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!

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eBay Quick Tip #3: Categories

Did you know that your store categories on eBay are searchable? That means that what you use to name your categories will show up in search engines. So, if someone searches for “Vintage Costume Jewelry” and that’s what you have one of your categories named, you have the chance to show up in their Google results.

Neat, huh?

You can have 30 characters in your category name, so choose wisely. Use as many keywords as you can, but be sure that they’re the most important ones.

A good example would be to not just name one category “pins,” but to name it “pins & brooches,” because that covers two different ways someone might be searching for inventory that could lead them to your store.

Good luck!

How to Sell: Vintage Games

“How to Sell” is back! This is one of our most popular series and I’m glad to be writing on this subject again. We’ve covered so many topics already, but I’ve found a new one to add to the bunch – vintage games!

We recently got a few boxes of vintage games in here. Some were recognizable, like Trivial Pursuit, Life, and Monopoly. Others I had never heard of before. I even found some that predated some popular games today, and may have been an inspiration for them!

Why sell vintage games?

People love vintage toys because they remind them of their childhood – a time when the stresses of life were non-existent and the most important thing in the world was whether or not you were going to get the latest Barbie/Hotwheels car for Christmas.

Who wouldn’t want to be transported back to that time, even for just a few minutes?

While dolls and toy cars will always have an audience, I think the niche for vintage board games is much larger. Classics like Monopoly and Clue will always be relevant and will find a place in the hearts of children and adults alike.

One of the hardest parts about selling in a niche category is that your audience tends to be fairly small – it’s usually only made up of collectors. But if you can translate your products to a general audience, you’ll be able to sell more inventory.

This is where board games trump a lot of other categories. Not only do you have the collectors looking for your products, but you also have Average Joe searching for it too. Maybe he wants his grandkids to play the exact game he played when he was a child, or maybe he thinks the 1968 version of the game was the best one that was ever developed. All of that changes your products into sales and smiles for both parties.

What’s the hardest part about selling vintage games?

As with any other item, vintage games come with their own problems and their own set of criteria when you sell them.

The most important thing you want to look out for is whether or not your game is complete. Replacement parts may be hard to come by for older games, so having a complete set is always in your best interest. If it’s not complete, no worries! Some people buy a second game in order to finish off their first one, so more than likely you’ll always find a buyer. There are plenty of sites online that’ll be able to tell you what parts and pieces went into your game when it was brand new.

Condition is also another important factor. For display pieces, boxes and parts in perfect condition are ideal. Minor flaws aren’t usually a problem, but the closer to mint you can get, the better. You’ll probably find most damage in the box – it’ll start to come apart at the seams or the box may look crushed, like it’s been sitting underneath a stack of other games for a few years. As long as you’re upfront about the damage in your listing, I think you’ll still find plenty of people that are interested in it.

Tips for selling vintage games:

1. Be sure to include the full name of the game and the year it was produced in the title of your listing.

2. If the game is complete, be sure to note this in your title as well.

3. Be explicit in your description about what is and is not included in the game you are selling.

4. Most of the people buying these are attached to the memories from their childhood that they have associated with the game. If you have any yourself, be sure to include them in the description. It might just provide that extra connection that will make someone choose your listing over a competitor’s!

Final thoughts:

We try to pick up games for a dollar or two a piece. You can usually find them for fairly low prices like this, but we’re always willing to pay more if it’s an older game or one that is in very good condition.

So, don’t be afraid to look into selling vintage games, whether or not they’re complete. People love the memories that they bring and they’ll often be more than happy to put a little extra effort into creating a complete game.

Which was your favorite board game as a kid? Have you had any luck selling them online?

How to Sell: Fabric

This is going to be our last How to Sell post for a little while. This series isn’t going away; it’s just going to take a step back to let some other posts shine for a while. I’ve hit on all the major categories we sell in, so I’m running low on ideas (if you have any, please let me know!). I also want to talk about some other important things that vintage collectors and sellers should be aware of.

So, to make a long story short:

> Mondays will feature How to Sell posts once in a while.

> Other series will be alternated in to change it up a bit, including posts on fakes/forgeries, diagrams detailing the different parts of an item, and even a section that tells you the differences between two similar things. There may even be some fun surprises in store once in a while, too!

> Wednesdays and Fridays will still be Word of the Week and My Weekly Score, respectively.

There’s 18 yards here – buy in bulk!

Fabric:

Fabric is super easy to buy and sell, and it does fairly well online. Imagine having a project in mind and going to your local fabric shop, only to discover that the pattern you absolutely need for it doesn’t exist in the store. What do you do?

