Monday, December 10, 2007

My online antique shop site shoots craps during the holiday season

I am so upset over the fact that my website is not fully functioning at the busiest time of year.

It started out 5 months ago as a simple redesign of the website and has turned into a complete mess that I am being billed for.

My side menu is gone... where, I don't know but I cannot get it to reappear. I have not been able to add new inventory for all these months either.

So if you happen to need something for the holidays please email me and I will see if I have it in stock.

I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused any of my regular customers.

Friday, May 18, 2007

What Is Up With the Postal Rate Increase?

I realize that prices go up. I mean we are paying almost $4.00 for a gallon of gas. Thank goodness I work from home and a tank of gas will last me about a month.

But this Post Office rate increase is horrible if you ship packages. They are doing what UPS, Fed Ex and DHL have always done, charge by volume instead of weight. But they have gone overboard with it. A package that used to cost me $7.00 to ship through USPS now is double that amount plus insurance. At least with the other guys they cover you for $100 in insurance.

I raised the rates on my website when the postage rates went up but I think I am going to lower them back to the old rate and ship through DHL instead. I will also implement free shipping with a certain dollar amount purchase, I have not decided yet what that will be. It isn't fair to my customer's to have to pay such a HUGE shipping cost.

It will be interesting to see if the Post Office looses any shipping business or if they will increase their services.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Seven experts say objects not genuine antiquities - News

Seven experts say objects not genuine antiquities

This is in reference to the Tseng Family Collection of Chinese Antiquities in the Oviatt Library at California State University, Northridge.

What a shame, who got scammed was it the family who owned these items or the library? This just goes to show you must do your research before you make a large purchase.

Monday, April 23, 2007

What Is An Antique Dealer To Do?

Where does my responsibility as an online antique dealer end and the responsibility of the customer begin?

I have been selling through my own online shop for 7 years, prior to that I had an antique store and sold on eBay. I loved the customer interaction with the store life got in the way and we had to close it. Selling on eBay became a huge problem just because of the way eBay is going.

I have learned many lessons selling through my own website but for the most part the customer's have been amazing and I have had very few problems.

When I first started the website I automatically tacked on the cost for insurance, this was a carry-over from my eBay days, but I had quite a few complaints from customer's so I made purchasing insurance an option. On occasion if I was shipping something really fragile I would go ahead and pay for the insurance out of my pocket just to be on the safe side and there were a few times where this was a good thing.

UPS owes me a few hundred dollars for items I insured that got demolished in transit and they did not make good on the insurance I purchased but that is just their way.

But what do I do if someone makes a substantial purchase on a non-fragile item and then says it has not been delivered to them, yet the Post Office shows that the item was delivered? What is my responsibility in this situation? They opted to not purchase insurance on the item and I have proof of delivery.

If you live in a neighborhood where packages are apt to get stolen from your doorstep then I recommend you purchase insurance on purchases. As a seller I cannot know what your neighborhood is like. Or do like many of my customer's and have the packaged delivered to you at work.

I really need some help on this because I do not know what to do. Am I being scammed? It has happened to me before. I appreciate all input on this situation.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Create an inventory of your antiques, collectibles and memorabilia FREE

It is very important to catalog your antiques, collectibles and memorabilia. As well as anything that you own of value or items that, in the event of a disaster, you might be called upon to itemize.

Believe me, in the heat of the moment, it is difficult to remember what you owned much less how much you paid for it.

You can now use this free program on my antique shop site to catalog you items room by room. You can then either print it out or store it on your computer and as you acquire new items you can upload the list to this program and add to it.

This was provided by an insurance group who is no longer around and I have been looking for this software for quite sometime.

So please feel free to visit this page on my shop site and start getting your items listed.

There are no strings attached, I promise but feel free to shop after you get your goods listed.

Create an inventory of your antiques, collectibles and memorabilia FREE"

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Good Auction Season is Here

There are auctions year-round but the warm weather brings out the terrific auctions. I'm talking about the all day, stand in the sun out in a field, pee behind a bush auction. NO BUYER'S PREMIUM auctions.

