Ultimate Holiday Shoppers Idea Guide

The holiday season can be so nerve racking. We all have that friend or loved one that is next to impossible to shop for. I wanted to share a few ideas with you, and perhaps from a market you may or may not be familiar with…. the secondhand market. And before you tune me out…. give me a chance. You want your gift to be memorable, don’t you? Perhaps bizarre, maybe funny or just plain thought provoking.

You want to know where to look for real inspiration? I say, look no further than an estate auction. Everything you can possibly think of is out there at an online or local auction, each and every day and you might not even be aware. If that’s new to you, I got a video for you first timers, but if I didn’t convince you to step out of your comfort zone just yet, I suggest simply heading down to your local antique mall or thrift store for some amazing ideas. Many are now are so well curated, you can easily find just about anything and everything. But enough about where to find the perfect gift, what I promised you was inspirational ideas for the perfect gift….so don’t worry. I got you covered. I hope this feature inspires you…and helps you make someone’s holiday season one they will truly never forget.


So, come along along…here’s my Ultimate Holiday Shoppers Idea Guide (THE VIDEO)


A Man Child

…or let’s say, young at heart...


He's 40, acts like he's 12, and you’ve been best buds forever. Go with a childhood favorite toy. Get him a 1980s original carded He-Man figure. You are talking about $100 on eBay or better yet at a toy auction. They are still appreciating in value and make for a great conversation pieces. Here’s a few other 80s toy ideas too…


Gi Joe - Nintendo NES or SNES - Classic Atari

or check out anything from THIS POST !


"THE" Woman in Your Life

Surprise her with estate jewelry. The price you pay for a vintage beauty at a fine estate sale or auction could be a third if not one-tenth of retail. We often find vintage Tiffany, Cartier, and many with their original boxes and auctions and estate sales. Imagine a 1930s Art Deco diamond cocktail ring with stories to tell, selling for $300 to $500. Beat that, Jared.


I found amazing deals when researching recent auction results for my show...


Your Special Man

You can’t go wrong with a vintage watch. Not only are they in style, you’ll find all price ranges and they can be a solid investment. You’ll be surprised at how much more affordable they are at auction or at an estate sale….much better than retail, plus so much darned cooler.


The deals I saw on LiveAuctioneers and other Recent Estate Auction Results show me savings of over 70% of retail.


The Dreamer or Avid Reader

And sorry iPad / Kindle peeps, I am going to say here, how about a "physical book" and maybe a classic, first edition, leather-bound beauty. These can be an amazingly well received present. I once gave a friend an early edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula and he still has it on his mantle, 20 years later. It was $35 at an estate auction. Honestly, it was steal and I was lucky to score it that cheap, but you get me.


There are amazing deals out there.


The Car Buff

A classic car may sound crazy but watch the local car auctions. You often can find that old Mustang or Chevy he had in high school for $5,000 today. Plus, it will give the family a project.



A Good Friend or Colleague

Go with something unusual. The sky's the limit when it comes to strange finds at an estate sale or auction. I have found mounted insects and bats, bizarre medical devices, vintage board games, old typewriters, and even that special childhood lunch box can make a great gift. I once gave a 19th century brass microscope to a doctor friend of mine.


He cried and said it was the coolest thing he ever received in his life. I paid about $85.

More Ideas....

Jade & Asian Collectibles continue to be hot. We’ve seen this trend for the past three years and it shows no sign of slowing down. A carved jade pendant, figurine, plaque or small bowl would surely be a treasured surprise inside a Christmas stocking. After all, many people believe jade has magical qualities.


Collectible Coins: Coins have always been solid, even during the recession. Things to take into consideration include rarity, how many coins were in the mintage, whether the coin is silver or gold, where it was minted and even errors made on the coin, like a mis strike, where the design is stamped off-center. My suggestion for a stocking stuffer? A Morgan silver dollar with a Carson City mint mark or any coin with a low mintage. A great investment and can become a hand me down.


Anything Art Deco: Whether it’s a piece of costume jewelry or a fountain pen, you can’t go wrong with Art Deco gifts. Often characterized by its bold stylized geometric forms and extravagant ornamentation, Art Deco was all the rage in the 1920s and 1930s after the world embraced Art Nouveau.


Nearly 100 years later, it’s still popular. I’d say a cool old deco mantel clock or radio.


Perfume Bottles: The essence of Christmas will live on well after the holidays if you wow your loved one with a vintage perfume bottle. Bottles by Tiffany’s, Lalique, Steuben and Baccarat should continue to hold their value in years to come.


They have been desired by collectors since their inception and make powerful keepsakes.

Vintage Knives: A vintage pocket or folding knife can be a great stocking stuffer for anyone who appreciates the craftsmanship. Collecting knives became popular during the 1960s, when the U.S. began requiring knife manufacturers to mark their knives with the country of origin. They’ve been a hit ever since.


Brands to look for include Buck, Case, Queen, Randall, Remington, Schrade and Winchester. Also, there are some amazing custom makers who truly produce works of art.


A Turntable & Some Old Vinyl : I had to throw this one in, after all, I just did a "shoppers guide video" for turntables but unless you live under a rock, you've heard....Records are Back. There are great shops popping up all over the country selling classic vinyl and if you want a trip down memory lane while your finding your friend a copy of KISS ALIVE II to give as the most awesome present ever...look no further than one of these curators of nostalgia.

Of course, you could always include a Christmas ornament in a stocking, and certain antique ornaments, like Waterford, Dresden, Kugel and even Hallmark, still do well at auction and with vintage Christmas being in vogue, the could be a cute little investment as well.

Or, you could go for something more modern, like an Elf on the Shelf. Will kids from today pay top dollar for this silly elf 40 years from now? Probably, if trends work the way they always seem to. If only we could ask the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come!


I hope this video triggered something for you and makes your shopping list unusual…so check out live auctioneers, invaluable, eBay, hibid, auction zip….they all have search engines for that list you just made. If you can't find that item currently online or at your local auction, antique mall or thrift store, I will be shocked. Remember, the thought behind the gift is typically most important. Sure, gift cards are appreciated and safe, but not much thought goes into that.


This holiday season, I hope you give some real thought to finding that special gift. It’s a great way to show your family and friends that you really care about them. The rest can have gift cards and a new flat screen.


I am josh levine and you’ve just read a post from Josh Levine Speaks….I’d love it if you would subscribe and share this with a friend. You might just get something cool yourself.


Until next post....

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