I'm a car boot sale expert – five items to always buy and four to avoid | The Sun

SPRING is here and so is car boot sale season – but how can you spot the treasure among the trash?

It's easy to get carried away and buy an item that appears to be worth a lot at face value when in reality, it's a pile of junk.

Whether you're looking to bag a bargain for yourself or find an item you can sell on for a profit – or both – it's a good idea to know what to look out for.

Ellie Macsymons, expert at NetVoucherCodes.co.uk, is a regular car boot sale visitor and knows how to find the bargains.

She said:“It’s best to walk into a car boot not just thinking about the now but also about what could be worth the money in the future.

“This way when you’ve made the most out of these items, they’ll still be worth selling later on for the extra cash."


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Of course, it's important not to get swept up in the excitement of finding a bargain.

Remember, it's only a good deal if you wanted to buy the item for yourself in the first place and do some research on prices before you arrive.

And you're hoping to buy something you can sell on, it's a good idea to do some research on where you can sell the items and what sort of price you can expect.

You can get an idea for what sells well – for a good price quickly – on selling platforms like eBay and Depop.

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Based on the items which sold for more money, you can hunt for similar items at car boots.

But some platforms may charge a fee or commission on any sales you make, so make sure you check the terms and conditions first.

Here Ellie shares what you should always buy at a car boot sale, and the items best avoided.

Items you should buy at a car boot

Video games

Console and PC games are highly sought after on online marketplaces like eBay.

People can sell them for as much as £100, or as little as a pound.

Ellie said it's well worth keeping an eye out for video games at car boot sales because you could make a decent profit if you resell them.

She said: "If there’s a game that’s not available in retail stores and hard to secure online, grab it at the lowest price possible.

"A nostalgia fan will be sure to buy it eventually once you resell it."

A Pokemon Ruby for Nintendo Game Boy Advance has previously sold on eBay for a whopping £2,500 with 21 bids.

And a set of Resident Evil games for a Nintendo Gamecube sold for over £500 on the online marketplace.

Collectable figures

Like video games, collectable figures are also popular on online marketplaces.

Ellie said: "Action figures and memorabilia could be worth a lot of money if they’re still in great condition.

"The better the condition – the more it’s worth."

But Ellie added that if the figure has been modified in any way, their value could decrease.

She added: "Keep an eye out for any in their original condition and
of high quality."

In February, a collection of more than 400 Star Wars toys in their original packaging sold for £622,000 at an auction.

While it's unlikely that you will find a a full collection like this at a car boot, you could find individual figures that are worth a fair amount.

For example, a rare R5-D4 red action figure from 1978 sold for £225 on eBay on April 6.

Ellie said you should avoid buying common or broken toys that have little value compared to figurine collectables.

Ellie said these are unlikely to be worth anything more than £2.

This is because any damage can decrease their value massively.

Designer brands

Designer items at a car boot can be one of the most valued items to make a deal on when reselling, Ellie said.

She added: "It may take a lot of browsing but jackets and bags could be worth hundreds or potentially thousands especially if they still have the tags on – which means they’re worth even more.

Ellie says it can be worth doing some research first to prove their authenticity before you buy them.

Make a list of designer brands to look out for before you go and write down signs of authenticity, such as specific zip pulls, pocket tags, name plates and even the soles or fixtures of designer shoes.


Car boots have been hailed as the best place to grab a deal on jeans, designer or not.

Ellie said: "Many sellers just want to clear out their wardrobe, especially if they’re about to move house.

"Take the time to search through the piles of denim and you may be able to grab a pair for a quid."

The money you can get for a pair of jeans on eBay can vary massively depending on the brand.

A pair of men's 501 Levi Jeans, for example, sold for £19.99 on eBay on April 6.

While a pair of Sass and Bide women's jeans sold for £109.93 on the same day.

Doing some research before you head to the car boot can help you to know what items you should target, and the ones to leave behind.

Upcycling projects

If you're looking for an upcycling project, a car boot sale could be the perfect place to look.

Ellie said they are particularly good for picking up furniture like chairs and coffee tables.

She added: "Buy them as cheaply as possible with a plan in mind.

"They can be worth lots of money when reselling if they have a fresh coat of paint and little scratches."

Items you should avoid at a car boot


A living room is the heart of the home and one of the places where people are likely to invest their money to sit on something comfy.

For this reason, Ellie said it's probably a good idea to avoid picking one up from a car boot.

She told The Sun: "Sofas from a car boot may have broken springs and unremovable stains – all of which can make it costly to flip
around as part of an upcycling project."


Buying headphones at the car boot isn’t the wisest idea, Ellie told The Sun.

In her experience, she's found that they can often cost more in repairs than their original value.

"They’re often second-hand off-brand devices which may only work for a limited time," Ellie said.

But don't worry if you were hoping to pick up some headphones for cheap – there's still some good deals to be found elsewhere.

You can pick up a pair of wired headphones on Amazon for under a tenner.

And B&M is currently selling some JVC Bluetooth headphones for £20 – reduced from £25.

You can use tools like Google Shopping to check prices online and make sure you're getting a good deal.

Perfume and aftershave

Beware of perfumes and aftershaves being sold at car boots, Ellie said.

"Unfortunately, some sellers like to take advantage of car boots by offering knockoff perfume and aftershave for what seems like a bargain," Ellie said.

"Deter buying from them as that lovely scent will only last for a good five minutes and could irritate the skin."

High street often sell dupes of designer perfumes which make for a great alternative for a fraction of the price.

Marks and Spencer is currently selling £10 dupes for iconic perfumes including Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel and YSL's hugely popular Black Opium.

Of course it's important to note that each of M&S's fragrances are eau de toilettes and not eau de parfum, which the designer scents are.

This might mean that the scents don't last as long or aren't as strong, so bear this is mind before you opt for a dupe.

Also, retailers like Boots, The Perfume Shop and Superdrug do regularly discount their designer smells so it's always worth having a look before you buy.

Mystery bags (lucky dips)

Some of the most popular videos on TikTok have been people taking part in the lucky dips at car boots where it’s usually £1 to enter.

But Ellie said these mystery items are usually full of junk that’s unlikely to get used and is worth less than originally bought.

She said: "While the novelty is fun, try to avoid spending lots on them to prevent wasting money."

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Meanwhile, The Sun visited car boot sale and got £500 of stuff for £50 – find out what we bought.

Plus, one car boot seller reveals her secret for finding rare items.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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