Angelic Buyers When Sales Go Awry on eBay

Angelic Buyers verses Nightmare Buyers

After writing about a nightmare experience selling online on eBay, I want to follow-up with a few stories of angelic Buyers who gave me the benefit of the doubt.

Nothing is straight forward when selling and shipping antiques online.

My workflow: I research the item in our library and on the Internet. I place a value on the item and write an ad for eBay or Etsy. I take phone photos and hubby takes studio photos if needed. When the item sells, he packs & mails. We work for perfection — but to error is human.

And when we make an error, things can go north or south.

Classic Angelic Buyers

Bar beads with curl icon

antique gig for spearing a frog or fish
Frog gig to spear a frog or a fish

EBayer buys one frog gig, but we mail six. 

Inadvertently, we had mailed every gig in our toolbox. The Buyer calls after being pleasantly surprised to order one and receive six.  In good spirits, he wraps and returns the extra gigs. We paid the return postage and said, Thanks – you are an angel!

Really, had the Buyer not alerted us to our error and mailed back the extra five gigs, we could have spent months wondering, “What happened to all of our frog gigs?”Bar beads with curl icon

Vintage 4-tine barn fork for hay
Vintage 4-tine barn fork for hay

We sold a pitchfork online to Australia. The Buyer did not pay immediately, and I was beginning to wonder when I would receive payment. The following week, I opened the mailbox to find a hand-addressed envelope filled with dollars and coins. The Buyer had mailed cash from Australia for his purchase. Lovely trust between Buyer and Seller – and the postal system. Continue reading Angelic Buyers When Sales Go Awry on eBay

Art of Our Presidents, Iconic Images Illustrate History

Presidential Portraits of the Obamas, Barack and Michelle
Iconic portraits by artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald: Kehinde’s oil on canvas of President Barack Obama and Amy’s oil on linen of First Lady Michele Obama

Art of Barack and Michelle Obama in the Smithsonian

Thanks to patriotic benefactors, two prestigious portraits now hang in the Smithsonian: Kehinde Wiley’s oil on canvas of Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s oil on linen of Michelle Obama, our 44th President and First Lady. These insightful character studies offer a measure of creativity and embody the essence of why America fell in love with Barack and Michelle and elected them our First Family.

The unveiling ceremony, February, 12, 2018, was part of the Smithsonian’s  50th milestone anniversary of its Portrait Gallery. Continue reading Art of Our Presidents, Iconic Images Illustrate History

Nightmare in eBay Town With Spooky Buyer

Antique art meets nightmare Buyer

We sold a dreamy framed print of Pharaoh’s Horses on eBay. My husband remembers seeing it on the wall in his grandparent’s parlor, and we were hoping to find someone who would treasure it, which we did … but first came a nightmare eBayer.

Packing with care Pharaoh's Horses with bubble wrap and customized foam cutout
Packing with care Pharaoh’s Horses

Hubby photographed the art for eBay and packed it for mailing: two of the five scary steps to selling on eBay:

  1. Photograph item,
  2. Write item description for listing,
  3. Package and weigh item for shipping,
  4. List item with proper information and photos,
  5. Ship sold item securely to Buyer.

Selling on eBay with fingers crossed

Even before my nightmare saga, we had misgivings concerning the pitfalls of selling online due to the drama of mailing fragile antiques.

The frame had a delicate gessoed border. The wood frame had a fragile veneer. And the rolled, antique glass was fragile. Hubby cut round foam spacers for the inset glass and customized the packing materials for travel into the great unknown, the postal system.

Pricing on eBay can be spooky

Continue reading Nightmare in eBay Town With Spooky Buyer

Circus Clown Poster Art to Make You Smile

Clowns, giraffes, tigers, lions, and elephants make great circus posters

Shoppers: We sold our poster collection other than four Monte-Carlo posters with the Bazzoli clown, currently for sale at Pazazz, my Etsy shop.

