Car Boot Sales

Car boot sales are thought of as a British institution, with thousands of people typically setting off early on a Sunday morning to either sell their wares or pick up a bargain. Their popularity has spread across much of the world, with car boot sales being held in most parts of Europe, Australia, Canada and the US.

Car Boot Sales

However, enthusiasts may be surprised to learn that the phenomenon of car boot sales probably originated in Canada in the early 1970s. The legend of Catholic Priest Father Harry Clarke from Stockport, who apparently held the first car boot sale in the UK for charity, after seeing a similar event while on holiday in Canada, has been widely reported.

There is little documentary evidence to support this and many articles online asking, "Where's Father Clarke now?" appear to have drawn a blank. However, this seems to be the widely accepted theory on the origins of car boot sales.

Research into Canadian car boot sales reveals the earliest documented event is Denio's Roseville Farmers' Market and Swap Meet, which is still held most days in Roseville, Ontario, Canada. It was founded as long ago as the late 1940s by Jim and Marilee Denio, so it may well be the car boot sale that Father Clarke attended in the '70s!

Car boot sales have also been called flea markets or garage sales in the US but whatever the name, they are all the same format - sellers turn up at a site and pay for a pitch to sell second-hand items to shoppers.

A car boot sale is traditionally held at an outdoor site and so-called because traders park up, set up a folding table and unload goods for sale from their car boot, often sitting in a deckchair or something similar alongside their stall. However, the term 'car boot sale' can also be stretched to indoor table-top sales, which are preferable in wet and windy weather.

They are different from the old-fashioned 'jumble sales' - beloved of church halls and school fundraisers in the '70s - in that jumble sales were a chance for people to rummage, often amid piles of clothing or old toys, whereas car boot sales tend to have a more select range of products.

Some sellers may specialise in antiques, for example and the 'professional' traders can often be found rushing round the amateurs' stalls before the sale opens to the public to see if they can pick up any bargains to re-sell themselves.

By the 1980s, there were hundreds of car boot sales all over the country. However, without today's social networking sites, unless enthusiasts were 'in the know' and kept abreast of events through the newspapers or contacts, some would be more local events.

Today, now that people can communicate with each other through the likes of Facebook, Twitter and specialist sites, it's much easier for car-booters to keep in touch and to find out what's happening and where and when at the click of a button.

Car boot sales for some people are a business, whereas for others, they are a way of raising a bit of extra cash or of clearing out some household items that they no longer want. Many people go to car boot sales in the hope of buying a bargain that turns out to be worth a fortune - as with Del Boy Trotter and his clock which made him a multi-millionaire in Only Fools and Horses.

However, things like this happen very rarely. One lucky Cheshire man found that a broken watch - bought for £10 by his late father at a car boot sale and forgotten about in a drawer - was actually a very rare Rolex timepiece, valued at £55,000. It was one of only 618 made and had been issued to divers in the Royal Italian Navy during World War II.

For most of us, this is just a dream and the excitement of going to a car boot sale is simply about the buzz of selling our old items and maybe making enough money for a weekend away or to carry out a few home improvements. For buyers, it's the thrill of picking up that special item cheaply that someone else is throwing out - one man's rubbish is another man's treasure!

If you're planning on going to a car boot sale - particularly if you're a seller - having suitable containers to transport your goods is imperative. Solent Plastics has a huge range of lidded containers that would be suitable for use at car boot sales, such as our attached lid containers in various sizes or our hinged lid Euro containers.

If you're looking for large capacity storage boxes and trunks or waterproof storage, our range is second to none and we won't be beaten on price! Please contact us for further information.