Resource Guide: Google

There are tons of fancy books and subscriptions for websites that you can purchase, but never take for granted the immense power that Google has for sellers and collectors alike.

Google (or any decent search engine for that matter) can search the internet in a matter of seconds, bringing up information you didn’t even know you wanted to know.

That power is right at your fingertips, and the best part is that Google is extremely simple and easy to use (also, free!). I use it in a few different ways when I’m trying to research an item I know nothing about: 1. text-based search, 2. picture-based search, and 3. Google shopping

1. Text-based Search

This is the no brainer. You simply go to Google.com and type in what it is you’re looking for. But there are tons of tricks and shortcuts you can take to really maximize your results and have the search engine narrow in on exactly what you’re looking for.

First up, is the auto-complete tool that Google uses when you start to type a word into the search box. If you can only make out the first few letters or first few words of a mark on the bottom of a vase (for example), then you might be able to figure out what the rest of it says by looking at your different options here. This is also nice because you can see what phrases are being searched for the most. (ie. If you type in “costume jewelry,” the first thing that auto-completes is “rings” and then two down from that is “necklace.” Therefore, we can assume that more people are looking for rings than necklaces, and you can begin to narrow down your buying this way, if you want.)

Google is an extremely intelligent tool. If you type in a wrong word, it knows to fix it for you. If you type in one version of a word, but it sees another version popping up quite a bit in association with your other search terms, it will show you results for both. You can also type in the first part of a word and end it with an asterisk (*). This will tell Google that you know what root word you want to search for, but you’re unsure of the ending part. It’ll bring up ALL the results of that word for you.

Sometimes when you’re typing a phrase into Google that can have more than one meaning, you’ll get skewed search results. (Google is smart, but not THAT smart. It can’t read minds!) If you see a certain term popping up a lot that you want to make sure doesn’t influence your search results, you can simply put a hyphen in front of it (without a space in between) and Google will know not to include that word – and therefore those results – in what you’re searching for.

It’s also important to keep in mind that you need to search with strong keywords. Something really specific to what you’re looking for. This can be difficult if you don’t know what you have, but not impossible. Anything is relevant: shapes, colors, marks, themes, sizes, etc. Sometimes it’s best to search with broad keywords, while other times it’s beneficial to search with more specific ones. It really depends on what you’re looking for and how many other results you’ll have to wade through to find it. Sometimes searching like this is simply a game of trial and error.

2. Picture-based Search

Google has a new tool now that’s still in its early stages, but could potentially become an extremely useful one for sellers. Did you know that if you drag and drop a picture from your desktop into the search bar, Google will try to find images similar to yours? Then you can just backtrack to figure out what it is!

Just go to Google and click on the image search. In the search bar, there will be a little picture of a camera to the right. Click on this and drag and drop a picture of whatever it is you’re looking for. Make sure the picture is nice and close, and that there aren’t too many other things in the background (or else Google will get confused).

The only problem with this is that it doesn’t always work. As the technology becomes more advanced, I’m sure we’ll sit back one day and say, “Remember how we used to do this by typing words into the search box?” Just be patient with it and know that it isn’t always going to give you what you need. I tend to use this as a last resort.

3. Google Shopping

The last great way to use Google is to use the shopping feature. You can find this option under the “more” tab at the top. It’s best used when you already know what you have. Just type it in and hit enter. Google will bring up listings of this item all across the internet. It’s nice because you can compare prices (either to buy the cheapest one or to know the average sale price) from multiple sources, and not just one place (like you would if you were using the completed listings option on eBay).

So, there you have it. That’s Google in a nutshell. Google is great for a lot of different things, but this is how I mainly use it when I’m searching for items. If you’ve got questions or additional tips, hit up the comments section below!

My Weekly Score: Crazy Daisy Dishes

Corelle’s Corning Ware is usually nothing worth shaking a stick at. (That’s a strange expression, isn’t it?) However, we recently had a very nice sale of a group of dishes in the “Crazy Daisy” pattern.

The pattern also goes by “Spring Blossom” and just features a basic white background and green flowers along the edges.

