My Weekly Score: Burgess & Leigh Blue Bird Dinnerware

Having a strong base knowledge in many areas of study is an integral part of becoming a successful eBayer. I’ve always found it amazing how sellers can become experts in certain fields – dinnerware, Depression glass, vintage dolls, costume jewelry, WWII military jackets. Many sellers have even taken to creating eBooks in order to share their extensive knowledge with others (take Lynn Dralle for example).

And all that is fantastic. But a lot of times it just comes down to luck.

Take the small dinnerware set you see below. This is a 12 piece set from Burgess & Leigh in the Blue Bird pattern. It has a floral theme with birds all over it. Blue and white is one of the most popular color schemes you can buy, so it was worth taking a chance on. Plus, they were in great shape – no chips, cracks, or crazing. They were stamped with the maker, too, which is always a plus. We had six dinner plates and six rimmed soup bowls.

We got the set for $37.50. That’s only a little more than $3 per piece. After consulting Terapeak, I decided to put it up at $69.98, including shipping. It wasn’t going to make us a huge profit, but I couldn’t find a whole lot of information about this set. Sometimes that’s a good thing – it means it’s rare and people don’t get a chance to get their hands on it all that often. Other times it can be a bad thing – meaning that most everyone else knows not to bother listing it.

In our case, it was a very, very good thing.

We sold this set for $152.50. That’s almost $13 per piece and we were able to quadruple what we originally put in this. The best part? The plates went to New Zealand (wow!) and they paid for Priority Mail International shipping, which totaled just about $100. I LOVE when the buyer pays for shipping and we don’t have to deduct that amount from the price we sold the item at.

The moral of this story is to try to wear as many hats as you can fit on your head, but be sure that you’re willing to take risks, too. Sometimes they really pay off!

My Weekly Score: Lot of Stainless Steel Flatware

What you see above is 83 pounds of stainless steel flatware – I’m just going to let that sink in for a moment.

But, while you’re still pondering that, let me talk about flatware in general for a minute. It can make you a huge profit. Silverplate and sterling silver can bring in a pretty penny, and you can sell it in small lots of two to four pieces. It’s also incredibly cheap to ship, so you can offer free shipping and get bumped up higher in the search results without having to take a huge hit on your profit.

Stainless steel isn’t so popular. Granted, there are some big names (ie. Oneida) and nice patterns out there that can sell well, but it just isn’t worth as much as the pieces with silver in it. It’s newer, has been mass produced, and just doesn’t come in as many beautiful patterns. And that’s completely fine! In fact, you can use this to your advantage.

People make all sorts of things out of stainless steel flatware – rings, bracelets, napkin holders, and even small garden accents. Crafters want to buy in bulk – the more, the better. They’d rather stock up for as cheaply as they can, than buy from all sorts of different sellers and have to pay a fortune in shipping costs.

So, sell your stainless steel flatware in bulk. It isn’t worth as much as the other kinds, so you want to spend less time getting it all online. If you sell in bulk, you don’t have to worry about time taken to put pieces from the same pattern together. Or looking up patterns on Replacements. (That’s the worst.) Or listing them individually. Or paying all those separate insertion/final value fees.

You get the idea.

If you sell a huge group of this stuff, all you have to do is dump it out and take a picture of it, make one listing, and pay one insertion and final value fee. Plus, that’s just one less thing you’ll have to worry about taking up space in your inventory room.

And don’t be afraid to sell something like this in a single HUGE lot. That’s what we did! We sold the group above for $152.50. It isn’t as much as we’ve seen this amount go for, but it was a great deal anyway. We paid $70 in shipping, which left us about $83 in profit. It might not seem like a lot, but when we’re buying flatware, we always look at the silverplate to calculate how much we’re willing to pay. With that strategy, the stainless is always like a bonus. We save it up until we have enough, then sell it in a huge lot like this. The silverplate pays for itself (and then some), which means that the $83 was pure profit!

On the flip side of this, if you’re good at patterns and flatware in general, you might want to look for listings like these. They can be a resellers dream! In the end, it’s up to you to determine if you think it will be worth your time and money invested to split pieces up and sell them individually or in smaller groups. Whatever you decide – good luck and happy hunting!

My Weekly Score: Rogers Tea Serving Set

This is the beginning of what we hope to be a regular series on this blog – My Weekly Score. In each post, we will outline one particular item that we’ve picked up and successfully sold. Any relevant information will be included, in hopes that you can learn what we’ve learned and keep an eye out for similar items!

Last week we picked up the beautiful silverplate tea set you see above for $5. FIVE DOLLARS. What a deal. It turned out that this set was made by Wm Rogers – a great name that usually sells very well. It was a complete set with the coffee pot, tea pot, sugar bowl and lid, creamer, and tray included. All pieces were vintage and silverplate. It also had “800” stamped on the base.

We listed this for $49.99, and after 6 bids it ended at $121.99. We included shipping, so the end price for us was about $105. That’s 21x times what we paid for it!

The best part about this sale is twofold. First, this set was actually damaged/broken. The handle was snapped off of the sugar bowl and there was a small dent on one of the other pieces. Seconly, we had set this with a Buy It Now price, since it was free with the listing sale that eBay was putting on. The BIN price we set? $100!

This just goes to show you that you never know how an item will do on auction. We could’ve set this out on fixed price for $50 and gotten 10x our money for it, but we would’ve missed out on a lot more. Also, don’t be afraid to list broken or damaged items. Sometimes the buyer just doesn’t care. And just because you might not know how to fix something, doesn’t mean someone else won’t!

Happy hunting!

Meet the Team

Hello, there! This is a quick introduction to the “team” here at ItsAllOurVault (IAOV). First of all, we sell on eBay full time. We buy and sell anything we can get a good deal on, but the majority of our inventory includes vintage and antique items. We have 10+ years experience and have decided that we’d really love to share our knowledge with the world and build up a community where sellers can talk about their best scores or get support from others.

The team includes:

“The Wallet” (A.K.A. “The Boss,” A.K.A. Jen) – She owns this business and has been listing on eBay for over ten years. She’s a yard sale junkie and an auction house addict. She controls the inventory and keeps the rest of us in line.

“Eagle Eye” (A.K.A. Me, A.K.A. Karen) – I do most of the listing around here, and try to keep everyone on schedule. I also answer the eBay messages and do most of the blogging and website designing (coming soon!).

“The Captain” (A.K.A. Mrs. Frizzle, A.K.A. Kim) – Kim is the Captain of our shipping room (see what I did there?). She packs up the items and ships them out all across the world. She’s also one heck of an interior designer! Seriously, she took our box room from drab to fab in a single day. Now we’re twice as efficient! (She’s also our designated bus driver, so clearly she’s Mrs. Frizzle incarnate – minus the crazy hair.)

For us, stories are worth a million dollars. We love hearing about where an item came from, but we also like knowing where it’s going. It’s such a gratifying feeling to know that our items go to people who appreciate them and that we’re able to help preserve history by doing what we love to do.

We’d be so interested in meeting more eBayers – novices or experts – and always relish in the chance to learn something new. We’ll try to keep these blog posts short and to the point, and always helpful! If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact us at contact@collectorschronicles.com.