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Cool Vintage Finds Scouting Blog

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  • March 31, 2016 06:16:37 AM

A Little About Us

Be inspired to embrace the vintage life and discover cool and fun clothes and collectibles. Learn about recent discoveries from our estate sale escapades and other topics of interest to treasure hunters and serious collectors.

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A Vintage Alphabet, Part 2

More visual treats to whet your shopping appetite. All available in our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay. G is for Gold. Gold attracts the eye and implies luxury. Here it has been applied as a wash to a silver and enamel filigree brooch. H is for House of Hatten. From 1977 to 2009, House of Hatten created wonderful collectible holiday ornaments and decor, most notably by artist Denise Calla. I is for Italian Lace. Italian lace, like this Point de Venice...

More visual treats to whet your shopping appetite. All available in our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay.

G is for Gold.

Picture of gold wash dragon brooch
Gold attracts the eye and implies luxury. Here it has been applied as a wash to a silver and enamel filigree brooch.

H is for House of Hatten.

Picture of House of Hatten Santa ornament
From 1977 to 2009, House of Hatten created wonderful collectible holiday ornaments and decor, most notably by artist Denise Calla.

I is for Italian Lace.

Picture of Italian lace tablecloth
Italian lace, like this Point de Venice and whitework embroidery tablecloth, is highly collectible.

J is for Japanese doll.

Picture of Japanese gofun doll
This antique Japanese gofun doll is dressed in traditional silk clothing.

K is for Kitsch

Picture of Fondue Placemat
This Kreier placemat is the retro kitsch cool.

L is for Linens

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Arghabani embroidery is just one example of an exquisite collectible linen.
Stay tuned to find out what's featured in our Vintage Alphabet, Part III. There's always a full alphabet of vintage collectibles  in our eBay store.


A Vintage Alphabet, Part 1

Just a little eye candy showcasing a selection of cool vintage and antique items A through F ...   A is for Art Deco Art Deco is a stunning artistic style introduced in the 1920s to 1930s. B is for Battenburg Lace Battenburg tape lace dates back to the late 19th century. C is for Cloisonne Cloisonné is a beautiful and ages-old enameling technique. D is for Die-Cut Paper Art Vintage and antique die cut designs, like this calendar, are highly...

Just a little eye candy showcasing a selection of cool vintage and antique items A through F ...  

A is for Art Deco

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Art Deco is a stunning artistic style introduced in the 1920s to 1930s.

B is for Battenburg Lace

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Battenburg tape lace dates back to the late 19th century.

C is for Cloisonne

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Cloisonné is a beautiful and ages-old enameling technique.

D is for Die-Cut Paper Art

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Vintage and antique die cut designs, like this calendar, are highly collectible.

E is for Embroidery

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Beautiful hand embroidered linens are always in fashion.

F is for Fontanini

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Hand crafted Fontanini figures from Italy are popular nativity and home decor items.

Stay tuned for more ... 

Find these treasures and beyond in our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay.


What you can learn about our eBay store from feedback

We appreciate feedback from our eBay customers! We value feedback because it helps us know how we're doing, what's important to our buyers and how we can improve. Not everyone takes the time to leave feedback, but it does make a difference for our bottom line when people do. Good feedback improves our status in eBay's eyes and makes us eligible for lower fees and the Power Seller label. Our feedback is also useful for you, the shopper, because it can give you confidence when buying from us....

We appreciate feedback from our eBay customers! We value feedback because it helps us know how we're doing, what's important to our buyers and how we can improve. Not everyone takes the time to leave feedback, but it does make a difference for our bottom line when people do. Good feedback improves our status in eBay's eyes and makes us eligible for lower fees and the Power Seller label. Our feedback is also useful for you, the shopper, because it can give you confidence when buying from us. Here are five recurring themes of the feedback we receive from our customers.

People love the cool stuff in our store.

Our listings accurately describe and show items.

Our packaging is top notch.

We're responsive and friendly.

You'll get your stuff super quick!

What about negative feedback?

On occasion, an online transaction disappoints. Maybe the item was lost or broken in transit, or there was a flaw that was overlooked when the item was photographed and described. When this happens, we strongly encourage you to reach out to the seller to find resolution BEFORE leaving negative feedback. Give the seller a chance to set things right, and your negative feedback may not even be necessary. Read more of the feedback we've received as eBay sellers to see how we make shopping on eBay a satisfying experience.

Shop our store, and be sure to leave feedback!

