Revealing what I know about selling and decorating with vintage goods and offering vintage items for sale.
Here, under the “Learn” umbrella, I share the knowledge I’ve gained through the years and things I’m still learning, because there’s always something more to learn, about finding and selling vintage goods. I share items that sold each month, things I buy to sell, pictures of the booth, online selling tips and anything else I find that will help you succeed in your vintage reselling journey, whatever your goals in that journey are.
June….. Ahhhh, June. The month of weddings and summer freedom. June at the mall was fairly decent. We at least got a check. I’m seriously debating my online selling presence at the moment and haven’t worked at it much in months. Despite that, sales do still trickle in.
So here’s a recap of booth and online sales for the month of June 2019. I wish I had pictures of everything but well, this is me we’re talking about here. Of course I don’t!
Booth sales this year have been up and down. Feast or famine. Pay rent one month, make a little the next. May was a “feast” or at least an “eat” month. “Feast” might be pushing it a little.
I need to say that this post won’t be a visually appealing one. I’m having to scrape up pictures and the ones I can find aren’t very good. I had pulled away from the internet this year and last and rarely took pictures of the booth or items in the booth. But I’m trying to get going again and figured I’d get this series started back with or without pictures.
First up, a corner shelf. This and another corner shelf, among a lot of other things, came from an estate we bought. I use the word “estate” loosely. It was two rooms of furniture and nick-nacks. And not packed in at that. But we did okay with the buy.
The other corner shelf sold a few months back. I seriously did not want to have to paint these things and lowered the price to $25.00. They were handy to use in the booth, but looking at the picture below, at least this one might have been the kiss of death. Nothing on this shelf has sold and all have been there for a while. I’m not sure anything ever sold off the shelves. It’s not undesirable stuff and not priced high at all!
Corner shelves $25.00
These antique fashion prints didn’t last a week in the booth. I forgot to get a nice picture before taking them and forgot to get one the day I took them in. I just happened to be in the mall the next day and hastily took a picture of each one. It’s a good thing too! Two days later they were sold!
Antique, framed fashion prints $24.00 each
Maybe I should stop turning my nose up at new Hobby Lobby type decor. This is a young town. This is what I find at the yard sales and perhaps it’s what the people are looking for. This little drawer/shelf thingy only lasted a few days. Warning: Horrible, horrible picture below! It doesn’t even show the correct color!
Newish drawer/shelf thing $15.00
Plain, no pattern, butter press
Butter press $7.00
This next item, a Sadler teapot, has been around a couple of years. I typically put it out in the fall just because it looks good with the fall things but this year, instead of packing it away when it didn’t sell, I left it in the booth. I had $35.00 on it. And it sat there, wanting so badly to go home with someone.
I was leaving the mall one day and saw a lady with it in her hand — and putting it in the return bin!! I grinned and said that it was mine and I thought it really wanted to go home with her. She said she was overspending and had found a German coffee set that reminded her of her daughter or something which put her spending too much. I told her she could have the teapot for $25 and when she hesitated, I blurted out $20.00. She knew a deal when she saw one and took me up on it.
I don’t regret it. It was a nice teapot, but it was time to move it. And she was a nice lady.
Sadler teapot $20.00
I had a bunch of these Garrett Snuff notebooks. Two left at the time of the picture below. The buying of them must not have been memorable…. (Um….. maybe it was that fabulous sale out of town and these were just some extra little things…..??) and had sold all but this one. Now the last one has a home.
Garrett Snuff Notebook $1.00
I bought this tin bottom chair years ago and used it until we moved into the new house last year. You can read the acquisition story –>HERE<–. It hung around the booth a year before someone saw the beauty in it as I did.
Tin Bottom Chair $30.00
The two red and white surveyors’ poles. The tripod and the measuring sticks haven’t sold as of yet.
Red and white surveyors’ poles $35.00 each but buyer took a 10% discount $63.00
That’s all I have pictures for. Here’s a list of other items sold. Note that the links are various sellers on Etsy with the same item in case you want to know what the item looked like. These are affiliate links.
Different glass cookie jar like a Tom’s jar $12.00
Wire hat stand similar to –>this one<– but not as fancy. Mine was swirled curves rather than angles and had 3 places for hats. I didn’t research it first and now that I see this one I feel sick. You’ve gotta see the one I linked to. $14.00
Small, rectangle basket with a lid. That’s the best I can do with a description. Sorry $5.00
Bag of about 15 pen nibs similar to –>these<–. Mine were generic. Nothing special. $4.00
Ceramic frog sponge holder kinda like –>this one<– $9.00
Wall hanging, wire scroll, plant/flowerpot holder. Not very old, but awfully beat up. $16.00
Small stoneware jar a bit like –>this one<– (That is a lovely product picture!) only mine had straight sides. Nothing special but still sweet $7.00
Vintage printed tablecloth with a vibrant tulip border. I might regret selling that. $29.00
Tooled leather coin purse very much like –>this one<– $9.00
Simple, black metal, scrolly brackets $8 each $16.00
3 diecast model cars that my husband bought, not old, $18.95 each $56.85
A big-a** roll top desk that we bought new from Ashley furniture 15-ish years ago. The best place we could use it in the new house was upstairs but it was too doggone heavy so we decided to sell it. Apparently, I never got a picture of it anywhere it ever lived. $279.00
And then there are these things I have no clue what they were!!
Have you ever walked into an antique/vintage mall, shop or flea market and wondered just where do vintage stores get their merchandise? If you’re a seasoned vintage reseller this post is probably nothing new for you, but maybe you can add to the list? If you’re looking to get into vintage reselling this information should get you well on your way to your newest addiction.
