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.
Does it seem that people are not reading your item descriptions on eBay and/or Etsy? Are they asking questions that are clearly answered in the description if they just “bothered” to look? I see this complaint all the time and I’ve had it happen to me as well. And you know what? It might not be entirely their fault! Especially with Etsy and especially on mobile devices.
I can’t speak much about eBay, since I do very little selling there, but I can speak a lot about Etsy! They, as of this writing, oddly enough, make it, ummm, let’s just say, not very intuitive to find the actual description on mobile devices. Here’s a screenshot of how some books I currently have for sale appear on my phone:
………………..Oh, and before you say anything, I learned long ago, that no matter how easy it is to ship outside the US, something will happen ~for ME~ that either costs me money ($50 one time!!) or there’s a problem that costs me a whole day trying to sort out. That’s why I sell to the US only. It’s not them, it’s me. I might use the global shipping thing, and will usually ship outside the US if asked, but I try to keep my life simple. Now back to the problem at hand.………………..
So, okay. That “Item Overview” is not helpful at all. And the “Item Details”, (I drew the red box around it.) that you have to click a down arrow to see, first, should it be named Item Description instead of Details? And second, maybe we shouldn’t have to click on an arrow to read it? Here’s another:
There’s more information in the “Overview” – and those are pretty much the only choices we have to fill out except for things like “Holiday” and other unnecessary details – but thinking like a buyer here, “Hey, what’s that dark area in the middle of the wood that I can see in the picture? Where do I find out about that?” It just seems to me that if they’re going to show all the “Overview” stuff, maybe there should be a place for more of the important details and the condition. eBay at least has the condition where it can be seen. Sort of. (Not that I like the way eBay does things either, but at least “condition” is there amid the myriad of other things we might not care about.) And then there’s the whole, “Why should I buy this item” that we can talk about in the description….
Note that on the computer, the description on Etsy is actually called “Description” and they at least show about 5 lines before it is grayed out and you have to click to “learn more.” So it’s pretty important to state what could be a deal-breaker right upfront. Not an ideal selling tactic.
So, what can we do? We’re all busy people. We get in a hurry, see something we like and click on that “Buy” button, get the item and wonder why those vintage shoes don’t fit when they were my size or, “I thought it was larger than that” or “Hey! There is only one lid here!” (I once sold 2 bowls with one lid. The title stated it, the first line of the description stated it and all the pictures clearly showed it. But she somehow missed that pertinent information.) But again, we’re human. We get in a hurry. So, we can blame the buyers for not reading or we can blame the selling venues for not making it easy to see, we can complain on social media and complain to the venues, or we can do whatever we can to help the buyer see all they need to see.
Here’s my solution. I’ve only just now started doing this and who knows if I’m still doing it this time next year? And of course, there are quite a few similar solutions other people use. But mine, at the moment, is to make a graphic of the description, either in bullet point or even the whole description, but I believe the bullet point is probably better, and put it as the last picture. Similar to this:
In that particular listing, I ran out of picture spaces and combined the photo of the imperfection with the other condition notes.
Now, of course, not everybody will scroll through all the pictures, and not everyone will bother to read the graphic but in that case, I simply do not know of anything else to do.
What about when a vintage item has a ding/flaw/chip/nick/discoloration/whatever imperfection that vintage things tend to have? I’ve heard that some people use the “Personalization” area in Etsy to ask the buyer to say that they saw there was an imperfection. I tried that once and it confused the buyer. She didn’t want it personalized. Ha! I’ve also tried messaging and emailing the buyer prior to shipping. The last time I did that, she did not see either the message or the email. She was surprised when she got her item and must have gone in to message me, saw that I tried to reach out to her and decided not to complain but to apologize and say it was okay. However, that has saved me more than once when the buyer, in fact, did not see that there was some damage and wanted a more perfect item. It’s more work and aggravation for us sellers and really should be avoided by the selling venue doing a better job, but the venues don’t seem to see there’s a problem. So we do what we can. (Sometimes, it seems like Etsy doesn’t want vintage sellers, but that’s a whole ‘nuther can of worms I won’t open here or I’d be writing for days! And that’s really not true. I don’t think. Of course they want us and our money. I think they just don’t understand vintage.)
