Thrift shopping stores, flea markets, and estate sales can be overwhelming. With the sheer volume of things, how do you know where to start? How to spot gems amidst all the… well, waste?
As a professional distributor who’s been combing thrift stores for 30 years, I can help. If you’re ready to cut your shopping time in half, score even bigger deals or splurge on splurge-worthy finds that you can flip for cash, read on.
From hard-to-find household items to resale money-makers, everything featured in my “Thrift Shop Like a Pro” series qualifies as a BOLO (stay in the know) item. When you find it, buy it!
A special find: Vintage Braun coffee makers
Over the past 15 years, single-cup coffee makers have replaced the larger electric coffee makers that were a staple in nearly every American kitchen. Not only has the rise of Keurig, Nespresso, and their imitators changed how we prepare our morning cup of coffee, we have launched thousands of vintage coffee makers onto the resale market.
And as they say, change is good. Today, most thrift stores are stocked with premium, vintage coffee makers—real workhorses that serve up piping hot cups year after year. And some of my favorites are made by Brown.
Max Braun opened his first factory in the 1920s, producing radio broadcasting equipment. Over the decades, Braun’s product focus broadened, and in 1950 the company released the world’s first foil shaver and food processor it called the Multimix.
Other innovations in appliances followed, including a blender, juicer, toaster, coffee grinder, and coffee maker. Rejecting aesthetic fads and unnecessary embellishment, each product is carefully designed. Braun machines are built to last, unobtrusive and easy to operate.
By the 1970s, Braun had established itself as a leading global appliance brand. Today, the company is owned by De’Longhi Appliances and continues to produce high quality, visually appealing products that consumers trust.
Why buy it?
He called me cynical, but planned obsolescence became “planned early obsolescence.” Over the past five years I have replaced two refrigerators, two washing machines, a microwave and two coffee makers.
By the time the last brewer died, I was tired of the “grind”. Instead of buying new, I bought an old Braun Aromaster at my local thrift store.
It was made in the early 90’s, and I can say that it has already served a long and fruitful life. I cleaned it thoroughly, and it has been reliably bothering me ever since. True, it’s not programmable, it doesn’t connect to my smartphone, or fold my laundry. But it’s reliable, looks great, and costs a paltry $5.99.
Even if you’ve had better luck with smaller appliances than I have, Braun machines are a solid investment. Keep one in stock as a spare or flip a few online for extra profit.
On eBay, a ’70s-era Braun Aromaster recently sold for a steamy $500, and an ’80s-era Aromaster sold for $149. On Etsy, this 10-ounce 10-glass Aromaster set from the ’90s is listed for $72.58.
Parts and spare parts for these old machines are also in demand. In August, the Aromaster pitcher sold for $26 and the reusable filter basket fetched $19.99.
See also: How to save on vintage shopping for pyrex flamemore decanters
What are you looking for
The Braun logo has remained remarkably consistent since its first version in 1934. On coffee makers, the branding will be front and center. Look for an uppercase text sign where the “A” in “Braun” is about 30% longer than the other letters.
If you’re shopping for a Braun coffee maker to resell for a profit, know that certain features can increase the value significantly. Pay particular attention to:
- Model: Some machines are rarer than others. ALWAYS REQUIRED: Braun Aromaster models KF12, KF20, KF400 and KF420, Braun FlavorSelect models KF140, KF157 and KF187.
- Manufacturing location: Although the exact year is hard to confirm, Braun appears to have shifted manufacturing from Germany to China. Buyers prefer German-made breweries. (Before 1990, the machines were marked “Made in West Germany”.)
- the color: In the antique coffee maker market, the bold is beautiful. Braun machines in green, red, and yellow tend to fetch higher prices than standard models in black, white, or gray.
- condition: No wonder – working manufacturers sell the best. But as already mentioned, parts from non-working machines can be sold individually and very profitably.
Pro tip: Braun also made a premium coffee grinder. Introduced in the mid-1960s, the Model 4024 KSM1 usually sells in yellow, orange, red or green for $80 to $100.