Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Think Vintage: The Basics

Antiques and Collectibles.  Everybody I know collects something.  But before you can get serious, you have to do your homework.  That why my #1 basic rule is to buy a few general reference/price guides on antiques and collectibles.  Kovels, Schroeders and the Garage Sale and Fleamarket books are my 3 favorites.  Just glance through them, for starters.  Keep in mind that the books are to be used as reference guides, not price guides.  The prices in the books can't be counted on as the true value of the item.  Many times, the prices in the books are based on what the item was priced for in an antique shop.  The true value of an item depends on what the public is willing to pay for it. 

Basic rule #2 is to start with what you know then spread out to other merchandise.  If you know a little about vases or glassware, start there.  Open one of your books and look up vases or glassware.  Get out a small notebook and use it to write down the names of the pieces that are higher priced in the books.  Keep this notebook with you at all times, and a pen or pencil.  You'll be using it quite a bit.  Is the item glass or pottery, coloring, what mark does it have?  You need to now as much as you can in general about vases - or whatever product that interests you - so you can identify it when you see it.  

Basic rule #3 is doing more research.  Go browse around in atleast one, preferably 3, antique shops each week.  Pick up the items that interest you, check out the mark, feel the weight, check for chips, cracks, or any other flaws.  Check the price.  Make notes of things you want to remember about items.   Soak it all in.  If you make this a weekly ritual, I guarantee you'll start knowing the quality items from the mediocre in record time.

Basic rule #4 also invoves more research.  The more you know...   go to online auctions and other online shops, such as Etsy ;-), and do some browsing.   I use Ebay for research because I can go to the completed items and see what stuff actually sold for.  I used to be an Ebay seller years ago.   When I check prices I keep in mind that many items on that venue sell for wholesale prices.   You can also get a lot of important information from reading the listings of the merchandise.  Another good place to find info on items is by typing the product into a search engine.   

Okay, I think that's enough info to pass on right now.  Next time, we'll talk about the treasure hunting.   

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