There are hundreds of interesting and unique items in our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay. Browse to your heart's content. If you decide to buy, please leave feedback after you receive your purchase. And if you read and enjoyed this blog, please leave a comment below!


What we’ve learned from selling on eBay

For the past five years, we've been serious sellers on the eBay platform, offering our estate sale discoveries in our Cool Vintage Finds Store. We've learned a few things through this experience, that's for sure. If you've ever thought about becoming an online seller or are just curious about the gig, here are some insights into what it's all about. (Almost) anything will sell eventually. It's a big world. There's a market for just about everything—it's just a matter of connecting to...

For the past five years, we've been serious sellers on the eBay platform, offering our estate sale discoveries in our Cool Vintage Finds Store. We've learned a few things through this experience, that's for sure. If you've ever thought about becoming an online seller or are just curious about the gig, here are some insights into what it's all about.

(Almost) anything will sell eventually.

It's a big world. There's a market for just about everything—it's just a matter of connecting to buyers. We've had items languish in our store for several years, then sell out of the blue. Nowadays, having learned from trial and error what's desirable in today's marketplace, we're a little less likely to list duds. But even duds sell with patience! Condition, price and rarity all factor into the speed of an item's sale. Traffic also matters; we need eyes on our stuff at just the right time to close the deal. For the most part, we "set it and forget it"—until it sells!
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These gorgeous Anchor Hocking mugs didn't sell as quickly as we thought they would. It took over two years, but eventually the cups found a new home!
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We found 5 unopened bottles of vintage Hai Karate men's aftershave and promptly listed the old school scent in our store. They flew off the shelf! (If we ever run into it again, we'll be sure to snap it up.)

Most buyers (and sellers) are honest and kind.

If you hang out in the selling blogs or online seller Facebook groups, you might get the impression the marketplace is loaded with people trying to pull a fast one and get something for nothing. Our experience tells us otherwise. The vast majority of our customers are respectful, cheerful shoppers who are delighted to find something in our store, willing to pay a fair price and grateful when their purchase arrives intact. Like the saying goes, if you want to attract more bees, pour on the honey. We've seen grumpy customers change their tune when we simply acknowledge their concern. Here are two examples of exchanges that could have gone south quickly: twice in the last six months, a customer contacted us to say they didn't receive what they ordered in the box that arrived from us. Instead of sending an irate email suggesting they're trying to scam us, we responded by very nicely asking them to check the packaging again. In one case, the buyer had hurriedly unpacked a box containing two items and missed one of items entirely! In the other instance, because we had used a recycled box, the buyer thought they had received file folders! Both led to happy endings. On the rare occasion of a truly difficult customer, we do our best to please them, but if they persist in being unpleasant, we don't engage in a war of words. Instead, we just move on to the happier campers.
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We get great feedback from our customers, who are overwhelmingly pleasant and happy buyers.

USPS is an excellent partner.

Last year, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) delivered an average of 20.5 million packages per day throughout the year, with deliveries spiking to more than 28 million daily package deliveries during the two weeks prior to the Christmas holiday. That's a gargantuan load of mail to manage! Lost packages and other delivery errors are extremely rare. We've never had a lost package, though a few times a box was misdirected and took a little longer than expected to arrive at its destination. For that reason, and the fact that we have an amazing postal carrier who works very hard to see that our packages are picked up in a timely manner, we ship most of our orders with USPS. Once in a while, when we have a very heavy or extra large box, we may choose a different carrier, but the vast majority of our packages go by USPS.
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Our mail carrier is super conscientious and always has our back; this reminder is for subs that take his route on his occasional day off.
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USPS provides daily package pickup at our doorstop. Our carrier provide us with USPS bins to fill with packages.

Free shipping is unrealistic for small sellers.

Ebay, Amazon and Etsy push sellers to offer free shipping. Buyers may love it, but it's not a sustainable arrangement for the majority of solo entrepreneur online sellers. Either the buyer pays for free shipping through an inflated price, or the cost falls on the backs of small sellers (and these costs are back-breaking). The fact is, it is expensive to ship things. Sellers must acquire or purchase shipping materials (boxes or mailers; bubble wrap, foam or paper; and don't forget tape) and take the time to package with care. These costs apply on top of postage.

