Friday, May 31, 2013

How To Research The Artwork You Find...

So you've gone to an auction or a fleamarket or a garage sale (aka estate sale, yard sale, boot sale) and found a piece of art work for cheap (or not) and bought it!!  Yahoo!! Good for you. 

Now how do you know what you have?? Well here is my method, which I devised when we briefly were selling in an antique market stall:

1. Get a higher power magnifying glass or jeweler's loup and look at the art work close up thru that. You'll be able to see brush strokes if it's a water color, oil or acrylic.

Each medium (the fancy work artists use for WHAT they painted with..oil, watercolor, acrylic paint etc.) will have different characteristics but anyone with a brain...(Oh seriously, there are some brainless bodies walking around for sure) will be able to deduce which it is by what they see.

Watercolor - thin light applications normally and with brushstrokes visibly overlapping in darker areas

Oil color - thicker paint, more vivid color and in some areas more built up.

Acrylic paint - if it looks like oil paint but is REALLY vivid and really thick and higher ridges, then it's likely acrylic but take it to an art gallery if you're not sure

2. if you see dots in a cross-hatch pattern, it's a print of some kind. There are numerous kinds..too many for me to master... if it's NOT paint or ink and not cross-hatched it could be an older type of print called a Chromo-Lithograph or just a lithograph or engraving.  Take those to an art gallery also for an expert's opinion.

3. you can tell pen and ink drawings, pencil and charcoal/pastels with it too - If you look at the ink lines an in pen & Ink drawing or at the pencil lines in a sketch, you will immediately recognize the technique as the same that you get if you write your name on a piece of paper with that implement.  Ink pens, of which there are also variations for artists, still leave an "indentation" of some sort, however mild. Pencils may or may not depending on the technique adn the skill. But you should at least be able to discern if it's really pencil or if it's a print of a pencilled drawing. (there's that cross-hatch thing again)

4. Lithographs and engravings generally have an impressed (call it dented) border from the Plate or stone used to make the the print.  It's why you see pictures with "pushed" in areas...

Now, with your magnifying glass or loupe, looko for a signature, in the art area (in the print it's called) or on the border? 

Then go to and search the artist's name. Or to the library and use their Davenport's (which is the go-to guide for artwork for auction houses and dealers etc)

AskArt if you subscribe will even tell you prices (or worthpoint) (no affiliate links since I use them sparingly myself and don't subcribe)

Now you can more comfortably approach an art gallery or an art dealer to ask for an appraisal as you'll know if they are BSing you when they say it's nothing ... only the unscruplous ones would do that and well know there are none of those out there... right?? Yeah!  Ok

So now you can also go to your insurance agent and add a "Rider" for your art work since it's likely not covered by your regular homeowner's policy.

I am by no means an "art expert".  I learned to do this to know whether I wanted to sell what I'd bought and what I could expect to get for it.  Consult a paid professional for more advice than what's here. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Can You Make A Living Selling Antiques On eBay?

Well that's a great question and one for which I have an answer that works for me.

I have sold on eBay for years (almost 16 to be honest). I was part-time for about 8 years...Full Time since May 31, 2005.

There are some problems and some solutions so I figured I'd do an on-going series of posts as I ramp up my business for The Holiday Selling Season and scale it up for higher volume and higher profitbility.
THIS is #1, so you are here at the beginning of my journey.
Here are MY main concerns and those of my mentors:
Inventory -
can two people (there is myself and The Shipping Manger) acquire enough high dollar inventory and get it online consistently enough to make money?

So we'll call that The Sourcing Problem.

It is not really a problem for me... I live in an area where there are between 2 and 19 auctions a day depending on the time of year and the day of the week.
That doesn't count thrift stores, house sales and retail arbitrage.


This includes, washing/cleaning, photographing, identification and listing it on a site/venue.
How much can I do alone? How much can the shippimg manager help with that?
What is the ideal volume, at a $20 ASP or a $50 ASP or $100 ASP??
Right now with an average selling price (ASP) of $18.00, I need to list about 50 auctions a week to keep traffic coming thru the eBay store which has 2000 items it in (at least this week it does).

