Tough Sourcing, Slow Selling

While I don’t need to buy more inventory right now, I still have been doing a little sourcing. Well, you know how it is…always looking for that next great treasure. But it’s been tough sourcing this month. For example take Saturday’s flea market. I was there with my friend Rosalie and was ready to fill my bag, but gosh, just like in December there were only 20-25 vendors (!) and the vintage goods were thin on the ground. (I was particularly looking for vintage jewelry and interesting salvage bits.)

And of course as usual some things were just priced too high for a reseller (even with negotiation) and some vendors wove a wee bit of malarkey. For example, I picked up a sterling silver ring with small turquoise stones (real?) and two amethysts around the band. It was a newer Thai piece. The band had a small flaw where some braid trim around the edge had a tiny gap. Out of curiosity I asked the price. The vendor looked it over carefully with his loupe and then said, “This is a quality piece. Really nice. These are good stones. I’ll sell it for $25, but it’s worth $100.” Really??!! I had no trouble leaving it behind because it wasn’t the age or quality I wanted.

At the next stall I picked up a pretty Asian ceramic quail (one of a pair for $18) to have a closer look. It had a “made in China” foil sticker on the bottom. As I was setting it back down the vendor said, “Now those are made in Japan, not China.” Hmmm. Perhaps you should remove the sticker before you tell that story!

A similar pair sold on EBTH for $20 with the vase.

And that’s how it went. In the end I bought just a couple of things, like this Sajen sterling silver pendant. These are nicely made and this brand has a following.

And I just liked this old mother of pearl cross with what looks like a bit of fools gold in the middle.

I also bought an interesting stone necklace. I believe it’s aventurine. The stones are lightly faceted and mostly unpolished giving it an appealing rustic look. It also has a heavy sterling silver box clasp with a stone and a designer hang tag.

But dang it, what does the tag say? Who is this designer? Ideas??

Earlier this month, at the same store store where I bought the antique barley twist candlesticks, I picked up a bag with three miniature dog figurines. “Dashhounds” apparently. These were sweet, but they weren’t super old. And it was unclear from the bag what they were made of.

With the help of one of the salesclerks who brought out a magnifying glass, I took a closer look at these. In the end I decided to buy them and here’s why…

  • Miniatures are very collectible and often command healthy prices.
  • These are dogs (different breeds, not all dachshunds) and people love dogs.
  • But the clincher–these are solid sterling silver with full English hallmarks!

Turns out these were assayed in London and date from 1987 to 1990. The maker J. S. & M.J. is a mysterious one with all my usual sources coming up blank. Still I think they were a good buy.

And a couple of days ago I was thrilled to spot this beautifully made kuna tribal mola armadillo at my neighborhood thrift store. I didn’t even need to think twice about buying this Panamanian fabric art. I had bought a piece this past summer that sold rather quickly. (Paid $15, sold for $95.)

But on the sales front, “slow as molasses in January” continues to be a theme. Though I know from one of my social media groups that some Etsy vintage sellers are having a bumper month. So go figure!

One of my favorite sales this month was this fun pair of sterling silver Swedish salt cellars complete with original blue glass liners and tiny spoons.

I bought these at an antique store in New York state for $30 (plus tax) and sold them for $144 (on sale).

I also sold another of my vintage religious letterpress printers blocks. In December I had bought three lots from an eBay seller (for a total of 76 blocks). So far I’ve sold four. Time will tell if this was a good investment.

This item is called a monstrance.

I’ll close for now wishing you happy hunting,



  1. Hi! Just curious, do you pay for advertising on Etsy? My sales always seem to go up with very little invested, even if the sale doesn’t specifically come from someone clicking on an ad😊


    1. Hi Debbie. Many years ago I paid for ads for a week or two when I had a separate book store and it didn’t help. So, I haven’t tried since then. I’m just worried it would be money down the drain, though I know some sellers rely on them! Glad they help you! – Karen


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