BEGINNERS TIP: What are some things to expect at an antique mall?

One of the places that I love to go to and try to find great deals are at a local antique mall.  They have everything from advertising to pottery, and the inventory is usually different.  If you have never been to one, what are some of the things that you should expect?

The first thing is that the dealers that have a booth there are most likely not going to be there.  The antique mall will have someone up front running the store.

The second thing to remember is the people that run the store are open to offers on just about any item.  If the item came out of a booth that another dealer runs, the people that run the mall will be more than glad to call the dealer and give them the offer for you.

Always make sure you look at the tag—if the tag says FIRM, then the dealer will not take an offer on it.

The third thing to remember is that one of the best times to get a great deal is the middle of the week.  Auctions, estate sales and even garage sales are more often than not going to be on the weekend—the dealers will bring in new inventory about Tuesday or Wednesday and try to clear out the old about the same time.

The last thing to remember is that you never know what you are going to run across, so keep your eyes peeled.

What kinds of tips that you use when you shop at an antique mall?

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What are some different types of pottery decoration?

When you are out and about at a flea market, antique store or even local auctions, you will run across a wide variety of pottery with different decorations.  Here is a few of the decoration types that you will run across:

Tin-glazing—this is the process of giving ceramic items a tin-based glaze that is white, glossy and opaque, and it is normally applied to either red or buff pottery.  The whiteness of the tin glaze itself encourages its frequent decoration with color.  Majolica, delftware and even faience are some of the names used for some of the common types of this type of pottery.

Blue and white pottery—this covers a wide range of white pottery that is decorated under the glaze with a blue color. The decoration can be applied by hand, but it’s now usually applied with a stencil or by transfer-printing.

Lusterware—this is a type of pottery with a metallic style glaze that gives the effect of iridescence.  It’s produced by using metallic oxides in an over glaze finish and then fired in second firing at a lower temperature.

Salt-glaze—this is a pottery (usually stoneware) that has a glaze of a glossy, translucent finish with a slightly orange peel-like texture.  This finish is formed by throwing common salt into the kiln during the higher temperature part of the firing process.

This is only a few of the types of decoration that you will find on pottery.  What other types have you run across?

All the different colors of glassware can make your head spin!

Whenever you are shopping for vintage glassware, hearing all of the different colors of vintage glassware can make your head spin.  Here’s some of the colors that you can run across:

Ice blue—this is a very pale color of blue, and it can have a pastel iridescence if it is on a piece of carnival glass.

Vaseline glass—this is a glass color that has had uranium salts added to the molten glass mix.  When you look at this type of glass under normal lighting, the glass will appear to be yellow or even a yellow green.  When this glass is hit with an ultraviolet light (a blacklight), the glass will fluoresce in a very bright green (it looks like it could be glowing).

Reverse amberina—this is a type of glassware that is the opposite of amberina.  The central part of the glassware is red and it blends out to yellow at the edges (amberina is yellow at the center and it turns red at the edge).

Amber—this type of glass can vary from almost a yellow to a brown.  The best way to visualize the color of amber that is used when jewelry is made.

Horehound—this type of glassware is an amber color with a gray hue to it.  Some collectors call this color of glassware “Root beer”.

This is a small sample of what you can find on glassware.  What other colors have you run across?

Vintage furniture pieces that you may not run across everyday

When you are out and about shopping for vintage items, you will run across some vintage furniture that you may not know what it is.  Here’s a couple of pieces that you might run across:

Tallboy—this is a piece of furniture that incorporates a chest of drawers with a wardrobe on top.  The tallboy was considered to be the wardrobe of the 1700’s.

Highboy—this is a piece of furniture that consists of a double chest of drawers (it’s also known as a chest-on-chest).  This piece of furniture has a lower section that is usually wider than the upper section.

Pie safe—this is also referred to as a pie cabinet, pie safe cupboard, or even a pie chest.  It is a piece of furniture that is typically used to store pies.  The cabinet will have sections that consist of either pierced metal or screen to help the pies cool.  In the past, some people also stored meat, perishables, and other items inside of their pie safes.

Hoosier cabinet—this is also known simply as a “Hoosier”.  It is a type of cupboard (or even a free–standing kitchen cabinet) that also serves as a workstation.  It was popular in the first few decades of the 1900’s.  This was because most of the houses did not have built–in kitchen cabinetry.

This is just a few of the vintage furniture pieces that you may not run across everyday.  What other pieces have you run across?

READER’S HELP: that’s a friendly wall-crawling superhero…made from plaster?

When you start to dive into the world of antiques and collectibles, you quickly find out that you will find really cool things in unexpected places.

Not too long ago, this happened to me when I came upon a local garage sale.  And do you know what was there?  Just a bust of Spiderman himself!

Spiderman bank (1)

As you can see in the photo, the bust is made of plaster and it is also doubles as a bank (the coin slot is on the back of Spiderman’s head).  Not only that, it is extremely detailed—you can see and feel the ribbing in Spiderman’s mask, and it also feels like the head actually has cloth on it.

Spiderman bank (2)

Here’s the problem that I have with the bank—I know what it is, but I have no idea who made it.  I was told that it was made in Mexico, but there is no maker’s mark or even a country of origin mark on it.

Does anyone know who could have made this great bank?  Could it be a homemade piece that a fan of the character made?

Any information is greatly appreciated!

What are some of the different colors of glass that you will run across?

It will not take long for you to run across a wide variety of colors that you will find on glass.  There are so many in fact that the variety will make your head spin!  Here’s a couple of colors that you will find when out shopping for antiques:

Burmese glass—this is a type of colored art glass that shades from yellow to pink.  Burmese glass is found in either the rare original “shiny” finish or the more common “satin” finish.  Burmese is a uranium glass—the uranium is to help with the color of a piece, and it will glow bright green under a black light.

