No matter what you collect, your fabulous finds deserve to be displayed. A pleasing arrangement allows you to enjoy your curated menagerie and gives onlookers the opportunity to fall in love with it, too. Plus, it's fun to share your acquisitions and earn the admiration (and envy) of an audience. But how should you exhibit your discoveries to their best advantage? Here are some creative ways to make your unique collection shine.
The items you collect will have some say in how they are best displayed. By their very nature, dishes lend themselves to stacking. Collectors of beautiful pyrex milk glass, glow-in-the-dark uranium glass (aka vaseline glass), and other popular wares are stackable on sideboards and shelves for great effect. Take, for instance. the stunning stacked assemblages by Tanya Hughes. Aside from maintaining the awesome Mrs. Hughes vintage fashion blog and offering vintage patterns for sale in her etsy store, Tanya is a pro at showcasing her amazing pyrex collection. Follow the pyrex maven on instagram (tanyamaile) to get a steady dose of her talents.
Photo credits: tanyamaile
A sturdy shelf can be home to more than stackable things. Figurines, photos, ceramics and other alike objects pack a visual punch when aggregated on a mantel, ledge or shelving.
You can see the impact of a throng of similar pieces in Susannah Carson's exquisite and otherworldly displays.. Carson has a real “eye” for artistry. Her ocular designs elevate porcelain plates, canvases and other substrates. Perched in simple plate stands, these museum-quality painted plates are a sight to behold. Start your own collection at her online shop and follow her on instagram.
Photo credits: susannahcarson
Take a lesson from the pleasingly peculiar world of Tina at peculiarpullip for creative shelf display.. This collector of Pullip dolls had the brilliant idea to use a dollhouse to "house" her collection. A cabinet shelf does the trick too, as her overflow army of big-eyed dolls will tell you. For more info on these delightful creatures, read Tina's Peculiar Pullip blog on Wordpress.
Photo credits: peculiarpullip
Blenko glass is much beloved by collectors around the world. Since 1921, the West Virginia company has crafted hand-blown glasses in a rainbow of colors and a plethora of shapes. Our friend Chris Martyn is a premier collector, a proud owner of dozens of rare and desirable pieces. Chris was kind enough to share a few pics of how he displays his exceptional collection in his home to inspire other glass owners.
It's fun and interesting to cluster families of like things on a shelf. We were thrilled to acquire this group of Happy Children for that very purpose.
You don't have to be a librarian to maintain a library of books. Tomes on shelves do more than just dress up your space—their mystical properties enrich minds and lift moods,. So put yourself in proximity to the real and imagined worlds of writers and thinkers with an artfully arranged shelf of books.. Don't forget to dust 'em off and read!
Themed artwork is especially engaging when it's displayed en masse. Consider hanging your like-minded paintings, sketches, photographs or other works of arts together on a wall. "Cluster art" isn't new, but it is timelessly appealing when it's done right.
Photo credits: Susannah Carson
There are a multitude of ways to put your treasures on display. Hey, that rhymes! The point is, forget the rules, just be guided by what works and looks good.
Photo credits: peculiarpullip
Now Share It Already
Show us your best ideas! You're invited to share how you've displayed your collectibles to our gallery and inspire collectors everywhere.
Store and display collectibles your way
There are plenty of reasons to justify investments in previously adored merchandise. Fortify your decisions to choose used with these brilliant bits of truth.
1. Be unique.
If you opt to wear vintage, are you ever at risk for cookie-cutter couture? Au contraire, my dear—you demonstrate your independence and flair. You can set yourself apart from the crowd by reaching back in time to reclaim and celebrate fashion, home decor and collectibles of all kinds. When you fill your home with vintage treasures, guests will ooh and aah as they walk down memory lane. You can mix and match centuries while creating a look that's uniquely yours.
2. Get hand-crafted quality.
The term "vintage" covers a lot of turf, but it often spells higher quality. For instance, back in the day, American-made merchandise was prized around the world for its workmanship.
Industrialization meant automated production for many items that were once lovingly made by hand of only the finest materials.
Mass production has diluted quality, as has off-shore manufacturing that takes advantage of cheaper labor and materials.
There's something reassuring about a tag that tells you a human being took care to see that your merchandise was well made.
3. Decrease landfills.
Seriously, people, we have all that we need in this world already. You just have to find it! Whether you're looking for something sick to wear or amazing to adorn your home, it already exists. When you pop for goods that have been around the block but have life left in them, you're doing your part to diminish landfills. Buying used items is the ultimate form of recycling.
4. Claim a piece of history.
There's a lot of good juju in redeeming an item that might otherwise be cast off. It feels good to breathe new life into an object that another person no longer has a use for. And when you buy something that has lived for a while, it has a story to tell. You're connected to another place and time. Damn, that's deep.
5. Support a small business.
Most of us who ply the trade of reselling are small business owners, so your dollars go to support mom and pop shops rather than corporate execs in their corner offices. If you like to contribute to our thriving entrepreneurial society versus the Walmartification of America, then by all means buy vintage. You can find curated treasures from sellers like us online, via our own websites or selling platforms such as eBay and Etsy as well as in brick-and-mortar stores, flea markets, pop-up shops and more.
