TODAY   |  August 18, 2013

Tips for finding steals, deals at flea market

This is the season to get down and dirty to shop for vintage and secondhand gems. The best advice? Buy what you love. TODAY consumer correspondent Janice Lieberman reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> this morning on "today's consumer" finding the best deal at a flea market . anybody knows how to find a deal, it's janice lieberman. we sent her to the largest flea market in the country to see what she could find at the lowest possible price.

>> oh, so much fun. we have to go shopping. this is the season to get down and dirty, really search for bargains. so i decided to challenge two other professionals and go shopping with them to see who would get the best deal. these flea market fanatics are highly skilled at hunting fortress urs. their mission, to find a real gem at the lowest price they can negotiate.

>> you have $85 on it. what can we do?

>> reporter: can a novice do the same. we asked an antique junkie to meet us at the flea market in massachusetts, one of the largest flea markets in the country.

>> here is where you can find the statement one of a kind piece.

>> reporter: they shared their scavenging secrets.

>> go for the architectural and unusu unusual. really look at condition and thoroughly inspect it.

>> and buy what you love. you may be keeping this for a long time.

>> $50.

>> reporter: can you haggle?

>> haggling is the most important thing you can do, but you have to do it with respect to the dealer, too. don't be afraid to ask where did this come from? who made it? is it unique?

>> reporter: our challenge for them $100 and 30 minutes to find the best deal possible.

>> oh, anybody can do it.

>> reporter: i decided to take them on myself to see how an amateur can do. here you go. doug, miller and me. let's go. first, miller took to the aisles.

>> i like the old egg beaters . okay, would you take $10 for this?

>> i couldn't take $10.

>> any way we could do $12 on th this?

>> sure. i can do $12. i love all the neat lamps you have. do they work? had.

>> i believe they do.

>> this is important to do at flea market because if it doesn't work you don't want to pay to have it rewired.

>> true. there you go.

>> yes. we're in business.

>> reporter: the lamp pair was $50. she bought a vintage pitcher and ice crusher.

>> this has been a lot of fun.

>> reporter: next was don.

>> how cool is this? an i love ike tie. what would it take to talk you into $20 for the tie?

>> i couldn't do that.

>> what can we do?

>> i could do $35.

>> $30. let's do $30? how is that?

>> $30?

>> for me you'll do it.

>> will you wear it?

>> i will definitely wear it. are you kidding me?

>> reporter: he always bought a side table.

>> i look for something unique and decorative.

>> reporter: don talk her down from $150 to $70. this is beautiful. look at that vase. amazing. $1 $125?

>> yeah, well, we can do better. i can make you an offer of, say, $50.

>> reporter: this looks like a corkscrew.

>> it's like a swiss army version. i think $15 would be a good starting point.

>> reporter: i got a silver plated dove for $15 and a match strike which was unique and vintage from france discounted for $20. i love it. time to show our goods. okay, guys, how did we do?

>> looks like everyone did pretty darned well.

>> reporter: all this for $300?

>> you got some really great stuff.

>> we did. if you're not an expert, you have to fall in love with what you're buying because you don't know the total worth until you get it home and appraised. you have to love it and get a bargain.

>> you got all these things apprai appraised.

>> we did. this egg beater is made out of a resin made in the 20th century . a lot of jewelry, is very collectible and it still works so she did nicely with this. this turned out to be about $25 to $30 and she paid $12. so she doubled her investment. the lamp very cool.

>> i like the lamp.

>> our appraiser said if they would have been signed by the original artist it would have been worth more but she paid $50, so she was between $50 and $60.

>> about on target.

>> this is the bar friend, very mad men-esque.

>> the ice crusher.

>> she paid $8. $30. very nice.

>> they used to make these to fit in the fridge.

>> it's in good shape and it would go right in the fridge. i wish they still made them. these are my finds.

>> how did you do?

>> this vase was worth $50. not bad. we have a silver plate pitcher. i paid $15. we got it for $30. the match striker, we love that, that is worth a lot of money, too. let me tell you how i did. i got a total of $175. miller got $165.

>> janice, you beat the expert.

>> yeah, but don was the winner at $250 because he bought this i like ike tie.

>> yes. which he says he's going to wear.

>> and i have a lot of takers here who really want this now. would you wear this? i don't think so. this cool book case .

>> how much is this table?

>> he paid $70, $125. he was the winner.

>> i think i may take you up on your invitation to do a little shopping.

>> that would be fun.