Jul 26, 2011

Ignoring the Decades

1980's Panetta Necklace offered by popgoesmyvintage

When my wonderful Grandma passed on, my aunt & Mom went through her items, selecting what pieces they wanted. The remaining items were spread out on blankets throughout the house. My brother & I, the only grandchildren, were told to take what we wanted. My mom and aunt were born between 1939-1942. To my surprise, I found they left most of the items from the 40's, 50's, and 60's.  I remember my Mom saying that the brightly colored California pottery from the late 40's was tacky.

1985 Breeders Cup Book offered by goodlookin

I have found this true ism applies to most people. No one seems to value items from the decades they've lived through. I have encountered this time and time again in my estate liquidation business. I've found this to be true of myself: I can't imagine wanting to wear a 1970's dress, much less sell it!

1980's Kinetic Earrings offered by mascarajones

That said, I know I need to remain open minded. I see other shops doing quite well with things from recent decades. But to be honest, I have a hard time accepting that vintage now applies to 1991. Due to this bias, what are we overlooking as sellers? What high ticket items are we passing by?

Jointed Ceramic Snoopy 1970's Ornament I sold

Would you think Snoopy is worth anything? Many sellers just consider Peanuts a modern cartoon, not recognizing Charles Schultz has been gone for 11 years now and Peanuts was introduced 61 years ago. Pieces from the late 70's and mid 80's can be very valuable. I sold a jointed Snoopy ornament from 1979 recently for several hundred.

1970's Wayfarer Sunglasses offered by dahlilafound

I saw a mid 1980's Atari game sell for almost $1200. I almost fell over. I never knew Jessica McClintock dresses from the late 70's were desirable. I found calculators from the early 1980's selling for strong prices-for way more than I ever thought any such device could go for! Now you likely don't sell these things and are asking yourself, why should I care? Because you're out there. You're at sales. If I placed $500 in a box for you, you'd take it. So why pass by recent vintage that will provide more spending money for the real vintage you love?

One of the rarest games from the 1980's, worth a mint

The trick is to educate yourself. Yes, eBay can help a little, but dig. Prices are variable and you'll need to have several examples before settling on a price you can depend on. I prefer looking at collectors websites and reading blogs. Look at shops on Etsy that specialize in the recent decades. I've been amazed by what Etsy sellers are able to get for 1980's pieces. Way to go Etsy sellers!

1980's Valentino Sweater offered by hillbillyfilly

Be flexible. Be open minded. Embrace change. Next time you walk into an estate and only see recent vintage, embrace it. Don't run because you don't see classic pieces. Look with a sharp eye and nab those items that are the modern collectibles of today.


Dahlila said...

Great post!

I don't deal much in clothing, mostly accessories & decor, so I can deal w/the 80s being vintage. I REMEMBER what was hot then so it's easy to find. Do I want to buy it? NO. But my customers want it, so I often do.

Now, the 90s?! Please! I just can't wrap my mind around that. & technically it's only 1990-1991, but when the doors been thrown open; so is grunge now vintage? :-)

Still, it's income & if people want it we should be open to it, I suppose. Frankly, I like the 60s & 70s. I liked them then, I like them now. :-)

Jenzee09's 201*Treasures and The Vintage Reader Etsy Shops said...

Very interesting read, I have torn feelings on this topic.
I adore items from the 1970's and have several pieces from that era decorating my home. However, I was born in late 1972 and throughout the 70's lived in my own, little kid, sheltered world. Things were purchased for me and I had little to no say in what I wore and how the home was decorated.
I remember the 1980's quite fondly and quite well. Yet, it is highly unlikely that I would purchase any items from the 1980's and definitely would not furnish my home with anything 80's....well, except for my original, still working Atari ;)
Definitely a thought provoking read, I really enjoyed it.
PS - Calling 1991 vintage makes me feel old! lol.

Nora-transient*treasures said...

Thanks for ANOTHER great post, Heidi.

goodlookin said...

Great writing!
I was born in '64, and by 1970 I already saw the whole decade of the 50's as being old fashioned and archaic. I imagine it's the same for the kids born in 1994 and 2004. My yardstick is whether I see value in an item, and whether I think others will find it desirable. The distance of 20 years gives us at least some perspective to see an item from a different angle. Some see it with nostalgia, some see it with irony, and some see it as a fresh statement. And sure, there is money to be made, and that is always good ! LOL

Mascara Jones said...

Like Jenzee, I was just a kid in the 70s so, while I dont remember much, I've been continually obsessed with that era...I remember the 80s quite well and am growing more and more fond of it as the years go by...