Turn to eBay, of course! eBay has sellers from not only all around the country, but all around the WORLD. If you can’t find the perfect pattern for your project, chances are that it never existed in the first place.

Buying

When buying fabric to resell, we have a few suggestions:

1. Buy vintage. People love vintage fabric for the crazy designs and retro style patterns. Just be careful it’s not too stained or worn.

2. Buy crazy. The uglier, wilder, stranger the design, the better it will sell. I promise! It’s happened to us time and time again, and we swear by this rule. Iconic colors (like turquoise for the ‘50s and yellows/oranges/browns for the ‘70s) are important to look out for too.

3. The more, the merrier. Longer pieces are better than shorter ones. Buying ten yards versus buying one yard is also better. It’s always better to have too much, rather than too little.

4. Smell your fabric. It sounds weird, but this is pretty important. Sometimes the musty/mothball smell doesn’t come out. Fabric always soaks up cigarette smoke too. Some people are very sensitive to these smells, so make sure that you’re aware that you might be buying fabric with a strong odor.

Crazy patterns = good!

Selling

1. We form our titles like this: 4 Yds Yellow Orange Flower Paisley Jersey Fabric Vintage 1970s. (That’s not a full 80 characters, but you get the idea. Generally the format is as such: Length, Colors, Pattern, Type, “Fabric,” Style, etc. Including words like “sewing,” “apparel,” “upholstery,” etc. is also important.)

2. Know your fabric types. This is so, so important. We’re still learning, or else I’d outline the ones that I know off the top of my head. I’m familiar with about two of them – jersey and tulle. I can tell what these are without asking. Beyond that? Not a chance. Do your research and commit the different kinds to memory. Being able to put the specific type of material in your listing will help you sell a lot more of it.

3. Describe, describe, describe. This is especially true if you don’t know what kind of fabric you have. Since I’m not familiar with a lot of the different types, I usually try to explain how it feels – stretchy vs. non-stretchy, silky vs. cottony, thin vs. thick, etc.

4. Condition. This goes along with the previous point – describe! Look for moth holes, rips, and stains. If there are some, make sure you mention them. Sometimes these spots can be cut away, washed, or hidden, so it might not be a big deal to a lot of buyers. As I said in the previous section, odor is also important. If it smells like anything other than regular old fabric, make sure you mention it. A lot of people have allergies, so you need to make sure you’re very clear about this.

5. Give suggestions. Some fabric was just made to be turned into a dress. Or a pair of pants. Or a handbag. The buyers who are going to be interested in your listings are creative folks, so giving them an idea for what they could use your fabric for might just push them to buy it!

This is the best way to take pictures of fabric, especially if it has a pattern. The close up shots give the buyer the best view of the design and they stand out better in that long list of items when a buyer searches for something on eBay.

We’ve done pretty well with fabric in the past. The ones that do best are the larger pieces with patterns – particularly floral. Also, note that lace is a HUGE money-maker. When we run out of room (or we’re just tired of looking at it all) we’ll sell our fabric in large lots – these go really fast, so it’s nice when we need to move inventory right away.

How to Sell: Anchor Hocking

(This post is going to be short and sweet today. We’re about to change up Mondays around here, and things are about to get a lot more interesting!)

In 1905, a man named Isaac J. Collins and six of his friends pooled $8,000 and bought the Lancaster Carbon Company in Lancaster, Ohio. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to start operations in the Black Cat facility (so named because of all the carbon dust). With the help of E.B. Good (and an extra $17,000), however, Collins was able to start off with one building, 2 day-tanks, and 50 employees.

It was renamed the Hocking Glass Company, after the Hocking River that was located nearby.

We have this labeled as a relish dish, but it’s possible that it could be a divided bowl for vegetables. This is an example of pressed glass that could’ve come from one of the molds the company developed (below).

In 1924, the Black Cat facility burned to the ground. Without missing (much of) a beat, they built another plant and took over a second one. When the Depression hit in 1929, this company was one of the ones that actually wasn’t severely crippled. This was because they had developed a machine that raised their production from one item per minute to 30 items per minute. When things got really bad, they developed a 15-mold machine that could actually produce 90 pieces per minute. They could sell tumblers for “two for a nickel” and still make money to survive the terrible economic times.

It was in 1937 that the Anchor Cap and Closure Corporation and the Hocking Glass Company merged and formed the Anchor Hocking Glass Company. By 1969 they were a worldwide company and started producing more than just glass. This is when the company finally became what we know it as: Anchor Hocking.

(All information came from this fabulous website: The Anchor Hocking Glass Museum.)

