We go to thrift stores & yard sales a lot. My 15-year-old has a knack for instantly recognizing items that are very valuable, and she's been doing it since she was 8. She found an original drawing of a somewhat famous artist being sold away a yard sale in a box of things for $1...we resold it for $3600.

She’s found: an antique piece of serving ware–I think it was a pie slicer or cheese knife that was the rarest part of a set, rare pyrex dishes, an original Holly Hobbie doll, a jar of buttons that turned out to be all vintage designer buttons, a baggie with dozens of all original monopoly pieces, a weird mid-century lamp that we bought for $10 but resold for $1400 bc of the name which I forget and we could've gotten more if I had known what it was. But I took the first offer, subsequent offers were more than double.

It's not a matter of her getting lucky a few times because she ONLY gets stuff she will use or wear or play with immediately or stuff that can be sold for huge profits. She doesn't know anything about these things–she didn't pick up that lamp or that drawing and say "Mom this is a genuine blah blah blah, its very valuable", its always "Mom I bet you can get a lot of money for this"... that's it.

Other than resellers, is there a name for this talent or this practice?

  • 2
    The show American Pickers uses the word "picker" for this, but I'm not sure if that usage of "picker" occurs anywhere else.
    – alphabet
    Jul 10 at 21:38
  • 4
    She has an eye for a bargain. Jul 10 at 21:41
  • In California, anyway, we might call her an old soul, or maybe just psychic. Jul 11 at 2:39
  • 1
    Your daughter sounds like a savant, "a person who has an exceptional aptitude in one particular field, such as music or mathematics, despite having significant impairment in other areas of intellectual or social functioning." In this case, her impairment is age. That said, her performance is similar to what Tetlock describes as the uncanny ability some people have to make accurate forecasts wrt some future event or trend, far surpassing what purported experts in a subject are able to do, Superforecasting google.com/books/edition/Superforecasting/Ao-TEAAAQBAJ?hl=en
    – DJohnson
    Jul 11 at 12:53
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    It's quite different being an expert appraiser of antiques (e.g. "antiques buff" if amateur, "expert valuer" if professional) and having some kind of extrasensory ability to find valuable things (the term "dowser" may apply).
    – Stuart F
    Jul 11 at 16:08

3 Answers 3


A slang term is divvie, but it is an extremely polysemous term.

Lovejoy has a reputation in the antiques trade as a 'divvie', meaning one with an almost supernatural talent for recognising exceptional items as well as for distinguishing fakes or forgeries from genuine antiques.

(Lovejoy is a series of picaresque novels by John Grant (under the pen name Jonathan Gash) about the adventures of Lovejoy, a British antiques dealer and faker based in East Anglia.)

[Wikipedia] [probably from 'diviner']

  • +1 for Lovejoy.
    – Jim Mack
    Jul 11 at 22:21
  • That might be wholly correct and while I confess, I've prolly watched far fewer than half the episodes of Lovejoy, in those few episodes no-one said anything about any 'divvie.' Either way, unlike the apparent savant in the Question, I've never seen Lovejoy fail to back his opinion with detail, which to me, tends to rule out anything 'supernatural' and reduce the poor bloke to someone merely well informed! Jul 12 at 23:00
  • 1
    @RobbieGoodwin - I've only read the novels, and in those the term 'divvie' is used prominently.
    – Jim Mack
    Jul 13 at 2:36
  • Well, Jim, what I said to Edwin remains certain sure. On screen, Lovejoy always backs up his views with expert detail, making any special talent irrelevant. Jul 14 at 20:02
  • From a review of 'Paid and Loving Eyes'; Jonathan Gash {Publishers Weekly}: '[Lovejoy's] erudite asides on antique lore are as fascinating as ever, his ``divvy'' chime still bongs infallibly whenever he's near the genuine article, ....' Jul 15 at 11:39

You daughter is a Bargain hunter who likes to visit sidewalk sales looking for good deals.

Following @Barmar comment and mentioned by @YosefBaskin, she "has an eye for" quality pieces.

  • 3
    The question isn't about someone who looks for bargains, but someone who is especially good at noticing them.
    – Barmar
    Jul 11 at 0:31

No; not unless that word is simply 'freak, lucky or maverick'.

Please consider the logic behind an eight-year-old spotting anything valuable anywhere… 'logic' here applying to language as well as to statistics.

  • 1
    An eight-year-old? I thought the question said fifteen.
    – Xanne
    Jul 11 at 5:21
  • Xanne… the Question did say she was 15 but it also said 'she's been doing it since she was 8…' Don't you think the eight matters more? Jul 12 at 22:54

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