Some of the terminology you hear about cleaning coins

When I first started to collect coins, I found several articles talking about cleaning coins.  I found out that there was a special vocabulary when it comes to this area.  Here’s some of the words that you will run across quite a bit:

Slider—this is a term meaning the coin simulates a higher grade than it really is. Often, a slider has been cleaned, treated, or whizzed to give it the appearance of being uncirculated or even Mint State.  This type of coin is worth less than the coin that has not been cleaned.

Whizzed—this is a coin that has been buffed or polished to give it the appearance of the luster found on a mint coin.  More often than not, whizzing is done on a slightly lower-grade coin to try to sell the coin at a higher grade than it really is.  This is sometimes done by using a fine brush attachment on a high-speed drill.  Doing this may hurt the value of a coin rather than help it.  This is because it causes wear to the surface of the coin.  See buffing.

Brushed—this is a coin that has been brushed with a wire brush or some other material.  The surface will show fine lines, or hairline scratches from the cleaning.

Buffing—this is a polishing of a coin with an abrasive that leaves a finish that attempts to counterfeit mint luster.  See whizzed.

Artificial toning—this is when you change the color or surface tone of a coin by applying chemicals, heat, or treating a coin with something.  This is done to make the coin appear natural or unusual.  It’s also done to cover up signs that the coin has been cleaned.

This is just a small list of what you will run across when it deals with cleaned coins.  What have you heard?


What are the different types of auctions that you might run across?

Auctions have been around for many years now, and there are quite a few different types of them.  What are some of the different types of auctions that you might see?  Here’s a few of the more popular types that you’ll run across:

English Auction—this type of auction is arguably the most common form of auction that are used today.  People attending this type of auction bid openly against one another, and every new bid is required to be higher than the previous bid (this type of auction is also known as an open ascending price auction).  The English auction is commonly used for selling goods (most prominently antiques, art, real estate, etc.).

Dutch Auction—with this type of auction, the auctioneer begins with a high asking price for some quantity of items that are the same.  The price is lowered until a bidder is willing to accept the auctioneer’s price for some quantity of the goods in the lot (it doesn’t have to be all the items) or until the seller’s reserve price is met.  This type of auction has also been used for perishable items like fish and tobacco.

Sealed first-price auction—with this type of auction, all of the bidders that are participating will submit sealed bids at the same time.  This is so that no bidder knows the bid of anyone that’s there.  The bidder that submits the highest price will win the auction.

This is only some of the types of auctions that you will find.  What are some of the other types that you have seen?

What are some different designing styles that you will run across?

Through the years, there have been some designing styles that have come about that have been very popular.  Art Deco, Mid-Century Modern and even Art nouveau are some of these, but what are some of the other styles that you will find?

Egyptian Revival—this style came about in the early 1920’s when the discovery of the King Tutankhamun was found.  This style ran at the same time as the Art Deco Style, and the Egyptian Revival influenced a number of items from architecture, jewelry and even furniture (the style has an Egyptian flair to it).

Baroque—this style is highly ornate and often extravagant style of architecture, décor and even music.  The style flourished in Europe from the early 17th century to the late 18th century, and this style evolved into an even more flamboyant style called “Rococo” when the 1740’s rolled around.

Streamline Moderne—this is a late type of the Art Deco Era, and it’s sometimes called Art Moderne.  It emerged in the 1930’s and it has emphasized curving forms, long horizontal lines, and sometimes it even has nautical elements to it.

This is only a small handful of the great styles that have come about.  What kind of style have you seen?


How do you take a photograph of an item that’s round?

When you get to selling items online, you will run across a wide variety of items that are different sizes and shapes.

Round items were always a problem when I needed to take photos of them.  I was afraid that they would start rolling around (and eventually fall and break) before I could take the photo.

Because of this, I would have to hold the item and have to take terrible photos.  That is, until I came up with a simple (and very cheap) way to help take the photo.


The trick is to put a rubber washer under round item.  I know it sounds silly, but it works.  The washer helps prop up the item to keep it from rolling around, and the center of the washer is open to accommodate for the round surface.

The washer that I have set aside for photographs didn’t cost me much at all—it was a couple of bucks (the good thing about it is that I have used some of the other washers around the house).


The trick works on a wide variety of items, just like the lamp shade in the picture above (you can barely see the washer at the bottom of the photo).

What kinds of tricks like this do you use to help you take photos?


Simple things to remember to help keep the cost of shipping supplies low

When you start to sell items on the internet, one of the things that could eat up any profits are shipping costs.  There are plenty of ways to help keep costs low, and here’s a few of them:

Grocery stores like Wal-Mart will set aside some boxes for you if you ask them to.  They will give you a wide variety of sizes so you can pack any number of items.

If you have a paper item (like an ad or even the cover of a record), you can use plastic bags from stores to help keep it from getting wet.  Make sure that you also put a piece of cardboard with it to help it from not being bent.

When you are packing an item, a good substitute for packing peanuts is newspaper.  Make sure that you use plenty of it so that the item you pack with it doesn’t move around and get damaged while being mailed.

This is just a few of them, what kinds of tips have you heard of?


3 simple tips to remember when you sell an item online

You decided not to long ago to sell some of your items around the house, and some of your item have sold.  What are some simple tips that you need to keep in mind to help things go smoothly?

