Can you hit the jackpot with these valuable items at a car boot sale?

Car boot sales are a great place to grab a bargain - if you know what you're looking for

Car boot sales are a great place to grab a bargain - if you know what you're looking for - Credit: Archant

Regular car booter Nick Richards gives his tips on items to look out for that are worth buying

While casual car booters may enjoy arriving late and gently rummaging through boxes of old items for a bargain, hardcore booters love getting to them early and snapping up valuable collectables.

Most of the items worth anything are snaffled within the first few minutes of a boot sale opening - and you've probably seen the crowds gathering around late-arriving cars as they pull up like gulls around a portion of chips.

While it may be uncomfortable for the seller, buyers know that they can get first dibs on items freed up from the darkness of lofts and garages for the first time in years and often pick up a bargain.

Over the last few years, the reselling market has thrived in the UK - helped in a big way by a growing reseller community on YouTube with resellers filming themselves at car boot sales and then revealing how much the items are really worth and sometimes how much they sold them for on sites like eBay.

If you need more inspiration, check out the likes of George Ross's Retro Reselling, The Reseller Kid, Brum Reseller, Nic and Andrea Hills, Global Thrifters, Flipping Sloth and Kola Flipper. American resellers like Cincinnati Picker, Hairy Tornado and Thrift Mine can offer a different take on the thrill of the chase Stateside.


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Despite being in a different country, they all tend to work in the same way - they know a bargain instantly, know its reselling value and know their profit margins.

To save you from spending hours watching the sort of things they buy, here is an in idea of the kind of items to look out for at car boot sales, garage sales, jumble trails and even charity shops in Norfolk and Suffolk this summer.

The New Retro
When you think of 'retro' items you probably think back to the 50, 60s, 70s or maybe the 80s. You need to update your thinking.

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Often the people doing the collecting are people in their mid-30s without children and with plenty of expendable wealth.

They'll be looking to buy things from their childhoods - from the 1990s.

So things like Furbys or N64s will have big appeal to them but also anything to do with wrestling, such as WWF figures, anything Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-related, anything from the original Pokemon series and, of course, Harry Potter.

Look out for: First edition Harry Potter books in hardback are always worth buying in good condition.

Early copies of the Now That's What I Call Music series are always worth picking up on CD or vinyl

Early copies of the Now That's What I Call Music series are always worth picking up on CD or vinyl - Credit: Nick Richards

Media
Records, CDS and DVDs are all car boot staples. Most of them are worth very little and, especially with records, anything that has a value will probably have been accurately graded by a collector and certainly won't be a bargain price.

The key to look for is release dates and trends. With records, anything from the mid-90s in good condition is worth looking out for as vinyl sales were low and people picked up items on CD back then.

What was pressed on vinyl had little retail appeal so finding anything from this era is a big success.

The first Spice Girls album, released 25 years ago, is a rare vinyl find. And some of the Now That's What I Call Music compilations on vinyl - those around Now 22 - Now35 are good finds. Now 35, released in 1997 is worth more than £100 in good condition.

Similarly the early Now CDs in the big 'fatboxes' are probably worth £20 each - anything before Now 20 as these were released before 1991. Now 4, released in 1984, is probably worth the most.

DVDs are everywhere at a car boot, the ones to look out for are BBC series that aren't on iPlayer and may have a bit of value, especially if they are in box sets, even better if they are still sealed.

Look out for: Live Aid concert DVD box set, worth around £40

 Le Creuset dishes and bowls are a great thing to pick up - even if they've been well used

Le Creuset dishes and bowls are a great thing to pick up - even if they've been well used - Credit: Archant

Homeware
The one brand on every car booter's list is Le Creuset, the popular and very heavy pots and pans that seem to last for ages and are often brightly coloured orange or blue.

They've got a big resale value and go for big bucks online - if you can find a seller who doesn't really know their value you could make a healthy profit, or simply grab a nice bit of kitchenware for yourself.

Famous brands such as Guinness, Starbucks, Lurpak, Dolmio, Tetley, PG Tips, Cadbury's and Marmite produce collectables that you'll often see at a car boot - from Guinness glasses to Tetley figures to Lurpak toast racks.

All are worth picking up but there are a few nuggets out there, such as a branded Dolmio lasagne dish that's valued at around £20.