I have to work on the numbers for the other levels of ASP and STR (sell thru rate) so I'll get back to you on that subject. Obviously, it is just as easy to list somethng that will sell for $100 as $20. Scaling up to list $1000 items might be equally simple but we'll see as I work thru this.

How many things can 1 vintage, used shipping manager handle per day? He says, "More than you can sell" so we'll have to see.
Not ready to discuss this yet but I will later...
My concerns, right now are:

1. Cash flow - there needs to constantly be money to source more stock
2. Shipping help - if the shipping manager needs help, whom can I get? I'm totally unfond of the idea of strangers in my house. During the winter I can hire the son to come home and help out... maybe
3. what other "chores" can I outsource?
AND that's Chapter One! Back to work for me.
- 30 -

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Goofus Glass ? What is it/

Goofus glass? ever heard of it?? Well I learned years ago at an auction what it was thanks to a fellow glass collector there. 

Here's what Wikipedia says:
Goofus glass is pressed glass which was decorated with cold, unfired paint in the early 20th century in America by several prominent glass factories. Because it was mass-produced and relatively cheap, it was given as a premium for buying things, awarded as prizes at fairs. It was the first carnival glass, preceding the iridized product we refer to as carnival glass today.
Articles produced included plates, bowls, vases, oil lamps, dresser sets, salt and pepper shakers and candle holders. The most common colors used were gold, red, and green, with gold usually being the predominant color. The exact etymology of the name is unknown, but likely stems from the fact that the painted decoration wasn't very durable and people felt that it was "goofy" or that someone had tried to "goof - us".
Indiana Glass Company in Dunkirk, Indiana was possibly the most prolific producer goofus glass. Dugan Diamond Company and H. Northwood were also notable producers of the glass. These companies produced pieces which consisted of lines of pressed glass known as intaglio and painted opalescent glass. These pieces are among the most highly valued items collectors seek today[citation needed].
The term "goofus" has come to refer more to the use of un-fired enamel decoration to a piece of pressed glass, rather than to the glass itself. Paint decorated opalescent and milk glass items are sometimes incorrectly referred to as "Goofus glass". Painted jewelry, items produced after the 1930s, and items produced outside of the United States are not considered to be "goofus glass".
Goofus glass production came to an end around 1930, as the process for iridized glass was discovered and started being produced.

And here is a picture...(the reason I'm doing the post right this minute is, if I don't you'll never see the picture cause I'll lose track of it..


Monday, January 30, 2012

Sales Tax for Everyone...??? or not!

IF you're an online seller, NOW and HERE is the time to express your opinion... POPVOX

Eventually, we'll all be doing "something" about sales tax in our state and/or other states so GO and voice an opinion - whatever your opinion is..

To do lists for Monday??

To do lists for Monday??

Here's Mine
Shipping 8 (done..on the porch waiting for pickup!! )

nothing else is pending or paid so no other shipping...(boohoo!)

Packing up the dining room table... has to be coordinated with recording locations in the custom label field

Calling the auctioneer and reporting that the Versace cake plates are actually fakes..get my money back.. ($230...sheesh..)

Relisting the unsolds....

Listing the things I have pictures of -

Taking more pictures

Listening to Kat's two podcasts if I can manage to remember both... (I make the first one late and then forget to come back from break for the second one...I ain't senile, I'm just stupid!)

First one is at 1 PM EASTERN TIMEeComm Connections -
today's topic is Sales Tax - with Keith Yockey and Steven Aldrich. Steven is the new CEO of Outright

Next is FBARADIO which she produces for Chris Green - that's at 3PM EASTERN TIME -
Another appearance by Steven Aldrich of Outright and discussion of what tools you need for FBA... BE there..someone remind me on Googletalk ok?

If you miss the live shows (don't, the chatroom is the best part..and it's not on the replay!) there is a replay!

Play time with the kittens...the one (Whipper of the Levittown Whippersnappers) is still very skittish..she needs more handling - coincidentally I LOVE petting kittens so... we're good!

listing those things I just took pictures of.

Dinner (appears we're all here today..)Chicken Something???

TV night...and read... I'm so behind on reading, I might be dead before I'm caught up.