Tip number 1—when selling items online, make sure you have a scale to help weight items you are shipping.  You don’t have to worry about getting a scale from the post office—you can use a bathroom scale if it registers anything less than a pound (this will help with first class mail).

Tip number 2—make sure that you pack the items you sell as good as you can.  When I pack an item, I will use bubble wrap and packing peanuts to help keep the item I sold from getting broken.  You never know what might happen when the item is being shipped.

Tip number 3—If you are unable to get an item you sell to the Post Office, you can always schedule a pickup with them.  This can be very useful if the weather outside is bad or if you have to get to work (you can tell the post office to come where you work if it’s ok with your boss).

This is just 3 tips to remember when you sell an item.  What kinds of tips have you run across that help you out?


Different names of furniture that you might run across

There are many different names of a certain furniture item (or a certain part of that piece of furniture) that you will run across.  There will be times that it will literally make your head spin on what the word could mean.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that furniture definitely has its own vocabulary.  This is especially true when you are dealing with items from overseas.  There are many places in Europe that have made furniture, so you will run across words that are from another language.

You never know what you may run across, and here are some of the words that you may scratch your head over:

Pietre Dure—this is decorative work that uses inlaid, semi-precious stones to depict scenes.  These scenes are geometric patterns, floral motifs, farm scenes, and many more.  More often than not, you will see this on a table top.

Lit de repos—this is a day-bed.

Gueridon—this is a small, round table. It was made to support a candlestick or even a candelabrum.  It could almost get away as being called a side table.

Gesso—this is made from a composition material, it’s often made with chalk and parchment.  It’s made in a size that is commonly applied to furniture, picture frames and even mirrors.  This is a base upon which gilding (or even silvering) was applied to.

Coquille—this is a seashell or scallop shape.  The shape will often be seen on the top of a table or chair leg.

This is just a small sample of the vocabulary words that you might hear.  What have you heard?


A little history for the Goudey Baseball cards from 1933

When 1919 rolled around, Enos Gordon Goudey started a chewing gum company called The Goudey Gum Company.  The company was in business until 1962, and they are known for chewing gum and the baseball cards that they produced.

The company and its gum was so popular that Enos Goudey was called “the penny gum king of America” by William Wrigley Jr. in 1933.

In 1933, the company dove into making baseball cards, and they released a 240-card set.  The set was also called BIG LEAGUE CHEWING GUM, and each pack that was sold came with a stick of gum.

After the set was released, the Goudey Company realized that they did not have a card #106 after collectors sent the company letters complaining that there was no card for that number.

In 1934, Goudey released a card #106, and it featured the retired player Napoleon Lajoie.  In order to get this card, you had to write to the company (they would send you one for a cent).

As you can tell from the photos, the cards had the name of the set at the bottom of the front and a little biography of the player on the back.

You need to be careful when you are out looking for cards for your set.  Since this is a popular set to collect, there are quite a few reprints and fakes of the cards—especially of Napoleon Lajoie, Babe Ruth (Babe was featured on 4 different cards) and even Lou Gehrig just to name a few.

There are many players that are in this set that have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, so a word of caution is to be taken when you are looking at a card.

Which cards have you run across?


What are some of the vintage serving pieces that I may not find on today’s table?

Over the years, there are new types of serving dishes that are introduced, and then there are times when a certain piece from a dinner set for the table that may fall out of favor.  What are some of the pieces that have fallen out of favor over the years that may not be on the table of today?

Cheese dish—this is a covered dish meant to store and serve a whole piece of cheese.  The bottom of this piece is a little larger than a butter dish, and you may see a small cutting board in the place of this today.

Cream soup dish—this is a two-handled bowl that comes with its own saucer and is meant to serve bouillon, a soup or even consommé (a clear soup made from a rich stock).  This type of dish could be confused with a sugar dish without the lid.

Aspic servers–these are used to serve aspic, which is a clear jelly that is made from broth. Generally, aspic is used to accent the serving of meat, and it is a lot like cranberry sauce. The aspic server has a curved and sharp end for the cutting and serving of aspic.

This is only a small sampling of what you can find.  What have you run across?


What to remember before you refinish a piece of furniture

You finally found that piece of vintage furniture that would look great in your house or apartment.  There are some things that you need to remember before you refinish the piece.

The first thing to remember is that you could be messing with the value of the piece.  With antique furniture (like items in the Chippendale era for example), there is a sizable chunk of the value of the piece invested in the original finish.  I’ve seen the value drop up to 50% when the piece of furniture was refinished.  A good rule of thumb on valuable pieces of furniture is to refrain from doing anything major yourself (dusting it off is more often the way to go).

The second thing to remember is how much it will cost to refinish and repair the piece.  I have seen furniture at auctions, flea markets and estate sales that need a good amount of repair work to go along with the refinishing.  Replacing legs, chair seats or even table tops could drive up the cost quite a bit.

The last thing to remember is how much time it will take to do the refinishing.  Over the years, I have seen a refinishing project take up to a week because of the number of steps in the process.  If you don’t have much time to begin with, you may want to stick with just stripping the old finish off and putting on some new stain.

What types of furniture have you refinished?