Arrowheads have existed for thousands of years and were used by indigenous people and Native Americans to hunt, defend and conquer. These weapons were etched out of sharp rocks like obsidian and chert and can be found all over North America. In fact, the Southwest remains a hotbed for arrowheads.
If you have a passion for archaeology and historically significant collections, you might want to consider putting up arrowheads for sale. There are a number of ways you can get into the business of selling arrowheads legally, and it’s not as hard as you might think.
Learn the Laws for Selling Arrowheads Legally
The key to selling arrowheads legally is to find arrowheads legally. There are certain federal laws regarding where you can and cannot remove ancient artifacts. Every state also has its own laws, and according to "Antiques Roadshow_"_ tribal art appraiser Bruce Shackelford, this makes the world of Native American artifacts “a dangerous field to collect in.”
Most of the laws involved forbid taking Native American artifacts from Indian and federal land. This means you can’t search for arrowheads in national parks or forests unless you have permission. Some states require a permit, and others forbid it outright. Additional laws focus on selling prehistoric artifacts (which an arrowhead very well could be) and digging up archaeologically significant items, so it’s important to research your local laws.
Where to Search for Arrowheads
A lot of people who have arrowheads for sale have foraged for their stock themselves. This is a wonderful hobby that can actually be lucrative, but where do you find arrowheads? Your best bet is to seek out private land and ask for permission from the owner.
You can find arrowheads where Native Americans and indigenous people might have hunted. This includes creeks, rivers, fields and farms. If you know of a place that used to be a Native American camp but is not on federal or Native American land, this is probably your best bet. Burial grounds also make a lot of sense, but consider the law and your ethics. You probably want to avoid it.
William Bauer’s book "The Ultimate Guide To Indian Artifact Hunting" is a great place to start if you’re planning on foraging for arrowheads yourself. Remember to take photos and videos of yourself when finding your arrowheads to help prove the authenticity.
Buying Arrowheads for Resale
All ancient artifact buyers will agree that authenticity is key to having a valuable arrowhead. There are a lot of people on the market who are trying to pass off replicas and fakes as genuine historic items.
If you’re planning on buying an arrowhead for resale, try to collect as much information as you can about the item. Ask for photos and videos of where it was found and closely examine it for machine marks. A replica will likely be made from a machine.
Arrowhead Identification and Value
One of the most important parts of having arrowheads for sale is properly pricing your goods. The truth is that arrowheads can be a great investment, and authentic, high-grade arrowheads tend to increase in value by up to 50% year over year. In order to understand the true value of your arrowheads (and whether you should hold on to them a little bit longer or put them up for sale), you’ll need to get them appraised.
There are two ways to handle arrowhead identification and value. You can either have them assessed by the Authentic Artifact Collector Association or appraise them yourself, but you’re going to need to know how to do so. Robert M. Overstreet’s book "Official Overstreet Identification and Price Guide to Indian Arrowheads_"_ is a good place to start. The book provides pictures and references to help you with selling arrowheads legally.
Sell Your Arrowheads
Once you have arrowheads, you can go about selling them a few different ways. You can sell them to ancient artifact buyers, use a website that fosters the sale of authentic ancient artifacts or sell them on your own through an online store or at an artifact event.
Services like ArrowheadsUSA.com and Arrowheads.com remove a lot of the legwork. They will appraise and sell or buy your goods. All you have to do is mail them. EBay and Etsy also have a low bar of entry even if you’re not tech savvy.
Remember to take great pictures of your arrowheads and all the unique features or damage they might have. You want to give potential buyers a perfectly clear picture of what they’re purchasing.
- Ensure that you perform significant research prior to selling your arrowheads. You don't want to cut yourself short and miss out on a profit if you have a valuable arrowhead in your collection.
Mariel Loveland is a small business owner, content strategist and writer from New Jersey. Throughout her career, she's worked with numerous startups creating content to help small business owners bridge the gap between technology and sales. Her work has been featured in publications like Business Insider and Vice.