Mar 1, 2011

Small Isn't All That Small At All

I love that collectors cover the vast range of everything that's made. If it was made or is being made, someone is collecting it, no matter what the size. It is human instinct to think big is better. According to the Discovery Channel, it's a part of who we are-big means more protection, more security and more value. That said, it's time to turn Mother Nature on her head. 

Gucci Pill Box by mascarajones
Big isn't better-not all of the time. I can think of countless small and even tiny items that command high prices. (Ink wells, enamel pins, fountain pens, buttons, magnifying loops, perfume bottles, cuff links, etc) Yet when I shop on various websites, including etsy, I find most of the small items being offered for give away prices. I personally have been able to buy some of these online finds and re offer them for their true values. I know I don't want this to happen to me as a seller! 

Sheaffer Fountain Pen by marybethhale

Take for example an experience we had at Nachokitty just yesterday. My coworker, Suuzi, had gone through a large batch of vintage jewelry and was listing items as I added photos. She had done a great job of describing a vintage set of cuff links that were Wedgwood blue in color with a cameo set inside a gold toned metal. She priced them at $25, a reasonable price for cuff links that aren't signed, aren't a precious metal, and are oh so tiny.

Antique Sterling Compact by CompactQueen

While photographing them, the camera picked up a makers mark. Still convinced they weren't much to write home about, I popped the makers name + cuff link into Google. Whoa. Not only were these valuable, they were desirable. They were selling out on other websites. My $25 non-researched little set became a $225 fabulous pair of cuff links! 

Little Metal Boot by tippleandsnack

A couple of weeks ago, I was going through an old wooden cigar box filled with bits and pieces. All covered with dirt and dust, just yucky. I pulled out a metal button from the mire and examined it. No makers mark. Typed the style of it into Google and boom! There were several other examples selling for $80-90 (for a little button!). Lesson learned. I tend to need a reminder about valuing tiny things.

Heart Shaped Cameo by popgoesmyvintage

Look at your small & tiny finds with a finer eye. Pretend you're a child. My kids do a great job of valuing items that are scaled to their size. Necessary to this is a great photography set up. You'll have to capture those tiny details for your customers. Go small and think of all the extra room you'll have in your office! 


Mary said...

Great post, Heidi!

You're right, it's all in the details. Thankfully I have a good magnifying glass, and sometimes my camera lens picks up marks and details that I miss.

Mascara Jones said...

Great post! I love selling smaller items...easier to store and much easier to ship!!

Mary Beth said...

Tins full of buttons can yield up great little treasures :)
This is a great article and full of some good reminders.

POP goes my Vintage said...

You're so right! Like we say in French: "Dans les petits pots, les bons onguents". Very nice to see my cameo in this interesting blog entry. Thank you.

Suzanne@threepeats said...

And in English it's "good things come in small packages."

Thank you for this post that reminded me that some of the best purchases I've ever made at auctions or garage sales were boxes of "miscellaneous" stuff. I have never found any "treasures" (money-wise) but have found several things that I have used or worn and loved for years.