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?

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?

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?

Tips to remember when you are buying inventory

When you are new to the world of buying and selling, you may not know where to buy inventory for your business.  What are some tips to remember when you are out and about looking for deals?

It might sound like I’m pulling your leg, but I keep an eye out for inventory wherever I am.  You never know where you might be when an item might turn up.  I have literally found items that people are giving away by the curb of a street that I have turned around and sold.

Carry pocket change—it can be a life saver.  When the summer rolls around, I throw a couple dollars’ worth of change in my pocket.  It is always welcome by the people running the sale.

Poke around online.  You can find cheap inventory for sale, even with the shipping added in.  You can also look online at websites like Craigslist for items that might be for sale that you could pick up and then sell.

This is just a handful of things to remember when it comes to buying inventory for you to sell.  What tips have you run across?

Stamp vocabulary for the beginning collector

Whenever you start a collection, you will quickly hear some interesting terms and phrases.  There are a ton of them that you will hear, and here are a few of them when it comes to the world of stamps:

Centering—this is the relative position of the design in relation to the margins.  This is one of the important factors when it comes to grade and value.

Pair—this is  two stamps that are still connected and have not been separated.

Dummy stamp—these are officially produced stamps that are imitations of the real thing.  This is to train employees or to test the machines that dispense the stamps automatically.  These are either blank or carry special inscriptions to distinguish them from the real thing.

This is only a few of the terms and phrases that you will hear in the world of stamp collecting.  What have you heard?

Weeding out the reproductions

Homeowners this time of year begin to get rid of lawn weeds in hopes of having a lush green yard.  Likewise, shoppers need to learn to “weed out” those items which typically show up on flea market and antique shelves this time of the year.

Weeds are what I like to call reproductions, and they can be quite convincing.

It could be an advertising sign that is rusted and looks to be ever so real.  Damage to the corners, fading to the paint, and even dents are all applied to a brand-new sign to help make it look older than it is.

There’s glassware on the market that copies Depression Glass and art glass patterns.  It is so convincing that the pattern and the color are the spitting image of the old items.  There are some manufacturers that have figured out how to make a piece of glass “glow” in a black light like the old stuff without using Uranium.

Brass imports such as spittoons or candle holders already come with tarnishing.  Wooden boxes and furniture furniture that is hammered, faded and well-used are also plentiful without much looking around.

So, buyer beware and do your homework!  You can never have too much information when it comes to antiques—it always comes in handy.

What’s in a maker’s mark on pottery?

There’s a ton of pottery out on the market that you will run across, but how do you know what’s what?  And how do you read the mark on the bottom of the piece to know what you have in your hands?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are looking at a mark:

A maker’s mark will run a wide variety on how much information it will give you.  It could be just the name of the name of the company, or it could be loaded with information like the Frank Beardmore piece pictured above.  Since 1891, all pottery that is made to be exported (especially into the United States), it must be stamped with a country of origin near the maker’s label.

With artist’s being hired on by the pottery companies to hand paint some items, the artist could sign their name to the piece as well.  I have seen an artist signature to either the bottom of the piece or on the side of the piece (I would look near the bottom of the piece to see if the artist signed there).

There are times that the name of the pattern is written on the bottom of the piece as well.  The Frank Beardmore creamer’s pattern is called “A Sussex Homeland” and the name of the pattern is listed at the top of the mark on this piece.

A good tip to remember is that the marks on pottery are not that hard to decipher; it just takes about a minute to figure out how the maker laid out the mark.

What kinds of pottery have you found something out by looking at the mark?

What are some do’s and don’ts when attending an estate sale?

You have decided to go to an estate sale that is near where you live.  You are all ready to go, but what are some do’s and don’t to remember when you attend the estate sale?

Do look everywhere.  This includes the attic, the shed and even the garage—I have found valuable items hiding in weird spots.

Don’t block driveways, other houses mailboxes or even fire hydrants.  The best thing to remember is to be considerate of other people.

Do double check the final tally of your bill before you check out.  This way you have enough cash so you can buy everything that you want.

Don’t shop from the “Hold” area.  During the estate sale, there will be an area near the cash register that shoppers can store their items that they are going to buy.  These items are considered sold, and I have seen people get very protective of the items that are on this shelf.

This is a small list of things to remember when you attend an estate sale.  What are some of the do’s and don’ts that you have heard of for an estate sale?

Wow, what an interesting beer can!

The aluminum beer can made it’s debut in the late 1950’s and was introduced by the Hawaii Brewing Company.  Since then, pretty much every brewing company has caught on and started to use them.  Coors, Pabst Blue Ribbon and even Budweiser are some of the products that have been packed into this type of can.

Did you know that there have been errors along the way?  Upside down labels and the lid missing the pop top are common errors, and I bet that I can produce an error that you have never seen—the label on the inside of the can!

As you can kind of see in the picture is that this is a Pabst Blue Ribbon can.  When this can was made, there was a production error that caused the label to be on the inside of the can.

You can also see that there is no damage anywhere to the can, and it can still hold liquid.  The crazy thing about this can is that it is the same size and holds the normal 12 ounces.

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

I have personally never seen an error like this.  Have you ever run across one similar?

What information is put on a maker’s mark for pottery?

There is a ton of pottery out on the market, how do you know what’s what?  And how do you read the mark on the bottom of the piece to know what you have in your hands?

Figuring out the mark on pottery is pretty easy.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are looking at a mark:

*With artists being hired on by the pottery companies to hand paint some items, the artist would sign their name to the piece as well.  Collectors not only collect certain pottery lines, they also look for a certain artist.  A word of advice on this though—if the piece is not signed by the artist on the bottom, then look at the area that is hand painted.  The artist’s signature will not too far away from it.

*The name of the pattern can be on the bottom as well.  The Frank Beardmore creamer’s pattern is called “A Sussex Homeland,” and the pattern is listed at the top of the mark on this piece.  I have seen the pattern name both incorporated into the mark and standing by itself, so keep an eye out for it.

The marks on pottery are not that hard to decipher, it just takes a minute to figure out how the maker wrote it on the piece.

What kinds of pottery have you found something out by looking at the mark?