Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Re-learning eBay

A few years ago, when my collections became unwieldy, I chose to sell off my less-than-favorite items on eBay.  I wasn’t in business like I am now, I was just a collector getting room and money to go shopping again.  As soon as I decided to go into business as Wisdom Lane, I immediately began listing antiques on eBay, as I did before.

And I was surprised at the result.

My antiques weren’t really getting the bids and the lookers as they did before.

So what happened?

As an experiment, I listed my original Nintendo console with eight games.  I also listed a separate lot of twenty-four Nintendo games.  I listed the two lots as auctions with the option to Buy It Now.  The two lots sold within five minutes.

Lesson learned?

eBay appears to have a different type of shopper than it did a few years ago.  The current shopper seems to be interested in collectibles rather than antiques—thirty- or forty-somethings looking to get back items from their youth.

As a result, my strategy will change as I continue to test this theory.  I’ll be selling collectibles on eBay, and I’ll look for different sites where I can sell my antiques.  First stop for some of my vintage items:  Etsy.

Anyone with great experience on any antiques selling sites (GoAntiques, Ruby Lane, etc.), weigh in by leaving a comment below!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Live Auction Tip #1

At some time or another, antique lovers, collectors, and dealers end up at a live auction.  For the first time auction-goer, the bidding process can be intimidating, simply because you’re there in person.  (Somehow, maybe because you can remain anonymous, it’s far easier to bid by clicking a mouse during an online auction than it is to raise your hand or shout out from the middle of a giant crowd during a live auction.)

A couple of tips: just because no one else in the crowd seems to want to bid on the item you’ve had your eye on, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t jump on it.   Conversely, don’t overbid, which is easy to do.  It’s almost hypnotic to get caught up in the action without realizing it.

Basically what I’m saying is don’t let the crowd sway you.  Trust your gut and your own knowledge.  Don’t let yourself fall into mob mentality.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Auction Highlight: Larry Tisdale Illustrated Program

Overall, I was pleased with the results of my first Wisdom Lane eBay auction—everything up for bid sold (my Buy It Now Haynes Ware Pitcher / Creamer is still available).  One item even had multiple bids.

A new week means a new eBay auction is currently underway.  I’ve got some great stuff again this week—one of my favorite items is this basketball program, illustrated by Larry Tisdale:


Tisdale was one of several illustrators, such as Fred Fixler and Lon Keller, who provided program artwork during this time period (this program dates from 1948).  This particular program not only advertises Coca Cola, it even features the Coca Cola Sprite Boy:

Tisdale’s artwork is really striking—and I feel certain that this program came from a local high school game.  The score card inside features “SHS Bulldogs” vs. “University City.”  Here in town, Central High used to be Springfield High School, and their mascot is a Bulldog.  So this item is a great cross-collectible: you get Tisdale’s work, a Coke ad, sports memorabilia, and a piece of local history.

More on Tisdale and his fellow illustrators here.  Be sure to get your bid in on the program or other items on eBay. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Collecting Tip: Keep Your Eyes Peeled

Without a doubt, the fun of collecting is the hunt.  But don’t ever think that the hunt has to be relegated to thrift stores, antique shops, and auctions.  Sometimes, the hunt even comes to you.

Case in point: I was in high school when my local library retired its card catalog.  In conjunction with closing their catalog, the library offered patrons a giveaway: a free card signed by the author of the book.  The only catch was that you couldn’t request any specific author or book—it was the luck of the draw.

Not one to give up an opportunity for a collectible signature, I signed up.  And this is what I received:

I really did luck out with what I won—I’m a sports fan, and have always followed racing, so to get a card signed by Richard Petty was something of a thrill.

Now, what I have is a cross-collectible: I have a piece of sports memorabilia, a signed autograph from a celebrity, and a piece of library history (the card catalog has now gone the way of the dinosaur). 

Which just goes to show you: always keep your mind open, always be on the lookout.  You never know where you’re going to find those really cheap—or, in this case, absolutely free—pieces to add to your collection.

What about you?  Have you stumbled upon free goodies like this one?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

First Auction

The first auction is officially live!  The sneak peek I offered a few days ago is actually a really great old chintz style demitasse cup.  Perfect for a coffee addict’s first morning espresso:

In addition for a few items up for bid, I have one really neat item up for a Buy It Now price.  It’s a Haynes Ware / Chesapeake Pottery small pitcher, or even possibly a creamer.  It has no chips or flaws, but it has some crazing to show its age.  And it really is an old piece.  More on Haynes Pottery here.


This little pitcher / creamer would be a great centerpiece with flowers—it’s short enough that you will be able to see your guests on the other side of the table.

To view all my items currently available, head to eBay.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sneak Peek

I’m really excited about my first upcoming eBay auction.  I have some really great items, and am in the process of taking some pictures and writing up descriptions.

The auction will go live next week, but here’s a sneak peek:

Stay tuned for full pictures and a link to the auction.

Monday, March 5, 2012

John’s Shopping Tip #1

We all know that the best way to whittle away a Sunday afternoon is in an antique mall with hundreds of booths and plenty of treasures.  But did you know the best way to shop is backwards?

Simple but true: pick one direction and walk through the entire mall.  Then turn around and retrace your steps all the way back through the mall.  You are now looking at the booths at a different angle.  You will be surprised at what you missed!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Welcome To Wisdom Lane

I'm John, a lifelong junker.  The first time I ever bid at auction was when I was about nine years old, for a piece of granitewareand from that moment, I was hooked.

Through my teens and twenties, I continued to collect:  Depression glass, Carnival glass, coins, prints, primitives, Fenton, lamps, games...if it had some age to it, I loved it.

Below: one of the many places I love to shop

I also read everything I could about the field; I took the correspondence course through the Asheford Institute of Antiques; I joined the American Numismatic Association and the Antique and Collectibles National Association.

I'm now making my lifelong passion my full-time job.  I'm now going to put my years of knowledge to use by selling antiques online.  I'll be showing pictures of my adventures buying up new pieces, and I'll be showing off what I've found—and what will be listed for sale on sites like eBay.

I can't wait to get started, and am thrilled to have new readers along for this ride.  In fact, I'd love to hear from you!  I want to put up plenty of informative pieces on antiques and collectibles...if you've got a piece you'd like some information on, shoot me an email (see the "Contact" page)!  I'd love to feature you and your item here on the blog.

And now, I'm off to find a great estate sale to kick off this new enterprise...More soon...