Archive for June, 2017

What’s Hot, What’s Not – Part II

Written by traderchris on . Posted in Uncategorized

This is the second article in a series that will highlight items that are selling well versus items that are selling poorly, based on personal observation.

What’s Hot

Vintage Bakelite Jewelry – Bakelite was developed by Leo Baekeland in Yonkers, New York, in 1907. As an early plastic, it was used primarily for electrical insulation due to its nonconductive properties. Use eventually spread to radio cases, kitchenware, toys, smoking pipes, and even firearms. However, our focus will be jewelry.

The most collectible bakelite jewelry tends to be beaded necklaces and bangle bracelets, although whimsical brooches are very popular, too. Vintage cherry amber and egg yolk-colored beaded necklaces can command hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a single necklace, depending on the size of the beads. Bracelets of all colors with interesting designs or carvings tend to be very popular amongst collectors, as are apple juice-colored bracelets that may have flowers, fish, or other designed carved or painted on the inside. Pin subjects vary widely – from patriotic pins and banjo playing frogs to pipe smoking dogs and pencils with dangling school charms. The more unusual, the more collectible they seem to be!

Vintage Rock N’ Roll Memorabilia – Whether you were a flower child from the 1960s or a wild child from the 1980s, some of the souvenirs from the concerts and your favorite bands may be quite valuable now. Original concert posters are very desirable amongst collectors, with many fetching several hundred dollars to a thousand dollars or more. Extremely rare Beatles or Grateful Dead posters can even jump into the five-figure range.

In addition to posters, ticket stubs, programs, even old concert t-shirts are collectible. 1980s hard rock t-shirts frequently resell for $50-$100+, and if you were lucky enough to acquire and hang onto original rock shirts from the 1960s or 70s, those can be worth even more.

What’s Not

Silver plate – Historically, silver was originally only affordable to the very wealthy. However, in the mid 1700s, Thomas Boulsover of Sheffield, England, invented a process in which he could bind a fine layer of silver to other metals, giving the appearance of silver at a fraction of the cost.

Today, while silver remains popular for use in jewelry and decorating, most buyers prefer to have sterling silver over silver plate, as both require the same degree of care and maintenance, but sterling objects hold their value much better.

How do you know if your item is sterling or silver plate? Sterling items are typically marked “STERLING” or “925”, as sterling is 92.5% pure silver. Silver plate objects may be marked EPNS (Electro-plated nickel silver), Quadruple Plate, Silver on Copper, etc. Also, sterling items won’t be attracted by a magnet, whereas sometimes silver plate objects will be.

Beanie Babies – Beanie Babies were launched in 1993, but didn’t start becoming a collectible phenomenon until 1995. Their story is a fascinating lesson in supply and demand, when production of the beanies was limited on purpose, leading to a massive secondary market. At the peak of their popularity, they accounted for approximately 10% of the sales on eBay where they could be flipped for as much as a 1000% mark-up.

However, like most collectible crazes, the era of the Beanie Baby has come and gone. Most people that collected large quantities of the stuffed critters are disappointed to learn that their investment is most likely worth pennies on the dollar now. Due to their low resale value, I recommend that people who wish to depart with their collections donate them to police or children’s hospitals, so that they may be enjoyed by younger generations in need of some cuddly comfort.

What’s Hot, What’s Not – Part I

Written by traderchris on . Posted in Uncategorized

I receive inquiries almost daily about selling stuff. All sorts of stuff. Inquiries from the last month alone have ranged from selling high-end estate jewelry to the liquidation of a vintage beer can collection. I even took some time to go out and view an antique radio collection stored in an old school bus. I love hearing about / seeing unusual collections, which is what keeps my job fun!

I’ve decided to start a series of articles that detail items that are selling well right now in the market versus items that aren’t. So here we go.

What’s Hot

Late 1950s to Early 1960s Barbie Dolls and Accessories – The first Barbie I ever sold was a 1959 #2 Barbie. She sold for $3938 to a collector in California. Ever since then, I kept an eye out for early Barbie dolls and accessories. The most valuable dolls are going to be the earliest dolls, from 1959 to 1960. They can be identified by their facial features, body markings, and even the holes in their feet. Whether the doll is a #1 or #3 Barbie can make a big difference in the value. A near mint #1 Barbie recently sold on eBay for $4500, while a pristine #3 Barbie with box may sell for $1500 – $2000. Original, vintage outfits and accessories can go for a lot, too, and are oftentimes worth a lot more than the dolls that may be kept in the cases with them. Hard-to-find individual outfits may sell for hundreds of dollars each and even partial outfits can still sell for $20 – $50.

