Online Photos

Have you thought about selling off some of the items that you have around the house?  If the answer is yes, how do you go about getting the photos to the online selling site like eBay or Etsy?

You must have a digital camera.  There are many options on the market, like a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex camera that has interchangeable lenses) or even a point and shoot digital camera.

Any digital camera will give you the ability to upload photos to a selling site.

The site that you choose for selling your item will have instructions for listing and uploading your pictures.  If you are familiar with uploading pictures to a blog, it’s always a very similar procedure.

Selling sites make all of this very easy.  Don’t be afraid to try your hand at online selling.

My tip to you is this:  your computer has a limited amount of room to store your pictures, and the pictures can be pretty large (especially if they come from a DSLR camera).  If I were you, I would be sure to back up all of them.

What kind of camera do you like to use?

Tips for a successful garage sale

I see them everywhere, especially during the spring and early summer months.  Garage sales are fun to go to, but how do you have a successful one of your own?

One thing that helps is to put out a lot of signs where you are most likely to snag the most traffic.  The signs must be visible from the street, and even give the address of your sale.  It even helps to give the time and dates of your sale.

The next thing you need to do is to make your merchandise accessible.  The items that are not in the sale need to be either covered with a sheet or tucked away somewhere else if possible.  Dust or clean the things going into the sale.  A clean, well-organized sale does so much better.

Do not overprice your items.  We have all gone to sales where the garage sale prices were higher than the original sticker price—and we have left shaking our heads in disbelief.

For your own safety, do not allow strangers to enter your home to use the bathroom or the phone.  They just might be casing your house to see what you have for the possibility of a robbery.

Be willing to entertain a good offer (not 50 cents for a 50-dollar item).  If the offer is a little low, you can always give a counteroffer.

Be friendly with the people that come by—but do not sit and stare at your customers.  In a way, they are your guests.  But at the same time, do not allow bad manners (it’s your sale after all). If you are willing to do this, your garage sale will be a hit. You might even just sell out of everything!

There was a Seated Liberty design on United States coins?

This was an actual design that the United States mint produced from 1836 through 1891.  The design was produced at the main mint in Philadelphia, as well as the branch mints in San Francisco, Carson City, and even New Orleans.

This design was put on the half dime (which later became the 5-cent piece), dime, quarter, twenty cent piece, half dollar, and even the dollar.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com

Because there were so many years and denominations, this gives you a massive assortment of coins to choose from to form a collection.  Each denomination has its rare examples (it could be a rare year, mint mark or die variety), so it might take some hunting and some saving on your part to find them.

The design itself even gives you another way to collect them.  In 1853 and 1873, weights of the each of the denominations were changed by the U.S. mint.  When they did this, they added arrows around the date.  These arrows were then removed in 1856 and 1875, so you could collect either or both styles.  A lot of the times, you will see the coin being described as “with arrows” or “without arrows”.

You can see that the coin pictured above is the “without arrows” variety around the date.

This design also has some stars near the edge (this is on the same side that Miss Liberty is on).  These stars were then replaced with rays around Miss Liberty in 1860.  Like with the arrows, you will sometimes see these coins described as “with rays” or “without rays”.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com

The “with rays” variety can be seen on the photo above on the eagle side.

“Buy the book before the coin” is a famous saying to keep in mind when you are about to embark on collecting this design.

Have you run across this design either at a flea market, antique mall, a show, or even a coin shop?

Two Cents worth? Yep

Did you know that there was actually a 2-cent coin that was produced by the United States mint?

The Two Cent piece officially ran from 1864 to 1872, but there was a copy made for collectors in 1873.

photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com

The economic turmoil of the American Civil War caused any and all government-issued coins to vanish from circulation (they were hoarded by the public) Even the Indian Head cent—which was made of bronze—was pretty much gone from circulation (The Coinage Act Of 1864 authorized the cent to switch to a bronze composition and the production of the Two Cent coin).

Even though there were other mints actively producing coins at the time, this coin was only produced at the mint based in Philadelphia.  What this means is that there will not be a mint mark anywhere (which is the way this mint was marking the coins until 1980).