Circus World Welcomes Tourists

Continue reading Circus Clown Poster Art to Make You Smile

Tin Can Dollhouse Chair, March GiveAway

Our Trinket GiveAway at Estate Trinkets & Treasures is a monthly deal.

White, tin can dollhouse chair
Retro, white, tin can dollhouse or miniature chair – March GiveAway

Each month we giveaway a vintage or antique trinket or treasure at our companion website, Estate Trinkets & treasures.

In January we gave away an antique half doll from Germany. In February, we gave away a figurine in the Hummel style, Made in Japan, and known as Banjo Betty. Our March GiveAway is a miniature tin can chair.

April 1 update: March Trinket GiveAway winner is Melissa in California – congratulations!

Gallery of Monthly, GiveAway Trinkets

Gallery of the current and upcoming monthly GiveAway Trinkets.

Click to visit Estate Trinkets & Treasures
Visit Estate Trinkets & Treasures, our companion website on antiques.

Tin Can Miniature Chair, Perfect for a Doll House or Collector’s Shelf

White, tin can dollhouse chair
Retro, white, tin can dollhouse or miniature chair – March GiveAway
White, tin can doll house chair
Retro, white, tin can doll house chair

Enter our March Trinket GiveAway! for a tin can chair, a retro collectible, made by hand.

Made by a creative craftsman of the past, this tin can chair miniature features a woven back and curlicue arms and chair lets. A perfect addition to your collector’s shelf or doll house.

Banjo Betty Trinket GiveAway, Made in Japan

Our Adventure to Giveaway Vintage and Antique Trinkets from our Collection

 Banjo Betty, Made in Japan, a copycat of Joyful, a Hummel and the February Trinket Giveaway
“Angel with Lute,” a Hummel candle holder in the “Joyful” design

In 2016, we sponsored a monthly giveaway drawing for antique and vintage keepsakes at our companion website, Estate Trinkets & Treasures.

We chose to give away Banjo Betty in February during our Trinket GiveAway.

Banjo Betty is a copycat of an early Hummel by W. Goebel, from the art of Sister Innocentia Hummel titled Joyful (number 53).

When I first discovered Banjo Betty in our estate items,  I was curious. Who made this piece of porcelain, and what is it worth? … need-to-know info to determine its value. I searched through my books  on antique, porcelain companies to identify the manufacturer’s mark.

Our library is filled with books and magazines on antiques

My search was fruitless. The smudged manufacturer’s mark on the bottom of my mystery figurine was nowhere to be found. And even though the figurine itself had the appearance of a Hummel, I knew the mark was not one of the famous Bee marks.

Skier Hummel figurine number 59
“Skier’ Hummel by W. Goebel: TMK-2/Full Bee

We have a Hummel collection, and the markings are all quite legible, such as on Skier.

Charts abound in books and online to help collectors date a Hummel. Thanks to Hummel’s fine catalog system, the date, place of origin, and name of the Hummel can be determined by the marks on the bottom of a figurine – whether it’s Bee, Full Bee, etc.

Skier Hummel with Full Bee trademark on bottom of figurine
Hummel Full Bee trademark of W. Goebel

My famous process-of-elimination theory led me to error

Unable to find a porcelain maker identified with the figurine’s mark,  I defaulted to Beswick because not all early Beswick was marked by the manufacturer.

Convinced the figurine was pristine, English Beswick porcelain, I posted it for sale on eBay as $valuable AND antique.

Within days, a Hummel collector e-mailed to say the figurine was NEITHER Beswick NOR antique but rather a copycat Hummel by Japanese importer Akiyama, and dates from the 50s. (Reference: Hummel Copycats; Author, Lawrence L. Wonsch, pg. 43; 1987).

I should have known the figurine was porcelain from Japan as they are master craftsmen at creating copycat products of popular items in trade.
Continue reading Banjo Betty Trinket GiveAway, Made in Japan

Which came first, the duck or the nest egg?

