By Gage Hanson
Whether you are new to antique collecting or a veteran, finding an app to help you in your searching, buying and taking inventory is always a game changer. Some of the best apps for antique collectors can make a huge difference. Whether you are a collector of antique rugs or looking for an Italian Renaissance poison ring, there is an app out there for you, it is just a matter of finding the right one. Every app has its pros and cons, and this list will help break down those for you. You may want to pay for a more well-developed app, or you could be looking for a more cost effective option. Some apps let you inventory your own collection through barcodes, while others are strictly for purchasing. We will cover all that and more in this breakdown of some of the best antique collecting apps.
Let’s start out with the most basic app that every collector should have. Ebay is well known and one of the largest online marketplaces. It doesn’t matter what you are looking for, you can probably find it on Ebay. I’ve purchased porcupine quills, collector basketball cards, antique books and even an old transformer toy from Ebay. You can purchase items outright, or you can bid on them. One great thing about Ebay is they often send out coupons. I am constantly getting $5 off coupons in my email.
A lot of people are wary of Ebay because it is mostly individuals who are selling items. If the user has a high seller rating though you can be confident that what they are selling is the real deal. Plus, Ebay has great customer service and if the item you receive isn’t what was advertised, you can create a claim and Ebay’s customer service will investigate and more than likely get you a refund. Ebay is also used by a lot of collectors to see if an item is worth its price in a different setting. You can use Ebay to search up an item and then sort listings by sales that have been finished. This will help you determine the going price for a certain item. A lot of flippers will use Ebay to gauge their potential profits on items they find at thrift stores or garage sales. It is quick and easy to see what people are willing to pay for a specific item. All in all, Ebay should be your first app download as a collector.
If building your collection is the next box on your checklist, look no further than Invaluable. While only hosting auctions of more traditional collector items, Invaluable partners with official auction houses around the world so you can rest assured that you are receiving high-quality, official items. Even a simple search for antique rugs brings up more than 4,000 results for items ranging from $10 up to just under $100,000. Collectors of all levels will be able to find a fine addition to their collections without breaking the bank. There are also “buy now” options just like Ebay so you won’t have to deal with auctions for certain items. Another unique feature offered by Invaluable is that you can see upcoming auctions. Whereas you don’t know what will pop up on Ebay and when, on Invaluable you can prepare for upcoming auctions before they happen. Upcoming Invaluable auctions can be individual items, but they also have a lot of categorized auctions. These categories are broad auction titles and the auction will feature multiple items within that category. So whether it is a poison ring, or a collection of 19th century paintings, you will have a good choice of items to bid on. If you want a more traditional auction house vibe in your collecting app, Invaluable is the way to go.
Sortly (Free up to 100 entries)
Sortly is a perfect app for those of you whose collections have started to get out of hand. If you have too many items or simply want a more organized way to keep track of what you have and what you don’t, this app should be your next download. The free option is perfect for the casual collector, but if you have more than 100 entries, you will need to open up the wallet a bit to keep a category of your collection. It is $39 a month for up to 2,000 entries and $99 a month for unlimited entries. These monthly service fees are well worth it for those of you with exceptionally large collections and especially collectors who also run stores or auctions with their items. The paid plans in Sortly allow you to create custom categories for each of your items. So if you want to sort by condition, type, color or anything else, you can. You aren’t subject to Sortly’s item details either. You can fill in custom fields to track whatever specifics you need to keep in mind as you create your inventory. Sortly was also built as an inventory app for businesses, so collectors who sell their antique collections, whether it is the aforementioned poison rings or a pile of sports cards, can keep track of bar codes, inventory, and stock of your items. Sortly may be a bit pricier, but its number of features and ease of use make it worth the price.
Not everyone collects high end items like antique rugs. A huge portion of collectors collect books, movies and games. These are the backbone of a lot of collections. They can be casual collectors or extreme collectors. So Collectorz is a good app for either end of this spectrum. Collectorz isn’t one app, but rather a collection of apps. You can purchase a subscription to an app for movies, books, music, comics, or games. Each subscription costs the same price: $14.95 a year. You can download the app on your phone or use it on your computer and sync the data across both devices. Collectorz can support huge amounts of entries, in the thousands, and keep track of their inventory through multiple category entries. These hobbies often include a lot of purchasing, so these apps are great for those who don’t want to purchase multiples or want to keep track of what they purchased. Collectorz is a relatively new app run by independent developers, so it is still constantly being updated. You can expect numerous improvements over the course of your subscriptions and will be able to watch the apps become more polished and run smoother as time goes on.
Letgo, like Ebay, is all user based. All the items you find on the website or mobile app are being sold by individuals. While it is marketed as a place to sell secondhand items and feels like your local garage sale, it also features some stellar deals and hidden gems that you might not be able to find on higher end apps. Letgo has a simple feel to it. It is incredibly easy to search items based on keywords or browse through categories. Prices are all buy now prices, so there are no auctions. You can easily message sellers on the item page or there are pre-selected messages you can send to see if the price is negotiable or express interest in the item. The process is smooth and user friendly. Letgo does have its fair share of drawbacks though. While Ebay order fulfillment is strictly through shipping items, Letgo is similar to Craigslist in that you have to either pick up the item or arrange a meeting place with the seller. Items are marked by their distance from your search location so you can figure out how you want to manage that problem. Another negative to Letgo is that because the user base is completely independent, the picture quality is often less than stellar. It isn’t a huge drawback, but serious collectors might be wary of the condition of the item.
Vintage is the high class Letgo. While Letgo is focused on second hand items, Vintage markets itself as a way to buy local antiques and collectable items. It is a smooth, sleek looking app that gives its users a lot of solid features for when you are searching your area for a great collection find.