6. Enjoy the journey.
Last but not least, here's a sampling of vintage finds in the latter fourth of the alphabet (and often up for grabs in our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay).
S is for Steiff
T is for Train-Related Collectibles
U is for Unisex Clothing
V is for Vaillancourt Folk Art
W is for Waechtersbach
X is for anything eXtra
Y is for Yarn
Z is for Zippers, duh
Find everything in the alphabet and beyond in our ever-changing inventory.
Thanks for reading! Help us get the word out by sharing this post with friends. Shoot us an email and we'll send you a coupon to shop our store with an extra discount!
We hope you'll enjoy this continuation of vintage discoveries in alphabetical order, many of which are regulars in our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay.
M is for Mottahedeh.
N is for Needlepoint.
O is for Ornate Antiques.
P is for Photographs.
Q is for Quilts.
R is for Religious Collectibles.
There'll be more in part 4.
Find these and similar vintage and antique treasures in our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay.
Guest post by Emily Graham
Emily Graham is the creator of MightyMoms.net. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life. On her site, she offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms--from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family. Read Emily's previous guest posts here: Create a crafting space, old-school style and Turn yesterday's trash into crafted treasures.
If you rent a house or an apartment, your lease is likely to limit what you can do to personalize your unit. It can be costly to reverse a paint job or repair damage from nails used to hang art on the walls. If you make physical alterations, you can be sure that your landlord will hold you accountable for the costs of restoring the property to its original condition. Luckily, there are plenty of great ways to improve your living space without upsetting the owner. Just because a rental is only yours for a little while doesn't mean you should settle for drab and soulless decor. Here are some suggestions for how to decorate without disturbing a rental property.
1. Spruce Up Your Furniture
Feel free to express yourself through your furniture, which has no permanent impact on a rental unit. Evaluate the furnishings in your home for their ability to enhance your space. Swap out that tired chair or dinged-up end table for something new or gently used. If you’re on a budget, check local thrift stores or shop for affordable Facebook Marketplace finds. When you’re looking to buy, comfort is key. Whether you replace or rearrange, make the most of the furniture you have. Upholstered couches and chairs can get dirty and dusty over time. Home upholstery cleaning products remove grime and revitalize upholstery fabrics. Likewise, leather cleaners help protect leather surfaces. If you have a stubborn stain, contact an upholstery cleaner.
2. Cut the Clutter
Living with lots of stuff can sap energy and interfere with your ability to function. For every inch of surface piled with books or clothes, you lose a counter or chair that could fulfill its true purpose. Consider de-cluttering your space by packing up items to ultimately store, donate or sell. Organizational aids such as shelves, storage cubes and baskets can help reduce mess-related stress.
3. Improve Lighting
It’s not unusual for rental properties to have insufficient lighting. Make sure you have the right bulbs in light fixtures to properly illuminate the room. Place floor and table lamps for strategic lighting, such as near a work space or reading nook. Indoor string lights can add a festive element without causing any harm.
4. Energize Your Home Office with Color
Your home needs to do its part to boost your mood and productivity. This is especially important when you work from home. Colorful furniture, pillows, and rugs are all great options for providing decorative accents that foster a productive atmosphere. Even a bouquet of fresh or artificial flowers can bring a needed pop of color to your interior spaces. Bright colors can actually improve your workday. Research shows bright colors increase concentration and help natural light illuminate the room, which can lessen digital eye strain linked to work that requires staring at a screen for hours on end.
5. Create an Attractive Space for Entertaining
Make your space conducive to entertaining friends or family as well as relaxing. Arrange seating and coffee and end tables to encourage conversation and allow guests to place a beverage nearby. Don’t forget to put out the coasters. Make your living space more inviting with cozy accents such as throw pillows and decorative blankets, rugs and other textiles. These items are also easy to pack up and take to your next home. Shop from reputable online sellers such as the Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay to find unique and desirable home accents.
6. Bring in Elements That Promote Relaxation
Don’t let living in a rental unit prevent you from creating a space that nurtures your spirit. Personalized decoration is more than a luxury. Having a living space that feels like an extension of yourself is good for your mental health and overall well-being. Art such as figurines, pottery and desktop frames won't damage the walls and can make you feel happy. Apply your green thumb indoors to take advantage of the known health benefits of houseplants, which include reducing anxiety. Your home should ultimately be a place that feels inviting and peaceful to you and your family.
More visual treats to whet your shopping appetite. All available in our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay.
G is for Gold.
H is for House of Hatten.
I is for Italian Lace.
J is for Japanese doll.
K is for Kitsch
L is for Linens
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.
Just a little eye candy showcasing a selection of cool vintage and antique items A through F ...
A is for Art Deco
B is for Battenburg Lace
C is for Cloisonne
D is for Die-Cut Paper Art
E is for Embroidery
F is for Fontanini
Stay tuned for more ...
Find these treasures and beyond in our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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!
Learn about our recent discoveries and what captures our imagination in this blog, then peruse the treasures in our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay.
Brought to you by...
... Susan Buie, writer by day, vintage curator and co-proprietor of the Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay in all the moments in between.