The market on Chinese antiques is a strange thing. I researched a nearly identical pair of bowls that had sold for around $8,000 so you can imagine I had high hopes for mine. After nearly a year of fishing for a high price, I finally decided that the experts knew more than me and cut them loose for a song. An interesting mention; most of the Asian antiques we do find go back to where they were made. The world is a small place these days and more than 25% of our internet sales leave the country!
The problem with selling large and heavy things on eBay is that the cost of shipping directly cuts in to what people are willing to pay for a given item. Since a piece like this could sit in the showroom for months or even years before finding a new home, we really don't have a choice and simply have to hope for the best.
A customer bought some lamps today and asked if we had any pieces like this for a science project. The collectible value of old glass is not what it used to be and this piece had a small chip, so I just gave it to her as finding things a good home is what we are all about! You'll notice it glows under a blacklight and is usually a degree or two warmer than room temperature and that is how you know it's uranium. *Wiki: Uranium glass is glass which has had (radioactive) uranium, usually in oxide diuranate form, added to a glass mix before melting for coloration.
These little metal models were used both to train observers to recognize ships by silhouette and also as position markers on tactical maps. Collectors want to buy things that not just any collector will have and these were only available in small circles. They were not in the best condition so the price was reflective of that.
This rug was probably several thousand dollars when purchased. The rug market is a lot like the diamond market and second hand pieces are worth as little as 10% of the original retail. Someone got a really good deal and we got lucky selling it the first time around on eBay. It was compact enough that it could be shipped and being able to ship an item makes all the difference in finding it a good home quick.
Many types of figurines that used to be collectible are no longer in demand but a few can still have good value and maker, subject matter, and condition are the factors, We find that approximately 25% of our internet sales are made to other countries and it's always a surprise to see what obscure items leave our borders.
Items like this old pulley can be found at antique malls all over the country for $5 and the fact that we sold this one for $40 was only because we took the time and effort to put it on the internet at someone's fingertips. Sometimes we only get a certain price for a given item is because we have a store and a system to sell things and the cost of being in business is huge!
Our biggest sale of the month so far, this old tea set was so ugly that I knew it must be special. Seriously, I suspected it would go for a high price, but this was one auction that exceeded expectations for a change. With so much old pottery and glassware flooding the market, only the best brands and rarest pieces have a chance of selling these days.
Old clocks typically have some appeal although the market is not what it used to be. This piece surprised me a bit as it didn't work and still brought a very nice price. Oftentimes the cost to repair some types of items exceeds the value so as a dealer we have to know when to hold, when to fold, and when to run.
Most people know that items made of gold or silver will have value based on the metal alone. When we sell things on eBay, our hope is that collectors looking for certain patterns or brands will pay above and beyond the scrap price. In cases like this, where the item is monogrammed with an initial, the sale price will usually be around the melt value. Sure enough, this sale was point blank scrap - I could have saved the 13% in transaction fees if I had just called my dealer. Oh well - if we don't take the chance, we might miss out.
Today an older woman visited our store and wanted to buy just the glass shade from a lamp we had. The lamp wouldn't have been much good to us without the shade so I instead asked her if she had looked on eBay. She said she didn't have a computer so I offered to find one for her. After just a few minutes of searching, we found the exact one she needed and ordered it on the spot.
Here's a piece I thought was really cool and might be worth a fortune but after it sat on my shelf for six months waiting to sell, my best offer was only $100. I've learned the hard way that just because I like something doesn't mean it's worth what I had hoped it would be. And usually your first offer is your best offer so don't look a gift horse in the mouth!
Over the past few years we've learned that most antique furniture pieces just aren't very desirable anymore and the values have dropped across the board. Using the reach of the Internet, we still manage to sell the better pieces we come across in a timely manner. This old cabinet sold for what I thought was a respectable price and is on its way to New Jersey - it only took about a month to find it a good home! Many antique stores are no longer in business because their owners failed to use technology to market their finds...
We got this old fold-up map from a box of stuff slated for the trash and recognized it needed to be saved. On the cover it says 'Automobile map' and was dated 1909. In 1909, cars didn't even have four windows yet - just Google 1909 Ford! So being a road map, this was really a piece of transportation history from 100 years ago and anything transportation related sells! While $50 isn't a lot of money, this map probably sold for a nickel way back when which makes it a great item to blog about! We even found Damascus on the map!
Old mercantile pieces are getting hard to find and can sometimes be hard to describe when selling. One of the most critical aspects of getting things sold is trying to use the perfect words to help collectors find the items they are looking for. While there are many collector books you can read, this is not something you can just lean overnight and is one of the most valuable things we do for our consignments.
This was an award given to surviving Civil War veterans at the turn of the century. We know anything old pertaining to military conflict has value and this was a piece that I thought would generate a little more interest than it did. When selling things on eBay, some types of items we auction, starting them at a fair opening bid and letting the public carry the price higher if warranted. In this case, I might have done better 'fishing' for a high price and taking offers.
One of my own staff members, an experienced eBay seller herself, asked me to represent this piece from her private collection. There were no comprehensive values to be found and she knew that I had a better chance of getting a good price for it. When it comes to premium items, we definitely earn our commission. Give us great items and we'll get you great results!