Angelic Buyers When Sales Go Awry on eBay

Angelic Buyers vs 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.

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 purchases one frog gig – we mailed six 

Inadvertently, we had mailed every gig in our toolbox. The Buyer calls after he opened the package to find the gig he ordered plus five more.

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 this packing 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 bills 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

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

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?

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

Selling on eBay Vs. Etsy – My Secret Life in PJs!

Steuben lamp globe
Gold, Steuben, Aurene lamp globe, sold on eBay to a happy customer in Florida

I sell antiques and baubles on eBay and Etsy because I have a lot of stuff and it’s a world-wide market, a marketplace a million times greater than the one where I live in Arkansas.

On Etsy, I have two Shops. I sell antiques and vintage at Pazazz and fledgling art projects at SwimYellowDuck.

On eBay,  I’ve sold everything under the sun since 2007. My user name is swimyellowduck, and I became a Power Seller on eBay, grossing over $69,000 in a seven-year period. My husband and I have sold so many antiques and collectibles that I filled a website (estatetrinketsandtreasures.com) with my research and photos to help other sellers research their antiques.

celluloid tape measure in the shape of a cat
Vintage, celluloid, kitty-cat tape measure

Currently, I am a Power-Seller has-been. In order to be an eBay Bronze Power Seller, you must sell 100 items with revenues of $3,000 in a 12-month period, and I am at the midway point with 42 items and $1,800 in sales, having taken a selling hiatus this past year.

Would you like to know a few pros and cons between selling on Etsy and selling on eBay? Continue reading Selling on eBay Vs. Etsy – My Secret Life in PJs!

Selling Antiques Began at Barnes and Nobles

Bookstore and Antiques, Peas in a Pod

High antique neck sake bottle

One of our favorite pit stops is Barnes & Nobles and the Starbucks coffee bar at Barnes and Noble (Springfield, Mo). On one such memorable outing, I was sitting with my husband, pouring over a pile of antique books with a vanilla latte in hand (and an oatmeal cookie) when a man asked if I liked antiques.

We were soon regaling each other with our antique collections. Not much later, we decided to buy his antiques to re-sell along with ours.

He had inherited antiques from his mother’s antique store, as well as Asian imports he had collected personally. At first thought, he planned to open a shop himself; on second thought, he decided against it. It was at that fateful time we bumped into each other at B&N.

His collection of antiques included family pieces from New York, Asian pieces he had bought as an importer, and his mother’s shop inventory. He kept his favorite pieces, but everything else was for sale.

He delivered the inventory the following week, and gave us wholesale prices on each item. When we tallied the items, the sale total was $3,000. He was delighted when we wrote the check but we were rather dismayed, wondering what we had done.

Selling a truck load of antiques

Since we had shelled out $3,000, we were anxious to make money. So we jumped into action, taking photographs, researching items, and firing up eBay.

Fortunately for us, this young man was generous of heart and wished us well. The next time we bumped into each other at B&N, he gave us two mini loads of vintage farm tools and other eclectic items, free of charge.

From those two trunk loads of free tools, we sold pitchforks and bicycle seats and horse shoes and goat bells – all over the world – which turned out to be fun and profitable.

Selling antiques brings new friends

We have learned much about the world around us and artisans from the past as we  researched the incredible items our new friend sold us that day. And we always look forward to seeing him again on our trips to Barnes & Noble because the conversations are always good.

I tell you all this because an ingredient to the intrigue of selling antiques is the people you meet. It’s paramount to have a good inventory. Then, when you pair up a great item with a customer, sales takes on a rewarding dimension.
Antique wooden gear mold