Two of the more famous die varieties happened in 1864.  One is called the “large motto,” and the other is called the “small motto.”  These two varieties deal with the motto, “In God We Trust.”  The words IN, GOD, and TRUST has some small differences, while the word WE has the most differences.  It all hinges on the size of it, and it is very noticeable.  The WE on “large motto” is larger than the WE on the “small motto.”

Large motto photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com
small motto photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com

The “small motto” is much scarcer than the “large motto.”  The best idea is to keep an eye out for it in case you might walk across a case full of coins at a mall, or happen to be at a coin shop or show.

Have you seen one of these really cool coins?

Look at all of the different colors on glassware!

Pink, green, black and even red are only a few colors that you will see on glassware.  There are so many that it will make your head spin!  Here are some of the colors that you may have not heard of:

Jadeite—this is a type of glass for the table made of Jade-green opaque milk glass.  Jadeite was popular in the United States in the mid-20th century and has a blue variety that’s called “Azur-ite”.

MONAX—this is a translucent white glass that has a faint blue hue when held up to the light. This unique colored glass is sometimes mistaken as milk glass (which is whiter in color).

Ruby Flashed glass—this is created by coating a clear glass with one or more thin layers of colored glass (this is also known as flashed glass).  The colored glass can be either partly or completely etched away by using items like acid or sandblasting.  This results in spots where the colored glass has been removed.

This is a ridiculously small portion of all the colors that you will run across.  What have you seen?

Cardboard Store Displays

Just about every company that has ever existed, they have used some form of advertising.  In the age of the internet, you find tons of ads online.  Before the advent of the Internet, one of the best forms of advertising was with a store display.  Companies still use them today.  They are made out of just about any material that you can think of, but one of the more common materials to use as an advertising piece is cardboard.

Once the sale on a certain item was over, or even when an item is discontinued, the display is taken down and discarded.  Sometimes the displays are kept, either in the storeroom of the business, or the person running the store takes it home with them.

The great thing for collectors is that these displays are put up for sale after a while.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to the products that are advertised on a display.  It could be Jell-O, Duracell Batteries, or even Kodak Film.

Store displays can be great ways to decorate a room since many of them have more than one color printed on them.  The ways that you could come up with to show your collection of displays are just as unique as the store displays themselves.

What kinds of store displays have you run across?

To clean or not to clean, that is the question

One of the oldest questions in collecting is when to clean—or not to clean—an item.

Sometimes an item’s value will go up if it is cleaned, and other times the items value will go down.

Some items are perfectly fine to clean.  Costume jewelry, glassware, pottery, clothing from the 1970’s or the 1980’s, and even graniteware are perfect for this area.  A little research can go a long way with these items, though.  You need to find out what can and can’t be used on an item; cleaner can potentially do damage that can’t be undone.  Things like graniteware can be cleaned with oven cleaner, while cheap costume jewelry can be cleaned with toothpaste that has baking soda in it.  Even Alka-Seltzer can be used to clean jewelry.

There are some items that you should take to someone that knows what they are doing when it comes to cleaning.  Artwork, antique books, pricy jewelry (pieces that feature precious stones like diamonds), quilts or antique clothing, and quilting samplers are items that fall in this category.

When it comes to old furniture, silver, gold, modern coins, brass or even copper, make sure that these don’t get cleaned.  The best way to ruin the value of these items is to get out the cleaner.  Patina on these pieces is a great thing to have; it helps prove an items age and provenance.

A great way to start is to get an appraisal of the item.  This way you know what you have.  If the item is in fact valuable and in the need of a cleaning, you could ask the appraiser for a recommendation.

I think the best rule of thumb is that if you have any doubts about cleaning an item, don’t!  Once the original finish is gone, there’s no getting it back.

Have you ever cleaned an item that you wished you hadn’t?

A movie poster overview for the beginning collector

Just about anyone who walks by a movie theater will see at least one poster hanging in the window advertising what’s playing.  These posters will eventually come down when new movies are released.

From 1940 to 1984, the National Screen Service produced the posters for the film studios.  The theaters would return the posters to the NSS so that they could be sent to other theaters.  During this time, movies were kept in the theaters for several years.  Because the posters were sent out to several theaters, they were often in rough shape when they were finally pulled from circulation.