I'm reading Retail Arbitrage and The Dovekeepers...sort of simultaneously...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Top 20 Selling Antiques & Collectibles for September 2011 - according to Tias

Here are the top 20 selling antiques & collectibles for September 2011
1. China & Dinnerware - See:

2. Glass - See:

3. Vintage Sewing Items - See:

4. Vintage Jewelry - See:

5. Kitchen Collectibles - See:

6. Paper & Ephemera - See:

7. Vintage Clothing - See:

8. Coins & Currency - See:

9. Holiday & Seasonal - See:

10. Figurines - See:

11. Porcelain & Pottery - See:

12. Advertising - See:

13. Toys - See:

14. Furniture & Accessories - See:

15. Books - See:

16. Memorabilia - See:

17. Photographica - See:

18. Music Related - See:

19. Dolls - See:

20. Lamps & Lighting - See:

Accredited media interested in discussing the content of this release or any topics related to antiques and collectibles are encouraged to contact Phil Davies at . Email

--About TIAS-- was voted by readers as the "Best Place to Buy" antiques & collectibles online in 2011. TIAS lists well over 580,000 items for sale online and serves approximately 700,000 unique visitors each month. About 400 merchants sell through the TIAS system. The company has been building Web stores for merchants since 1995. To open an online shop with please visit visit us on facebook at:

For more information contact:
Phillip Davies, Inc.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Brush with Antique Fame...

How fun!! Mike Wolf from American Pickers will be there....

Years ago one of the antique roadshow thingees stopped in Phila at the Art Museum - $5 appraisal per item. It was THIS time of the year and I was 6 mos pregnant - looked like a mama elephant and still wanted an appraisal of a chair (my son will be 30 in Nov.. LOL that's how long ago).

So you know those steps that Rocky runs up at the Art Museum (in the movie..) ...well the pregnant elephant put the chair in the car...drove down... carried the chair AROUND the whole blessed building (the Philadelphia Art Museum is HUGE!! REALLY HUGE!)... and then put it on her head like the best 3rd world tribeswoman...and walked up the steps.  I don't know which was funnier..the chair on my head.. legs up in the air..or the big belly going up the steps like Rocky!

For $5 I found out that the chair was 16th/17th century (1500-1600) English, Hickory, ladderback with a rush seat and only (ONLY??) worth $600.  My husband had bought it for $25 at an auction. So I put it back on my head...and walked back down the stairs..put it back in the car and drove it and him to Main Street in New Hope where I sold it to a dealer for $300 cash. LOL ...paid for my infant's delivery and his  first live Scream! and the pediatrician who made sure he screamed...
Had some good buys after that but not much that compared pricewise.

I'd love to go to the Pickers thing... tell whoever goes to take pictures for us and put them on Facebook!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I gave up

Ok, I admit it, following a schedule didn't work for me.... so I gave up. BUT the next few months will hopefully be less horrendous than the last few and I'll do this more regularly.

Frankly, it helps to get encouragement too. One of my mentors reamed me on content and said I was posting about the "wrong" things. So, what are the right things?? I think I'll just post about what I like, collecting wise and what I know about and let her figure her own life out. (at least I can spell).

Ok enough crankiness first thing in the AM.  I'll see you more often now that I gave up listening to other cranky people.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Interview on Ask Janelle Radio

In the spring of 2009, I joined OSIROCKSTARS which is a "training" business site, run by Janelle Elms.  I'd be signing up for every free class Janelle did for years but I'd made a resolution to join the full site and get the "real deal" and I finally did.

It's been one darn thing after another since then. Janelle is a slave driver....Ok, well she's not really but she just knows so much and goes to such great lenghts to share it, that I'm constantly challenged to keep up.

THEN, on Jan 5, 2011 I was honored to be her guest on her ASK JANELLE Show on
and I am......................down link..

Part One



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why are you waiting for Paypal to tell you you have funds?/

I've been an eBay seller for 100 years...well ok 14 on March 3rd. I was an ebay seller before there was a Paypal when we had to use MULTIMATE to make our own invoices and email them to folks. And we waited by the mailbox for checks or money orders and sometimes Cash to arrive.

Then God invented Paypal so I wouldn't have to wait any more.

