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.
We’re redecorating the booth and sharing in hopes that you might get some vintage booth display ideas! We’re trying to sort of niche down to a certain, admittedly girly, aesthetic. My daughter is stepping up more, putting more in the booth, and, in truth, she’s saying, “This is what we need to do” and I’m absolutely fine with that! Sooooo appreciative! I have never been all that great with merchandising the booth and frankly, after 25 years, I’m tired and have no new ideas. She has a great eye for display. Check out her beautiful Instagram feed @erins_vintagetreasures
Here’s what it currently looks like. (Actually, at the time of this writing, just a few days after we rearranged, a lot of things have sold, so it doesn’t exactly look this way anymore.)
The little bench sold the day after we took it in. Also sold within the week was the basket hanging on the wall, the metal angel wings, the wicker vase on the table and the architectural piece behind the table.
Sold within the week in the above picture was that precious, little girl picture. And a few days later, the courting couple print.
Can you tell that’s a yellow Poppy sprinkler sitting on the box? It sold in about two weeks as well as an old hand rake that you absolutely cannot see here.
Erin painted and distressed the blue box and applied the molded flowers on the front as well as the coffee table it’s sitting on.
Things sold within the week in this picture are the crock on the floor that I sold too cheaply and really wish I’d kept because I liked it, and the cup hook thing inside the metal planter.
Ah! Here’s a better picture of the sprinkler! Still can’t see the rake, though.
I’ll try to get back the first of next month with a “What Sold” report.
Here’s a quick video of the whole booth. Sorry, not sorry, that it’s not a talkie. I was going to narrate and quickly gave up. And it’s only about 3 minutes long.
How often do we wonder just when our vintage item was made? If you’re a reseller, especially if you have an Etsy shop, eBay too, these days, it pays to know an approximate age. So, I worked up a little chart that gives approximate time frames. I mean, I’m constantly having to double check, so I needed it, too. This does not include all possible countries of origin, but has the primary ones that imported to the United States in the last 100 years or so.
It’s not meant to be definitive and is not all inclusive. There’s some give and take and overlapping years, but this is what I’ve learned from my research and I wanted to share it with you. I did not delve into mid century modern items and mid century styles, many from Denmark, nor did I get into the Italian Florentine and other items from Italy. There are, of course, a myriad of countries that we could drill down to. I’ll say again that this is just a basic guide to the more common items we see most often. Click on the photo below for a free PDF printable.
In a nutshell:
Occupied Japan: 1945-1952
Hong Kong: 1950s-early 1970s
Korea and Taiwan: 1970s
Taiwan, East European countries and some made in China: 1980s
China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia: 1990S-Present
Let’s talk about glass a bit. Glass has never been my superpower, but I’m trying to learn. Maybe you are, too. I’ll wager you know more than I do, though. But in case you’re researching something that looks like this, here’s what I’ve learned.
I recently found this glass…. thing. I had absolutely no idea what it was or who made it. Research – and asking questions in glass groups – taught me several things:
It’s a candle holder …. vase thingy. Ha! How’s that? I think I added the vase part.
It’s made by Viking
It’s swung glass and those things sticking up are called fingers
The color is called “smoke”
It was probably made in the 1960s
I’m not keeping this one, I don’t think. Depends on how long it hangs around, I suppose. But it’s currently for sale here in the blog shop as well as my Etsy shop.
February was great in my booth and fairly decent on Etsy and eBay. I didn’t get any pictures of booth items, so those sales won’t be shared.
I’ve only, in the past year, started putting things on eBay again. I pretty much abandoned it years ago in favor of Etsy, but I’m easing back into selling there as well again. I think I had got up to about 45-50 items or thereabouts on eBay, so selling 10 was pretty good, I guess. I was determined to get up to 200 listings on Etsy in February. In the 11 years I’ve been selling there, I think I’ve reached that amount once. Guess I’m not dedicated enough. So, I almost made it! Got to 198, then had a flurry of sales while I was busy with life and haven’t had a chance to list more and at this point, I’m back down to 182 items.
If you’ve read the blog much, you know I’m not a prolific seller. I’m soooo not full time. Still, it’s more than a hobby for me. I sell to supplement our income. But many hobbyists are speeding past me, leaving me in the dust. Anyway, I’m saying that to point out that I’m not here trying to show you how to make a living reselling and certainly not to brag! I’ve got nothing to brag about! My hope is that you might see something I’ve sold that you never thought to buy for resell or that you’ll see something I’ve sold for pennies and can make note not to bother with that. Anything I can do that might help you reach your reselling goals is my hope.
This post will be kinda long and I apologize for that. I thought about doing separate posts for eBay and Etsy sales, but ultimately decided to combine them because there really aren’t that many. So here goes. Let’s start with eBay, shall we? ( I believe buyer paid shipping on all these.)
I took these patches off a couple of my husband’s decaying caps several years ago and just this year put them for sale. They sold to the same buyer.
Cost: Free to me Total sale: $18.98 Net after fees: $14.58
I got this 2013 Ancestry DNA kit at Goodwill. $5.99 plus tax. That tax just gripes my behind. Don’t get me started. Genealogy being one of my hobbies, I debated on getting my husband or granddaughter to spit in the vial – I’ve already done mine – but ultimately decided to sell it.
