I’m a car boot pro & picked up a £5k watch for £5… my 9 tips to make you quick cash – and the ‘throwaway’ item worth £50 | The Sun

SIFTING through mounds of old clothes and unwanted belongings for hidden treasure may seem a tedious task to some.

But for car boot sale lover Lindsay Bentley, 46, it's her "escapism" -and she's made a fortune turning other people's trash into cash.

The self-confessed "magpie" has been visiting them for the last 20 years and claims to have a "good eye", which helps her spot bargains.

Among her most profitable finds was a Panerai Luminor Marina watch, which she bought for £5 and is worth nearly £5,000.

Lindsay, from Wakefield, West Yorks, makes "a nice trickle of income" from her hobby while working in finance and for food delivery service Paître Grazing.

From empty and half-used items that can score you £50 to the surprising finds that will sell for big money, she reveals her top tips with Sun readers.


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I quit my job and make £5k a MONTH from car boot sales – my 9 tips for quick cash

'Everything has a collector'

Thrifty mum Lindsay has been going to car boots for most of her life but was inspired to get into reselling by an ex-partner's dad.

“There is money in everything,” she tells us. “Everything has a collector – from gold coins to medals to old board games.

"My ex-partner's dad used to buy vintage board games for a couple of pounds and would sell them on for £30 each.

"You can make really good money from them. He used to go to charity shops to find them too.

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Lindsay's hoard turns into a 'nice trickle of income'Credit: SUPPLIED

"I didn’t know they were worth that much money until then but now I always keep an eye out for them.  

“They don’t have to be rare or old either, they could be a game that’s out of its time now and has stopped being made because there will be a collector."

Now Lindsay claims she can make £300 on a "car-load" of items that she's bought for minimal prices and once raised spending money for a holiday with all of her finds.

Half-empty bottles sell

Lindsay believes aspiring resellers should think about “desirable items” that people like to buy but struggle to afford due to the cost of living crisis. 

She says: “For example, it’s crazy what people will pay for half-used bottles of perfume, aftershave and make-up.

"Empty fragrance bottles can earn you a fortune too, I bought one for 50p and went on to sell it online for £50.” 

A quick search of eBay showed one “half-used” 100ml bottle of Woman Amouage sold for £100 and a “half full” 50ml bottle of Chanel No5 Eau De Toilette sold for £49.99.

Lindsay recommends "big names" like Chanel, Dior, Paco Rabanne, Tom Ford and Vivienne Westwood can all fetch big money.

Empty bottles fetched surprisingly high prices too including one from Tom Ford which sold for £115 and another by Creed which sold for £70. 

Don't sell in haste

Among Lisa’s best finds to date was the Panerai Luminor Marina watch, which she bought for £5 from a car boot.

She told us: “I had no idea it was worth so much money.

"I just liked the watch, felt it was good quality and knew it had been well-maintained.”

Lindsay began to realise she was "onto a winner" when a dealer tried to buy the watch from her.

She recalled: “I was in a cafe in York talking about the watch and a guy, who happened to be a watch collector, overheard me.

"He looked it over and said, 'Yes, this is genuine I’ll give you £1,500 for it'.

"His offer made me think, 'Maybe I don’t just do this in haste in case it's worth more'.

Since then Lindsay has taken it to multiple shops, where it's been valued at up to £3,000.

She's still yet to sell it and hopes she can flog it for even more after spotting the same design listed for nearly £5,000 online.

Add value

Simple ways to increase the value of items bought at a car boot sale include reupholstering, cleaning and thinking outside the box.

For example with children's clothing, Lindsay has sold them in bundles to maximise profit. 

Another big win for Lindsay was buying a signed, limited edition Rob Ryan artwork for £5, which she managed to sell for £250.

She made a whopping £245 profit from the piece after she “salvaged a huge ornate frame” that was being thrown out by her workplace.

Big brands

Lindsay claims there is a lot of money to be made in second-hand clothes, especially since the cost of living crisis.

