As I’ve gotten to know more vintage sellers I’ve realized that while most of us are generalists, we all have our niches. Which makes sense. We have different interests and areas of expertise. And over time we realize some things will sell better for us than others. With that in mind, I thought I would share what I’m focusing on buying this fall.
What I’m Buying…
I continue to look for good paintings, prints, etchings. I’m such a newbie that I don’t know what I don’t know…if you know what I mean! But I’m learning tons and trying to spot gems and have made fair profits on some (ranging from $25-$200, hoping for better in the future).
Recently I found this professionally framed De Grazia “The White Dove” print at my neighborhood thrift store and thought it might be something. Such a fun vintage vibe. Turns out the print (based on an original oil painting) is fairly common, but it was signed and dated by the artist Ettore “Ted” De Grazia in 1977. Ted died in 1982 and this signed print can sell for $100-$200.
Hand-Made and Folk Art Pieces
I love quirky pieces of folk art and handmade bits. Period. And I think other people do too! Yesterday at my neighborhood thrift store I spotted this handsome maple burl bowl and swooned. These bowls are so appealing.
After I got home I peeled off the price tag on the bottom and saw it was signed “L. Lyell.”
Turns out it’s a Lanny Lyell bowl. Love moments like this…finding a fabulous, artisan piece at a thrift store amidst all the mass-produced, made-yesterday junk! A quick check on WorthPoint and I saw his pieces sell well.
And what about this wacky Mexican Alebrije carved wood armadillo signed Victoriano Ramirez? Not old or valuable, but kinda fun. Bought him today.
Vintage Sterling Silver Charms
Charms have been selling well for me and it’s an area I know and love. One of my favorite niches! And the more I list, the better, so on eBay I recently bought three silver charm bracelets (for a total of $159) to harvest for charms. Each bracelet had one or two really good charms (worth a bit more) as well as plenty of other sellable charms.
The ’30s/’40s mechanical camera on this is good as is the Hope chest that opens to two pearls, but the best charm on this bracelet is the creepy Dr.-X medical bag that opens to Dexter-type instruments, including a bloody axe.
On the bracelet below I knew the enameled Christmas tree was a winner, but the enameled eagle, diploma and ’40s good luck spinner charm are all good too.
Love the big Jewelart ribbed jug charm on the one below.
And the Heidelberg beer stein. Movable beer stein charms are common, but the detail on this one is outstanding with all the teeny windows in the buildings and the trees.
What I’m NOT Buying…
I know nothing about depression, pressed, vaseline, milk or carnival glass. I don’t know my Hazel Atlas from my Fenton and realize it’s just not my thing. I’m happy to leave that niche for others. Exception: lab glassware!
I see these wonderful sets of vintage china dessert/bread plates and teacups at various sales and am drawn to them. Some are so pretty and from good companies, but they are slooooow sellers for me. (Is anyone under 30 even interested in this stuff?)
These vintage Bavarian plates were calling to me, but I had to say “no,” particularly at $12.69!
I did buy the Bonnie Cashin leather coat recently, but other than that I am not buying vintage clothing. Which is tough because I love to wear it, but to sell it, I’m bombing. I have listings with lovely models, give all the measurements and condition issues (if any), run sales, allow returns and clothes still sell like molasses in January. I’ve started to donate some of the pieces.
Figurines (for the most part!)
I know some folks love, love, love buying and selling figurines. Give them a cute, kitschy figurine from the ’40s and they’re ecstatic. Not so for me. Even higher-end Lladro figurines leave me cold. (I find the pale colors and styling insipid.) Exception: The only figurines I am interested in are religious (I’ve sold a number of interesting Madonna statues) and folk art, like this little Mexican pottery owl who has the most beautiful flowered back.
So that’s some of what I’m buying, or not, these days! Would love to hear what in your shopping basket…whether it’s for resale or your home. What’s your niche??