A little research can go a long way!

Several years ago, I was shopping at one of the local antique malls that is in the area that I live.  I happened onto something that could be worth some money.  The item that I ran across happened to be a large shaker or even a hat pin holder by R. S. Suhl.

With the price being right (and there being a little wear present on the bottom of the shaker), I went ahead and bought it.  When I went to find out what I could about the mark so that I could list it online, there was a little voice in the back of my head that was saying something was not right.

After a few minutes of searching online, I found a shaker just like the one that I just bought.  I was so thrilled to find it!  I started to read what was posted online about it, and sure enough that little voice was right—the shaker was indeed a fake.

What was the lesson I learned?  A little research and knowledge can go a long way in life.

Have you found something like this that turned out to be a fake after you bought it?

Beginner’s tips for attending estate sales

You have decided to take the plunge and attend an estate sale that is nearby.  You have one in mind, but what are some tips to remember for when you go?

Dress comfortably—when attending a sale, it’s a good idea to wear comfortable shoes.  There can be a good amount of walking to and from the sale, and even at the sale itself.

Have something to pack with—the sale that you attend may not have anything for you to pack your purchases with, so it is a good idea to bring some bags or a couple of boxes to put your items in.

Don’t be shy—there will be a time that you may not know what an item is, or you may even want to talk to someone about a price.  The people that are holding the sale will be more than willing to help, so feel free to talk to them.

Bring a measuring tape—this might sound a bit silly, but there have been times a measuring tape has been handy.  There have been times when I need to know the size of something like a picture frame and I even used it to see if an item would fit into my car.

This is a very small amount of tips to remember for when you attend an estate sale.  What tips have you run across?

Wow, what a great advertising calendar top!

Calendars have been used for many years to advertise anything from cars to musical instruments.  There are quite a few items that are featured on calendars, and there are just as many calendar designs as well.

One design of calendars that you will run across is a calendar top with a pad attached to it with a small sheet of paper that tells you what month and year it is.  The calendar pad will be replaced over the years while you keep the top.  Part of this type of design can be seen on this terrific calendar top advertising the Greisedieck Brothers Beer Company.

When the Griesedieck Brothers Beer Company produced this calendar, they used a print by Rolf Armstrong on it.  The print was titled, “Dreamy Eyes” and was originally produced in the 1920’s.  Rolf Armstrong’s work was featured on many things from magazine covers to even mugs, and they are very collectible in themselves.

The other great thing that this calendar has going for it is the size of it.  It’s 15 inches wide by 19 ¾ inches long, so not only does it not take up a lot of room it also can fit into a standard size frame.

This is one of the many types of calendar designs and motifs that you can run across.  What kinds of advertising calendars have you run across?

Famous Shipwrecks that have inspired collections

Pottery, glassware, and enamel signs are some of the areas that people collect.  Did you know that one of the areas of collecting are items from shipwrecks? 

The Titanic has produced highly sought-after collectibles (like items used on the ship as well as ads for the ship) while the Atocha is known for the gold and silver coins that were on it.  One of the ships that you may not think of is the SS Central America.

On Thursday, September 3 in the year 1857, the SS Central America (a side-wheel steamer ship) left the port city of Aspinwall (located in Panama on the Atlantic Ocean side of the country).  The ship then made a stop in Havanna on Monday September the 7th.  The next morning, the ship continued onward towards its destination of New York City.

On September the 9th, the ship encountered a tropical storm.  By Friday, the weather went from bad to just plain mean.  The ship was in the grips of a hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas.  On Saturday the 12th of September, the ship was hit with a wave and slipped beneath the surface of the ocean.

Why is this ship so important?  The cargo of this ship was valued at the time of the sinking at $2 million dollars in gold coins and bars from San Fransisco (which was 10 tons of just gold).

This ship is sometimes called “The Ship of Gold”.  Many books have been written about the ship, along with the recovery and sale of the coins and bars.


Many collectors covet the coins of the SS Central America, and coin collectors still actively look for pieces from the shipwreck to add to their collections (even well after the sale of the cargo in the year 2000).

Over 7,000 gold coins were recovered from the shipwreck, and most of them are the $20 gold Double Eagle from the San Francisco mint.  Because of the discovery of the SS Central America, this type of gold coin is a little more available to collectors due to the amount that was found.

What other famous events or people have you heard of inspiring a new way to collect items?

Wisdom Lane Antiques Item Highlight: Scenes Of Washington DC Souvenir Tumbler

The latest item highlight from Wisdom Lane Antiques is this terrific silverplate souvenir tumbler.

The tumbler features several terrific scenes of Washington DC, and two of the scenes on it are The White House and Mount Vernon.

It is also dated May 7, 1901 on the bottom of the tumbler.  Not only that, the tumbler is also marked GERMANY.

This terrific souvenir tumbler can be seen in my shop on Etsy here.  Head on over and check it out!

