Turn Old into Sold with Estate Sale Guru Cari Cucksey
As the host of the network television hit Cash & Cari, estate sales guru Cari Cucksey has inspired countless RePurposers and collectors across the globe. The self-proclaimed antiques matchmaker is known to refurbish just about anything she can get her hands on, from antique furniture and vintage toys, to retro electronics and classic luxury cars. Here, Cari shares her favorite things about buying, selling, and collecting antiques, as well as some exciting news about her latest project EstateSaleSearch.com.
How and when did you get started in the antique business?
My passion for antiques started at a young age. While my mother, a teacher, would bring me along while out thrifting and shopping; she would always take full advantage of the opportunity to teach me about history. My Depression Era grandparents also helped cultivate my ability to see the potential in all things. This is really the foundation of my love for all things old.
What do you collect personally?
I like to collect whatever I am draw to. Whether it a special chair that is calling my name to be RePurposed, or a great set of Fiesta ware, I collect what gives me joy. I collect everything from artwork, art nouveau jewelry, pottery, vintage hats, and unique vintage kitchen implements. In this business, it is very easy to collect a wide variety of items. My taste is very eclectic and I appreciate a variety of styles and periods.
What’s your best advice for antique collectors just starting out?
If you see something you like, don’t wait. This is a first come, first served kind of business. Keep an open mind when looking for pieces. Sometimes a little sweat equity and elbow grease goes a long way. Take the time to thoroughly investigate a piece. You want to be sure you are investing your money in an authentic piece.
How has the internet changed the nature of collecting?
The internet has changed the nature of collecting in so many ways. It has turned this business into a global buying and selling opportunity. I have sold items across the country and as far as Australia and China. No longer are collectors and sellers held back by their zip code. The world really is our oyster!
What’s the most unique antique you’ve ever sold?
Every situation is unique. But one that really sticks out in my mind was an item that was featured on Cash & Cari. We were researching items for an upcoming Estate Sale and we found a great hand painted pub sign. We did some hunting and tracked down the artist in the UK. We connected with him via Skype and he shared all of the history behind the piece, including that the character depicted on the sign was actually him! He painted what he thought he would look like in the future. I enjoyed hearing the history from the original artist. A rarity! Passing along that info to the buyer was priceless.
What’s your favorite part of reselling?
Buying, collecting, and selling antiques is the ultimate way of being green. Plus, you get to indulge in all the history that comes with each piece. Whether it be a great farm table, or a beautiful set of china, each one comes with it’s own story and history. If we don’t tell the stories, they will be lost forever. The best part of my job is the sharing and passing along the stories of each piece.
When should you have something professionally appraised?
When in doubt, have it appraised. Even after being in this field for 14 plus years, it’s impossible to know everything about everything. Having a reputable appraisal company at your fingertips is essential to the trade an an invaluable resource for folks looking to find out the fair market value of their items.
Tell us about the inspiration for your latest project- EstateSaleSearch.com.
My inspiration for EstateSaleSearch.com started on a sandy beach in Mexico about 10 years ago. I wanted to create a better way to connect sellers to buyers and collectors. We have incorporated an exclusive technology and expert tools to give customers a seamless Estate Sale experience. I took my time to hand pick each of the companies that are partnered with EstateSaleSearch.com to deliver the level of service I know is important. We are striving to connect shoppers and sellers locally and globally.
Pick 3-5 favorite items on Lofty.com and tell us why you love them.
Wellington Lockside Chest or Semainier, Bird’s Eye Maple: What a great piece made from Bird’s Eye Maple! These typically held a week’s worth of clothing or lingerie hence the seven drawers. I enjoy antique and vintage clothing, so when I come into contact with one of these pieces, I often wonder who originally owned it and imagine the wonderful garments it once held.
Edwardian Style Platinum and Diamond Earrings, with early 20th century elements: Edwardian & Diamonds…oh my! Who doesn’t love diamonds? I am a lover of all things Edwardian and Art Nouveau, especially jewelry.
Three Minton Secessionist Porcelain Vases, c. 1900-1910: I have a small collection of art pottery that includes a Minton Secessionist piece. This is a wonderful set of three in beautiful colors that might just have to be added to my growing collection!
After Clovis-Edmond Masson, Patinanted Bronze Figure of a Mouse Holding a Walnut: My grandmother Rosa Lee was one of my favorite people. She collected mice of all things! A mouse must have been her “spirit” animal! This bronze figure of a mouse is a favorite, as I know if Rosa Lee was still alive, she would insist that it be in her collection.
Inheriting her mother’s passion for antiques and collectibles, Cari Cucksey, host of HGTV’s Cash & Cari, began buying, selling and trading when she was only twelve years old. Today, with more than 10 years of experience as a professional estate liquidator, she is still on the lookout for hidden treasure as she travels far and wide in search of anything she can flip and restore.
Based near Detroit, Cari owns and operates RePurpose Estate Services, one of the most prominent businesses of its kind in Michigan. Along with her professional team, Cari sets up estate sales right on her clients’ premises and, unearthing everything of value, is committed to making as much money for them as possible.