What are some things to remember when you go shopping for antiques?

Whenever you go shopping for antiques, there are always a few things that you need to remember.  The first thing that you need to keep in mind is what kind of budget that you have.  What I do so that I don’t go over my budget is to write down on a piece of paper how much my bill will be.

Another thing to remember is to keep an idea (or even a list) on what you are looking for.  It could be a lamp for your living room, a carburetor for your Indian motorcycle or even a Morgan dollar for your coin collection.  I often look in reference books or on the internet to see how much the item that I am looking for will cost so that I know what to expect to pay.

The next thing that I do is to figure out where I would like to go.  You may have several antique stores, flea markets and even swap meets that are pretty close to home, so you could hit several of them in one day.

The last thing to do is to throw a box or a sack into your car or truck.  It might sound silly, but I have one when I go shopping—you may be at something like a garage sale or even a swap meet and need to pack something in it.

The best rule of thumb of all is to have fun!

Advertisements

What are some things to consider when it comes to restoring an item?

When do you restore an item?  Do you leave it well enough alone or do you restore it?  These are questions that you will hear when you are dealing antiques and collectibles, and it can be kind of hard to know what to do.

The first thing to know is how much the item is worth—both in its current form and what it will be worth after the restoration.  An effective way to do that is to get an appraisal on the item.  Ask the appraiser to give you an appraisal on both before and after values to see if it is worth it to restore the item.

If the item’s value will go up after the restoration, you need to keep in mind on what the item is.  If it’s something that you don’t feel comfortable restoring yourself (like a rug or a painting), then you will need to find a good conservator to help you out.

Be careful though—restoring an item could get to be a very expensive proposition.  I’ve seen restorations go from as little as $500 (for a painting) to well over $50,000 (for a car).  To help figure out what it will cost to restore your item, I would contact people who do restorations to get an estimate on what to expect.

The last thing to consider is if you want to do the restoration or to just do a few simple repairs to the item—after all, all the item may need is a good cleaning and one or two new items on it.

What are some things to consider when you attend an auction?

When you are attending an auction, you need to be aware of what’s going on—especially when you go to pay for the items you bid on.  There are some things to consider, and it could potentially add quite a bit to your bill.

The first thing to consider is that there could be sales tax added to the bill.  The amount of tax really depends on the state that the item was bought in.

Another thing to consider is that the auction house might have added fees when you buy there.  I’ve seen these fees range from 10% all the way up to 30% of the final auction price.

I have seen auction houses have an auction in a certain location and allow bidders overseas to bid on an item.  If you buy an item that’s overseas (especially in Europe and India), there could be restrictions and laws that prohibit you from shipping the item to the United States.

If it’s possible to ship an item from overseas, not only will you have to pay to ship the item, you could also need a special license to ship it here.  One country that I know of that states you have this license is Spain (and it could take a couple of months to get your item).

Another thing to consider are Paypal or credit card transaction fees, which can quickly be racked up on how much you buy.

So, when buying at an auction, it always pays to do a little homework on what is going on.  If you still have questions about something, it also pays to ask questions.

What kind of taxes and fees have you run across when you went to buy an item?

Terms to help new collectors of pottery

When I started to buy and sell pottery, there were some terms that I picked up pretty fast that I use quite often.  These terms are pretty common and help describe the manufacturing process of the piece.  Here’s some of the terms:

Pinholes—these are faults in the surface of a ceramic body (or even the glaze) that resemble pin pricks.  These are not very big at all, and there is usually no other damage around them.  Air bubbles are the most common culprit that causes these.

Bloating—this is the permanent swelling of a ceramic piece during the firing in a kiln.  It’s caused by the expansion of gases like air not being able to escape out of the piece.

Iron oxide—this is a common oxide in glazes and some clays that generally gives the item a reddish color.

Biscuit pottery—this is also called Bisque pottery.  This is pottery that has been fired, but no glaze has been applied to the piece.

This is only a few of the terms out there.  What have you heard?

The auction that you attended is over. Now what?

The auction that you attended is now over, and you have everything that you bid on and won during the auction packed up.  What exactly do you do now?

The first thing that needs to be done is to pay for what you bought.  More often than not, you will pay for everything at the same place that you got your bidder’s number.  The person that assigns you your bidder’s number gets a sheet from the auctioneer that states what was sold and for how much it went for.

This sheet will be separated out by the bidder’s number written down on it so they can have all the buyers pay for the right items.

After you pay, you now get to take everything home and make any repairs if there are any to be made.  Once that’s done, you now get to take the items to your booth, list them online for sale, or even add them to your collection.

You can see what to do when you first arrive at an auction here.  What kinds of great finds have you run across at an auction?

It’s a WORLD ON WHEELS!

world on wheels

When you start to collect trading cards, there are two main areas that they are divided into.  The first is sports trading cards, and these feature cards from all the different types of sports–hockey, baseball, golf and football are just a few of the sports.

The other main area is what’s called non sports cards.  This area is everything that does not fall into the sports category.  There are sets that consist of birds, movie stars (and even movie themselves), radio stars, and even vehicles.