About two years ago, we succumbed to pressure from eBay and decided to offer free shipping across the board (domestic only, of course). We were assured our sales would increase to offset whatever costs we would eat shipping items across the U.S. Well, after more than one year of this experiment, we found no improvement in our sales. In fact, shipping costs made a significant gouge in our ability to realize a profit. We've returned to charging a reasonable fee for shipping. For the most part, customers understand that the volume of our business does not permit free shipping and are willing to pay to have the items they desire shipped to their homes.

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We recycle boxes in an effort to keep shipping costs down and reduce our carbon footprint.

The eBay Global Shipping Program works well for international shipping.

We are happy to sell to overseas customers, and we have on many occasions. However, we've found that the only viable way for our business to manage the shipping piece is to rely on the eBay Global Shipping Program (GSP). Our store stocks a wide variety of items, with different weights and dimensions. It would be too hard for our two-person shop to pre-package and calculate shipping for myriad countries. Instead, we simply ship to one US address and GSP takes care of the rest, including any customs forms that need to be completed. Customers may pay a little extra for this service, but they also benefit by knowing their purchase is protected in the event it gets lost or arrives damaged.  We also have a handful of international customers who purchase through a shipping service that manages  OUS shipments.
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As sellers of unique, one-off items, we've found that the eBay Global Shipping Program is the best way to manage overseas shipments, with protections for both buyers and sellers.

The market and the rules change all the time.

Since we've been selling online, we've seen drastic swings in the going price of many collectibles. For example, our very first eBay transaction was the sale of a first edition book for over $100. In today's market, that book might fetch $10 at best. Because so many booksellers have put their entire inventories online, only very rare or unique books command a high price in this platform. Similarly, Bing & Grondahl plates, Hummels, Norman Rockwell prints and other items that were desirable and expensive "back in the day" now sell for a small fraction of their original price. Demand for Arts & Crafts era decor is still relatively strong, while interest in Mid Century Modern is waning. A segment of Millennials are driving a growing interest in collectibles from as recent as the 1990s.

What's causing the downward shift in prices? Younger, minimalist globe trotters aren't shopping the same way their parents did.  Baby Boomer estate liquidations are starting to glut the marketplace. But there's still opportunity for merchants who curate with care and offer stellar products and service. Even if Americans hit their limit, there's opportunity among international buyers.

Every day, new sellers jump onto the online bandwagon. Sites pop up to compete with the eBay platform. Trends come and go, and tastes change. Certainly the rules (and costs) of selling morph over time. In order to survive, eBayers need to be flexible and adapt to new policies and fluctuating demand. 
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Selling on eBay is no different than other enterprises—hard work pays off, but it takes time.

Share your eBay experience and/or questions!

Let us know what your eBay experience has been like, as a buyer or a seller. We're happy to answer your questions too. Thanks for reading!


Sensible Tips for Buying to Resell

If you get as excited as I do when treasure hunting, you need to be extra wary about your selections. It’s easy to get carried away with a “find” and overlook flaws that diminish value. You may feel rushed because there are other eager shoppers on all sides. Slow down and inspect the merchandise!Here’s a short guide to help you use your five senses to become a savvy reseller: SEE. Always, always, take a...

If you get as excited as I do when treasure hunting, you need to be extra wary about your selections. It’s easy to get carried away with a “find” and overlook flaws that diminish value. You may feel rushed because there are other eager shoppers on all sides. Slow down and inspect the merchandise!

Here’s a short guide to help you use your five senses to become a savvy reseller:

SEE.

Always, always, take a close look before you buy. Step into better lighting and brush away dust if necessary. Seasoned buyers carry a small flashlight and a magnifying glass to help with this important task. When inspecting glass and ceramics, look for chips, cracks and crazing (a web or network of fine cracks). Examine linens for holes, snags, fraying, fading or spots. Look for identifying marks or labels, which are especially helpful if you don’t have other expertise to rely on. It never hurts to assess value in the marketplace by scanning eBay completed sales or a similar resource that catalogues items sold. Condition is a key determiner in helping you resell at the highest price, so look with care. That said, many buyers are willing to put up with small flaws, with full disclosure.

SMELL.

Odors are a bane to buyers and can be difficult to remove. Take note when you enter a home and be on guard if you detect mildew or smoke—common culprits that can destroy a desirable item. Airing and washing items can sometimes eliminate smells but this involves time and hassle and may not be satisfactory. Cat urine is particularly difficult to remove and noxious to the nostrils (no offense to felines intended). There is also a rather mysterious odor that tends to creep into the homes of the elderly. If something stinks, trust your instincts and rest assured it will smell even worse when you remove the item from its environment, which often masks much of the smell. Pass on moldy or musty items—these odors spread when stored with pristine inventory.