I find some of my best items at auctions that last all day, if it is raining the deals are even better.

We also take more buying trips during the warm weather and you never know what you are going to stumble upon when you are out and about.

You might consider just taking a short day trip to some town near you and pick up a local paper to see if there are any auctions or sales that sound promising. It might prove to be well worth you time and effort.

I always come back more relaxed and ready to tackle the chores that are waiting at home for me.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

How the Find the Value of Your Antiques, Collectibles and Memorabilia

So you have decided which method you will use to sell your antiques and collectibles now you just need to determine the value of the pieces. I have quite a few resources on my website that you can use to find the value but I will also give you some tips below.

If you want the value to insure an item I recommend getting a written appraisal. This way if you do need to make a claim on this item you already have the appraisal in place. If you want to find the sale price of an item then you will need to do some research.

Get our and visit some antique shops and see what the same or similar items are selling for in your area. This is especially helpful if you are planning on selling through the local newspaper.

If you are going to sell your wares online you need to research what you have so that you can write a good description of the item. There are books on just about every type of antique and collectible so your first stop should be the local library or large chain bookstore.

Once you know what you have you can then look online and see what others are selling the same or similar items for. If you are going to sell your wares on eBay look and see what it is selling for there. Don’t look at what folks are asking for a particular item, look at the closed auctions and see what prices the item has brought in the recent past. Some of the large live auction houses will post their closed auction prices. These prices include the buyer’s premium which is a cost the auction house charges the buyer on top of the closing auction price. The buyer’s premiums have gotten out of control and some houses charge as much as 40%

You can always look in published price guides to get a “guide” on what something might bring but remember that price guides are simply that…. Guides to prices. This is often referred to as “book value.” I am a tad cynical about book values and feel that price guides are simply a means of running the price up on a particular line of antiques and collectibles.

How to Sell Your Antiques, Collectibles and Memorabilia

I get at least 20 requests a day from folks looking to sell their antiques, collectibles, memorabilia and assorted other items. They are usually asking me to purchase these items, and on a very rare occasion I have purchased from such solicited requests, but for the most part I do not.

Why, you may ask.

  • The request is not accompanied with a selling price, including shipping. It is not my place to make an offer on these items. The seller needs to know how much they want.
    Those that do come with a selling price as asking me to pay the retail price for the item. This is not feasible. I pay wholesale otherwise I cannot make a profit. This is my business, how I pay bills, and if I cannot make a profit I might as well just hang it up. If I am selling an item for $12.00 I cannot pay $12.00 plus shipping for the same or similar items. This is not good business sense.
  • The last time I made a purchase, sight unseen other than the submitted photos, when I received the set of dinnerware most of it was chipped and broken. I had repeatedly asked the seller about flaws and she adamantly claimed there were none. Therefore, most of the dinnerware was unsellable and I lost quite a bit of money on the deal.
  • Finally, I love to go to auctions and sales to purchase wares for my online antique shop and buying blindly does not afford me this opportunity.

So, what is the best way to get the maximum for your antiques, collectibles and memorabilia?

Selling through your hometown newspaper is still the best place to start, run a classified ad. Place your ad so that it will run for at least one Sunday and I will almost guarantee that it will sell. You will still need to do your homework to find out what the best price is but this method will bring you the most money for your item. Cost – about $25.00 for a good ad running for one week.

Most areas have at least one consignment shop that sells a little bit of everything. Where I live we have several and I sell antique furniture through one with great success. They do charge 50% but I am able to set the price that I want to get and whether or not I will take less on the item. Most of the shops take in small items as well as large furniture pieces. Be sure to read the contract that you sign, and if they don’t have a contract ask for something in writing specifying the percentage that they take. Just look in the phone book for Consignment Stores or Shops. Cost – 40% - 50% of the sale price.