This is a gorgeous set of tumblers with a white swirl/gold heart pattern.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Well, it’s important to include some (but probably not all) of this information in your listings. Not only might your buyers be interested in learning this, but it will increase your own knowledge base and it makes you appear more credible. Buyers will know that you’re not just a random person selling what you found in your basement, but someone who has researched the products that you sell.

You might want to fall back on our Pyrex post because a lot of the same general rules will still apply – pattern names, shapes, condition, dates, etc.

The casserole is by Anchor Hocking, through the trivet/basket might have come separately and from somewhere else.

When using Terapeak.com, I found that there are two incredibly popular (and valuable) Anchor Hocking pieces:

1. Jadeite (also seen as Jadite) – Sets, mugs, plates, vases, etc. This is beautiful and highly collectible. If you see the name Anchor Hocking on the bottom of anything that looks like Jadeite, buy it!

2. Milk Glass Mugs – Some of them have patterns, some of them don’t. If you see a cool retro mug, it’ll probably be worth your time and investment. This is especially true if it has a well-known character on it like Mickey Mouse or Snoopy.

Keep your eye open for Fire King – that’s made by Anchor Hocking too. This is their Meadow Green pattern and is a covered casserole dish.

Anchor Hocking has almost 8,000 pieces on Replacements alone, so there are tons of patterns and styles to look for. Do some research and see what you’re attracted to and what’s selling well. Remember to fall back on our How to Sell: Dinnerware post for information about the best way to sell things like these!

How to Sell: Salt & Pepper Shakers

People collect strange things. I have an affinity for skeleton keys that I just can’t explain. What draws us to certain items? Why do we like amethyst carnival glass over rootbeer carnival glass? Or elephant figurines instead of dog figurines? I honestly don’t know.

So, even though it sounds a little strange, just trust me when I say that some people are crazy about salt and pepper shakers. I can sort of see why: they’re tiny and usually pretty inexpensive. They make great gifts to give and receive. And they come in a million sizes and shapes. You can collect these things for your entire life and still not have a complete collection.

I’m going to give you a run down on some of the more interesting types and give you examples of the ones that have passed through our doors. All the information that I’m supplying you here is coming from the Salt & Pepper Novelty Shakers Club. However, I’m not going to relay the information verbatim, and I’m definitely not going to be able to talk about each and every style of shaker that exists out there. If this is something that interests you, I highly suggest you check out that website – they’ve got invaluable information!

First up we need to answer the question: anthropomorphic or figural? As I said in a previous post, the word figural refers to something that is in the shape of a person or an animal. If something is anthropomorphic (that’s a mouthful!) it means that human characteristics were given to other objects that would normally not have a face or body. This can cover a wide array of subjects (including abstract ideas, which I always find interesting), but in shakers the most common anthropomorphic items seem to be…vegetables!

Here’s a pair of shakers that are figural.

Some people collect regular salt and pepper shakers because they like the shapes or simplicity of them.

These are tiny and plain, but they’re also simple and elegant.

These are a beautiful pair of iridescent shakers. Somebody is definitely going to enjoy having these on their table!

The novelty shakers are much more popular, though. Here are two types that we’ve recently run across:

Go-Withs

These are really neat because they take two related objects and make them a pair – even if they don’t initially look like they belong together. Some examples the site gives include an ink bottle and typewriter and a kitten and ball of yarn. (You can see our own examples down a bit further.)

Nesters/Stackers

These are also fun because they don’t necessarily look like two pieces at first glance. Oftentimes one shaker sits on top of another one. Here’s a couple of pictures of an Enesco shaker in the shape of a kitten sitting on a pillow:

This one is a “nester” or a “stacker.”

The pillow is one shaker and the cat is the other!

There are all sorts of interesting types left to explore. Hangers, Nodders, Huggers, Squeakers, and Longboys are just a few! Visit this page to learn about these and more!

Shaker sets (and sometimes even individuals) are usually worth putting up on eBay to see if they sell. The more unique and strange they are, the faster they’ll go! We recently had to make the decision to get rid of some inventory that had been sitting around here for a while, so we combined all the shakers we had and sold them off in a lot in order to clear some space as quickly as possible.

Here’s a picture of the lot. Note that most of them are figural. And check out the three go-withs that we had! (The broom/stove, the bear/beehive, and the turtle/frog.)

What’s the weirdest thing that you collect? Have you ever come across any strange salt and pepper shakers?

How to Sell: Hats

This is a super cute hat that is flat and brimless. The material is gathered on the side with a rhinestone.

