Antique shops and vintage bikes

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jacob9795

I live for the CABE
Sep 21, 2014
1,241
United States
Has anyone had any luck selling rideable low budget vintage bikes in the antique shops as a hobby? My town is hopeless, maybe someplace else. I’m surprised at how many people like my bikes while on the road, I wish I could encourage them to actually get one, or ride a clowning bike in general.
 

1817cent

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 18, 2016
457
Ellensburg Washington
About 5 years ago at a Seattle antique shop i visit had just bought a collection of balloon Schwinns. I bought a decent Phantom and a coup of B6's from them.

I checked with them last week when in town and the remainder, another Pantom, couple of B6's, a Corvette, and a couple of Columbias were still there unsold. All were priced at the high end but not overly so.
 

bobcycles

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Sep 30, 2006
4,802
13
so cal beaches
Many years back....like 20 -25....I used to Consign restored deluxe bicycles in high end Los Angeles
Antique Malls... 2 in particular that were good spots, one in Santa Monica and one in Culver City
area (Sadly both shops are gone). The beauty of it was both venues hung the bikes high out of
grabbing / messing with range. The bikes would eventually sell but took a good while as in months..
AND the shops would charge 35% for this service...so I had to price the bikes 35% over what I wanted
to net.
There was a shop in Studio City in LA I tried once, but they had low ceilings and the bike had to sit
on the floor. Bad move. Reflector went missing and other issues... Suffice to say i pulled that one
out there pretty quick.

Antique malls are hitting hard times... not the venues they used to be for bike consignments etc.

One thing I've noticed traveling...especially in the midwest Ohio, Illinois etc. I would pop into antique
malls looking around and see bikes there for sale, usually horrible bikes and overpriced and a year later
on the same route....pop in....Bikes were still there... ridiculous.
 

kunzog

I live for the CABE
May 22, 2006
1,465
Low Country South Carolina
oldbike.homestead.com
I used to rent a booth at an antique mall and they let me put antique bikes on their front porch. Once a Prop Master for a well known movie co stopped by looking for items for a movie, saw the bikes and got my information from the shop owner. That led to a very profitable relationship renting bikes out to movie companies!
 

Junkman Bob

I live for the CABE
Jan 2, 2018
1,470
Chicago, IL, United States
Yea the antique shops are unfortunately dying out ... They are now a days a place to go after a lunch date . Unfortunately people now a days are willing too embrace technology solely and willing to ignore the way things used to be made , bought and cherishing.... Ikea anyone
What a joke
Oh for the old Days
Junkman
Bob
 

vincev

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Nov 2, 2008
13,607
crown point<indiana
I used to put a lot of miles hunting down antique shops and second hand stores and garage sales,estates,etc. Times have changed and some for the good.I still enjoy finding the treasure at a cheap price but its getting harder to do.The internet informs people of values so its tough on the bargain hunters.
 

jacob9795

I live for the CABE
Sep 21, 2014
1,241
United States
I used to rent a booth at an antique mall and they let me put antique bikes on their front porch. Once a Prop Master for a well known movie co stopped by looking for items for a movie, saw the bikes and got my information from the shop owner. That led to a very profitable relationship renting bikes out to movie companies!
Do you deliver and pick up the bikes?
 

jacob9795

I live for the CABE
Sep 21, 2014
1,241
United States
Yea the antique shops are unfortunately dying out ... They are now a days a place to go after a lunch date . Unfortunately people now a days are willing too embrace technology solely and willing to ignore the way things used to be made , bought and cherishing.... Ikea anyone
What a joke
Oh for the old Days
Junkman
Bob
Most of the antique shops around here closed down too. There’s one big one that all the local sellers are selling at now. I remember going to antique shops with my parents and they were all over the place
 
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Lamont

Finally riding a big boys bike
Mar 17, 2016
196
Washington, DC
There's an antique shop near me , it's in a kinda trendy neighborhood for young familys who like bungalows and cool casual restaurants .... Well , they have a nice ballooner tank bike they park on the sidewalk every weekend ..... when stopped in to see about buying it .... the lady explained its a prop to draw folks in ... not for sale ....

gave me the idea i would like to find my way to rent a few classic bikes for retail store window display or to restaurants for decor .......

sure you take the risk of some scratches and scuffs .... but anything more than an outflow for storage is positive carry !!
 
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jacob9795

I live for the CABE
Sep 21, 2014
1,241
United States
Yes, turn the bike into an asset.
Maybe a good burger spot with a vintage bicycle theme, have bicycles in there, one on a work stand, design drawings on the walls. The fixtures would be bicycle themed, phantom stools and hubs for toilet paper; an industrial look to the sealing. Lock some old bikes up out front...
 
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Andrew Gorman

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 15, 2008
3,021
Pasadena (Hastings Ranch), United States
20 years ago I used to see "closed" signs on antique stores saying "moved to eBay". Before that even in the rural midwest everything was priced for the mythical " Dentist from California" who never actually came through. And don't forget the "Beanie Babies!" signs. Auctions were the only place you could get wholesale pricing, and on my last few trips to redneckistan they were pretty much gone. If you have no skills or opportunities, ya gotta find a racket. Check those dumpsters!
 