Now, in the beginning, (I wish you could here the heavenly choir singing that...) Paypal didn't send notices.  Now they do... in between sometimes they were supposed and it messed up.  Sometimes they forgot to push the button... but for me?? I didn't care. why?? BECAUSE, I went (and still do) every morning, as soon as I sat down here, and looked in my Paypal account (and my husband's and son's too...) and printed out the Payments.

Since Paypal invented Packing slips I print those ( for in the package and one for me on the outside of the package so I don't mess up and send your stuff to Canada or Canada's stuff to Japan..or Texas)

So please explain this to me?? WHY DON"T YOU DO THAT??  Twice lately, I've heard the excuse "I didn't know you'd paid" for folks who didn't ship stuff. One was from one friend to another (well one of them is still a friend...the reciever person - the non-sender person...not so much).  

And then the same week, a seller told ME that. I paid on Dec 18th for a vintage magazine..still not here...still not marked "shipped".   So I asked."where's my stuff, please?"  And I got the same mumbo jumbo.."oh I didn't notice you paid'.

REALLY?? You got $40 in your paypal account and figured it was a Christmas present from God?? no question asked?? If I find $.04 extra in my paypal account or my google checkout account, I get busy and figure out where it came from. I don't just spend it and go on like nothing's changed.

Ok so you overlooked that part. When you looked at your MY eBay page and the little $$ was filled in and you got a "Paid on December 18 with Paypal" as you moused over the $$$, that didn't trigger a  moment of remorse?? Oh hey, I guess I ought to ship that lady's magazine??

REALLY?? HOW's that?? And then when I ding your stars, you'll be all mystified and stupid and stuff and saying "I have NO clue why this bitch dinged my stars".

HERE are the rules:

You list.
I buy.
You bill me.
I pay within your time frame or even better, I pay faster!!
You  check paypal every morning and ship everything that's paid for.

END OF STORY - not stupid excuses like "Oh I didn't notice you paid".

Oh and when I ask you where my item is, three weeks after I paid you" please dont' give me guff about how it's Paypal's fault because they didn't notify you and their spotty history of notification. THEY didn't get my money, you did....

I have a left-handed cat

I have a "left-handed" and a "right-handed" cat... The lefty (below) is Max.  He actually adopted my son who, coincidentally is left handed. So when he sits on my son's lap, Mike rubs his head and pets him with his right hand as he (Mike) continues to mouse around the internet left-handed (aka NO loss of productivity).
See?? He sleeps on the left too.. here they are enjoying the electric blanket and NO, I didn't tuck them under there.  They be smart cats, don't need no help from annoying human moms..
Cosmos - the seal point Siamese, is a right hand cat.  He sits so he gets petted with your left hand...he sleeps on the right, exactly opposite of Max.

 They also check out "towel fluffiness" in the closet for the management. (max on the left..his left and Cos on the right...(brown)
And so, when Mike is not around and Mom is assigned to pet him, Max sits on my lap and demands to be petted with my right hand...thereby reducing my productivity to ZERO!! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.  Hey loves you anyway!

Monday, January 3, 2011

I'm so not fashion-savvy..

And this is the proof - my friend, the eBay Queen who blogs under that name posted a Horse-hide coat as a "strange item of the week"on her blog.  And from that I drilled down and found these...

Expensive and "weird" mens jackets

So I have a couple of questions for my fashion-savvy friends?? Are we actually harvesting old Paint's hide to make a coat?? WHO does that?? I know that the French eat horsemeat or used to...way more than we ever do in this country. That's ok there are some places in the world where cats and dog are "fair game" but I'm having trouble conceiving of "Chuckie" the riding lesson horse, turning into "Chuckie" the leather jacket..or shoes??

AND what the heck is a vicuna??  These jackets and coats are vicuna... THANK GOD for Google images... VICUNA pictures..

Ok - time for me to go to work so I can buy my husband and son Vicuna jackets. (Yeah THAT's Happening..)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

150th Anniversary of the Start of the Civil War

Really...150 years. Whoddthunkit?

The political, economic and moral issues are all still raw for large swathes of the country. BUT we're not here today to rehash that. We're here to talk Civil War antiques. A subject I'm not really well versed on. I collect depression glass, remember?