If you ever see this pattern in a thrift store, pick it up! We had 81 pieces in our lot and listed it as a single group. Corelle is pretty sturdy, and there was no major damage to any of the pieces.

This group sold fairly quickly at $120.00. We paid less than $10 for it all! The buyer also paid for shipping, so that was a huge plus as well.

While there’s no guarantee that this pattern will always sell well (that depends on A LOT of factors), we think it’s definitely worthy of picking it up to try listing it.

Word of the Week: Bisque

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?), I’m not blogging about soup today.

No, the bisque we’re talking about is a type of porcelain that is, simply enough, unglazed. It’s fired in a kiln at a certain temperature and is typically quite porous.

Bisque is easy to spot because it’s often white and scratchy (not smooth), which are both the result of not being glazed.

Here’s a picture of a bisque figurine:

Do you prefer the soup or the figurine?? ;)

My Weekly Score: Irving Books

Things have been a little crazy around here lately, so I’m sorry for the gaps in our regular posting. I’m trying to stay on top of it, but I have to make sure I put the eBay store first. That’s the money maker after all. ;)

Also, to all my blogging friends: I’m not ignoring you! I haven’t been able to get into my blog e-mail for a few weeks. For some reason it just won’t let me log in. As soon as it’s up, though, rest assured I’ll make the rounds. I might just be a tad behind for a while, though.

But anyway, I promised two My Weekly Score posts this week, and here’s the first one. This is all about a set of books we sold by Washington Irving.

There are eight of them total, and they all seem to be from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. The titles included The Alhambra, Conquest of Granada, Conquest of Spain, Spanish Voyages; Tales of a Traveller, Bracebridge Hall, Abbotsford, Wolfert’s Roost; The Life and Voyages of Columbus; Life of Washington I-II; Life of Washington III-IV; Astoria, Capt. Bonneville, Salmagundi; Mahomet, Goldsmith, Moorish Chronicles; Sketch Book, Crayon Papers, Knickerbocker, Tour of the Prairies

The books did have some damage, which you can see in the pictures, but nothing that made them unreadable. We picked these up for just a few dollars and sold them for…

…$70! Not bad. :D

Have you had any luck buying, selling, or collecting vintage books?

Word of the Week: Ball and Claw

“Ball and claw” refers to the shape of the footed legs of an item – whether it be as small as a sugar bowl or as big as a tub. In particular, this gives us a claw that is gripping a round ball (usually glass). It’s a pretty classic design and kind of Medieval-chic, if such a thing exists.

It’s as simple as that! This particular ball and slaw foot belongs to one leg of a piano stool we recently sold. Check out the wide shot:

Have you come across this before? What item was it?

eBay Quick Tip #4: List in Groups

Another quick tip for you eBay sellers out there.

One of the most efficient ways you can list items on eBay is to do it in groups. For example, list all your jewelry at once. You can even break it down further by listing all your necklaces, then all your bracelets, your earrings, etc.

This works so well because it means that you’ll have to change less information from listing to listing. If you listed a bracelet, then a shirt, then a necklace, you can see how you’d have to change your template entirely, not just adjust a few pieces of information.

If you’re able to, save up some of your items until you’ve got a good batch. Then you can alternate between the groups, saving up on some while listing the others. You’ll get into a system this way, and you’ll be able to list better than you did before.

So, in short, do everything in groups. You’ll find yourself listing more, faster. And that’s always a great thing!

My Weekly Score: Wallace Silverplate Compote

Wallace is a really great name in silverplate, so if the price is right, I’d suggest always picking up a piece if you see one!

The above is a silverplate compote from Wallace. Traditionally used to serve compote the dessert, it can also be used as a centerpiece of just another bowl to put fruit or even salad in.

This is indeed silverplate, with no dents or dings. It definitely needed a good polish, but I always leave that up to the buyer, as some people like the tarnished look.

But it had a sticker! And stickers always good.

We bought this in a lot with other pieces of silver. We probably only ended up paying a couple of dollars for each piece – max – and sold it for $41.99. Whooo!

Do you like Wallace silver, or do you prefer another brand name?