Feathered Friends that nest together, Swim Yellow Duck and Estate Trinkets & Treasures

We have two companion websites: (1) Estate Trinkets & Treasures, where we catalog and showcase antiques, and (2) Swim Yellow Duck, a website to celebrate the art of antiques.

First came Estate  Trinkets & Treasures – next came  Swim Yellow Duck!

Estate Trinkets & Treasures dot com

montage of antiques from Estate Trinkets and Treasures
Antiques on Estate Trinkets & Treasures

Estates is an online reference guide for antiques and collectibles. The website came about because we wanted to post our research and photos of antiques. After years of selling online, we had a boatload of photos and a ton of sticky notes, all about the thingamabobs we were selling.

Darrell came up with the snappy name for the website, Estate Trinkets And Treasures, thinking it was descriptive. Although, we cannot boast about the name name being memorable or easy to type in a search bar.

Swim Yellow Duck dot com

Blonde china head doll
Blonde china head doll

To sell antiques online, I needed a User ID. I decided on SwimYellowDuck after many failed attempts to create a unique ID on eBay with its multi-million buyers and sellers.

It followed that after being SwimYellowDuck online for years, I wanted to connect with collectors I had met, which sponsored a new website,  SwimYellowDuck.com.

Further, I fell in love with the art of the antiques and the hand-painting that embellished china and porcelain, the gloss and matte glazes on pottery, the art of blown and molded glass and especially, antique dolls.

Darrell’s natural-light photography of our antiques further elevated the items and gave them art status. I study antiques and photographs when I paint or doodle. Hence, Swim Yellow Duck is all about the art of antiques. Continue reading Which came first, the duck or the nest egg?

Antique Half-Doll Giveaway

First-ever Trinket Giveaway at Estates Trinkets & Treasures

January Giveaway half doll or dresser doll from Germany
January Giveaway

The deadline to enter the January Trinket Giveaway for a porcelain half doll ends January 31, 2016. Enter at Estate Trinkets & Treasures. This half doll is a petite, 2-1/4″ tall. It’s finely painted, glazed, and incised, “Germany.”

Half-doll description: lady in a pompadour hair style looking in a mirror. The paint palette is red, purple and gray.

Note: The porcelain half-doll Trinket Giveaway ended January 31, 2016. The half-doll was mailed to the lucky winner, who lives in Virginia.

Each month: a new Trinket Giveaway

The trinkets will be vintage or antique and will be varied in subject, from toy to porcelain to paper ephemera to mechanical (Trinket Giveaway Gallery).

Because we have a stash of trinkets and treasures from estates and our personal collections, we decided to giveaway  a vintage [antique]  trinket to collectors who frequent our websites, each month in 2016.

The skinny on the registration process

Register at  Estate Trinkets & Treasures. Read all the details and enter upcoming Trinket Giveaways.

The registration form includes a space for a name and address for mailing purposes. The e-mail and mailing addresses are not archived. Each month is a new drawing and a new registration. Continue reading Antique Half-Doll Giveaway

The Art of China Dolls

Hi, doll face!

Blonde China head with defined shoulders, brown eyebrows, ears showing
Blonde China head with defined shoulders, brown eyebrows, ears showing

A china head is art on a doll. With or without a body, these remarkable china heads tell a story from the 1800s about a doll industry of artisans who created beautiful art for a child’s toy.

cloth doll body for a china head doll
Cloth doll body, with leather, stitched hands and large feet

China heads are made into dolls by attaching the head to a body of fabric, leather or wood,  either by threading  lengths of twill fabric through sew holes in the shoulder plate, gluing the head to a leather body, or fitting it onto a peg, wood body.

