A little history for the 1925 Broadmoor Polo Association Foxhall Keene Trophy Pitcher

Several years ago, I happened across this wonderful trophy that is in the shape of a pitcher at a local flea market.  When I first saw it on the shelf, I didn’t see the engraving on the side of it.  When I read what it said, I got to wondering about who Foxhall Keene was and what exactly what the Broadmoor was as well.

The first thing to do is to look at the pitcher itself.  It was made by the Wilcox Silverplate Company, and it dates to somewhere between the 1910’s and the 1920’s.  This helps solidify the date that’s on the pitcher, so the next thing to do is to figure out what the Broadmoor was.

Just what was or is the Broadmoor?  The Broadmoor is a hotel and resort that’s located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  The original hotel is Broadmoor Main, and it was built in 1918.  The resort has had hockey and golf championships, and there’s even polo that is played there.

There’s only one question left for this trophy—who in the world is Foxhall Keene?

Foxhall Keene was quite the competitor.  He was a golfer who competed in the U.S. Open, an amateur tennis player, and he was also a pioneer race car driver who vied for the Gordon Bennett Cup (this was a racing cup that ran from 1900 to 1905 with several clubs racing for it).

Not only did he do all of this, he was also an American thoroughbred race horse owner and breeder.  To top it off, he was a world and Olympic gold medalist in polo.  Not only that, but he was also rated the best all-around polo player in the United States for eight consecutive years.

And that’s where the trophy comes into play.  When the Broadmoor started to play polo at the resort, they named this trophy after Foxhall Keene because he was so accomplished in polo.

It’s always fun for me to find out what the history of a piece is, just like this trophy.  What kinds of finds have you run across that you have found out the history of?

When it comes to selling an item online, how do you know how to price it?

Not too long ago, you purchased an item that you were wanting to list online and try to sell.  You have some terrific pictures of it and even a killer description of the item to post in the listing.  There is one thing that you are now starting to mull over—what kind of price do I put on it?

An easy thing to do is to do a general google search for it.  This way you can get a good range on not only what it is listed for sale online, but what it sells for as well.

Another thing that you can do is to ask a fellow dealer and see if they have sold a similar item.  One thing to keep in mind is if the dealer thinks that they can make a profit on it, they might make you an offer on your item.

The third way that you can find a price for your item is to do a little bit of math—I have seen a LOT of people take the price that they paid for the item and double it (if you paid $10 for it you would charge $20 with this method).  I have seen people use this method myself and it works (especially if I really can’t find a comparable item online or if I am talking to another dealer).

This is a few of the tricks to keep in mind when you are trying to get a price for an item you are going to sell online.  What kind of tricks have you heard of?

It happened in 1947

It happened on April 15th, 1947, and it happened to be a Tuesday.  The first day of Major League Baseball is a day that people always look forward to, but this year was special.  Spring was in the air, the smell of hot dogs was wafting around, and Jackie Robinson was making his Major League debut.

When Jackie Robinson took the field on this day, he became the first African American to play baseball in the majors.  He succeeded in every way possible, and he eventually found his way to Cooperstown (this is the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame).

When it comes to the collectibles area that features either Jackie’s name or likeness, it is very wide-ranging.  It includes everything from hats to jerseys, ads or even bats and gloves (this doesn’t even begin to cover how much is out there).

One of the areas that is very sought-after are baseball cards.  Not only are they easy to store, but they can also command a very pretty penny.

The downside of the collectibles that feature Jackie Robinson is that there are plenty of reproductions or fantasy pieces on the market that you will run across.  You need to do your homework to see what an authentic piece looks like so that you don’t get taken for a ride.

One of the best ways to tell if the card pictured above is authentic is to look for the TOPPS copyright information on the card.  One of the best areas to find it is on the back of the card where the players stats are.  Another way is to look at the paper stock that the card was made of.  For 1956, TOPPS used paper stock that had no sheen to it, and the card itself is a little bigger than modern cards.  If you have a question about a certain card, lay a modern card over it to compare the sizes.

The picture above shows what to look for about the size differences on the cards.

What kind of Jackie Robinson collectibles have you run across?

What are some questions to ask when you decide to sell an item?

When you are going to sell an item online or in person, there are going to be times when you will need to ask some questions.

Here are some of the questions that you should ask:

Are there fees that I must pay when I sell my items and how much are they?  This is a good question to ask, especially when you sell an item online.  There are fees when you sell an item online, and I have seen the fees be anywhere from 4% to 16% of the final selling price of the item.

Are there any restrictions on the item that I am about to sell and what are they?  The first two items that I know of that have restrictions on them are ivory and Brazilian Rosewood.  Both have been over harvested to the point where both are almost extinct.  To get a good idea on what else the selling site restricts, visit either the FAQ section or SELLER SECTION of their website.

Will I have to pay rent on a space that I want to set up at a local antique store or swap meet?  Yes, you will.  The rent will depend on the location that you want to be at.  I have seen rent be anywhere from as little as $20 at a local swap meet and around $130 to be the average cost of a booth at an antique store.

This is just a handful of the questions that you will hear when you start to sell items.  What are some of the questions that you have heard?

Simple photography tips for vintage jewelry items

One of the first things that I have learned while selling things online is that taking pictures of the item you are going to sell is one of the most important things to do.  When it comes to photographs of jewelry, simple tips can really help make your piece really stand out.