Now, the 90s? Im not quite feeling that vibe yet...but you never know!!

Thanks for a great post, Heidi!!

RainbowVintage said...

I was born in 1977, so although I remember the 80s, I was too young to participate. I fully embrace the 80s! Maybe if I were a little older it would be less appealing... I'm not so sure I'll love 90s fashion (I have mixed feelings about high school, who doesn't) although I sure love 90s music.

And if I had a nickel for every time someone said 'haha, if 20 years is vintage, that means I'M vintage, LOL!!'... But you know, if fashions didn't change, us vintage sellers would all be out of a job! It has to cut off somewhere. A colleague of mine told an anecdote about her business partner, who said, on her way to an auction, "I'm not buying any of that 40s crap!" It's all relative, I guess. GREAT post, Heidi!

11karri said...

What a good read,for me I love it all,even the 50s when I was born,when I look at an item from antique to 1990,weather it be classic or short lived fad if it has personality and appeals to me and is over 20 years old ..I will sell it ;)

TheOldBarnDoor said...

I'm vintage 1952 and I remember playing with and wearing so many of the items I run into at sales...sort of like..hey, that's my life for sale. You have once again given me thought to pause and not be so quick to glance over and judge items (sort of like people). Thanks

Sarah said...

Love the article - great information & well worth the read. This is the kind of content I look to find when reading the EVT blog.

For my shop, it's the 20-40 year range that are buying, & they love 50's - 90's!

Love your article & hope to see more of this kind. Thanks!!!

Suzanne@threepeats said...

Food for thought...I too find it hard to conceive that items from the late 80's are now vintage. What does that make me...nearly an antique;)?

If I could redecorate totally at this point, it would be in mid-century modern, the stuff I grew up with and didn't appreciate until decades later.

France Geek said...

Good points you make here. If I ever sell out my collection of French vintage and need more sources, I'll bear your ideas in mind.

Three Chicks Vintage said...

Enlightening post. Like many, I just can't wrap my mind around 1990-1991 'vintage', and frankly, I was so busy raising kids at the time, here in rural Ohio, that I haven't a clue what the real fashions were! Being born in 1963, I embrace the 1970s wholeheartedly, and love older things as well.
My biggest struggle is identifying the decades in an item and I try to be better at that. If I had to rely upon personal experience, I'd be lost. In Ohio, the previous decade's fashion is pretty commonly worn - and that's only half funny! LOL!
Thanks for such a great point-of-view!

ImSoVintage said...

Thought provoking article. I guess we all have our own little niche that we like and I've found that I do best when I'm selling what I love. Mid century modern is really not my thing, so I don't do a lot of it and yes there are things I pass over at auction because they don't fit in with my shop. If I were to start selling on Ebay again, I would probably expand my base.

Amy Mortensen said...

Great article and I'm loving the comments. I was born in 1978 which is just about how the same age as most of the items in my shop.

I didn't completely choose my niche as much as inherited it but I have soooo come to love it now that I'm The Owl Lady. Owls are awesome and you can find them from every decade.

I love mid-century modern and the few pieces I have in my home I cherish. I too think it's funny that pices from the late 80s and early 90's are now vintage but I guess I think of them more as collectibles which can be any age.

POP goes my Vintage said...

Thanks a lot for featuring my Panetta necklace. This is a very interesting subject. Some Europeans don't understand that anything after 1970 can be called vintage. But if 20 years have passed it's stamped vintage here and good to sell as such.

I for one, love the jewelry, objects and fashions of the many decades I've lived through... maybe that comes from nostalgia I don't know! We have a tendency to reject what our parents love; in 1964 for example all I wanted was white porcelain, Scandinavian cutlery; everything had to be modern, furniture, ceramics and glass included. I hated cut glass & silver plate: I now appreciate them.

I found myself returning to old loves like the enamel on copper and pewter jewelry I cherished in the late '50s and early '60s. The '80s and '90s are so close to us, sometimes it feels weird to see your own bag or shoes already vintage...but I'm glad that in 2012 I'll be able to list the Swatch watches made that year.

Thanks for this interesting post.

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

Excellent post and ever so true. It's the younger generation that consider vintage at 20 years although to me, that's still new! Hard to believe that some things are as old as they are...time flies and we quickly forget.

Love that Panetta necklace and so many of your examples!

CranberryManor said...

I too have a hard time w/1990s being vintage, but then I also have a hard time with anything younger than 100 years old being antique. Great piece! Thank you for putting it together.

cindy-the vintage hat shop said...

Great post. I am going to look at things a bit differently when I next go thrifting!