Civil War china head on a kid leather body
Civil War china head on a kid leather body, dressed in a lavish gown

In dolldom, a china head alone, without a body, is classified as a partial doll. It’s valued at 65% of its book price. And if the doll head was damaged any time within its 100 or so years of play, with or without restoration, its value is diminished to 50% from that of a pristine head. [Source: 200 Years of Dolls, Dawn Herlocher, ©2005]

By contrast, a collector can add to a doll’s value by (1) dressing the doll in spectacular or “appropriate” clothing or (2) providing the provenance of the doll and its unique history. Continue reading The Art of China Dolls

Christmas Ornaments and eBay

Bell Christmas ornaments, made in Japan
Porcelain bell ornaments, made in Japan

Are you busy digging out Christmas ornaments like me?

I’ve decided mine have grown either more precious or more ridiculous with age. Sometimes I have to laugh over the things we’ve hung on our tree.

For years we hung a parking ticket on our tree. We got the ticket on Christmas Eve, one starry night in the 70s. We were busy with Christmas when Darrell looked out the living room to see a  parking ticket on the windshield of our car, which we had parked on the street and not in our driveway.

When Darrell spotted the ticket gleaming brightly in the street light —on Christmas Eve — he marched out the door and down the sidewalk, huffing and puffing all the way to the car. Minutes later, he came back in the door dancing a jig.

Our friend, Lieutenant Ed Sweeney on the Aurora [Illinois] Police Dept., had left us a ticket, and the ticket read, “Fine $40,000 – Merry Christmas! Ed!” We hung the ticket on the tree that night and laughed about it for years.
Funny parking ticket left on car window

Continue reading Christmas Ornaments and eBay

New Dresses for the Innaugural Ball and for Your Antique Doll

Victorian pin cushion
Victorian pin cushion doll dressed in ribbons and lace

“Yes! We get to get a dress for the inaugural ball!” was one of my favorite quotes from Tuesday night’s mid-term victory speeches. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s win meant much to many and for the two darling daughters of Lieutenant Governor Sherry Kleeficsh and Representative Joel Kleeficsh that meant new dresses. Finally, politics I can understand.

Bleuette in original dress
Antique Bluette doll in original dress

Speaking of dresses, a vintage dress in pristine condition can add to the price tag of a collectible doll. Original clothing and in good condition can add to the value of a doll. The description original or appropriate clothing in a price guide on antique dolls indicates prices for a doll dressed either in its original clothing or wearing clothing designed and stitched as the doll might have worn at the time of production; thus appropriate.

Shoulder head on kid body
Shoulder head on a  kid body

Today, when we buy a doll, it comes dressed, but that wasn’t always the case. In the 1800s, shoulder head dolls were available without clothes and/or a body and clothing, which the mother could buy or make separately. The shoulder head included a shoulder plate with holes that could be latched to a cloth body or molded without holes and glued to a kid-leather body. Shoulder head dolls were a less expensive solution to German and French dolls made of bisque and composition. (Click for shoulder head dress patterns, either in the style of the Civil War or the American Revolution.) Continue reading New Dresses for the Innaugural Ball and for Your Antique Doll

Politics. Yikes.

Early White House painting
Early White House painted on the reverse side of domed/bubble glass.

I’ve been watching the History Channel documentaries on the White House. I listened more closely this time for some reason as they re-played excerpts from the inaugural addresses of Presidents Bill Clinton, Bush 41, George W, and Barack Obama. When I heard George W say that our country is the only democracy in which there is a peaceful transfer of power, it reminded me of our amazing gift of freedom. Further, it reminded me of the patriotic collectibles we’ve had and the fortunes of freedom that permeate our art and lifestyle.

Jim Beam Presidential Campaign Decanters 1964
Commemorative decanters by Jim Beam when Johnson and Goldwater put on the boxing gloves to duke it out in the 1964 Presidential Campaign

I was born into a family that was not steeped in politics. I always thought my parents voted until my teen years when my mother commented that there was no point because she would vote one way; Dad another – and they would cancel out the others vote.

I have no doubt my parents voted for Eisenhower because my father was a veteran of WWII and would have marched barefooted through the snow to cast a vote for General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Continue reading Politics. Yikes.