This time of year, it's hard to think of garage sales and outdoor flea markets. In the cold months, consignment and thrift shops, along with indoor flea markets, are the places to go.
But whatever the temperatures outside, these collectibles are hot as the new year gets underway.
Art, vintage advertising and printed fabric products
Asian, original illustration, comic art and vintage advertising are strong segments of the market, says Karen Knapstein, print editor at Antique Trader magazine.
"I see no indication why they wouldn't continue trending high in 2014," she said. "Quality vintage advertising in excellent or better condition with great graphics is a great investment because it has broad appeal, is often collectable in crossover categories, and it's often durable enough that it can be handled, displayed wisely and enjoyed without the risk of lowering the condition or value of the piece."
Disney handkerchiefs from the 1970s have become very collectible and remain so since they are not even available at Disney World or Disney Land. According to Kovel's Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide, some are selling from $8 on up. Handkerchiefs and scarves from various countries and states as well as the Hermès or Marimekko scarves are still hot.
Fabric mixed with wood furniture and more
Middle-class buyers are flocking to shops to redesign their own homes with bargain items such as handmade rag rugs, made by Ann Matchey at the 3G Gallery, Alma, Wis.
"Our first year of having the store has been more than we hoped for," Matchey sad. "I thought that my rugs would be pretty hot for 2013 and I was right. I don't know how many denim rugs I have made and sold. I still have a challenging time to keep my stock up."
Melissa Klema, owner and designer at Adourn in Chatfield said, "I see a trend ongoing with a sort of Swedish design using a 'greige' color palette in the home, in furniture and accenting with some bolder colors in pillows, rugs and window treatments. The Swedish design components are having very neutral walls and furniture pieces, more clean lines, simple furniture, using linen and other natural fabrics, along with bringing in some rustic and interesting accessories. The design consulting that I've been doing has been more geared toward this trend as has the furniture I've been rehabbing.
"Also hot for the shop has been interesting vintage textiles, such as Kantha quilts," Klema said. "They're antique and vintage cotton saris sewn into quilts, and the back is usually different from the front and come from India."
Debra Olson, owner of Uncommon Goods, Hokah, said, "To sum it up … re-purpose, re-use, recycle! That's what's hot, and I think that the trend will continue for some time to come. Pinterest has been a huge influence. Up-cycled is what's hot for 2014."
Penny Bracken, owner at Kismet Consignment, Rochester, said, "Hot items and trends we have been seeing here in 2013 and into 2014 are that people are inspired and are being creative. I also think that mid-century decor and furniture along with industrial items will continue to be hot."
Carol Thouin, a Spring Valley collector, loves to restore items. She is finding that chippy, well worn, painted furniture, like benches, hutches, cupboards, tables, are always popular, "and I don't expect that to change."
Geri Corey, owner of Sugar Loaf Antiques & Crafts, Winona, said, "This year at our store 'repurposed' has been a great seller. It seems more of the younger people are going after old, but want it to be redone."
Stacy Cottrell of Wreck & Renovate, Winona, said, "I would have to say our big seller for 2013 was our hanging coat rack with hooks made from wood pallets. People commented how they liked the look and the functionality of this piece and I believe will be a popular item in 2014."
Old metal signs, metal artwork or anything metal
"As many people redo their homes, they seem to be looking for the old hardware, such as door knobs, old pulls, hinges, etc," said Sarah Kieffer, Sarah's Uniques and Jim's "Man"tiques, St. Charles. "I think the coming year will continue to be another year for repurposing items, since I sold a ton of wooden boxes with writing, old tool boxes, crates, and such with any sort of advertising on them. Along with that went the tin or iron holders, old tool boxes, carriers, and such."
Merilyn Mau, formerly of Rochester, now owner of Pasttime Collectibles & Antiques, Fergus Falls, said, "We sell a ton of vintage and antique toys, sometimes rust only adds to the value. Cast-iron and metal trucks from the 1930 to 1950s are the most sought-after. Signs were also popular as well as unusual advertising items. Hunting and fishing equipment or things that fit well into lake country decor are always popular."
Learning and functional toys
At Lark Toys, Kellogg, part-owner Kathy Gray said, "We are not a store based on carrying the hottest items, however some items are definitely very popular. This year and should remain: Spirograph (a remake of a fun and creative toy from the past), Doink it Darts (magnetic and great for the family), our new Lark Abigail Snail pull toy (with a rolling back filled with bells), and Lark Super Hoops (fun big hula hoops that result in smaller waists when you use them), but are for "hoopers" with any sized waist!"
Sandy Erdman is a Winona freelance writer, antique dealer, speaker on antiques and collectibles and workshop appraiser. If you have an antique shop, make a hobby of collecting, make or restore antiques or collectibles and you want to share in this column, contact Sandy at email@example.com.