Cost: $6.53 Total Sale: $33.99 Net After Fees and Cost: $22.15
Do you watch Yvon Thrifty Rich – on YouTube? I learned about John Perry sculptures from her, so when I saw this one at an estate sale, I grabbed it. And only now did I see the title was messed up! Egads!
Cost: 8.00 Total Sale: 31.00 Net After Fees and Cost: $17.10
This Vintage Champion Spark Plug bag belonged to my mother who always worked as bookkeeper in an auto parts store. I originally priced it as $47.99 but after going back and forth with offers, settled on $35.00
Cost: Free to me Total Sale: $35.00 Net After Fees: $28.43
These are a DON’T bother. They were brand new and, since they were Victoria’s Secret and only a dollar, I thought I’d give them a shot. But, what you can’t see in this picture is that they have “Think Pink” written on the outside of one arm. It was a little bit of profit and a little is better than none, so I won’t complain. And although I said don’t bother with these, I’d probably do it again. Sigh. (Also, the title is messed up again! I’ll have to remember not to use punctuation.
Cost: $1.00 Total Sale: 9.99 Net After Cost and Fees: $6.59
Oh, wow! This is the first Furby I’ve ever found in the wild. No, that’s not true. I found – and left there – a grody one in an outbuilding once. It was really scary. And dirty. Got this one at Goodwill.
Cost: $3.26 Total Sale: $24.99 Fees: $4.92 Net After Cost and Fees: $16.82
This was from my personal collection. I’m guessing I paid 25¢ years ago.
Cost: .25 Total Sale: 29.99 Fees: 5.07 Net After Cost and Fees: $24.67
This Brighton bracelet had belonged, I believe, to my step mother. I’m saying it was free to me, but we probably gave it to her for Christmas, so not technically free.
Cost: Free to me Total Sale: $14.99 Fees: $3.04 Net After Fees: $11.95
Ahhhh,…. Now this is more like it. My kind of profit. I’ve had 3 1980s Vogue counter catalogs for years and years and years, shuffling them around because, who is going to pay the shipping for something as big and heavy as that? Well, I’ve sold 2 of them now. I don’t remember how much I paid for this, but I’d bet it was a dollar.
Cost: $1.00 Total Sale: $47.99 Fees: $8.49 Net After Cost and Fees: $38.50
Last and least – hehe – this antique newspaper insert from my death pile. I’ll guess it cost 25¢ but really, I’ve had it so long, I have no idea. It wasn’t on my inventory list, either.
Cost: .25 Total Sale: $6.99 Fees: $2.30 Net After Cost and Fees: $4.44
That’s all for eBay. Are you still with me? Let’s do Etsy.
A note about the Etsy links here. Did you know you can use a Chrome extension that shows what an item sold for on Etsy? It’s called “Etsy Sold!” Of course, you have to find the sold item first and that’s not easy with Etsy, but if you go to a seller’s main page, you’ll see the number of sales they’ve had in the upper left corner under the shop name. Hover over that number and if it shows as a link, you can click and see a grid of everything they’ve sold and with the extension, how much it sold for is in red! Isn’t that cool? Then, if you want to see more about the item, you can click on the link. That’s what you’ll see here. The pictures from the grid. But I’ll also place a link to the listing if you click on the picture. That link, my link, will be an affiliate link. Of course, you can’t buy the sold item, but unless you have cookies or something disabled, if you buy anything from anyone on Etsy within a day or so, I’ll get a few pennies from that sale. It costs you nothing, nor does it cost the seller anything. And neither of us know you used that link. But those few cents add up in the long run and help me out because these posts take a loooonnnnng time to do! I would be ever so grateful.
Brass easels are a big seller on Etsy. I sold two of these, identical, for $17.00 each.
Cost: $1.00 (for two) Total Sale: $34.00 (for two) Fees: $4.47 (for two) Net After Cost and Fees: $28.63
Another somewhat surprising item is vintage, wicker, paper plate holders. My friend Florence, whose Etsy shop is Vintage Southern Picks, has taught me that the older ones have a larger braid around the edges. These were my first attempt at selling them. They were stained so badly, too! I was scared the buyer wouldn’t have seen the pictures and emailed her first. She had and understood and was fine with them. Whew!
Mid century modern, Danish modern, Scandanavian, etc. are among my favorite things to sell. I found this Dansk cheese cutting board with built in knife (It slides in to form the handle) at ReStore for $2.00. It wasn’t a huge sale, but I’ll sure take it.
This was a fun sale, both the buying and the selling. These vintage cocktail napkins came from a family run estate sale and they priced everything to get it gone. I bought so much there! And no, I had no idea about selling prices as I was buying.
Okay. So I found a bunch of these at the antique mall where I have a booth. I walked past them at first, then backstepped. They are so vintage 60s! So retro! So cool! I’m just going to picture a couple of examples. Most sold to one buyer and one sold to another buyer.
Five Vintage Lucite Switchplates Cost: $7.71 Total Sale: $95.00 Free shipping was offered in the sale of four together, but I’m not going to try to figure that out. Fees: $8.87 (I think. It was pretty convoluted.) Net After Cost and Fees: $78.42
I started going through all the hankies that were in my death pile. Took most to the booth where I sold them for $3.50 each. This one was rather special and I knew no one would pay more than $3.50 at the booth, so I put it on Etsy.