But I figured, in a vain effort to catch up on the ULTIMATE BLOG Challenge, that I'd do a quick and dirty post and show you some "antiques" I have from around that era. They are only mine because my mom and her aunts, father and grandfather saved them. And some are only here because we have access to government records in our "beknighted" country. ( like the Wiki leaks guy does too..said with tonque firmly stuck out at the government)

So, forthwith..let me show you my gems of genealogy:

Did you know the government has census records back to like 1800?? This one is from 1870 - Wilmington De and my grandfather, a civil war veteran,and his family are listed on this exact page.  So I not only know he was alive in 1870, I know his wife was and so were some of his children.

I also have John Bradley's naturalization papers from 1850, and his muster roll from his enlistment in the 1st Delaware Infantry, as well as his discharge because he was blind in one eye, couldn't see out of the other eye and was hence unsuitable to be a solder. (NO SHIT SHERLOCK! No wonder you're a Lt. Colonel... )

Smart as I'm I forgot to take pictures for you so I'll add them later.

John ended up having something like 6 children. I know of 4 definitively. And  his oldest son was born in 1860 while he was serving in the Union Army.

There are still a lot of good Civil War Era antiques. Among those I've seen sold and traded are "dug buttons".  DUG refers to they were found in a battle field as opposed to "found in military stores" or supply depots.

Ok...tomorrow - pictures I promise.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Random Act of Culture & MY FAVORITE Dept. Store

No...not Macy's (although they are a close second place).  This is the "former" John Wanamaker's flag ship store in Center City Phila.  Wanamaker knew beauty and elegance could combine with commercial functions and his store is marble and brass and glass and class. 

When you hear someone  from Philadelphia say "meet me at the Eagle" (we say really say IGGLE)  we mean the EAGLE in this video - look for him, he's famous and should have his own website.  Meanwhile just enjoy the music of the largest pipe organ in the world and the amazing chorus of VOLUNTEERS who showed up and sang their hearts out.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dear eBay, why do you hate me?

Seriously?? WHAT did I ever do to you but pay hundreds of dollars in fees?? And for that, you have crippled my international sales.  GEE THANKS.

For the rest of the world, let me be clear, I am not an eBay hater.  If I were, I hardly would be listing there after 14 years.  I loved the "real eBay" but this version now is driving me to drink...or homicide.

I USED to get 40% of my sales from international buyers. I spend money for international visibility (which I think is maximum greed on eBay's part but I do buy that visibility cause I love international sales).  And for what??? So I can get buyers telling me they can't buy because it shows No international shipping? NOT what I want to hear.

I have calculated international shipping on ALL my items, so customers can see what it's going to cost to have that thing, mailed to them. Where ever they are.  So why is eBay telling people I have no shipping to the UK or Canada or Switzerland?? (and God only knows where else they discouraged people from...)

BEATS ME! the only answer I can think of is, they hate me, and/or they are trying to drive me nuts.

Thanks eBay, that's my husband's job...Back off, he's better at it than even you are.

Sort of goes along with the eternal question - how can I buy an autograph on eBay  but when I try to sell that autograph I get a severe policy violation that lasts a year...first one and it lasts a year BUT I can't get a refund on the autograph cause stupid me waited more than 90 days to try and sell it and find out it was a fake....... so I got doubly screwed. (see and you all thought I was mad about nothing... )

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Capodimonte Porcelain

Capodimonte Porcelain on Ebay
First let me show you some Beautiful pieces in this ornate, elaborate porcelain.
this one is from my friend Elaine -

Capodimonte Figurine of a Lady on a Swing

Capodimonte was the summer palace of the Spanish King of Naples (Charles III) and in 1745 he created the manufactory there of porcelains. Over the intervening centuries, the tradition of first quality porcelain continued and became a standard of high quality porcelain decorative figures that were handcrafted, hand painted.
Beginning in the late 1800's, more items were hand-crafted, handpainted, hand fired and were done in small family productions.