Tell me in the comments what you do to try to prevent this from happening.
(You know who does a pretty good job of this? WooCommerce. It looks similar to most of the big online stores we visit. It’s free and I use it on this site. But dang, it’s a lot of work to try to sell on your own website! And I’ll admit to not adding things very often. I should do a better job of the blog all the way around.)
Okay. So. Let’s talk flower frogs today. I was researching a…. thing…. trying to determine if it is or isn’t a flower frog, we’ll talk about that later, and realized there needs to be a short conversation of clarification of just what is and is not a flower frog.
First, the basic definition of a flower frog is flower arranger. Flower stem holder. Something that goes in the bottom of a vase and has holes or pins or slits for the flower stems to sit in. This keeps them somewhat in position. (Only not if I’m the one doing the arranging. Definitely not one of my talents.) They come in quite a few shapes, sizes and materials. Glass is probably the most common. You’ll see these everywhere. Clear, heavy glass with holes. Some people mistakenly call these pencil holders or even candle holders. On the same line as these, are pottery frogs. They’re usually the same basic, round shapes with holes. Another style is metal with sharp pins sticking up. Think of a tiny bed of nails. There are “cages.” These can be metal or plastic. And last, is the more novelty flower frogs. Let’s take a look at some examples of flower frogs. These are some that I either own or have had and sold.
Cage Flower Frogs
As you can see, cage flower frogs come in all shapes and sizes. These particular ones are metal, but they can be plastic. I sold this group on Etsy back in 2015 for $42.00.
Spike Flower Frogs
Look at the different shapes of these spike flower frogs. And this is just a tee-niny sample of the different shapes they come in! These sold in my Etsy shop in 2014 for $35.00. And the ones below in 2021 for $35.00.
Novelty and Figural Flower Frogs
This type is probably my favorite. From my personal collection. This particular bird flower frog was made in Japan. See the little holes?
Again, from my personal collection. I don’t know what you’d call this style.
The next one, sort of along the same lines, being as it’s wire, may or may not be a flower frog, but for some reason, I think it is. I’ve had it…. goodness! 15-20 years or so! Perhaps research back then told me that it was a frog.
Pottery Flower Frogs
Pottery flower frogs can be, along with some novelty and figural frogs, the most expensive and most desirable. Different pottery companies made them. Weller, Roseville, Hull, McCoy….. Some were plain like the one below made by Weller.
Some were similar to the bird above only with dancing ladies or fish or what have you.
Some were like a pottery ball with holes in them like below:
I have no recollection of this Gordy flower frog vase but it was in my photos from 2011. How could I forget this beauty?! It’s not even in my inventory list, but that’s definitely a picture I took.
Glass Flower Frogs
Glass flower frogs are usually clear glass. This one happens to be Depression Glass in the marigold color. It’s in terrible condition as you can see, but it found a way into my personal collection. I tend to take in the broken.
These Are NOT Flower Frogs!!
So, what’s NOT a flower frog? These. These are not, but I see them on eBay and elsewhere all the time listed as such:
These are plastic carpet protectors. They also come in round. They were put under furniture legs with the pointy side down to keep from flattening the carpet. They were only somewhat effective. Either the people who try to sell these as flower frogs are too young to remember or maybe their parents or grandparents didn’t use them. They just don’t know any better. I hope.
Is This A Flower Frog Or Is It Not?
So, we get to the item that started all this. I bought it with a bunch of other frogs at an estate sale. Who knows if the previous owner stored it with the other frogs or if the estate handlers put it with them? I tend to think it’s some kind of flower frog and belonged with the others. The color screams “floral” to me. It’s plastic, 3-1/2″ in diameter, and you would only be able to use short stems. If you’ve ever seen this and know what it is, frog or something else entirely, I sure would appreciate your letting me know!
So there’s my quick lesson on what is and isn’t a flower frog. I hope it has helped someone, anyone, out there. Maybe it has answered a question or cleared up a misconception. And do a Google image search or search eBay or Etsy. If they weren’t already, your eyes will be opened to the wonders of collectible flower frogs! (And you’re guaranteed to see a few carpet protectors.)