I've been selling antiques / vintage for years...I hate to think how long! LOL The most satisfaction I have, is finding the 'perfect fit'...matching the 'perfect' item to the 'perfect' person! Definitely, very few antique or vintage pieces are 'perfect', but it seems that way when an item is 'matched to a person in the most 'uncanny' way! Take for example...the framed 1900's advertisement for an early typewriter, that was purchased by a teacher who had the very same typewriter! She was so happy to hang it up in her home office! Another lady was thrilled to purchase a 1970's Tinkerbell lunch box with thermos, that was just like the one she had when she was a girl! More recently, a N.Y. nautical designer purchased a vintage 1970's men's nautical flag bathrobe from me. It was the 'perfect fit', in more ways than one! But the latest one touched my heart...a lady emailed my website asking me if my vintage 1940's rosary bracelet was still for sale. She said her home had been robbed while she and her hubby were out on a date! All her jewelry had been stolen except what she was wearing. One of the stolen items had been a vintage rosary bracelet with alot of sentimental value. She wore it to remember her deceased aunt. The rosary bracelet I had, looked just like it! It was a match! :O)
I started to reply to a discussion posted at IAntiqueOnline.ning.com, one of my favorite social network sites, and found that my answer was becoming a blog...so here I am.... The question was: What is the typical markup for an antique or collectible dealer between what they would buy an item for and what the asking price is? For instance, a dealer buys a cameo at an estate sale fro $20 - what will the price tag say on it in the store?
This is my answer: With vintage / antiques there is no typical markup! The amount of mark up depends upon whether it is a 'brick and mortar' store, or an online store. When you are at a store in a certain locale, you may not be able to sell antiques / vintage for the higher price as in a larger city, or other region. Some items are not popular in one locale, and there is much supply, as in vintage linens, and in other places they are scarce, higher priced, and in demand. With the example of the cameo: It depends on what type of cameo you have. Is it a vintage plastic or synthetic cameo, or is it an antique shell cameo? Is it finer quality? What condition is it in? And is it costume jewelry or fine gold? There are alot of factors to take into consideration. I'm only selling online now, and I research what prices of similar items are online, at different venues. There is a wide range of pricing, from too low to very high. I try to price in moderation, unless I have a very rare item. You have to consider the economy right now, and whether you wish to sell an item quickly or wait for the suitable buyer. The main thing is to do your research! Also, sometimes I find terrific bargains, and I certainly wouldn't price the item at 3 x my cost price for example, whereas other items I've paid more than I'd wanted to, and cannot ask 3x the cost price. Alot of it depends on what item you are selling, and how rare and unusual it is. You cannot use the typical retail store markup, as retail stores may have a markup of 100%! Selling vintage / antiques is different.
I've seen alot of people listing vintage online at 'give-away' prices, that must be doing it for a hobby, as they certainly cannot be making any money, or need it. This practice is hurting the online selling market for small dealers, and devaluating vintage in this recession! People new to vintage expect deals like at a WalMart store. Also, vintage in excellent condition is getting harder to find. I have found that the mentality today is 'buy on sale' more than ever before! Most people are being very careful with their money. If you are thinking of listing online have a bit of leeway in the pricing, that you will be able to put an item on sale. People luv sales! For example, at my etsy shop, I put different items on sale at different times, at different markdowns, just to make things interesting! Sometimes the customer may find a really great deal on an item, if I found it at a bargain price, as I like to pass the savings on! I like to think of myself as the vintage treasure hunter at estate sales, yard sales, and thrift stores, while my potential customer is 'treasure hunting' online!
This is a surprise find from a few years ago! I purchased a 'Lot' of vintage linens on ebay. Among the linens was a barkcloth covered pillow. I thought I would remove the 1950's barkcloth pillow cover and wash it. My hubby volunteered to remove it with my seam ripper, while he watched T.V., so I could keep listing items for sale online.
I didn't list very much that night, as we both had our interest piqued, when the removal of the barkcloth cover, revealed a much older pale yellow ticking fabric beneath, possibly 1930's to 1940's!
As my hubby removed the ticking cover, the suspense was 'killing' us! Just like buried treasure...this 1924 Folk Art Pillow was revealed!
I have no idea of the value of this pillow, but I'm sure any Textile Museum would luv it! It is made with real velvet fabric pieces! As a 'vintage linen luver' I think it is priceless! I plan on passing it down in the family! :O)
Luv2LuvAntiques has a perplexing question! Live model or mannequin? I have seen many vintage / antique sellers using mannequins, to display clothing and accessories in their photos for listings. Others have used human models. I have tried both! If you have an attractive background arranged, with your mannequin or model ready and in position, suitable lighting, and a good quality digital camera, you are all set to go! A great advertising 'gimic' doesn't hurt either! And you have to think about who your 'target' audience is. A while ago, I was watching a vintage fur stole auction on ebay. The seller had used a very attractive female model, wearing blue jeans that fit 'quite' well! As described in the listing, the fur stole was not the 'true' "Autumn Haze" brand name, which is valued at a much higher price, but it still sold around the $400.00 mark! In my opinion, many of the masculine persuasion were bidding!
There are many variables involved with photography. One of them is to be adaptive when forces beyond your control are involved, such as dealing with 'Mother Nature' in taking outdoor photos! Joan, my lovely mannequin in the penoir set, was still as could be, while I dealt with light breezes, and nightgown arrangement. My adorable hubby, on the other hand, began squinting with the sunlight in his eyes. Although I told him how handsome and dashing he looked in the 1940s robe...just like Cary Grant...it was to 'no avail'! He became impatient so I took the photo quickly. I did receive comments from ladies, about my hubby modelling, but I don't think they were looking at 'just' the bathrobe! The great thing about mannequins...they don't talk back! :O)
I have always been a luver of antiques and vintage, I continue to search antique stores and estate sales...always looking for that old fashioned treasure!
Along the way I have found many lovely things to share with you, that will grace your cottage style, shabby chic, romantic, or country decor!,
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