Since the beginning of the 20th century the area has produced multitudes of "floral" compositions, handcrafted, hand-fired and hand painted so that it has become the capital of the tourist souvenirs for Italy.  Now, I grew up in South Phila, which in the 1950's/60/s and even to today in an Italian American neighborhood in Phila.  Every one of my Italian friends and in-laws/outlaws and neighbors had  Capodimonte in their "dressed windows" (another tradition I'll explain to you in a later post.  Sometimes those windows, looked out at street level...literally even with the sidewalk, from a "finished" basement. Sometimes they were the main window of the  first floor of a rowhome, which could be anywhere from eyelevel to 3 ft over your head.  On any given street, in the 60's and 70's at least half that houses had elaborate porcelain figurines or floral arrangements, all Capodimonte, in the window!

Capodimonte and Buen Retiro: Porcelains Period of Charles III

But then there is this one too Goddess pulled by Putti

Use this search to find more - seriously I make zero off of showing you these...but it might change your buying pattern if you recognize these at the fleamarket or garage sale

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Honestly? If you use ROBO CALL to ask for my vote,


I don't care if you're running for ticket taker at the movies. DO NOT CALL MY HOUSE!! I pay to be unlisted. I signed up for the DO NOT CALL LIST because I don't want  YOU to call.  I don't care if you're Democat, Republican,Teaparty, or Socialist or Survivalist. 

If I wanted to talk to you, I'd call you.  Since I haven't, don't call me.  I'm not voting for Tom Corbett in Pa because he's called my house, for my husband, 3 x a day every day for two weeks.  IF he hadn't already pissed me  off with his stupid remark that people on unemployment refuse jobs to stay on unemployment, I surely wouldn't vote for him when he's harassing me every day.

Sarah Palin? GET  A REAL JOB! stop pretending to be a celebrity or an intellectual and definitely don't record any more robo call messages. Idon't like you. I think you're a dangerous lunatic as for you endorsing Pat Toomey, that sealed my deal...not voting for him.

Ed from GSP Crossings/ and all the rest of you, TAKE ME OFF YOUR CALL LIST  or pay my damn phone bill.

I already decided weeks ago who I'm not voting for and it's all of you. If you call my house, I vote for your opposition. If they call my house too, I write myself in on the ballot. 

I might finally be forced to vote for Cthulu, the greater of all evils as a write-in vote to retain my superior voting record while NOT giving you any of my political leverage. That or run myself.  Trust me, that's not a good idea either. Every company I ever worked for has gone bankrupt.  OH WAIT?? The Republicans already bankrupted the country during George Bush's last year in office. Then you blamed Obama.   I'm safe... ummm where did I put that form to get my name on the ballot?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Antique Dealers, Do You Know Where The Kids Are?

Last week I went to an antique show with my son, who is 29.  He doesn't "fit the mold" of what antique dealers typically see in their shops. I don't think he's EVER gone in one voluntarily.

But while standing there in line I looked around. And the following photos are "the symptom" and the problem and they point graphically to the answer of why there is such a huge decline in antique sales.  Check these out..

Can you find the common denominator?

It's the gray hair.  If we want to thrive, not just survive, we have to start focusing on the younger clientele as well as our tried and true vintage people.   We have to carry what they are interested in. More on this later. Think about what you sell and "who" buys it.

See my point?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Don't fall for this one

Yesterday, supposedly opened their venue to sellers of collectibles in the "everything else" category.  Dumbass that I am, I applied. Supplied my tax number, my checking account info and all my websites and venues. 

BTW I've sold online for 18 years. NOT like I started yesterday. 

Well don't fall for that BS. They are NOT accepting people in that category and I have the email to prove it.

Thank you for your interest in selling on the Marketplace. Unfortunately we are unable to open your selling account at this time for the following reason:

· Your product is not something we are looking to carry at this time

We receive a large number of seller applications each day and have set up these guidelines to help us manage the marketplace effectively. We do thank you for your interest and will keep your application on file in case there are opportunities for us to work together in the future.

Thanks for your interest in selling on Marketplace.

The Marketplace Team

Why do companies do this?? If they don't want collectibles dealers, fine. But don't say you do and reject the first 200 or whatever apply.  And DON'T expect me to reapply later or to shop there any more (Yes I do shop there..oh wait DID used to shop there.)