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jacob9795

I live for the CABE
Sep 21, 2014
1,241
United States
every time I go to the dump, I creep around the metal pile looking for old bikes and parts. They watch me like a hawk now. I found a nice Columbia news boy special once
 
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bobcycles

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Sep 30, 2006
4,802
13
so cal beaches
There's an antique shop near me , it's in a kinda trendy neighborhood for young familys who like bungalows and cool casual restaurants .... Well , they have a nice ballooner tank bike they park on the sidewalk every weekend ..... when stopped in to see about buying it .... the lady explained its a prop to draw folks in ... not for sale ....

gave me the idea i would like to find my way to rent a few classic bikes for retail store window display or to restaurants for decor .......

sure you take the risk of some scratches and scuffs .... but anything more than an outflow for storage is positive carry !!

Back in the 90's ... Here in Los Angeles on the westside there was a semi-trendy resturant called the Bicycle Cafe on Wilshire...they had bikes on display but
nothing spectacular.. So I approached them to hang and display some of my original unrestored nice ballooners. They agreed. We wrote up a quickie
agreement which in hindsight was stupid as it was so vague, so I brought a 1/2 dozen in to hang...also had my contact information on the bikes.
They wouldn't pay for this 'decor' lending, but I was happy to see the bikes getting some exposure.
Celebs used to eat there and one day the owner called and told me Arnold Schwarzeneger came in and wanted to buy some, so he gave him my number etc. Never heard anything, and
they weren't technically for sale anyway... well maybe Hollyweird star money. So they hung there for just over a year or so and one day I got kind of
nervous about the whole thing...and pulled the bikes. They were going out of business. Never contacted me to advise.... and who knows what
might have happened had I not popped by for a check in.
I like the idea of finding venues to display vintage bikes.... beats hidden in storage or the house or garage...
Cover your bases with something legal and binding in writing if you choose this route.
 
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66TigerCat

I live for the CABE
Jul 12, 2009
1,511
Newton, MA
I've put a couple of bikes in my neighbors antique store. They were reasonably priced considering I was consigning them and not getting the full amount on the tag. They sat for over a year without so much as an offer. I removed them and eventually sold them elsewhere.
 
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kevin525

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Sep 20, 2019
13
Cumberland, RI
Has anyone had any luck selling rideable low budget vintage bikes in the antique shops as a hobby? My town is hopeless, maybe someplace else. I’m surprised at how many people like my bikes while on the road, I wish I could encourage them to actually get one, or ride a !^@#ing bike in general.
Went to the Brimfield, Massachusetts Antiques Fair for the first time last spring. I was amazed at how much stuff is there. I saw a few bikes from the 40s and 50s selling for over $1,000. Also came across a few English 3 speeds from the 60s. One guy had a Raleigh Sports in tough condition for only $20. I told him the seat and the bag were worth more than that. I found a 1964 Triumph 3 speed for $100. The guy told us that bikes are a pain to ship around because they take up so much room.

They are eager to sell but there are only a few to pick from.
 
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Barto

I live for the CABE
Mar 13, 2015
1,876
Somers, United States
Went to the Brimfield, Massachusetts Antiques Fair for the first time last spring. I was amazed at how much stuff is there. I saw a few bikes from the 40s and 50s selling for over $1,000. Also came across a few English 3 speeds from the 60s. One guy had a Raleigh Sports in tough condition for only $20. I told him the seat and the bag were worth more than that. I found a 1964 Triumph 3 speed for $100. The guy told us that bikes are a pain to ship around because they take up so much room.

They are eager to sell but there are only a few to pick from.
Roger that!!! Brimfield is stinkin" awesome....bring your walking shoes and wallet - if you're looking for something it's most likely there! @Krakatoa (Nate) sells there so If you see bikes, ask if they are a CABEer. My main Brimfield friend has some medical issues and doesn't like the all day walking so I have a new friend to go with starting this spring...do you know if there is a Spring date yet?

