Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I had a couple of friends in *the business* who told me about eBay so I checked it out and I began buying a few things on eBay just to become familiar with it. Within 3 months (which was 1997) I felt confident enough to become a seller as well. I made a fair number of mistakes in the beginning but quickly learned about where and how to research items and get them identified or appraised. I learned that you should never ship any package you are afraid of dropping or drop-kicking. In other words, knowing how to properly pack for shipping. I received many broken items as a buyer, which always annoyed me. I didn't want the insurance reimbursement. I wanted the item.
Everything I'm showing you here, belonged to this fascinating woman.
Let's just call her Trixie, shall we? Trixie came from an old Virginia family but was raised in California. A little pixie of a woman, she was a botanist as well as an herbalist. Back in the day, her gardens were legendary. Unfortunately, by the time I was able to see them, life had gotten in the way for too long and they were gone. However, the remnants were still there if you looked closely enough. She also loved to travel with her husband and once they even sailed on the Queen Elizabeth, which has since retired.
When I first began going through the house, I was shocked at the amount of wonderful things still there. I knew what many of the things were and stuck to only the things I could sell online and ship easily. I sold all of her marvelous hats, opera gloves, purses, cat's eye glasses, and costume jewelry with ease.
She still had things like authentic Indian moccasins, a 1950's Indian dress with rick rack, an old broken necklace that turned out to be an authentic Art Deco Egyptian Revival Slag Glass necklace, a hand tooled 50's purse from Mexico, a divine Audrey Hepburn style hat (which I'm still kicking myself for not keeping as my own), numerous little smart cocktail hats, vintage collectible luggage and some fabulous scarves. This was just the closet in her bedroom.
Eventually, eBay began raising their fees and it was hardly worth the trouble for smaller, less expensive items unless you were a Power Seller and sold things by the lot. I don't like most Power Sellers because they are careless with packing items and seldom see to it that anything is clean before shipping. That's just lazy and disgusting.
Since that never appealed to me, I started my search for a new venue in December of 2000 and by January 2001 I was happily divorced from fleaBay, and the sole owner and operator of my own shop within an internet antiques mall. I started out small, selling only the things I was sure about. It was the best move I could have ever made. I've been there almost 10 years and have been mostly happy with it. It beats selling on eBay, hands down.
I now own something like 82 to 85 ID books for various kinds of antiques and collectibles. These books are the key tools in selling antique pieces that will bring the right price. And still, some pieces need to have more than one appraisal or source of ID. There are a lot of fakes out there today and they are really good (especially the ones from China), even to the trained eye.
On eBay, even on a great day, most things sold for 30% less than in the real world, and often for much less. That doesn't often happen there these days, although eBay is is getting increasingly skilled at separating the inexperienced seller from their hard earned treasures and/or dollars. Thanks, but no thanks!
However, for a few more posts I'm going to show and tell you about the Collections of Trixie. I can't begin to express the amount of knowledge and expertise I accumulated while learning about and selling the things she collected. Now that I'm done with her closet, we can move to another room and more of her lovely treasures.
To Be Continued....