These objects reflect the forward-thinking design of the era that broke away from traditional decorating themes.

    Whether it's dinnerware with an atomic motif or a piece of furniture envisioned by a well-known modernist like Harry Bertoia or Arne Jacobsen, it pays to learn to recognize Mid-Century style. Also, keep in mind that it's because of this popularity that many reproductions of Mid-Century furniture designs exist.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Unusual Sterling Silver Items

    Sterling Silver Cocktail Picks Sticks with Charles Dickens’ Characters
    43 Chesapeake Court Antiques / Ruby Lane

    Another thing to look for when you're out foraging estate and garage sales is unusual sterling silver objects. From antique jewelry to small collectibles, these can be quick sellers if you choose pieces with flair.

    "I have two different men who buy anything sterling silver that is a bit out of the ordinary. I had two just last week. One was a sterling Dickens bookmark, and the other was a sterling pin with figures from The Mikado," reports Janine Shaw, a dealer at Ruby Lane.

    Many larger sterling antiques, like tea services and serving dishes, can be a hard sell these days, but smaller items are a great investment when you can get them at the right price. Just be sure to study up on your silver marks basics before heading out to make sure what you're buying is really sterling silver.