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.

Advertisements

The boys of summer…in 1956?

The 1956 TOPPS baseball cards have been a favorite of mine for many years now.  There are quite a few of them in my collection—Jackie Robinson and Al Rosen are just two of them.

1956 topps

When TOPPS came on the sports cards scene in the early 1950’s, they competed with another company named BOWMAN.

When 1956 rolled around, TOPPS bought out BOWMAN.  The wonderful thing that happened for the collectors was that all of the players were featured in just one set.  In the years before 1956, you could only find certain players on BOWMAN cards, while other players were just on TOPPS cards.

Collectors today also look for varieties in the set.  Two of the more famous verities deal the back of the cards with one being called “white back” (this is a white or cream color) and the other is called the “gray back” (this has more of a gray color).

A word of advice though—these cards are a little larger than today’s cards.  Be careful if you want to put these in pages for a three-ring binder (the cards won’t fit).  You may have to buy some pages for these to fit in.

You can also see some of these cards in my Etsy shop here.  Have you ever run into these cards?

Getting out of your comfort zone can be a good thing

When you are buying items to sell either online or in your shop, getting a little out of your comfort zone can be a good thing.

What do I exactly mean by this?  This could be considering an item when you know absolutely nothing about it.  If it’s cheap enough, you could go ahead and buy it so that you can learn something and earn a little of a profit when you sell it.

It could be anything, really.  It could be a book, a piece of Fiesta pottery, a Fenton glassware piece or even an advertising piece.

When I started to sell items, I knew absolutely nothing about clothing (except for what I found at Walmart).  After a while, I had a decent working knowledge of what brand names are out on the market.  Not only that, I now offer a wide variety of clothing from earrings and necklaces to prom dresses and even designer shoes.

So keep an eye out—you may find something today that you can learn from!  What kinds of items have you run across like this?

Here’s some fun facts about PEZ dispensers

One of the things that I remember having around during my childhood is a PEZ dispenser.  The Hulk, Garfield and even Spiderman were some of the dispensers that I had, and nothing could beat that cherry flavored candy.

PEZ candy was first produced in Vienna, Austria in 1927.  The candy was first advertised as a compressed peppermint sweet, and PEZ is actually an abbreviation for PfeffErminZ (that’s German for peppermint).  These candies came in a tin that looks like what Altoids come in today.

When the dispensers came about, they were not always called that.  They were called “regulars”, and they looked a lot like a cigarette lighter.  They dispensed an adult breath mint that were marketed as an alternative to smoking.

When 1955 rolled around, the dispensers started to have character heads on them, and this happened after PEZ was introduced in the United States.  One example of these character heads is this POLICEMAN dispenser.

pez

As you can see, the dispenser should have a police hat on it, but has been lost over time.  Over the years, PEZ has made dispensers with and without feet.

pez-no-feet

As you can tell from the picture above this great example has no feet, and you can see this dispenser in my Etsy store here.

What kind of PEZ dispensers have you had?

Three things to consider when you sell items online

When I first started to sell online, there were three things that I found out very quickly.  Here is what I learned:

#1 The price of the item itself needs to be considered.  When I list an item to sell online, what I try to do is to make double on what I paid for the item.  This way I can have a little wiggle room if something happens like paying a little more than expected on something like shipping.

#2 You will be charged listing fees on items you put on selling sites.  On a site like Etsy, they charge a small fee to renew a listing after the item is on the website after a certain amount of time (there is also a fee when you are listing the item for the first time).  You need to watch it like a hawk—this can add up pretty fast and eat into your profits.  After one or two renewals, you need to think about adjusting the price or doing something like taking better pictures.

#3 Packing costs also need to be considered.  The packing costs will include tape, packing peanuts, and potentially the box itself (if you don’t get free boxes from places like the Post Office).  If you do not watch this area very closely, you can completely wipe out any profits if you are not careful.

What have you learned when you started to sell things online?

A small slice of the different types of glass on the market

When you start to get into antiques and collectibles, you will find out there are a wide variety of items out on the market.  It could be just about anything, really.  It could be a specific item, or even a broader area like glassware.

Here are a few of the different types of glassware that I have heard about over the years:

Confetti—this is paper-thin elements of glass that can be worked into either a fused or blown glass piece.  Sometimes you will hear someone call this “shards” and you could find this in something like a paperweight.

Drapery Glass—this is glass sheets that has dramatic folds, kind of what you find in the hanging drapes of your house.

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.

