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?

Great news about the Wisdom Lane Antiques shop on Etsy!

Here’s some great news about the Wisdom Lane Antiques shop on Etsy!

Over the last couple of days, some of the categories that have the items for sale in my Etsy shop have changed.  Now you will have an easier time finding all of the great items up for sale.

Advertising, home decor and even a category just for Fenton have been created, and old classics like glassware and pottery are still around.

There are two new categories that you will find interesting, and the first is full of items that are on sale.  One such item is this great hand painted burmese piece from Fenton.


This great piece with a sea scene can be found in the sale category here.  As a matter of fact, you can find the rest of the items in the sale category here.

The other new category that’s interesting is called TOTALLY DIFFERENT ITEMS.  This category is full of fun items that you would never expect to find in my shop.  A bride’s basket, a hat form and even a hand made art pottery tea pot with a raku style glaze can be found items in this great category here.

As a matter of fact, you can find all of the new and revamped categories in my Etsy shop here.  Head on over and check them out!


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?


What are some of the benefits of getting an item appraised?

You have a piece of jewelry from your grandmother, your dad’s vintage comic book collection from his youth, or even a piece of furniture that you picked up at an antique mall.  You know that the piece has value, and you are not sure if you want to get an appraisal on it.

What are some of the benefits of getting an item appraised?

There are several benefits when it comes to getting an appraisal.  The first reason (and probably best) is that it helps tell you the value of the item that you have.

The second reason is that it helps clear up any confusion on what the item is.  You could have heard several stories from the family, and each story identifies the item (or items) completely differently than what it actually is.

Another reason is that the appraisal helps you know if your item is real or not.  A good rule of thumb is to try to find someone who appraises items on a regular basis like what you have.  This will help with both the value and authenticity of the piece that you have.

When it comes to jewelry, the appraiser has equipment that helps determine what the types of stones that you could possibly have.

Another good benefit on appraisals is that you could also get everything written out telling what the item is.  This will also help with insurance (if it’s needed on the item).

What other types of benefits have you run across when you got an appraisal on an item you have?


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!


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?


Reader’s Help: What in the world is this Celluloid piece?


Not too long ago, I ran into this great vintage celluloid piece at a local flea market.  I know that it’s some sort of holder, but what exactly was it used for?


In one reference book that I have, the book shows it and does not mention what this is.  Another book stated that it was a tooth brush holder, and yet another states that this is a holder for eyeglasses.


Needless to say, I got pretty baffled on what this could be.  So here’s my question–what is this piece really for?  Is what one of the books said right, or is this something completely different?

Any information is greatly appreciated.  What do you think it is?


Sometimes directions help out with collecting paper money

Directions play a part in quite a few different ways in collecting, and this definitely includes collecting paper money from the early 1800’s.  During this time, it was up to the banks to produce paper money–they would file for a charter with the United States government, and this would allow the bank to produce their own paper money.

Collectors often look for paper money in a couple of ways for their collections.  They will look for a certain bank, city, or even state that the money was produced in.

If there was a major metropolitan area like Boston or Philadelphia, the more banks were likely to be there.  The east coast of the United States has quite a few different banks that offered paper money.  This was true going west to just past the Mississippi river.  The farther west you went, the fewer banks you would run into.

The gold rush in California that started in 1848 was what helped bring some banks (and eventually a United States mint in San Francisco) that far west.

When you travel up north (in places like North Dakota, Washington State, and even Alaska) they have very few banks at all.  There have been a few bills (collectors also call them “notes”) turn up for a few banks in these states, and are highly sought after.

You need to be careful when you are looking for paper money from the early 1800’s to add to your collection—there are quite a few outright counterfeit bills out there.  Not only that, there were also a lot of bills in circulation in the 1800’s that were counterfeit.  One reason was that there were many different designs that were made by the different banks out there making it harder for you to know if it was real or not when the bills were new.

Another reason is because there were a ton of banks that failed for one reason or another in the 1800’s (the money from these banks are also called “broken bank notes”).  There were lists for shut down banks and fake bills that circulated to merchants or vendors, but the lists were often out dated after a while.  It also took a while to get these lists circulated since mail had to go by stage coach, train or horse.

What fun direction can your collection go?