What happened in 1792?

It’s always fun to find out what happened in a year, especially if you are a vintage and antiques lover.  Since you are always looking around to find out what happened during the time that a piece in your collection was made, you will quickly run across tons of facts.  Here’s a few that I have run across recently:

On February 20th, The Postal Service Act was signed by George Washington.  This established the United States Post Office–and not to mention all of the great stamps that collectors look for.

The 20th of March saw a new capital of North Carolina and county seat of the newly formed Wake County.  This was after North Carolina State Senator and surveyor William Christmas submits his design for the city.  A few months later, the capital is named Raleigh in honor of Sir Walter Raleigh.

On April 2nd, The Coinage Act is passed.  This Act established the United States Mint—it also led to the production of the half cent, cent, half disme (or half dime), dime, quarter, half dollar and even the dollar coin.  The were even gold coins with a $2.50, $5 and even $10 face value.

What kind of fun facts have you run across?

What are some tips for the beginning antique dealer?

You have attended auctions and estate sales and have even headed out to flea markets, antique malls and even some garage sales.  Now you have decided to take the plunge and start to sell vintage and collectible items.

What are some things to remember when it comes to selling off some of the deals that you have found along the way?

If you are selling an electronic item like a video game console, see if it is possible to test the item.  If it does, you can get a little more money for it.  Not only that, you can also give any potential customer more confidence about it if they want to buy it.

If you are going to be selling items for a good amount of time, you need to keep an eye open to see what is selling and what’s not.  This way you don’t spend hard earned money on items that have the potential of never selling or taking a long time to do so.

Condition is the biggest hurdle to cross when it comes to making sales.  I have seen people walk away from an item if the item is broken or has missing pieces.

This is a few things to remember when you are beginning to sell items.  What are some of the tips that you have run across?

How do you know if the piece you have is truly rare?

One of the words that I hear a lot when I am shopping at a local flea market or even on the internet is the word “rare”.  What goes into labeling an item rare?

The first thing to consider is how many pieces were originally made.  The fewer the items that were made means that there are not as many on the secondary market.

Materials that an item is made of will help drive rarity.  For example, enamelware will have quite a few common items, and one of the collectible areas for enamelware is called “End Of The Day”.  These pieces were literally made at the end of the workday and have at least 3 different colors on them.  The employees that produced this type of item used up the excess materials that were left after a full day’s work.  With this, there will be some interesting color combinations on different pieces.

Another thing to consider is how often an item is used.  This could be a toy that is played with or even a piece of jewelry that is worn.  The more an item is used, the more wear and tear (and even damage) can occur.  It is harder to find an item that is used every day that’s in excellent or even mint shape.

Items like clothing, glassware or even pottery are going to be more fragile.  This will lead to chips, moth holes, cracks, or even rips and tears.  Damage like this will help drive up the price of the good examples.

Handmade pieces also tend to be rare as well.  This is a wide range of items that include autographs, paintings, tramp art, and even furniture.  Because they are handmade (rather than mass produced items), they are one-of-a-kind pieces.  Collectors are often willing to pay more for an item they love that they will never see again!

We all know that plenty of homework helps uncover what items are truly rare!  What kinds of rarities are you on the hunt for?

What are some glass terms that you will run across?

Whenever you go out to an antique mall, flea market or even an auction, you will hear some terminology that describes areas of collecting.

Here are a few words that you will run across when you hear people talk about glass:

Frosting—this is a matte finish that is produced by exposing the glass item to fumes of hydrofluoric acid.  This is also a small patch of surface cracks by weathering.

Ice glass—this is a decorative effect that causes the surface of the glass to resemble cracked ice.  This is accomplished by plunging a piece of hot glass into cold water as quick as possible.  This process creates a finish to the glass that resembles cracks.

Luster—this shiny metallic effect is made by painting the surface of the glass item with metallic oxides that is dissolved in acid and mixed with an oily medium.  The item is fired in oxygen free conditions which cause the metal to deposit a distinctive shiny surface after it is cleaned.

Opal glass—this is a glass item that looks like an opal being translucent and white, and it has a grayish or bluish tinge to it.

This is a small look at some of the words that you will hear about glassware.  What are some of the words you ran across?

What happened in 1965?

Whenever I am looking for information on an item that I bought, there are times that I run across some tidbits of what happened during a certain year.

Here are a few of the things that I ran across for the year of 1965:

September 25 saw The Tom & Jerry carton series make its world broadcast premiere on CBS.

The Pillsbury Doughboy was introduced on November 7, 1965.

The Television shows HOGAN’S HEROES, THE DATING GAME and LOST IN SPACE made their debut in 1965.

The famous Gateway Arch that is based in St. Louis, Missouri was completed in October of 1965.

This is a small portion of what happened during the 1965 year.  What are some of the things that happened that you heard of?