Monday, March 21, 2011

Luv2LuvAntiques Looks At Pricing Antiques / Vintage

Vintage 1960s Crocheted Bedspread Blanket Pastel Colors Handmade Shell Pattern SALE

I started to reply to a discussion posted at, one of my favorite social network sites, and found that my answer was becoming a 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!


  1. Very good post. I am totally with you on your pricing strategy. I agree with you with regard to doing your research, finding the high and low price for an item and then, based on the condition and rarity finda median price ensuring you are making a decent profit which will enable you to stay in business.
    Nice to have found you.

  2. For once my blog connecting is working! Yay! LOL Thanks for joining this blog and I appreciate the comment! I'll find you on etsy! :O)

  3. Great article. Thanks for your insight!!!! Just thought I would add in my 2 cents... My style tends to be a little more barnwood/rusted old cool Junque!!! I sell in a few antique malls as well as a couple of antique/boutique type stores on a consignment basis.
    I am also a major garagesale/bargain shopper. My general rule of thumb is that I don't buy things unless I think I can sell it for 4x the price. Rent in antique malls is high and I also have to account for that as well as cc fees, broken items, gas, and loss. This is a general rule, and not hard and fast. If I know that I can double my money and it will be gone within the week, then I will usually buy it as well, and some pieces (especially display items that I don't really want to sell immediately) I will mark higher. Even with that being said, many of my items are still priced lower than what other dealers sell them for. I often sell my items to other dealers and they will mark them up again and resell them. I am a barn digger and don't pay much for my items, but also want them to sell and not just sit in my booth.
    I started as a junk/antique collector for personal use and have been doing it as a business for a little over a year. I am not making a killing at it by any means, but it is a self sustaining hobby that I make a little money at.
    I also sell lots of small to mid size furniture pieces. The painted furniture market is big here right now, but I haven't found the profits for actually redoing and selling the pieces (although I do know others who have). I tend to sell "Junque with a Dream"!!!! I have found that with the increasing popularity of Pinterest, people want to be able to complete their own projects. I sell lots of furniture pieces for others to refinish as well as antique windows (without the glass) for people to put their own chicken wire in, or similar projects!!!!
    Thank you so much for your blog and insight!!!!