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?

What style is that?

When I started to sell vintage and antique items, I immediately heard some names of the styles of design that have been used over the years.  The first area that I found out that this applies to is furniture.  Here’s a brief explanation of some of the styles:

Queen Anne—this is a period in English furniture design that dates from 1702 to 1714.  This style is characterized by the adaptation of the Baroque style and the extensive use of the cabriole leg.  Walnut was the dominant wood used by furniture makers.

Renaissance—this is a revival of interest in classical design.  This style had it’s beginning in Italy during the 14th century, and it continued to spread throughout Europe until the 17th century.  The design is simple in structure—it has a generous use of classical ornament (such as the acanthus leaf, animal forms, and pilasters).

Georgian—this is a period of design in English furniture that was used right after the Queen Anne style, and it ran from 1714 to 1795.  Some of the better-known designers were Hepplewhite, Sheraton, Chippendale, and even the Adams Brothers.  Mahogany and walnut were the chief woods used by furniture makers (but other woods have been known to be used).

This is only a small sample of the styles that are out there.  What types of styles have you heard about?

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?

Some things to consider when you start a collection

So you’ve decided to start collecting vintage items.  There are so many ways to go about it—you could restore the items you collect, or it even could be a collection of something like folk art or even pottery.  The real question is where do you start?

Whenever you start a collection, there are some things that you need to consider before you dive head first into it.  The first thing that I would do is to decide on an area that interests me and I would love to collect.  It could be McCoy pottery, depression glass, clocks, advertising items or even lunch boxes.

There is a phrase in coin collecting that goes “buy the book before you buy the coin.”  That applies to just about any area of collection, really.  More often than not, you can find a value guide at a book store or even an antique mall.  This gives you a good idea on what’s out in the market and even a price range on the items.

Once you have settled on an area to collect and have picked up a value guide, you need to figure out a budget on what you can spend on your collection.  What I do is I figure out what I can spend every month and I set aside some spending money for my collection.

After all of this, head on out and see what you can find.  You never know where you will find pieces—it could be at an antique mall, flea market, thrift store or even at a swap meet or a garage sale.  It’s fun for me to see where these items turn up.

Here’s a little piece of advice for you: I would create a checklist (either a physical one or one on something like your smartphone) and carry it around with you.  This way you know what you are looking for when you are out shopping.

Happy hunting and I hope that you find many treasures for your collection!

Antique furniture parts and pieces

There are many different parts and pieces of furniture, and it can get confusing (especially when you first start to buy and sell it).  Here are some parts and pieces of what I have run across over the years:

Cabriole—This is a double-curved form used in legs (and even feet). The upper portion of the leg curves outward while the lower part curves inward.  This makes an S shape on the legs and is very distinctive.

Bombé—This is a French term for the outwardly curving shape of a piece of furniture.  The most thought of form is that of a chest.

Armoire—This is a clothes cupboard, and this can be a pretty sizable piece of furniture.  In most cases, an Armoire is a type of wardrobe.

Marquetry—This is a decorative technique in which different woods are inlaid into the body of a piece to create an image.  Flowers are a common motif; other images are used though.  Most of the time the inlay work is done with various woods—other materials like mother-of-pearl, ivory, and even tortoiseshell, have been used.

What types of parts and pieces terms have you run across?

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?

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?

What reference books do you constantly read?

When you dive into the world of buying and selling, you will find yourself searching for reference books to help identify what you have and help put a price on it.  There are plenty out there, and there’s a book that covers just about every aspect of anything vintage.

When I first started to buy and sell antiques, “Schroder’s Antiques Price Guide” and “Kovel’s Antiques And Collectibles Price List” always seemed to be brought along when I headed out to an auction.  Another book that I never leave with is “A Guide Book of United States Coins” (also known as “The Red Book”) whenever I head out to coin shows.

What reference books do you find yourself constantly reading?

Is it “The Collector’s Encyclopedia Of Fiesta” by Bob And Sharon Huxford or “McCoy Pottery” by Bob And Sharon Huxford?  Do you read “Collectible Glassware from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s” by Gene Florence if you love glass?

What are some of your favorite titles?

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?

Two Cents worth? Yep

Did you know that there was actually a 2 cent coin that was produced by the United States mint?

The Two Cent piece officially ran from 1864 to 1872, but there was a copy made for collectors in 1873.

The economic turmoil of the American Civil War caused any and all government-issued coins to vanish from circulation, they were hoarded very heavily by the public. Even the Indian Head cent—which was made of bronze—was pretty much gone from circulation.  The Coinage Act Of 1864 authorized the cent to switch to a bronze composition and the production of the Two Cent coin.

800px-1865_two_cent_obverse
Photo courtesy Wikipedia.com

Even though there were other mints actively producing coins in the United States at the time, this coin was only produced at the mint based in Philadelphia.  What this means is that there will not be a mint mark anywhere–which is the way this mint was marking the coins until 1980.

Two of the more famous die varieties happened in 1864.  One is called the “large motto,” and the other is called the “small motto.”  These two varieties deal with the motto, “In God We Trust.”  The words IN, GOD, and TRUST has some small differences, while the word WE has the most differences.  It all hinges on the size of it, and it is very noticeable.  The WE on “large motto” is larger than the WE on the “small motto.”

The “small motto” is much scarcer than the “large motto.”  The best idea is to keep an eye out for it in case you might walk across a case full of coins at a mall, or happen to be at a coin shop or show.

Have you seen one of these really cool coins?

small-motto
Small motto courtesy Wikipedia.com
large-motto
Large motto courtesy Wikipedia.com