What I’m Buying…and Why

Recently I donated two boxes of items to charity. About 75% were store items that weren’t selling or I realized weren’t even worth adding to my store! They included a vintage bronzed baby shoe, a newer inlaid box of remarkably bad workmanship, a chipped flower frog and a cloudy glass wine decanter of no great value. As I hauled the boxes out to the street for pickup, I felt relief that they were going, but also a bit of regret for the wasted money. I suppose, if nothing else, I was reminded of some important buying guidelines.

Examine everything carefully.

First and foremost to examine everything carefully before buying! Secondly, to focus on items I feel passionate about. I tend to know more about them and will make fewer mistakes. And thirdly, stick with items that have more value. It’s so easy to get caught up into buying “cute things” or “cool things” that have very little resale value.

So I’m trying to be painstakingly selective in what I buy for my store and for myself. Here are my recent purchases…

I love this tiny, signed painting titled “Peace on Earth.” I bought this because there is a market for naive paintings, angel art and Christmas decor.

I always buy religious items like this. (One, because I like them and two, because other people like them!) This one is an Italian San Damiano wood crucifix replica with gilded border. The larger 30″ ones sell for over $200. This smaller one (10.5″ tall) with a few fleabites is considerably less expensive, but just beautiful!

This one’s for me! I love the quality and classic styles of Eileen Fisher clothing, as well as their social consciousness as a company. But like many folks, I hate paying full price. (Thrifting has ruined me!) I bought this like-new wool sweater from an eBay seller for $60 plus shipping. (Brand new it was likely $200-$300.) It’s a nice basic piece that can be dressed up or down and has a flattering wide scoop neck.

eBay listing photo.

We use cloth napkins in our house, but always end up with bunches of semi-used ones on the table because no on remembers whose is whose. I spotted these charming Victorian silverplate napkin rings and decided they might be just the thing to help us keep track! (Paid $40 with shipping and tax.)

eBay listing photo.

Some of you may know that I have a small collection of antique bohemian garnet jewelry. I’m not looking to add to my collection, but I always look to see what’s for sale online. This small (barely over an inch) snowflake pin is not outstanding, but it is nice and wearable, and has an older C clasp. But what really swayed me were the dark red pyrope garnets. Once heavily mined in what is now the Czech Republic, the mines are all but tapped out, which makes these older pieces all the more special. I negotiated a bit and paid $55. I’ll likely sell this with a few other small pins in a lot.

eBay listing photo.

At my neighborhood thrift store I spotted a small box and discovered it contained two Gorham pewter napkin rings and behold there was a total of four boxes on the shelves.

The rings are mid-century modern in the octette style and quite handsome with only a few light scratches. Replacements.com sells one for $21.99!

I spotted this lovely silk scarf at an upscale thrift store and recognized the pattern as a William Morris one. These scarves are often sold in museum gift shops and hold their value. (I’ve sold two in the past.)

This iris pattern is quite striking and it’s in excellent condition, but what sets this scarf apart from similar ones is the long, beautiful silk fringe and the fact that this scarf is from the Prussian Palaces and Gardens in Germany.

Paid, $17. I’ll list this at $55.

Here’s one of the things I didn’t buy. It was a bag with three small angel candles. The two bigger ones were vintage (likely Gurley) and one had a price tag for 15 cents! Kinda fun, but gosh the bag was priced at $5.19! Sold comps just weren’t strong enough to pay that much. In fact unless you have a larger collection of them, they are not worth reselling online, IMHO.

I also didn’t buy this small blown perfume bottle. It appeared to be a nice bottle, but the stopper just rest loosely in the bottle and do not have a ground end. To me this indicated a lack of quality.

So that’s it. Just a few things, but all good buys. And am thrilled that temperatures in Silicon Valley have dropped and the air quality has improved…enough so I can go sit out on my stoop!

Wishing you happy hunting,

Karen

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