Treasure hunting can be full of possibilities because you never know what you could come across. There is something very exciting about the surprise element of coming across things that are interesting, if not always valuable. Whether treasure hunting is just a hobby or a means to make money out of it, here are some tips that will help you on your quest for hidden treasures!
1. Get the right equipment
When someone says ‘buried treasure’, it’s an instant trigger for excitement. And with the right treasure equipment, that buried treasure chest is not too far from you! While a treasure chest filled with gold coins might not be so easy to find, there are numerous other vintage pieces that you might find buried even in your own backyard. With the right equipment, you would know where to dig and how to dig. Also, the right gear can help you dig efficiently by pinpointing the right location.
2. Know your way around a yard sale
You’d be surprised to find how many serious collectors find unique pieces hidden among old furniture and clothes at a yard sale. A good tip is to take a look at everything once and then come back to observe carefully the things that you liked. Sometimes, it helps to be an early bird at yard sales to get hold of some unique stuff. But if you are looking for a good deal on something, arriving late at the sale can help. This is when the owners want to get rid of the remaining stuff quickly and wind up. You could get some good pieces at a lower price.
3. Know the worth of your treasure
Unless you really come across a chest filled with riches, knowing the worth of what you find can be a little tricky. Of course, you can take your treasure to the experts for valuation. But knowing a thing or two about verifying the authenticity of something that looks vintage can help.
If you are at a garage sale, look for any evidence from the owners about the origin of the piece. Check carefully for the wear and tear to gauge whether it really is as old as they claim. If the wear and tear looks like it was purposeful to age the piece, reconsider your decision to procure it. There are some online resources such as priceminer.com and artfact.com that can help you get an estimate of what your treasure is worth.
4. Use your eyes and ears well
When it comes to estate sales, you could actually get your hands on some antique treasure. But look carefully before you pick things up. Something that looks great from the outside might not always be valuable. At the same time, something that is lying ignored in a corner could be precious. Sterling items, for example, which are not in use can look stained and old. But if you look closely, you can see a mark or hallmark which identifies them as sterling and might also have a date, purity, manufacturing details, etc. marked on them.
When it comes to dinnerware, look closely at each item for damage or cracks. But what the eyes cannot see, the ears can hear. Tapping the china can tell you whether it is really undamaged. A clear sound will tell you the piece is solid whereas a dull sound will indicate a crack too small for the eyes to see.
5. There could be secrets deep under the water
If you are really adventurous, an underwater expedition can lead you to some interesting stuff. Exploring underwater wrecks can be exciting and you could even strike gold, literally! But even if you don’t find any riches, you could still hope to get your hands on some amazing, if not valuable, things. It was in 1985 when Mel Fisher, an American treasure hunter, discovered a sunken Spanish galleon off the coast of Florida and recovered items worth $500 million! Experts believe that the things he brought back to the surface were not everything that sank. For all we know, there are other treasures lying down on the seabed waiting to be found! There could be other sites too where you can come across a pirate ship’s loot from decades ago. If scuba diving is too serious for you, there are underwater metal detectors to search shallow waters.
6. You never know when and where you might find something valuable
Treasure hunting can be a separate activity where you carry out excavation or go to a yard sale to look for antiques, or even scuba dive to look under the water. But you never know when you might come across something interesting. Many treasure hunters have found some very valuable artifacts at antique fairs, flea markets, and dealers that sell vintage items. Being in touch with people who deal in such artifacts is a good idea if you are a serious collector. They could let you know as soon as something interesting comes on the market for sale. You never know when you’ll find valuable vintage items.
Modern-day treasure hunting is neither cheap nor quick. It could be years and you could potentially spend a lot of money before you hit the proverbial gold. But it could pay off really well if you are fortunate. While there are rules and tips to get the best out of treasure hunting, trust your instinct. If you like something and think that it could be worth it, go for it! Some items might not look valuable at first glance even though they might be.