Things you shouldn't pass up at this weekend's 70-Mile Yard Sale

Can't decide what's trash and what's treasure? CBC asked some veteran thrifters and re-sellers of vintage goods what they advise you never, ever pass up at a yard sale.

'Wrestling movies, toys, and memorabilia from the '80s, '90s and 2000s are usually a sure bet for resale'

Keep an eye out for musical instruments at yard sales, experts say. (Submitted by Chaylon Brewster)

As vendors display their wares for eastern P.E.I.'s annual 70-mile yard sale this weekend, you'll find items you love and never want to part with, and others you might want to pick up to re-sell.

Can't decide what's trash and what's treasure? 

CBC asked some veteran thrifters and resellers of vintage goods what they advise you never, ever pass up at a yard sale.

1. Of The Island

Katharine MacDonald hasn't missed a 70-Mile Yard Sale weekend since she was 15. The 28-year-old owns and runs a vintage and antiques shop in Murray River, P.E.I., Of The Island

"Every year, what I'm looking for changes a bit, but there are definitely themes," she said.

On her list:

  • Vintage housewares.
  • Island-made pottery.
  • Anything heritage-branded.
  • Vintage eyeglasses.
  • Unexpected items that spark joy.

"I'm always seeking out well-made vintage housewares," MacDonald said. "Cast iron pans are almost always worth picking up, as they can be reseasoned even when in rough shape. Enamelled tin cookware is another hit for me, especially if it's a Scandinavian brand like Dansk or Cathrineholm. Copper pots and pans are great, functional finds that add rustic beauty to any kitchen."

Katharine MacDonald seeks out vintage items like the wool blanket she's wearing in the lower left photo. (Submitted by Katharine MacDonald )

MacDonald also looks for anything Island-made, especially pottery. 

"If you're looking for P.E.I. pottery, simply check the maker's mark signed on the bottom — most Island potters add 'P.E.I.' to their signature."

"Another lure for me are what I would call 'heritage brands,'" MacDonald added. "In most cases, the items were made by well-paid, well-trained, often unionized workers or crafters. Items in this category could be anything — Scottish mohair wool throws, old Italian-made tobacco pipes, and of course, anything by Hudson Bay Company."

She also keeps her eyes peeled for vintage eyewear of all kinds — right now, oversized wire-rim or plastic frames are in style. "I buy them to get refitted with new lenses for myself, or sell them at my shop or online," she said. 

"When you see something and you feel drawn to it, go for it! You can always slap some paint on it or put a plant in it, and it'll fit right in." 

'Copper pots and pans are great, functional finds that add rustic beauty to any kitchen,' says Of the Island's Katharine MacDonald. (Submitted by Katharine MacDonald)

2. Swoon Creations

Savannah Belsher-MacLean is a professional makeup artist, Airbnb owner, creator of original jewelry, and vintage clothing and jewelry retailer, as well as a photo shoot stylist/creative director.

She's an experienced thrifter for fun and profit, and has a few things that she never leaves behind at a yard sale:

  • Copper or brass pots and pans. 
  • Cast-iron pans.
  • Local pottery.
  • Crocheted and embroidered linens. 
  • Vintage botanical illustrations.

Even if the linens are partially soiled, they can be used for crafting, Belsher-MacLean points out. 

Savannah Belsher-MacLean shows off her haul from last fall's 70-Mile Yard Sale. (Submitted by Savannah Belsher-MacLean)

"I'm always on the hunt for unique retro and vintage items — clothing, housewares, etc. — primarily for wardrobe and props in photo shoots.

"I'm also a sucker for homemade mustard pickles," she said, adding a smiley-face icon. Find Belsher-MacLean's pieces at Swoon Creations.

3. Most Wanted Pawn

If you're yard-saling with an eye to reselling for profit, P.E.I.'s Most Wanted Pawn might be interested in re-purchasing your finds.

On the store's list:

  • Vintage video games.
  • Electronics.
  • Wrestling movies, toys, and memorabilia
  • Vintage stereos, record players and vinyl.
  • Musical instruments.
  • Vintage toys.
  • Small antique items. 
  • Jewelry.

Vintage video games like Nintendo and Sony Playstation are staples for the store, but other old video games are worth money — for examplle, the company will pay $80 for a Super Nintendo Ray, said Most Wanted's owner Chaylon Brewster

"Wrestling movies, toys and memorabilia from the 80s, 90s and 2000s are usually a sure bet for resale."

Ray Harris of Most Wanted Jewelry & Pawn shows some of the vintage video games the store is always looking to buy and sell. (Submitted by Chaylon Brewster)

Old stereo equipment and record players can be valuable but must be in good working order for resale.  

When it comes to vinyl records, the artist, condition, release and genre all affect value, he said.

"A good collection with some Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, The Beatles and David Bowie mixed in usually means there is some value in the collection."  

The store is also interested in newer electronics, which they are seeing more often as consumers upgrade frequently. 

Record players, old stereo equipment and vintage video games like the Vectrex from 1982 can be worth some money at local pawn and vintage shops. (Submitted by Chaylon Brewster)

Vintage toys like LJN Rubber Wrestlers, Transformers, GI Joe, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can have value, Brewster said, adding condition and packaging are important. 

"Antique items have monetary and historical value," Brewster said. Old tools, military items, electronics or household items "make good conversation pieces and some can be worth a surprising amount of cash."

Costume and precious jewelry are also popular sellers, he said. 

4. Found on PEI

Liam Kearney of Charlottetown works in financial services by day and is also a professional musician by night — he also finds time to scour yard sales and auctions for fun and profit, selling via his Facebook page, Found on PEI.

On his list:

  • Older toys.
  • Vintage video games.
  • Musical instruments, especially antiques.
  • Unique conversation-starters.

"Holy grail items for me personally are antique musical instruments," Kearney said. "Especially older drums and cymbals because they were so rare on P.E.I. I also enjoy unique conversation-starter pieces that grab your attention."

Liam Kearney is always on the hunt for older toys to resell, like this Buddy L L'il Brutes set (upper left) or the antique cast-iron horse and wagon. (Found on PEI/Facebook)

For resale, he looks for older toys, and not just the really old tin items. "There are some very collectible toys from the '80s and '90s that people are looking for," he said. 

He's also on the hunt for vintage video games. "A Nintendo game in its original box makes for a great day of yard saling," Kearney shared. 

'Antique items have monetary and historical value,' says Chaylon Brewster of Most Wanted Jewelry & Pawn. (Submitted by Chaylon Brewster )

About the Author

Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara is a P.E.I. native who graduated from the University of King's College in Halifax. N.S., with a Bachelor of Journalism (Honours) degree. She's worked with CBC Radio and Television since 1988, moving to the CBC P.E.I. web team in 2015, focusing on weekend features. email