She tells us: “Everyone knows the expensive brands, like Dolce and Gabbana and Vivienne Westwood shoes, and will buy them for a high price second-hand.

"Designer labels and high-end brands like Pretty Green and All Saints sell well too. Cath Kidston used to make a good profit too.

“If people are willing to pay a lot of money for something in the first place, they will pay even more second-hand because they want those items."

Recently, Lindsay bought a Trina Turk designer necklace for £4 that could fetch nearly £280.

Early bird tip

Lindsay says the phrase ‘The early bird catches the worm’ is especially true when it comes to car boot sales. 

She advises arriving early to bag the best bargains but also says there’s a hack serious collectors often try.

She says: “At some car boot sales, you can pay a fee – maybe £5 instead of £1 for normal entry – to go in and have a look around early.

“A lot of people who collect specialist items like stamps, coins, medals, gaming consoles, and other items all do that.”

Price check

Lindsay says there’s a quick and easy way to tell if something is worth money online. 

She explains: “I have a good eye for what will sell but if I spot something where I’m not certain, I go online and look on eBay.

“Instead of looking at all of the listings, I use the advanced search section and look at Completed Listings – if the item has sold there, you are onto a winner.

“Also, over time, you will start to notice the items and brands that sell well and eliminate the brands and items that don’t.”

Vintage items

Among Lindsay's favourite finds was a vintage ladies' toilet sign.

She says: “I paid £45, which sounds a bit ridiculous but I knew it was rare.

"Then when I walked around the corner a dealer spotted me carrying it and offered me £60. 

“I could have sold it and made £15 but it let me know that I could probably get a lot more for it on eBay.”

She explains that vintage items can be quite valuable if they look trendy or are in vogue.

They include cassette tapes and CDs, which are currently seeing a mini-resurgence and selling for large sums.

Lindsay has also had luck with vintage items from big names including a Hovis toast rack, which she bought for 50p and sold for £14.99.

Where to go?

Lindsay travels the country to go to car boot sales – but often does research before going to find out if it is worth her time. 

She advises people to look out for wealthier areas around the country because there are typically better items on offer. 

“Posh areas or places that quite hippy and boho or have a small high street of independent shops can be really good to check out,” Lindsay says. 

Her favourite car boot takes place at York Racecourse but she also advises checking out sales in Cornwall, Harrogate and Nether Edge, in Sheffield.

Car boot sale expert’s top seven tips for sellers

SELF-confessed ‘magpie’ Lindsay Bentley has been 20 years going to car boot sellers and shares her top tips for sellers.

Haggle – Be prepared for people to barter and to move on the price, there’s no point taking all of your unwanted items home 

Know your worth – Have a minimum price in your head for each item and price it upwards accordingly. For example, iif you think something is worth 50p, price it at £1. 

Silly prices – People will try to be cheeky and offer very low prices, don’t accept them earlier in the day. Hold out, someone may pay the asking price.

Sound authoritative – You can sound more authoritative by stating what an item is worth, rather than asking. For example, say "It’s £3" instead of "£3?"

Online earners – If you have an item that’s priced at £10 or more and people seem interested but are unwilling to pay the full amount, try flogging it on eBay.

Eyes on the prize – Keep your most valuable and collectible items separate and keep an eye on them. At some car boot sales, thieves operate and work in teams to distract you so that they can steal

Neat & tidy – Don’t dump your belongings on the floor or in a box, often people can’t be bothered to rummage through. Instead, use baskets and hanging rails.

Lindsay typically takes up to £80 in cash to avoid potentially being shortchanged when a trader has run out of coins. 

She also advises people to “ask to make a bank transfer” if they are spending anything over £30 so they have lots of money spare.

When bartering, Lindsay believes there is a different between “being cheeky” to bag a bargain and “insulting people”. 

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She explains: “A dress is worth £2 any day but if it something like an item of furniture was priced at £25, I’d say ‘Would you do it for £20?’ It’s very rare that people will say no.”

For more tips and car boot sale finds, follow Lindsay on Instagram and Facebook. Her food delivery service Paître can be found here. 

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