BART
 

Duchess

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Feb 14, 2014
597
Beverly, MA
Tons of antique shops around here, especially on Cape Ann. I have no idea how any stay in business as I can see the same exact overpriced common items sitting there for years and I can't believe a few tourists occasionally buying <$20 knickknack souvenirs keeps the lights on. Aside from antique stores that seem to price like they're being reluctantly forced to sell by someone else, the people looking for kitschy old shelf-weights or stuff they remember grandma having when they were young are getting ever thinner (and can probably find better deals elsewhere). But, that kind of makes sense as most of the people who want the decorative stuff have a nostalgic link to it and younger people are going to increasingly have nostalgic links not so much to the electronic devices that rarely work, but to the games or other media and people they interacted with using them and those memories more reside in their minds and in the ether than connected to a specific object. What I don't understand, though, is the useful antiques, like furniture, aren't worth anything, either. Sure, China cabinets, since nobody wants grandma's old China and they're not terribly useful for much else nor do they work well with too many decors, but people still use dressers, desks, and so on. For instance, I have a cherry and flame birch Sheraton dresser that's about 200 years old. I found it on the side of the road years ago and I've been trying to move it on as I don't need it, but nobody wants it. This is solid damn wood in great shape with style (OK, OLD style, but whatever) and at the reduced values, they could refinish it, add modern drawer sliders, hardware, restyle it, whatever! And that's just my personal example, but solid old furniture is everywhere (because it lasts!) for cheap to free (unless you see it in an antique shop) and doesn't seem to move at all. People would rather pay more money for IKEA landfill cloggers made of gerbil-toilet sawdust and woodglue with plastic veneers that break the first time you try to move them after initial assembly. You know what's more satisfying than putting together a child-simple IKEA POS? Modifying unloved old furniture to suit, with actual big boy/big girl tools! I can afford nice furniture, but my bedroom set is a '60s Broyhill Mid Century set I got for free that was fairly heavily damaged. With a little work and about $200 (almost all for the stainless hardware), I repaired, restyled, and repainted the set so that it is not only unique, but looks like I paid thousands for each piece. When we moved to the new house, I repainted them again to suit the brighter space because quality allows it to be repurposed. I also rebuilt and modified a small radio cabinet of the same vintage that was left at a curb. It now has a bluetooth receiver with a hidden remote IR sensor and a fully styled backside replacing the plain plywood so that it can sit in the middle of a room. Outside of the electronics, it probably cost about $75 to do (again, mostly in stainless steel, but this time inboard powerboat engine room vents). Everyone that sees it loves it and my oldest nephew has already claimed it for inheritance. I've ranted about this several times and, believe it or not, I think I'm really paring it down!
 

Jimmy V

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 18, 2013
115
West Michigan
My wife is an antique dealer and has 2 booths (in 2 different local shops). She also opens the shop and works the front counter 3 days a week. We also do a monthly local antique show April-Sept. as well as a few others that are not monthly. I say we...it's actually her deal, I just help transport and set up, then wander the grounds until she needs me. I'm more the collector-hobbyist. I got into the bike hobby as a spinoff of her antiquing when she bought a few vintage Schwinn's to resell. I became addicted.
I also collect vintage toy trucks. But bikes are fun, and it's a vintage item that you can actually use! And I've made many good friends as a result.

I have had good luck selling bikes in her booths. Mostly middleweight Schwinn's, Breezes to the ladies, and the occasional Murray or whatever, and Sting Rays.
I try to stick with the more common stuff there. A lot of people remember or identify with these bikes, so I can sell them to a casual collector or someone looking for a good rider instead of them buying Chinese. I don't make a ton of money on them, I enjoy cleaning them up and servicing them, and getting them back out into the world. You have to buy them right so you can price them attractively. We are in a small college town with bike paths and cottages nearby, maybe that helps.
Strangely I haven't had as good of luck at the antique shows, but pretty good luck at Ann Arbor. And so far I'm keeping my ballooners and less common bikes.

I agree with the comments about antique shops in general. My wife gets very frustrated with the overpriced, unmaintained junky booths that are all too frequent.
When we travel we enjoy looking in places we haven't been, but much prefer the swap meets or estate sales, and of course garage sales. We like old furniture too, but you have to stick with smaller practical stuff like dressers, small tables, cupboards, etc.. a lot of the bigger stuff is a tough sell. And we argue a lot about painting versus cleaning up the existing finish or staining. She says painted sells.. OK.. she knows better than I do. A lot of younger buyers want it to look new.
 

Archie Sturmer

I live for the CABE
Jun 13, 2018
1,316
Los Angeles, CA, USA
On the road, people that complement nice bikes might just be being courteous, not that they intend to actually buy something.
When I visit that antique store on the Seattle waterfront, next to the homeless tents and makeshift restroom(s), I am not usually looking to actually pay store prices and shipping; maybe if there was something that would fit in a suitcase, (like Northwest ball caps or T-shirts).
I see antique stores more like low cost contemporary museums, where one may invest spare time, but not so much money.
 
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CURTIS L LINDGREN

I live for the CABE
Dec 19, 2017
1,007
60
Pacific Northwest , United States
that antique store on the Seattle waterfront, next to the homeless tents and makeshift restroom(s)
if this is the one you refer to.....................has , and has had SEVERAL good quality bikes . They Keep 'em hanging high ( Mostly ) so people don't mess with 'em. Their prices seem fair.......................except one...................a J C Higgens Spaceliner lookin' bike. Sold for $1000.00 then SHIPPED to Texas !! SOMEONE OVER PAID ! I was shocked at the price when I first saw the bike................then way shocked to hear the outcome of the sale. They do have some cool bikes there ( at least as of my last visit there ). It's well worth checking out . The Seattle Antiques Market at 1400 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101
 
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