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 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!


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?

My Weekly Score: Feathers

Back in May, I told you all about how you can make some serious money from just selling stuff. Things you find around your house, or junk that you didn’t think had any worth. One of the things I mentioned was feathers. And now I’m here to prove to you that I wasn’t just blowing smoke.

This is a GIGANTIC lot of feathers. There was over three pounds here. The first part came from our own birds – we have a Sun Conure, a Goffin Cockatoo, an Umbrella Cockatoo, a Blue Front Amazon, a Cockatiel, and an African Grey. In the listing I wrote, “All of our birds are happy, healthy, and full of the Devil. :)”

(Please see the above linked article for information about what must be said in your listing in order to be able to sell it on eBay.)

The other half of the lot came from an estate sale. There were some more exotic feathers in here, to the point where I only recognized peacock, quail, and turkey out of the whole box! There were also some hackles and skins that came with this group, some of which were absolutely gorgeous.

It seems as though this lot had already been used for fly tying purposes previously, so we marketed it that way. We bought this lot for $32.50 and ended up selling it for $80.00!!

Resource Guide: Ddoty’s Carnival Glass

Our primary role at ItsAllOurVault is that of a seller. However, being in the business of antiques and collectibles is addicting. Soon you become a buyer (“Oh, I like this, I think I’ll keep it!”), and then a collector (“I have no use for this, but they match that set of glasses I have at home!”).

I’ve said this time and time again, but it’s because it’s important: Know a little bit of everything. The things you come across aren’t always going to be familiar. Their uses aren’t always going to be obvious. Their pattern names are always going to be clear. But once you do research, those details start to stick with you. That information is great to have in your arsenal, no matter which of those three roles you fill most often.

We’ve come across a lot of great resources. And a lot of useless ones too. This new series, “Resource Guide,” is going to feature one book or website that we find most useful. I’ll tell you how to navigate the source, what we use it for most often, and why I love it so much. You’ll be able to find all of the links I talk about in these posts to the left, on the navigation bar under the “Resource Database” link. I’ve already provided a quick breakdown of each one over there, so this will be a more in depth discussion.

And, as always, if you have any questions, comments, or new resources that you use frequently, please share the wealth! We can all benefit from each other’s experiences and knowledge.

The first resource I’d like to talk about today is David Doty’s Carnival Glass website. You might remember this one from when I talked about it in our How to Sell: Carnival Glass post.

Here’s a screenshot of what the site looks like when you first happen upon it:

It seems a little chaotic at first, but it’s actually extremely well organized. I’d suggest taking the time to explore each link and see what kind of information pertains to you and what would be the most helpful. There’s a lot of information here and it can be a little overwhelming. I’ll show you the sections that we use most often and you can start there.

Pictured above, you’ll notice one section is blocked off in red. This is, by far, the most important section on the site. This is Mr. Doty’s index. He has patterns, shapes, motifs, and makers all listed out for your convenience.

The first section contains a list of over 1,100 patterns. Wow! In order to find your way through here, you’ll have to know the name of your pattern. But if you know that, then you can click on the link to find examples, a description of the pattern, and perhaps some background information on its worth.

The second section is the index of shapes. This serves a dual purpose. Not only can you find the name of the item you may have (like “epergnes” for a flower/fruit holder), but you can also track down the pattern name this way as well. It helps if you know what the design is called, but it’s not necessary. It might just take a little extra time and effort on your part.

The third section is by far probably the most useful for when you’re trying to find a name for our pattern. This is the index of motifs. Just look at the theme of your piece: does it have roses on it? Hearts? Fish? Find the appropriate list and click on the motif’s name. You’ll be taken to a page that gives pictures of each related pattern, along with the name below. Once you find your pattern, click on it, and you’ll be taken to the page for that particular design.

Lastly, we have the index of makers. This is helpful for a few reasons, too. If you know the maker, but don’t know the pattern name, you can see a list of all the designs that company made. Just click down through (you’ll be taken to the pattern’s index page) until you find what you’re looking for. This is also particularly helpful if you’re a collector that wants all the pieces from one maker or maybe one piece from each. He’s also got a page for carnival glass that was made by non-U.S. companies.

Moving out of that main section of the site, there are a few more links that I like to frequent. First we have the maker’s marks page. It’s very important – as a buyer, seller, and/or collector – to recognize the different marks that different companies stamp their carnival glass with. Pieces may not always be stamped, but when they are, it is always extremely helpful to know right off the top of your head who made it. You can study the various marks on this page. He provides extremely clear, close-up shots of each one.

We also have the “about colors” link here. This is probably my favorite one to visit. It gives a list of just a fraction of the colors that were produced – the site owner states there were over 50! In addition, he warns that differences in glass between one batch and another made it so that the colors weren’t often exactly the same. You can click on the various colors he has listed here, and just marvel at the beauty before you.

Lastly, we have a section on fakes. This is extremely important to sellers and collectors alike, because there are certain pieces that have been reproduced to intentionally trick buyers. These are newer pieces that look like older pieces. You can click on the patterns to learn more about the forgeries and how to tell the difference between the real ones and the fake ones.

As you can tell from the screenshots, there are a number of other thinks that I didn’t even get into. You can play a game to test your knowledge, look at price trends, and even check out pictures of some super rare pieces.

Have you checked out this site before? If not, are you interested in it now? How often do you come across carnival glass in your travels?

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 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.


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!


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, 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:


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.)


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?