Beveled Glass—this is cold glass (usually a clear, thick plate of glass) with an edge that have been ground and polished to an angle other than 90 degrees. Light is refracted from this, and a prism-like effect is often the result. Bevels come in a variety of sizes, shapes and geometric configurations, which are called “clusters” that is incorporated into leaded glass work.  More often than not, you will find this in windows and even mirrors.

What other types of glassware have you heard about?

What are some different parts of furniture?

When I first started selling vintage items, I quickly found out that there’s a name for just about every piece out there-even for furniture.  I quickly started to learn the names of these pieces when I started to do some basic repairs to the furniture that I bought.

Here’s a few of the terms that I have learned over the years:

Bracket foot–a bracket foot is used on a chest, a chest on chest or even a cabinet. This is a foot that has a straight corner edge and curved inner edges.  Sometimes I hear these curved inner edges “scalloped edges”.

Caning—caning is a wood piece that consists of rattan (or even sugar cane) that is made into wicker.  There are a wide variety of ways this is used including seats of chairs, patio furniture, etc.

Partner’s desk—a partner’s desk literally looks like two desks that were put together to make one.  It’s a desk large enough to seat two people that are facing each other.  Each side has their own drawers or cupboards.

What are some of the terms that you have either run across or heard?

More vocabulary words for the glass collector to keep in mind

When you start to collect items in a certain area like glassware, you find out that you need to know some of the terminology when you go along.  Here’s some of the words that I’ve heard over the years about glassware:

Bent (or Slumped) Glass—this is glass that has been heated up in a kiln from room temperature to a temperature high enough to cause it to soften and sag into or even over a mold. The finished product will take the shape of the mold that the glass is around.

Iridescent—this is a surface treatment when a layer of metallic oxide is bonded to the hot glass surface just after the form the glass into a sheet.  The result is a colorful one, and it also has a shimmering effect.

Seedy Glass—this is glass that has air bubbles trapped in it. This is when air or gas is injected into the molten glass prior to forming the sheet causing the bubbles.

What kind of terms have you heard or run across?

How do you sell items on the internet that have flaws in them?

How do you go about selling items on the internet that have flaws in them?

This is actually one of the more popular questions that I get asked.  There are several ways to sell an item that has flaws in it, and the first one is the most obvious—sell it as is.  Selling the item like this could be that it can be repaired or restored to original condition.

Another way that you can sell the item is to sell it with another item that is just like the damaged one.  Right now, I have a Fenton match holder that I am selling like this (and you can see the listing here).

SONY DSC

If you have a crafty side, you can turn it into something completely different.  It could be something like a non-functioning kerosene lantern.  You could electrify it and put a retro looking bulb (or even a normal low wattage one) in it.  After you do this, you can display it on a side table or the corner of a desk.  Another idea could be turning a run down book rack that you have around the house into a wine rack.

One thing that I have seen people do is to combine several items together to make something new.  I was at a local flea market shopping when I saw a yard ornament in the shape of a sunflower.  The flower top was made out of a broken plate and recycled scraps of thin wood (the wood came from a broken Coca Cola crate).

No matter how you sell the flawed item, you need to provide plenty of clear pictures.  This way any potential buyer can get a good view of the item.

The other thing that you need to do is to provide a well-written description of the item.  This way the potential buyer knows what’s going on with the piece, and even what you did to it.

How have you sold items that have flaws on them?

Two simple steps to help spot a real piece of Depression glass from a fake

So you are out at an antique mall, estate sale or even an auction.  While there, you happen to run across a piece of Depression glass.  The piece that you’re looking at doesn’t have any damage on it, but how do you know that it’s the real deal?

When I’m in this situation, I usually use two simple steps to help me determine if the piece is real or fake.  The first thing that I do is to look at the color on it.  There are slight color variations on a real piece, these variations are just going to be a little darker or lighter on the piece.

On a piece of pink Depression glass, a reproduction will more likely have an orange pink hue to it (it’s really obvious).  With a piece that’s green, the reproductions that I have seen tend to go real dark.  I have seen forest green on a piece of ADAM Depression glass.  So if it’s off (especially for the pattern that’s on the piece), it’s a good idea to question it.

The second step that I use is to look at the pattern.  Even though Depression glass was given away quite a bit when it was first made, the glassware still had high quality to it.  What this means is that the pattern is easily recognizable, and there are no missing details to it.  A reproduction may be missing the veins in the leaves of a flower, or the beak on a bird is not as pointed.

A reproduction will sometimes be rushed through, and the pattern will show the crudeness.

So be aware—the fine details will help you determine if the piece of Depression glass will be real or fake.

What kinds of tricks do you use to help determine if you have a real piece of glassware?