Carnival glass—carnival glass is a molded or pressed glass.  It always is found with a pattern and always has a shiny, metallic iridescent finish to the surface.

Black Amethyst–black amethyst glass appears to be a black color until it is held to a bright light source.  Once held to a light source, you will then be able to see a dark color.  The glass has been made in many factories from 1860 to the present.

Millefiori Glass—this is an Italian word meaning “a thousand flowers.” This commonly refers to glass items that are made from a lot of murrini slices.

This is only a small portion of the assorted colors of glass on the market.  What have you run across?

Grab yourself a cup and saucer, it’s tea time!

One of the areas that you can dive in and have a lot of fun collecting are cups and saucers.  They come in a wide variety of makers, sizes and even decoration.

Some of the materials that they could be made of are glassware, pottery or even fine china.  They could be decorated with just about anything–flowers, people and even outdoor scenes are just a small portion of what is out there.

Hocking Glass, MacBETH-Evans and even Royal Doulton are but a tiny portion of makers that have made cups and saucers, and there are many more.

One cup and saucer set that you could run across is this great Depression Glass example.

As you can see, it sports the CHERRY BLOSSOM pattern and is by the Jeanette Glass Company.  It was made from 1930 to 1939 and can be found in my Etsy shop here.

Hand painted examples are always fun for me, you will never find two that are exactly alike.  One cup and saucer set that fits in this area is this one by NAPCO Pottery.

This set features a yellow floral motif, and it dates to the 1950’s.  You can see it in my Etsy shop here.
Wedgewood also made several examples, and one such example is this terrific Mulberry handle less cup and saucer from the 1800’s.

It sports the WASHINGTON VASE pattern, and you can see it in my Etsy shop here.

There are quite a few ways that you can collect cups and saucers.Not only can you collect cups and saucers by the pattern that is on them or the manufacturer, you can also find examples that could go with a certain color combination that is in your house or apartment.

You can see all of the cups and saucers in my Etsy shop here.  Head on over and check them out!

What are some of the glassware colors called that you will run across?

When I started selling glassware, I quickly found out that any glassware that had color to it sold better than its crystal counterpart.  Opalescent glass, forest green and amberina glass were colors that I have heard, but what exactly are they?  Here’s a description of some of the more common glass colors that you will hear:

Amberina glass—this is a type of art glass that has a color that goes from amber (or even a yellow color) to ruby on the same piece.  This shaded effect is due to the gold being added to the glass when it is being made.

Cameo glass—this is a type of glass that has layers of glass that have contrasting colors.  The outer layers are either acid-etched, carved, cut, or even engraved to produce a design.  Since the layers are different colors, this will help the design stand out from the background.

Opal glass—this is glass that resembles an opal.  Opal glass will be a translucent and white, and it will also have a grayish or bluish tinge to it.

Cranberry glass—this is a type of glass that is made by adding gold salts or colloidal gold to molten glass (tin is sometimes added as a reducing agent), and this makes the glass turn a pink color.

This is only a small example of some of the glassware colors that you will run across when you are out shopping.  What colors have you run across?

What are some tips when you attend an estate sale?

When I started to sell items online, one of the types of sale that I found are estate sales.  When you go to an estate sale, the contents of the house are usually for sale.  I have heard them referred to as a tag sale and even an estate liquidation.

Estate sales are a wonderful way to find some bargains, but what are some tips to remember when you attend one?

The first thing to remember is that all sales are final.  You need to be careful with this—check everything carefully for damage and to see if any electrical items that you are interested in work.  When you attend a sale, you will most likely see signs that read either ALL SALES ARE FINAL or even one  that reads ALL ITEMS ARE AS IS / WHERE IS.

The next thing to remember is to bring cash.  The people that are running the sale may not have the ability to run a credit card or accept your check.

Another thing to remember is to bring the muscle.  You may need to load a very heavy piece, like a piece of furniture.

The last tip to remember is that there will be times that you can get a discount on the price of the item you are interested in.  The estate sale company that runs the sale will usually have the sale over a couple of days.  The first day will usually be full price while the second day will have 10 to 25 percent off and the third day could be as much as half off the price.

When I go to an estate sale, I am now in the habit of seeing if there is a discount the day I attend.

This is only a few of the tips to remember when you attend an estate sale.  What kinds of tips have you run across?

What in the world is an encased postage stamp?

In 1862, the United States was smack dab in the middle of a coin shortage.  It was bad, really bad.  Everything was being horded—even the cent was being stockpiled.

An American entrepreneur and inventor by the name of John Gault created something to help with this—the encased postage stamp.

The encased postage stamp is a stamp that was inserted into a small coin-size case.  This case has a transparent front or back. This type of “coin” was circulated as legal tender during periods when coins were scarce.

John Gault was pretty savvy—he saw two ways to make money off of his creation.   The first way was to sell them to businesses and stores that had a high demand for coins.  He sold his encased stamps at 20% of the face value of the stamp.

The second way that he made money was to sell the blank back of the case of the coin as advertising.  There is a minimum of thirty different companies that took up the advertising on the coins.  All of the different companies lend to find some great and different varieties on this type of coin.

Encased postage stamps circulated for about a year (until about the middle of 1863).  This is when the fractional currency released by United States Government became popular enough to help ease the coin shortage.

There were also some other factors that helped bring encased postage stamps to an end.  One reason was was that the postage stamps that were being used for this started to become unavailable.  Not only that, it cost more to buy the encased postage than what they were actually valued at in the market.

Encased postage stamps are rare today with a small fraction of the 750,000 that were originally sold surviving.

This is just one item people came up with over the years to help with coin shortages over the years.  Do you know of any other ways?