Movie posters come in so many different sizes and varieties, it can make your head spin like a cheap horror movie villain’s head!  Here’s a brief breakdown:

Lobby cards—these were popular in the 1910’s and 1920’s and are small advertisements for the movies.  Lobby cards were usually produced in a set of 8 and hung all around the lobby of a theater (this is how they got their name),  and they tended to be black and white scenes from the movie that were often hand-tinted with some color.   These were discontinued in 1985 in the United States.  This type is very collectible for the fact that they are small–usually 11 inches by 14 inches or 8 inches by 10 inches.  They don’t require much display space.


Teaser Poster—these were sent to a theater to advertise a movie that was about to be released.  This type of poster is also known as an advance poster.  There really wasn’t too much information put on the poster.  It had the title, some of the people starring in the movie, and sometimes even a tagline for the movie.  Teaser poster sometimes were released way in advance of the movie to drive up hype, but occasionally funding ran short, and the project was shelved.  It would pay off to see if the movie was actually made if you buy a teaser poster.  Even if the movie was shelved, it could be more valuable if it featured a now-famous actor or director in one of their first movies.

Character Poster—this poster highlights one character from a movie currently playing.  Often, these are character’s the public is already familiar with (the movie releasing can often be a sequel or part of a series).  For example, a character poster features Freddie Krueger from the Nightmare On Elm Street, or even Jason Voorhees of the Friday The 13th movies.

As with any collectible, be sure to do your research.  Posters are often reprinted if the movie is a smash hit (like Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, or even The Wizard Of OZ).  You could pick up the reprints at quite a few major retailers, or even online.  When you have an authentic poster, especially from one of these areas, they can really have some good value.

What kinds of movie posters would you proudly display on your wall?

The not-so-famous furniture styles

There are the ultra-famous styles of furniture that everyone knows about (like Chippendale, Hepplewhite, or even Victorian) but did you know that there were quite a few styles that often were around with the more famous counterparts that are just not that well known?

The first one that I heard about that is like this is called DIRECTORIE.  It ran from 1795 to about 1804 and ran the same time as the Sheraton and Duncan Phyfe styles (the Duncan Phyfe style is also called the Federal Style).  Following the French Revolution, France was ruled by five directors.  Any and all signs of royalty were thrown out the window, and furniture design was controlled by a Jury Of Arts and Manufactures.  Greek, Roman, and even Egyptian influences are strong with the DIRECTORIE style.

The next style is called EASTLAKE and it ran from about 1879 to 1895.  It ran the same time that Late French Provincial and the Victorian Styles were going on.  This style was created by Charles Eastlake and achieved some popularity here in America and in England as well.  The style had some Gothic flair going on and had some Japanese ornamentation as well.  Cherry and Fruit were extensively used in the furniture of this style and had tile panels and conspicuous hardware that were used for decoration.

This is only a small portion of all the fantastic styles that I’ve heard of that really aren’t that well-known.  What kinds of styles have you heard of?

What are some items that you may not run across in a kitchen anymore?

The home kitchen is a place that you can find quite a few different items.  Over the years, there have been many items that have fallen out of favor for one reason or another.  It could be that a better version of an item that came out previously or it could be that a manufacturer introduced a completely new method to cook, chill or store an item.

What are some items that you may not run across in a kitchen anymore?

Butter Churns—this is a device that takes cream and turns it into butter.  There are several different types that you will find on the market—the first has a plunger inside that goes up and down while another is a hand crank that is attached to paddles on the inside.  I have also seen a barrel type that is on a stand that turns a good amount of cream.

hand crank churn photo courtesy of WIkipedia.com
plunger churn photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com
Barrel churn photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com

Crockery Pots—this item is for storage and it comes in a wide variety of sizes that could easily be stored on a table or shelf to one that holds several gallons.  You can find them usually with a number on them on how much they can hold.  This item was slowly phased out with metal and eventually plastic replacing them.

photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com

Cream Separators—this device does what the name says—it separates the cream from the milk.  This device was seen quite a bit on a farm in the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s.  Milk is now separated in industrial dairies.

photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com

This is only a few of the items that are not used anymore.  What items like these have you run across?