Note: This is written from a United States perspective. It will differ slightly in every country.
Let’s get this party started!
Estate sales and yard sales
What’s the difference? Well, it’s a big one. One that I explained in >this post<. How do you know where to find them? The want ads in the paper, a community trade publication, local Facebook pages…. Prices are all over the place with these. If you’re just starting out, go to antique malls to get a feel for what things are selling for before plopping down your hard earned cash. But remember, it’s hard to go wrong with a quarter or less. Take that chance if you think it might be something that would sell. If it ends up a dud then you’ve spent a quarter – or less – on your education.
Thrift stores are in every major city and town across the US and many smaller ones. A charity thrift store is dependent on donations with the proceeds, or at least some of the proceeds, going to help the charity it sponsors. These stores are Goodwill, Salvation Army, Hannah Home, King’s Ranch, etc. as well as more locally specific charities.
In recent years, many of these stores have gone crazy with pricing. It’s getting harder and harder to find things you can make any money with. I guess they got tired of all the eBay sellers making all the money. Of course, the item they price so high just sits there and gets broken, if it wasn’t already, and never sells, because the shoppers who will pay those prices are shopping in the antique shops and malls and eBay and Etsy…..
Many individually owned businesses call themselves “thrift shops” even though they are totally for profit. Perhaps they believe their prices are really low or they hope we’ll think their prices are low because they called themselves a thrift shop. Meh. Still, never rule them out. Good deals can be found there.
I believe in the UK these are called boot sales. It’s kinda like where two or three are gathered…. Flea markets are a bunch of people taking their things and setting up a table or two or three, in a particular spot, like maybe a field next to the highway, and are usually, but not necessarily, regularly scheduled “events” that are always in the same spot. I mean like once a month or every weekend, people show up, pay for a table or two and throw out their stuff for the world to see.
There can be regular dealers trying to get top dollar to Grandpa cleaning out his barn. I’m gonna say right here that the grandpas cleaning out their barns or the Aunt Lucilles getting rid of their kitchen and household junk are getting harder to find.
A lot of people absolutely love flea markets. They’re not my favorites for bargains but I suppose it depends on your location.
Friends and family and strangers
Sometimes friends and family will give you stuff they’re tired of. Sometimes they want to sell it to you. Sometimes they know someone who needs to clean out a house quickly and they tell them to call you.
I was at an estate sale recently and was a small part of a conversation. The man said they’d been in the business so long that people call them with stuff. They had to go clean out a house that day. I mentioned how much work that was but secretly, I was thinking, “I wish somebody would call me with a house full of stuff!” Forgetting that that has actually happened a few times and lawdy! It’s work! Still, I’d jump on it again if anyone called.
Which brings me to —
advertising that you buy
this thing or that thing or whole estates.
I don’t guess there’s much to say about that. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Another version is to advertise that you’ll clean out the barn or house for free just to get the stuff.
Buying from want ads
such as in the paper, Facebook buy and sell groups, Craig’s List, etc.
Personally, I don’t have any luck with these. I never see good deals, plus I’m kinda shy. Sure I write boldly, but I get really shy in those situations. However, I know people who watch these religiously and always get great deals. I’ll see or hear that they got this wonderful thing for $xx or $xxx but if I had seen it first it would have been $xxxx! More than I would be able to sell it for. But give it a try yourself. You may be one of the lucky ones.
Off the side of the road!
Oh, yeah. One of my favorite and yet least favorite places to find things to sell. I’ve made some serious cash on things I found put out for trash on the side of the road. But it can be dangerous if it’s in a high traffic area, or embarrassing if you know people in town but not well enough that they know you’re not above trash picking. It can also be nasty. Visualize a landlord throwing out their nasty renter’s things left in the house or apartment. Ewwww! Or used hypodermic needles. Yes, I have heard of that happening. At the mess on the side of the road pictured above, as a matter of fact.
At antique malls and shops – or in other words, from other dealers.
A lot of people swear by this method. They comb booths in antique malls and leave no stone unturned in shops looking for something that is underpriced. What you’re looking for in this scenario is something the dealer didn’t realize the value of or maybe something that they can’t sell to their customers that would go well with yours.
I had a “happy-stance” once. I thought I recognized a piece of pottery on the front desk of an antique mall holding their pens. I casually asked if it was for sell? They thought about it and said, “How about $5?” Yeppers! Research told me I was correct and it sold for…. um…. a substantial bit more than that.
Let me say that you have to really know your market and hunt harrrrddddd! Sometimes you’ll luck up and find a booth or shop going out of business that hasn’t been picked clean yet. Sometimes you’ll find a dealer who simply prices according to what they paid. Sometimes you’ll just find something that you’re more familiar with than the dealer.
eBay isn’t the only auction place around. Perhaps there are real-life auctions near you. Each auction house has its specialty. It might be new things like tube socks or household junk or antiques or livestock or a mix of any or all of the above. You find out about auctions usually in the local want ads, but there’s also AuctionZip.com.
Remember, if you try out auctions, to set your limit on a certain item and don’t get caught up in the bidding frenzy. Also remember that there might be a “buyer’s premium” added to the total. Yeah. They’ll tack on an extra 5-10% or more of the selling price. So don’t forget to think about that when setting your limit.
This list covers the basics. Can you add to the list? Have a favorite? Just starting out and had no idea? As for me, I prefer to stick to estate sales, yard sales and sometimes thrift stores. But I never rule out any of the others. Those seem to be the best use of my time. Others’ mileage may vary.