Starbucks brought out a range of mugs with different locations on around the world which, if you can pick up for £1, are possibly worth 20 times that.

Look out for: Anything Le Creuset

PG Tips gave this Wallace & Gromit mug away for free in 2005  - it's now worth around £20

PG Tips gave this Wallace & Gromit mug away for free in 2005 - it's now worth around £20 - Credit: Nick Richards

Collectables 
Back in my early car boot days 30 years ago it was all about things like Wade, Lilliput Lane, Denby, that kind of thing that was seen as collectable.

The one item you saw at many car boots were the Wade Nat West piggy banks, that were given out to collectors in the early 80s as an incentive to save more. While every saver picked up the baby Woody, few managed to save enough to get Sir Nathaniel, the largest of the five pigs. He is where the money is with these, though any are worth investing in if they are cheap enough.

Be on the look out for anything else that was produced for a short time or one-off event - the London Olympics from 2012, Euro 96, the 1966 World Cup etc. I've mentioned Live Aid already - an original  T-shirt from that event is worth big money.

Sadly there doesn't seem to be a huge market for items commemorating royal weddings or coronations.

One thing that is of interest is beer festival glasses - these were often given away free at beer festivals with a returnable deposit on offer if you didn't want to keep it. Not many survive from early 80s festivals.

Look out for: Sir Nathaniel Nat West piggy bank

Nat West piggy banks

Nat West piggy banks are a popular item in - the most valuable is Sir Nathaniel on the left - Credit: Archant

Electronics
Lockdown did funny things to us - we ended up searching for things like bread makers, juicers, teasmades, rowing machines and exercise bikes. While the demand for these has lessened as restrictions eased, there are still items, such as bread makers, that can often be purchased at very low prices, will have had little use and can be sold at the right time of year for a profit.

Apart from old games consoles, the money in electronics is in retro items like the early Sony Walkmans (need to be boxed and in great condition) the big 80s ghetto blasters and even things like DVD/video combi players and small colour portable TVs.

These have big appeal for retro gamers as old consoles weren't designed to produce crystal clear pictures on today's modern flatscreen TVs.

Blank media is also worth picking up - sealed blank cassettes, videos etc are always in demand and can't be purchased in shops anymore.

Look out for: Super VHS video recorders, ideally boxed 

Blank tapes

Sealed blank cassettes, video tapes and mini discs are often available for next to nothing - and are in demand from people who still use old technology - Credit: Nick Richards

Toys and games
Tastes change in toys and games, but enduring classics will always find a new home, as long as they are in good condition. We all went crazy for jigsaws during lockdown and luckily for puzzle addicts, the car boot sale is full of them,

As a general rule, anything sealed is worth picking up, not only does it save asking the question of whether it's all there, but also means the puzzle won't have any minor damage from being completed.

In terms of value, the more pieces, the higher the value. While standard sealed 1,000 and 2,000 puzzles might be worth a general £20, the larger ones  - and we're talking 3,000 - 5,000 pieces are very sought after.

A sealed 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle could easily be worth three figures.

Old copies of games like Risk and Monopoly are worth having as is the 80s board game A Question of Sport.

They were everywhere at car boots a generation ago, but due to the fact they contain a picture card featuring Mike Tyson - thought to be the first time he appeared as a collectable card anywhere - the price has rocketed.

A mint condition Tyson card is worth several hundred pounds. Without it, the board game is worth very little.

Look out for: A Question Of Sport board game (1986) with that crucial Mike Tyson card.

Items from one-off events like World Cups or past Olympics are sure to appreciate over the years

Items from one-off events like World Cups or past Olympics are sure to appreciate over the years - Credit: Nick Richards

Seasonal
Resellers will talk about the power of Q4 - the fourth quarter of the year when Christmas looms on the horizon and spending is at its highest but there is a big market for summer goods that can readily be found at car boots.

Items like outdoor chairs, loungers, cool boxes, portable toilets, camping stoves, parasols and fishing chairs can all be picked up for a fraction of their retail price. 

Keep them for yourself, sell them on this summer or store them for next spring. Holiday habits have changed dramatically over the past 18 months and even things like windbreaks, gardening tools, roller skates and roller blades are in demand and you'll probably find them far cheaper at a boot sale than new in a store.

Look our for: Retro floral sun loungers/chairs from the 1970s 

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