Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Collectables and eBay

Always, I’ve claimed, that I’m not the kind of person who would get into collecting; that tchotchke type knickknacks drove me nuts.  My guess, is this claim is a residual effect from my grandmother. She was/is constantly trying to pawn off kindly gift her painted bird house and lace doily collections.

Lately, I’ve seen people re-claim both of these and make them kitschy cool. However, I’m not cool in that ironic neo-homemaker sort of way (Although that is my ideal, and what I want for my life in the future)

Collecting did not seem in the cards as I had spent many years developing an aversion to collecting and collections. Just when I’d made up my mind, along came Wilber (this pig). 044 Wilber’s adoption started at “The Will”. (Another name for “The Goodwill”….I think my mom came up with this one or my dad started saying it when I would be looking for my mom, as in, I think she’s out cruising “The Will”) As you would have it, one lovely Saturday, because really aren’t all Saturdays lovely, Alex and I were cruising “The Will”; He was cruising for a pot to replace the plastic water bottle which had held our spare change.
The bottle had “mysteriously” disappeared!  Okay so I put it in the recycling bin….sue me for not wanting an old plastic water bottle full of change in the bedroom.

As we looked for the pot, we came across a suitable piggy bank, plain pink, but simple enough to suffice.  It however cost 8 dollars, and to top it all off, it had a tag from the original store which said 10 dollars and 99 cents, one of my BIG pet peeves at “The Will”.

It infuriates me when “The Will” charges almost as much as someone paid originally. Do they really think we should pay this much for a donated item? We should pay no more than double a yard sale price. Just my humble opinion.

We passed on the pink pig, but on our way home, we stopped by my favorite neighborhood antique store “Aging Fancies”, in the Greenlake neighborhood of Seattle.
024  (The ladies love Wilber, and why wouldn’t they!)
We spotted Wilber with his beautiful black and red stoneware skin. Gorgeous! We picked him up and fell immediately in love. The gentleman who co-owns the store noticed us swooning and said, “It's yours for twenty dollars", but since we’d just been at “The Will” this sounded high. We put Wilber down. The Clerk went on to tell us how this pig would be worth fifty dollars or more on E-bay, and that he was well worth his twenty dollar price tag. This was due to the fact that Wilber was a  rare piece of Blue Mountain Pottery out of Canada.

Although I didn’t plan to re-sell Wilber, his collectability became enticing enough to spend twenty dollars. I decided we would probably not re-sell Wilber, but buying him got me thinking; starting to hope one day thifting would turn into a source of income.

Before Wilber, I never thought searching for collectables could be interesting to me. I just wanted to thrift things that fit my style, and thought that the two were mutually exclusive. However, due to Wilber, I discovered, it was possible to find interesting and collectable items, which could also be fun to find.063  After adopting Wilber, I started becoming aware of things that might be collectable, and also were things I found to be neat. This pot was found at “The Will” for 1 dollar and 99 cents. Because its finish seemed hand painted, and it’s glaze did not seem manufactured, I picked it up to see if it had a stamp, turns out it did. For the price, even if it turned out to be nothing special, I liked it. 060
I call Alex “The Bookie Monster”, and if “The Bookie Monster” had a girlfriend she would she would be called “The Dishy Monster” because of my love for anything that will fit drink and food.  Lately I’ve been trying to give all goods a test of what and when each item will be used. Now that I’ve decided I might start to re-sell, it is open season on cool creamers, and wonderful soufflé  dishes!
Found this at “The Will” for 99 cents.
Not sure what this says, but it looks hand stamped, and not like it came from a big store.
This dish was 1/2 off at a Sunday Estate sale, 3 dollars.  I rarely bake a soufflé,and by rarely, I mean never, but I just might start! Or I will serve fruit salad in it or something. Although, I also never serve fruit salad. That just sounds easier and more healthy than starting to make soufflés. Or I might just take pictures of it and frame them.Whatever, I love it.
Made by Clara in Portugal…love that! If I can’t afford to go to Portugal at least I can afford to have Clara’s pottery from Portugal.

So I’ve picked up a few things which it may be possible to re-sell. But how do I re-sell? What’s the best method?  There are a few things I’m considering eBay, a physical store, Etsy, and a stand at the Freemont market.

All of these pose challenges and benefits. And considering I have about 4 items for sale having my own physical store and even my own one day stand may not be my most realistic options at this time. So I’ve started exploring eBay, and when I started exploring, I realized I know nothing.  Basically I feel like my mom if she were to ever go on Facebook, like….ooo how do I post a picture what is this tagging all about, I’m a novice granny at E-bay, so I started looking for help.

Insert eBay Paul! This blog’s getting awful wordy….imagine that me, using too many words, this is going to turn into a two part-er, because E-bay Paul's information is very valuable, and I think you might just be as interested as I was, but after my bloggy novel above, you may need a break.

Stay tuned for the riveting conclusion to Collectables and eBay. I will discover the revolver in the library with Professor Plum and all will be resolved in The eBay/Collectable mystery….ok maybe not that exciting, and you probably won’t be anticipating my second part, but I can only imagine you need a break from my run on sentences. See you next time for the highly anticipated conclusion to the mystery. Be ready as my investigative journalism takes you into the seedy underbelly and the provocative sexy world of eBay (Well maybe not, but there are some practical tips and techniques which would have taken me years to figure out on my own)

Would love to hear about your collectable items and your experience with eBay. Let me know your tips for finding collectables and or tips when using eBay.


  1. LOVES IT! Loves all the photos and loves that you're expanding and expanding and expanding. I also love that you put up the post even though you felt it was too wordy and I'm sure you wanted it to be perfect.

    But back to me. Before I moved to Oregon I used ebay to sell several clothing items I had bought on sale but hadn't ever worn. Ebay's policies have drastically changed over the last 8 years, but I was shocked at how the whole thing was pretty easy. At times it feels a little bit like a betting game-- do you want to put your minimum bid low to avoid fees or place your minimum bid high knowing that you'll make a profit? For me, it was a fun little game that made me about 100 bucks. I will say though, I wish I had thought more about the postage side of things. I remember arriving at the post office just expecting boxes to appear for free right before my eyes. Paying the extra couple bucks for each box when I had 10-15 items to send was le suxor. Anyway, I truly am really looking forward to meeting Ebay Paul through your eyes. Keep us posted!

  2. Hey there! I finally figured out that the bookmark I had set for your blog was taking me to your first post only. You said you had written a post about your garden and I was like "What the? There's no garden post in here!!!". But then I put on my thinking cap and clicked the banner. Lo and behold, I was able to see your subsequent posts. Ta-da!

    Anyway, I've sold some things on Ebay. Clothes and kitchenware mostly. It's easy to find cashmere sweaters and designer clothing at the Bellevue Goodwill that you can sell on Ebay. And since I know what kitchen equipment is worth, I have good luck with that. I've found 3 Cuisinart food processors (kept one and gave the other two away) and 1 KitchenAid stand mixer. As I'm sure you know, the key is just to go all the time. If you're going to sell on Ebay, I would concentrate on items that are light and fit into the flat rate priority mail envelopes and boxes available at the post office. Printing postage labels with the Ebay tool is also a big time-saver. I also think it's cheesy to make a profit on postage--I always charged the actual cost and no more. There's my 2 cents worth. Hope it's useful!