Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Times, they are a changin'...

If you are into antiques somewhere along the way you have heard of Schroeder’s. If you haven’t I’m not sure where you have been. Schroeder’s is a general antique publication that has a little bit of anything that has any value what-so-ever. Each section refers to an expert in that field and also gives a brief history of each subject. It is the bible for many in the antique world but as of this year their 29th edition for 2011 is the last of its kind. Collector Books which is the company that publishes the book has quit publishing all price guides all together. They are just selling out current inventory. Their reasoning is due to the mass amount of the information people obtain from the internet they feel that people have stopped buying the books and will just use the internet as their source of information, but is the information found on the internet that reliable? I will be the first to say that the internet gives just enough information to make people very dangerous. You hear of people that self diagnose illnesses, well it’s the same for the antique business. Some people think the internet gives them the ability to be an instant appraiser. I shudder when someone starts off trying to sell me something and says “I found this on the internet”. More times than not they are wrong. And when they are right I ask “Was it an auction you found? Was it an asking price or a selling price? “

There are some great internet sights for price references but they cost money. As in life the same goes for the internet, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR! If you look for free information then more than likely its not that great. Here are a few sights I have found. --I do belong to this sight. I only pay $9.99 a month for the plan I chose. The jury is still out on this one. They seem to get their information from online auctions a lot of the time and I don’t feel that that is as accurate as what book writers did. Book writers compared online auction prices, public auctions, store sales, etc to come with an overall value of the item.

* --I absolutely love this sight. It is very pricey but for antique appraisal work it is well worth paying $549 per year or they offer cheaper monthly and 24-hour research fees. It has information recorded from auctions, estate sales, antique shows, and shops from all over the world.

* --This sight you can join for free but for $59.88 per year you get photos and descriptions with your value information. The sight is great and basically searches all of their years of general price guide publications they have put out.

Sometimes searching auctions sites such as is the best source of information when you search their past auctions. But with eBay and other auction sites always make sure the item actually sold for the price you found.

A great research site for identifying the pieces you have is Replacements Limited ( They have thousands of photos with measurements that makes identifying your pieces much simpler if you know what you have. I wouldn’t always go by their asking price as the value price. I feel they are top price in the market and if you are like myself then you are in a small market and prices like that aren’t fetched in Ashland, KY.

In recent months, I’ve been picking up a lot of actual live auction site information which give a range of what they believe the item will sell for. I’m not sure where they are getting this information but it seems true to fair market price.

I have also found websites devoted to a specific collectible, glassware type, pottery, etc. Some of these I have found useful and some I have been a bit leery of. As the internet evolves and more books go out of publication I find the trend going more to these types of sights. I just worry about incorrect information being published.

However, I will miss buying my annual Schroeder’s. I’m sure I will carry my 29th edition around with me for the next 5 to 10 years. Something I heard a long time ago as a good rule of thumb for most things, you can figure the value to go up 5% to 10% a year. But, that doesn’t always hold true, for example the last Fiesta Book that Bob & Sharon Huxford published I found prices to be lower in some cases than in the book I already owned. Remember the prices don’t buy it people do, and when it boils down to it, it is what is your customer really willing to pay.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


How do you pay for your vacations?  Do you save for months, use your tax refund, have a garage sale?  Have you ever thought about peddling your wares?

I have a friend that has been full time in the antique business for over 30 years.  Any vacation or travel trip, he stops and sells items along the way to earn revenue to get him from point A to point B.  Now this does take some experience in knowing what you have to get max prices out of them.  He taught me that every dealer has great items that just don't seem to sell for them but they will sell for other dealers, its just finding the dealers that want these items.

We usually plan a vacation around doing a show so we pay for our way there and then do a show on our way back.  But, sometimes we just go somewhere without taking all of the merchandise.  When we do this I put together a bag of goodies to peddle along the way.  Basically I ask antique shops we go into if they are buying, I show them my wares, and sometimes they buy, sometimes they don't.  Its kind of fun being on the opposite side of the counter. This gives me spending cash for extras and off sets some of the vacation expenses.

Sometimes its wise to make appointments with shops about higher end or more fragile items.  Lugging a set of antique china around the French Quarter in New Orleans is not a good idea.  Its better to have called shops ahead of time with the name of the maker, pattern, and a list of what you have.  It can save you a lot of trouble when you are on foot for most of your trip.

Another way to sell items is to be a picker for someone.  I always have people asking me to look for items for them.  Sometimes I find them sometimes I don't.  A few weeks ago I purchased an item that a customer in North Carolina requested.  Because of the how fragile the item is, I want my customer to see the piece first hand so I feel it is better to sell this piece face to face.  At the end of the month I am traveling to South Carolina for my step-sons graduation from boot camp and along the way I will meet my customer to sell him this item.  My customer is happy he doesn't have to wait till November and I found a way to fund the trip without doing a show that weekend.   What better way to do it...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Things don't always run smoothly...

When we bought Gypzie Roadz we knew that with her age there would always something to work on. We knew break downs would happen because we’d had flat tires with other vehicles and been sitting on the side of the road before.

We had had a successful show at Louisville over Memorial Day weekend. We managed to get torn down and out of the show in record time and were on the road by 6 pm headed home. I had just fixed Courtney dinner and I noticed Donnie was pulling off the road. Donnie had felt something hit is foot and wasn‘t sure what it was. After getting out and assessing the situation he first thought the radiator hose had blown because it was so miserable hot outside. After standing in the heat letting everything try to cool down he determined one of the belts had broken. Thank goodness the previous owner had forsight and there were spares in storage.

The problem was the heat. Poor Donnie was trying to work on a vehicle while I sat inside the RV trying to make a 3 year old happy. She was hot, tired, and cranky and Donnie too was hot, tired, and upset leaving me to be a positive-Pollyanna which wasn’t an easy task. Coloring and singing didn’t last long. And trying to help Donnie was not a good idea either. All I knew to do was sit and pray that it got fixed and fast.

Can you imagine being broken down on Interstate 64 still inside Louisville Metro for over an hour and a half on Memorial Day and not one state or local law enforcement agency car passed by. Not that we needed anything, but I was amazed. I guess there were no speed traps designated for this area.

Belts finally on, now we needed antifreeze for topping off the radiator from where it has overheated and blown out.  We were lucky to have an RV that we could pull water from to top off the cooling system.

Finally, we did manage to get it back on the road and get home safely to where we have only one week to complete three weeks worth of work so we can finally have time to enjoy a vacation.