Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas ornaments and holiday plates are super-hot sellers on eBay right now

As you’re starting to get your home ready for this holiday season, digging through boxes of old decorations you’ve had packed away in your attic or basement, you may find that there are some things you just don’t put out anymore. Maybe the children have grown, or you’ve recently moved to a home with a new style, or maybe you’ve moved in with someone else — it could be time for a change.

It’s a great time to post some of your old holiday d├ęcor on eBay! Christmas ornaments and holiday plates are super-hot sellers right now.

Look for decorations that have a potential to offer the best return on your time in photographing and listing. Many of these things are likely to be vintage or collectible. Pick out items that may remind others of their childhood times. Remember those funky lighted color wheels people used to shine on aluminum trees? Ornaments and decorations with a theme, such as Precious Moments, Snow Babies, or ornaments related to an occupation can also be popular.

Get ‘em online ASAP, and...

In the spirit of the season, you’ll definitely want to be sure you are timely with your packing & shipping.

Here are the USPS holiday cut-off dates:

December 11th US Postal Service Priority Mail International service to Canada
December 14th US Postal Service Parcel Post
December 18th US Postal Service Global Express Mail International service to Canada
December 19th US Postal Service First Class Mail
December 20th US Postal Service Global Express Guaranteed service to Canada
December 21st US Postal Service Priority Mail
December 23rd US Postal Service Express Mail

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Check out Eastford Elementary School’s 6th Annual Goods & Services Live & Silent Auction

On Saturday, December 1st, you could have an enjoyable night out (dinner included), snap up a few terrific deals, and help to give an 8th grader a class trip experience to remember for a lifetime. There are 24 students in the class, and it costs $600 for each to be able to go to our Nation’s capitol.

Nancy Gingras, a parent of an 8th grade girl at Eastford Elementary School, has taken a role in the organization of this special event.

According to Nancy, there will be approximately 20 live auction items and 200 silent auction items. “It’s a social evening out and there’s a chance for real bargains.”

There will also be a baked goods section and a basket raffle.

Held in the EES gymnasium, there will be a bistro-style dinner from 5:00-7:00 pm, with the silent auction throughout. Following the dinner, there will be a live auction conducted by Golden Gavel Auctions. Advance dinner orders are recommended, although a limited number of walk-ins can be accommodated. Please call EES at 974-1130 to make your reservations.

A sampling of items being offered:
  • Antique Saxophone (from Paris, France)
  • Cashmere Burberry Scarf
  • Lunch for two at 85 Main in Putnam
  • UCONN Windbreaker Pullover (Men's)
  • Tickets to Pawtucket Red Sox Game (4)
  • Large Stuffed Horse
List of Silent Auction Items
List of Live Auction Items

For more information, you can call Nancy Gingras at (860) 974-2517.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

eBay has had a huge effect on antique dealers and flea marketers

I thought I would offer my point of view regarding this comment I received on my first posting to this blog.

“EBay has become the scourge of EZ money. It has ruined brick and mortar antiquing and flea marketing in general. It has ripped off countless Americans because of its scams and buyer bewares. It has affected every transaction we as consumers make whether at Brimfield, Carlisle, Hershey, or at the local auction. Consumers lose big time in my opinion. The world was a better place before EBay. You actually had to work to make money on either side. Now any chump with an account can rip you and others off. I'd rather buy from a physical person or dealer. Anyone who supports EBay deserves what they get. EBay is for slackers.”

As long as there is competition, with smart and creative people involved in the marketplace, change is inevitable. Granted, eBay has had a huge effect on antique dealers and flea marketers. The playing field has changed in big ways for other business areas too.

A good businessperson always has an eye on the horizon. The challenge is to watch for it, and be prepared to respond. It’s your response to change that determines if you sink or swim.

Consumers don’t lose by the presence of eBay in the marketplace — they win. Big time. If you are a collector, you can shop at home, save searches, and have matching results emailed to your computer. You can research prices, make comparisons, and name your price. Plus, you’re not restricted to shops within driving distance.

Scammers and shoddy businesspeople have always been around. It’s just that today there are new ways to do it. I’ve been buying and selling regularly on eBay for almost a decade now. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had a bad experience.

If you’re shopping on the Web, educate yourself about safe online buying practices. Be aware of phish emails, look for secure Internet pages when providing payment information, and on eBay, check your seller’s feedback.