Just like vintage purses, there are a lot of different styles of hats, especially if you throw in all of the typical fashions from decades past. Today we’re going to mention a few so you can identify them when you’re out and about at auctions, estate sales, and garage sales!

(Because we don’t have pictures of each type of hat, I’m linking the names of them to their respective Wikipedia article. Looking at pictures is the best way to learn the different styles, so make sure you check them out!)

Styles:

A. Cloche – This is a very 1920s style hat. It is bell shaped and sits tightly on the head, with the front coming down to pretty much cover your forehead. These could be worn plain or highly decorated, and apparently how you decorated your hat said a lot about you!

B. Pillbox – This style of hat reminds me of Jackie O, so it has a serious 1960s vibe to it. The shape is pretty common (and the name fairly self explanatory) – it’s rounded with vertical side, and sits right on top of your head. Check out this search result, and you’ll see that almost every hat that Mrs. Kennedy wore was a pillbox.

Here’s a fancy pillbox hat with a netted top – it’d be perfect for wearing to the theatre!

C. Wide-brim – This link will actually take you to an article about cowboy hats, which are a type of wide-brim hats. These are pretty easy to figure out – it’s any hat that has (wait for it…) a wide brim!

A very cute vintage wide-brim hat. This style is timeless.

D. Fedora – This hat is probably the most iconic one on this list. It’s defined by a medium-sized brim, and the typical “pinched” look of the crown. These should bring up images of 1930s gangsters holding tommy guns in one hand and a cigarette in another.

E. Bowler – Think of the fedora, minus the “pinch” and with a much rounder crown, and you’ll get the bowler hat. These were worn by the working class in Victorian England, though the style did jump the pond to the Americas where it was eventually referred to as the “Derby.” (The nerd in me is saying, “Think of Cornelius Fudge from Harry Potter! He wore a LIME GREEN bowler hat!!)

F. Bonnet – This is a pretty common and distinctive hat. It’s usually made of cloth and is brimless. This was generally used to keep your hair in place and clean. At first they didn’t cover any part of the forehead, but they eventually began transforming and some of the later styles were quite different from the originals.

G. Newsboy – These are pretty similar to the beret, except that they have a brim (much like a baseball cap would) with a button that attaches it to the main body of the hat. These were typical of the late 1800s and into the early 1920s, and weren’t just worn by newspaper boys. In fact, I often associate these with Scottish/Irish working class men, but maybe that’s just because I’ve seen The Molly Maguires one too many times.

This could probably be described as a fashionable beret.

How to buy and sell:

There are many more styles of hats than the ones that I listed above. Even among each distinct style (ie. the cloche, the bonnet, the fedora, etc.) there are differences that almost warrant their own category. These are pretty popular ones though, so if you can master the looks of these, you should be fine when hunting for vintage treasures.

It’s important to keep in mind that not all vintage-style hats are actually vintage. Whenever you can, try to double check with whomever you’re buying it from that it’s not a reproduction piece. If it has real feathers and real fur, that increases the chances that it’s authentic.

This could probably be considered a women’s fedora, or maybe even just a wide-brim hat.

Condition is always super important. Check for missing feathers. Check for stains. Check for tiny holes where moths may have gotten to the material. If you’ve come across an awesome find and it’s a little beaten up, don’t worry about it too much. There are still plenty of people out there who will take the time to repair vintage hats and restore them to wearable condition.

Always try to pinpoint the era – is it 1920s or 1950s? Many people like to shop by decade, so this might even be more important than knowing what type of hat you have. Wikipedia has a great list of the different fashions of various decades. Skim through them to brush up on your information.

Accessories like hat boxes are always great to ship with your hats – they’ll keep them safe and give the buyer something to store them in. Hat boxes also sell really well on their own!

This is an adorable vintage hat box that features ballerinas!

This is a slightly newer hat box.

Lastly, be very upfront about the material. If it’s made of fur or feathers, don’t skirt the obvious. Tell your buyers this information and – if you can – what kind of fur or which bird the feathers came from. Wearing fur today is generally looked down upon, but in the early 20th century, it was a sign of social status. There’s nothing wrong with selling vintage fur – we’ve done it a million times and we’ve never gotten any hate mail for it. (But also be aware of eBay’s policies. You don’t want your listing to get pulled!)

A gorgeous pillbox covered in tiny feathers.

A beautiful hat – maybe a cloche? – made of fur.

What are your favorite styles of hats? I love the cloche for women and the newsboy for men, though the 1950s in general speak to me pretty loudly when it comes to fashion. If you had to pick an era to live in, which would you choose?