Iconic Toys from Every Era – Toys have been collectible for a long time and will continue to be collectible into the future. People develop a special attachment to toys, especially from their childhood, as it reminds them of a simpler, more innocent time in their lives. Toys that are in the highest demand from collectors tend to be iconic examples from their era and are in very good to excellent condition. Ideally, the original box and/or accessories are still available. Some examples include cap guns, tin toys, and Tonka trucks; vintage dolls and play sets; original board games, video games, and action figures.

What’s Not

Dishes – Most People will inherit at least one set of china from a parent or grandparent. Unfortunately, the market for reselling most china and other porcelain tableware is very poor. There is simply way too much supply and not enough demand. Younger generations have different tastes than their elders and many of them do not formally entertain like people did in the past. As fine china is often too fragile to put in the dishwasher, people simply don’t want to bother with it most of the time. Consider gifting to a friend / family member that would appreciate it or donate it to a worthy charity. If you must sell it, local consignment or auction is a possibility, but don’t expect to get much for your set(s).

Limited Edition Prints – I once worked with a couple that had purchased dozens of beautifully framed Ducks Unlimited prints, “back when [they] had more money than sense”. They had paid several hundred dollars for each work, hoping to recoup their investment or perhaps even make a profit someday. Sadly, when you have hundreds or even thousands of copies of a particular work, it tends to dilute the resale value for the piece. I was only able to sell a handful of the prints for $100 or more apiece, while the remainder had to be liquidated at local auction for a fraction of that.

A truly limited edition tends to be 100 copies or less. And ideally, the work is signed by the artist and has been kept away from sun or moisture, to minimize the chances of fading or spotting. If the print is large but perhaps only worth a few hundred dollars, it may be best to sell it locally or remove it from the frame for easier (and much cheaper) shipping.

A Priceless Gift

Written by traderchris on . Posted in Uncategorized

My father recently turned 70-years-old. For the last few birthdays, I had either sent him gift certificates to his favorite local restaurants or had offered to cook for him during his next visit. I mean, what are you supposed to get for someone who already has everything he wants and doesn’t really need anything else?

I racked my brain for several days for gift ideas for him. Since I am well past nine-years-old, a new bottle of Old Spice aftershave no longer seemed appropriate. Dad enjoys movies, but fussed a bit about having to set-up a Netflix account last time I got him a pre-paid subscription. What would be something small, yet simple that he would like?

My parents have lived in my childhood home for nearly 30 years. Over the years, they have added and removed walls, bookcases, closets, etc. Storage space has been maximized to the fullest extent, as my father is obsessed with storage and organization. So needless to say, their house is full of tchotchkes and other things that my siblings and I don’t want.

Out of all of the stuff in my parent’s home, the one item that I hope to inherit someday is my father’s Mickey Mantle dinner plate. Although Mickey Mantle was best known for his hitting prowess while playing for the New York Yankees, he diversified into a number of different business ventures after his playing career, including opening-up several Mickey Mantle’s Country Cookin’ restaurants in Texas in the late 1960s. These restaurants focused primarily on country favorites such as fried chicken, catfish, and ham sandwiches. Unfortunately, they were poorly managed and didn’t stay open more than a few years.

Dad acquired the plate at some point through his various Saturday morning garage sale expeditions. I remember when he came home with it, he was really excited to have his own special dinner plate. When I was growing-up, my siblings and I always seemed to be heading in different directions during our daily activities. However, dinnertime was the one time during the day that we would regularly sit down and spend time together. Of course, it may have involved some loud talking with hand gestures (Italians do love to speak with their hands…), but it was quality family time nonetheless.

For my Dad’s birthday this year, we threw him a modest surprise party consisting of family friends and a handful of old co-workers. Of course, we had way more food than was necessary, including a pair of giant party pizzas that were so large, I had to turn the boxes sideways just to fit them inside of the house.

My daughter, Lily, was the first person to jump out from her hiding spot, and my father immediately broke into a big smile and started laughing. He was even happier when he learned that all of his children were there, as we hadn’t been all together for several years.

After the party, my father opened a small pile of cards and gifts from friends and family. He opened my present last. I had managed to find a small Mickey Mantle’s Country Cookin’ soup bowl on eBay that Mantle had signed. It came with a certificate of authenticity, which would make it easy to sell or trade at some point in the future.

And while Dad enjoyed the bowl, I realized after giving it to him that his favorite gift of the day wasn’t something that could be bought or sold. It was the time and effort that his family put into his special day. And that is a priceless gift.

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