The non sports card area is where you find this great set called the WORLD ON WHEELS.

The TOPPS card company produced this card set, and the WORLD ON WHEELS set ran from 1953 to 1955.  The set consists of 180 cards, and numbers 1 through 170 can be found with a red back.  Numbers 171 through 180 can be found with both a red back and a blue back.

Interestingly, a set title of just WHEELS was on the packaging, but the name WORLD ON WHEELS has caught on over the years.

This set has a wide variety of vehicles on the cards, and they really are all over the place.  There are cars from the early 1900’s like a Pierce Great Arrow Touring Car from 1905 all the way to the cars from the 1950’s like a Hudson Wasp from 1953.

It’s not just just cars that are featured in the set, there are vehicles like the Diamond T concrete mixer and the Straddle Lumber Truck.

What I like about the set is that when you get done finding all the cards is that you can say that you have assembled a massive 180 car collection!

You can see some of the WORLD ON WHEELS cards in my Etsy shop here.  As a matter of fact, you can see all of the cards in my Etsy shop here.  Have you ever run across anything like this?

Storage ideas for your collection

Where and how do I store my collection?  This can be a tough question to answer, especially if you are new to the collecting world.  Here are some ideas for you to consider for storage.

The first one to consider is what type of collection that you have.  If you are trying to put a set of dishes together, you can get a china hutch or cabinet.  These are more than big enough to store a set of dishes, and the great thing is that you can show it off as well.

If you have an advertising collection, it all depends on how big the pieces are.  If it’s signs, you can display them either leaning against or on the wall itself.  If the pieces are smaller, you could have them on something like a book shelf.

If the collection is something like trading cards (like baseball or football), you can get some pages that hold them and store them in a three-ring binder.  If you had the cards graded and they are encapsulated, there are storage boxes that can hold them.  You could even get a vintage box that’s made of metal or wood to put them in as well.

There are many ways to store your collection.  How do you store yours?

Sulfide marbles—what exactly are they?

Cats Eye, Steelies, and Latticino Core are all different types of marbles that you’ll run across.  One of my favorite type of marble is what’s called a Sulfide.

Sulfide marbles were made from the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s.  More often than not, they are the size of a shooter.  This type of marble is made of glass with a chalk inside–and that piece comes in a wide variety of shapes from an animals, buildings, people, flowers and even numbers.

Sulphide Shooter Marble With Lamb

The most common type of glass that you’ll see is clear, but different colors like green and blue have been found.

There are some things that you need to remember when you are either starting to collect these.  Since this was a shooter (and sulfides were actually played with), there is a very good chance that there will be some surface chips or cracks in the marble.

Another thing to remember is that the chalk piece was inserted into molten glass when these were made.  The chalk piece stands a good chance of breaking in half when the marble is made.

Beware though—there are modern varieties of sulfides out on the market.  It’s easy to tell the old from the new marbles when you are looking at them.  The quality of the glass and chalk figure are of a better quality on the new marbles.  Pay attention to the chalk piece itself—it’s almost always painted on the new ones too.

What kinds of Sulfide marbles have you run across?

The crazy world of coin collecting and its vocabulary

When I started collecting coins when I was younger, I found out that the crazy thing about it was the vocabulary.  It’s the craziest thing that I have ever heard—there’s about Good and about uncirculated (which are both terms that you use to grade a coin).  There’s even a matte proof, an inverted date, and even a hub.

Here’s some more words that will make your head spin:

Bag mark—these are marks on a coin that occur when coins bump into each other.  This could happen when they are placed in bags at the mint or being moved in the bag. Larger size coins typically exhibit more bag marks than smaller ones due to their size.

Rim—this is the raised edge of a coin that’s created by a machine called the upsetting mill. The idea of a rim is that if the edge on both sides of the coin is raised as high as the design it will help protect the coins design from wear.  This way the coin can be in circulation a little longer without being replaced.

Walker—this is a nick name for the United States Walking Liberty Half dollar.  The design was made between 1916 and 1947, and this is thought by some to be one of the US most beautiful coin designs. The current American Silver Eagles that United States makes have the same design on their obverse.

These are just a few of the terms that I’ve heard over the years.  What have you heard?

Hey, that’s a cool Eastman Kodak Photography Studio Scale!

Photography is an area that has a huge amount of collectible items.  It could be cameras or even the photographs themselves.  Companies even produced glass containers that held the chemicals to develop the photographs, and even these containers are sought after to decorate with.

But what about collecting and decorating with something like a studio scale?

scale

One of the companies that produced a scale like this was EASTMAN KODAK.  EASTMAN KODAK made this terrific photography studio scale from 1912 to 1948.  It was made to help you weigh exactly how much chemicals you needed when you were developing your photos.

The reason you needed to weigh the chemicals because they were stored separately from each other.  This was to help keep everything as fresh as possible (and to help you you use only what you needed).

This scale would look terrific on any desk, or even with other photographic equipment!  You can see this terrific scale in my Etsy shop here.

What other types of photographic collectibles have you run across?