In my opinion, eBay is not a venue for easy money. It takes considerable time, effort and planning to sell successfully over the long run. There are many variables in listing options and a whole array of not-so-obvious fees and costs in doing business on eBay.

For me, online auctions have not ruined antique shopping, flea markets, or local auctions. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt, and it’s at the local level where I search out treasures to offer to the larger world online.

No small dealer or shop owner can know everything about all niche markets. If you buy at the local level to sell online, choose your specialties. Learn as much as you can, and maximize the opportunity to sell online. If the dealer isn’t aware of the potential value of what they sell, they will make a modest profit. You’ll make a greater one. What’s so bad about that?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A totally different holiday shopping experience

Where do you think you might shop if you were dreaming of owning a bright purple Christmas tree, completely decorated with oversized silver ornament balls? How about a fully decorated purple Christmas tree that was at one time a centerpiece decoration at Filenes Department Store?

Have you ever been to a Christmas Auction? It’s certainly true, that you never know what you might find!
Christmas auctions have a wide variety of merchandise — mostly new, but sometimes used. There are often oddities in the mix.

Among the used items might be an assortment of vintage Christmas ornaments or greeting cards. For last week’s auction, at Danny’s Auction Barn in Foster, Rhode Island, there were lots of old-time bubble lights in their original boxes.

For new items, you’ll see lots and lots of toys! From stocking stuffers to larger items like a rocking horse to a go-cart to an indoor basketball hoop set-up, there’s always a huge variety. Sometimes there will be traditional gift items like bath sets, hat and scarf sets, and fragrances. Or even small kitchen appliances.

If you’re not sure what to buy for someone on your shopping list, just sit and watch for a while, you might see something come up for bid that you never thought of before!

If you’ve never been, it’s easy to get started. You might want to arrive a little bit early to look over what’s going to be sold. You’ll need a number to bid and one is available through a simple sign-up process where you’ll need to show ID, like a driver’s license. At auctions, the buyer sets the price. The bidding process is usually explained at the start of the auction, especially if the auctioneer sees a lot of new faces in the mix.

The fully decorated purple Christmas tree was won for a $40 bid. In fact, after the winning bidder had her pick of fully decorated trees, the remaining assortment of holiday trees were offered to others attending the same auction that evening, at the same price.


Danny's Auction Barn

Route 6 (5 minutes from the CT line)
Foster, Rhode Island
phone: (401) 647-2558
> Every Friday night @ 7 PM until Christmas <

Allen's Auction Hall
164 Hartford Pike
Dayville, Connecticut
(860) 779-2444
> Every Saturday night @ 5 PM until Christmas <

Sunday, November 25, 2007

How it all started

When I was a little girl, I’d often accompany my grandmother to yard sales and antique auctions. While that may not seem like an activity of choice for a kid, I never felt like I was being dragged along with Grammie. I loved it. Her home was beautiful. Always clean and spotless, everything always in its place. The auction finds that won a spot for display in her home were those of quality and of course, lovingly chosen.

I recall when I was about 12 yeas old, and Grammie allowed me to bid on an item that I admired. It was a solid lead crystal fish that appeared to be swimming on a wave. The fish was of substantial size, about 10 inches in length and 7 inches high. It was impressive.

There were two of those fish there that day. Mine was won for a $25 bid. The other had a signature clearly evident on the bottom. It went for much more.

Even though the signature had worn off of my fish, I knew it was something special. Today, the crystal fish sits upon my dresser at home. I’ve never researched it’s value. I simply admire it.

My grandmother passed away last January. The time she spent with me then made a huge impact on my life. Inviting me to tag along with her was a special gift — not only in her time and attention — but she introduced me to a much-loved pastime that continues to be part of my life.

Today, I am a mother of five. When my kids were babies, I’d often search out area yard sales to look for baby things that were “just like new." Aside from baby stuff like feeding chairs, bouncers and toys, sometimes I’d find great quality clothing items — brands like Baby Gap and Gymboree. It was a thrill to pick up a barely worn $25 dress for $1.

When my own children outgrew their clothes, I’d take them over to the local consignment store. Sometimes I’d make out with more than I paid for their things!

Then, when eBay came about, I posted my first item online. It was an exquisite flower girl dress my then 7-year-old daughter wore just one time. It sold for more than half of what I paid, saving me a bundle!

That was in 1998. Today, I am an eBay PowerSeller.

I am also the wife of an auctioneer.