FEEL.

Your sense of touch can be invaluable when assessing the condition and value of estate sale items—and are especially useful when shopping for glass and ceramic items. Fingertips can spot a rough edge or chip faster than the eyes. When inspecting linens, a perceptive touch can discern synthetic from natural fibers. Fingers can also detect seams in ceramics that differentiate molded versus hand shaped items or help distinguish real wood carvings from faux-wood resin pieces.

HEAR.

Listen to the chatter at sales. You may be able to pick up on history of items or gain insight into demand. Some sellers will have expertise to share, so it doesn’t hurt to inquire. Another way you can use your ears is when encountering mechanical items. If you hear something rattling around inside when you give it a gentle shake, you may be dealing with a broken thing-a-ma-jig. You can also improve your purchase decisions by listening to what your gut is telling you. If your inner voice says something is overpriced, negotiate or pass it by. If you’re being too sentimental, check your emotions at the door.

TASTE.

I’m using poetic license to invoke this “sense”—my true meaning refers to aesthetics. Is your taste in line with what’s popular? Are you good at uncovering rare and coveted niche items? The best shoppers have a knack for identifying cool stuff that people want right now. You can’t always predict what will sell, but if you keep an eye on the marketplace, you can improve your ability to spot hot items in high demand.
May fortune favor you as you hone your senses in the exciting field of treasure hunting. Good luck!


2018 Christmas Gift Ideas

No more vanilla Christmas presents—give cool vintage finds instead! There's a better way to get your Christmas shopping done this year, and it doesn't require fighting for a parking space or wandering the malls.  Relax in the comfort of your own home and peruse the pages of the Cool Vintage Finds Store! You'll avoid a vanilla experience and instead find one-of-a-kind treasures for your family, friends and even yourself.Keep reading for ideas to help you have a more rewarding...

No more vanilla Christmas presents—give cool vintage finds instead!

There's a better way to get your Christmas shopping done this year, and it doesn't require fighting for a parking space or wandering the malls.  Relax in the comfort of your own home and peruse the pages of the Cool Vintage Finds Store! You'll avoid a vanilla experience and instead find one-of-a-kind treasures for your family, friends and even yourself.

Keep reading for ideas to help you have a more rewarding gift-giving experience!

Something special for your sweetie.


Our store offers dozens of categories to help you pinpoint the gift that will bring a smile to your honey's face. From clothing to jewelry, art & antiques and beyond, you'll encounter oodles of intriguing gift-worthy items to consider.
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His and hers ... or his and his... or hers and hers ... coffee mugs just might hit the spot.

Something thoughtful for mom.


Love the fragrance your mom used to wear when you were a kid? Chances are it's discontinued and she'd love to wear it again. Check our store for hard-to-find perfumes, colognes and eau de toilette from yesterday.

More mom-friendly ideas ...

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Everyone can use a pretty tea towel.
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It's always nice to have special occasion dishes on hand.
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How about a collectible cookie jar?

Something special for dad.

Maybe Dad would enjoy a book with historical significance, a magazine with a personal connection, art that for his office or den or clothing to round out his wardrobe. Keep looking, you'll find just the right thing!
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Clothes make the man, so get dad a sweater that expresses his inner coolness.
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Hook your dad up with art that recalls the Old West.

Something cool for a sibling.

Maybe it's a t-shirt from your favorite band growing up or a long-lost toy. Or a poster from the movie you both were crazy about. Our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay is an ever-changing repository of cool stuff any bro or sis will appreciate, especially coming from you!
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Shop our store and you might encounter a cool rock tee for a family member.
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Cuz you're both Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans, right?

Something awesome for your friends.

You know what your friends like! No probs acquiring nifty gifties for all your best buds, right here.
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It may be a bit self-serving, but why not get something to equip your pal's bar?
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Imagine a world with this cool poster. #Lennonforever

Something you've always wanted.

 Don't neglect yourself while you do your Christmas shopping! Pick out a gift you've been craving so there's at least one package under the tree you know you really want.
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Buy yourself a sweet reminder of a furry friend.

Shop now for quick shipping and happier holidays!

When you shop the Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay, your purchases will be shipped promptly and with care! If you're buying a gift that you'd like shipped to an address other than your own, be sure to add the alternate address to PayPal before buying. Happy shopping!


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