Here are some tips to remember when you are taking some photographs of jewelry:

When it comes to taking the phot itself, you don’t need the most expensive camera on the market.  There are some really good digital point and shoot cameras out there—if you have access to a DSLR camera you could also use that too.  Another great way to take photos is with your smartphone (you can even list the item while you are at it with the selling app on your phone).

Take the time to steady the camera that you are using.  Putting it on a flat area like a chair or even using a tripod can help keep your photos in focus especially when you are zooming in on the item.

Another thing to remember is that your jewelry should be clean when you take photos of it.  There have been times that I thought I could skip giving the piece a quick polish before I took some photographs.  Boy was I wrong!  The second I looked at the photos that I just took is when I found smudges on the piece of jewelry (and wow, did it look bad!).

Any piece of jewelry will look a million times better if you take some time on how the background looks behind the piece of jewelry.  A ring holder, a piece of colored felt, and even a marble slab will make your jewelry really stand out.

This is a small handful of tips to remember when it comes to taking photographs of jewelry.  What tips have you found that works great?

What happened in the year 1880?

When I am on the internet looking for some info about an item that I just bought, I often run across things that happened during a certain year.  It’s always fun for me to see what I run across; I never know what I might find.

Here are a few things that I have run across that happened in the year 1880:

January 3 was when Francis Brown, the Irish Jesuit priest that became famous for the last photos of the doomed luxury liner RMS Titanic, was born on this date.

February 2 saw the first electric streetlight get installed in Wabash, Indiana.

March 31 was when Wabash, Indiana become the very first electrically lit city in the world.

November 4 was the day that the first cash register was patented.  It was patented by James and John Ritty of Dayton, Ohio.  They called it “Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier”.

1880 also saw The British Perforated Paper Company debut a new item called toilet paper.  Not only that, but the English Inventor John Milne also create the modern seismograph.

This is just a handful of what came about in the year 1880.  What are some of the things that you have heard about?

Where are some of the strange places that you have found inventory to sell?

When it comes to finding inventory, the best rule of thumb is to keep your eyes open.  You never know where you will find something—it could be anywhere from the trunk of a Honda to a Church.

One weird place that I got some inventory was a neighbor’s trash can—a person was throwing away a TOMS countertop wire rack.  Another neighbor down the street from me was going to throw away a movie card that I asked if I could have (and I still have it).

Countless sheds, outbuildings and barns have also had many things that I have bought.  Make sure you even check the rafters of these buildings.

There was also the out of business grocery store.  There was a local auction company that was having a sale there—you could still see that the meat department still stocked with its slicer and tables there.  It was interesting to see all of that when I bought a wood Hayward Wakefield table at the sale.

One of the strangest places that I found a piece to sell is a chicken coup—it had a 4-foot tall by 8-foot-long enamel Coca Cola sign inside.

What was the strangest place that I have ever bought something out of?  It was a haunted house that was on the back of a person’s property.

This is a small handful of strange places that I have bought inventory to sell.  Where are some strange places that you have bought inventory at?

What are some things to think about when you are beginning to sell online?

When you are beginning to sell items online, there is so many things to think about.  Here are a few of them that you will run across pretty fast:

One thing to do is to choose a venue to sell on.  Etsy, eBay and Ruby Lane are three of the more popular ones to sell on, but it doesn’t have to be just these.  You could run across a site that works the best for you.

Another thing to think about is what you are going to stock your shop with.  It could be anything from comic books to DVDs to jewelry—it does not matter what it is.

Who pays for the shipping cost of the item need to be figured out before you make your first sale  Free shipping is commonplace now a days, but there will be times that the buyer will need to pick up the cost.

When you get you shop up and running and you have some items listed, you will need to think about how you are going to promote everything.  Will it be by promoting the shop through social media sites or will it be by paying for advertising that is provided through websites like Etsy and eBay?

This is only a handful of items that you need to think about when you sell online, especially when you first start out.  What things have you run across?

ITEM HIGHLIGHT: 1920’s Trident Water Meter by the Neptune Water Meter Company

While I was shopping one day, I happened to see this item.  At first, I didn’t even know what it was—it was so cool that I had to check it out. 

I started looking at it and my mind was blown—and then I saw what the lid had to say.  I saw that the lid states it is the Trident Water Meter by the Neptune Meter Company!

The meter has the original folding cover or lid that covers a white gauge with black lettering, and the gauge reads 10 GALLONS at the bottom.

 The meter is made of either cast iron or brass (the meter has been painted a light blue at some point).  It dates to about the 1920’s and it has very little wear.  An interesting point about this is that the meter is pretty tall at 6 ½ inches—I think that it was being used somewhere like a basement of a house at some point.

Not only is it an interesting conversation piece, but it would also be a fun addition to any mancave or desk.

You can see this terrific item in my Etsy shop here, head on over and check it out!

Paper advertising comes in all forms

Advertisers have always relied on colorful product labels, magazine and broadside advertising, and even giveaways to promote their products.  Periodical ads contain colorful product illustrations so that buyers can readily recognize a particular brand and model.

Collecting paper ads is an excellent way to document changing tastes.  Our social and technical history can be traced through the products offered in the ads of the time.

Pries vary with posters and signs being the most expensive.  Bookmarks, trading cards, and magazine ads are often affordable for the beginning collector.

The ads can even be used to decorate around the house.  You could even be creative about it as well; you can display ads for kitchen items in the kitchen and even ads for kid’s toys in a child’s room.

What ads have you run across that you could not do without?