Live auction houses are a good way to sell items especially if you have something of significant value. Auction houses often hold auctions in one particular category of antique or collectible these are heavily advertised so that they bring in bidder’s that are interested in the collection. They also have auctions with a hodge podge of goodies. Some towns have local weekly auctions, these are fun to sell at as well as attend. Some will allow you to set a reserve but you then run the risk of the item not selling. There is no way of knowing what your item will bring at auction but if you are just looking to get rid of a houseful of items this is a great way to do just that. Cost – 10% - 40%.

eBay stores are a growing small business opportunity and most areas have someone who will sell your items on eBay. You simply drop the item off and they take care of writing the description, taking the photos, packing and shipping. When your item is sold they mail you a check. Once again, be sure that you understand the fees involved. Some places charge a per item fee as well as an end of sale percentage. Be sure that you have these fees in writing before you leave your items with the business. You can set a reserve price, this is the minimum amount that you will take for the item or you can just take your chances on the eBay Gods and let fate take control. eBay is a fickle selling venue and you can never be sure what an item will bring or even if it will sell. Costs – varies from business to business.

Sell the item yourself on one of the online auction sites. It is not difficult to do but you do need a digital camera to get photos of your item posted with your auction. You need to write a very detailed description, including all flaws and defects but highlight the wonderful characteristics of your wares. Take good quality photos. Remember, shoppers cannot touch the item you are selling so you need to allow them to “touch” it through your photos and words. Cost – about 12% of the selling price in auction fees.

    You can sell your items through an online antiques and collectibles shop through consignment or direct posting. I offer an online consignment where for a small fee you send me photos and a description, I post the item to my website and you take care of customer relations and getting the item to the consumer. I have several regular sellers’ using this method on my antique shop site. I have been offering this service for 4 years and have noticed more and more online shops starting to offer the same service. Just be sure that the shop you pick is established and not going anywhere once you get your items online and have paid the fee. Cost - $5.00 - $10.00 per item.

    Online classified ads such as Craig’s List. The service is free and you can advertise it in your local area. I am not sure how many people actually make purchases through this venue but it is similar to placing an ad in your newspaper. Live Deal is an online classified ad service with a small fee if your item sells.

    As you can see there are a great number of methods to get rid of your items. Some require more effort on your part than others and some will bring you more money than others but choices abound.

    I don’t recommend selling to a dealer unless they are actively soliciting for specific items and please always include a dollar amount when you do ask them to purchase your wares.

    Next I will tell you how to find the value of your antiques, collectibles and memorabilia.

    Sunday, January 28, 2007

    Antique Glassware

    If you are looking for information on Antique American Glassware please go to the new extension of my online antique shop, the antique and information center.

    I just added several articles on Antique American glassware companies and several types of glass ware made in America. I will be adding more as time permits.

    Good Antique, Collectible and Memorabilia Shopping This Week

    I have a great week of shopping for items for the shop. Over the next few days I have about 8 boxes and 5 or 6 bags filled with goodies to get ready to post online.

    Also, when I went to the doctor on Wed. to make sure that my pneumonia was cleared up my Dr. of 15 years, gave me some antique and vintage medical books to sell for her. These books belonged to her grandmother and when Dr. F. started medical school she gave the books to her. They all pertain to sex. One of the books is dated in the late 1800s and the other two are from the 1940s. One is all about sex and the married couple.

    She also included "Margaret Mays Twelfth Birthday", it is a little booklet from Kotex dated in the 1930s or 1940s (I don't have the books in here with me.) Girls, you know what this little book is about. It will not be for sale, I am going to frame it for her but only after I make a copy for myself.

    I purchased several vintage composition dolls, one is a Madame Alexander Baby McGuffey. I also have Tubsey and Cheerful Tearful. I have quite a few pieces of vintage glassware from the 1950s such as large glass bowls for potato chips, I have a porcelain poker chip bucket, 8 Anchor Hocking Nautical themed drinking glasses and scads of other items.

    I purchased some new reproduction colored aluminum drinking tumblers in a carrying basket, I have the pitchers and ice cream dishes that match. I love these.. I still have my Granny's vintage colored aluminum glasses that we use all the time. that is why I could not pass these up.

    Be sure to check into the shop often, as I am always adding new items. Also the vintage hats will be posted this week. I finally got all of the photos and descriptions written. These are vintage hats that I have taken on consignment and I can't wait for you to see them.