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Cool Vintage Finds Scouting Blog

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  • Vintage Scout
  • March 31, 2016 06:16:37 AM
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A Little About Us

Be inspired to embrace the vintage life and discover cool and fun clothes and collectibles. Learn about recent discoveries from our estate sale escapades and other topics of interest to treasure hunters and serious collectors.

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Sensible Tips for Buying to Resell

If you get as excited as I do when treasure hunting, you need to be extra wary about your selections. It’s easy to get carried away with a “find” and overlook flaws that diminish value. You may feel rushed because there are other eager shoppers on all sides. Slow down and inspect the merchandise!Here’s a short guide to help you use your five senses to become a savvy reseller: SEE. Always, always, take a...

If you get as excited as I do when treasure hunting, you need to be extra wary about your selections. It’s easy to get carried away with a “find” and overlook flaws that diminish value. You may feel rushed because there are other eager shoppers on all sides. Slow down and inspect the merchandise!

Here’s a short guide to help you use your five senses to become a savvy reseller:

SEE.

Always, always, take a close look before you buy. Step into better lighting and brush away dust if necessary. Seasoned buyers carry a small flashlight and a magnifying glass to help with this important task. When inspecting glass and ceramics, look for chips, cracks and crazing (a web or network of fine cracks). Examine linens for holes, snags, fraying, fading or spots. Look for identifying marks or labels, which are especially helpful if you don’t have other expertise to rely on. It never hurts to assess value in the marketplace by scanning eBay completed sales or a similar resource that catalogues items sold. Condition is a key determiner in helping you resell at the highest price, so look with care. That said, many buyers are willing to put up with small flaws, with full disclosure.

SMELL.

Odors are a bane to buyers and can be difficult to remove. Take note when you enter a home and be on guard if you detect mildew or smoke—common culprits that can destroy a desirable item. Airing and washing items can sometimes eliminate smells but this involves time and hassle and may not be satisfactory. Cat urine is particularly difficult to remove and noxious to the nostrils (no offense to felines intended). There is also a rather mysterious odor that tends to creep into the homes of the elderly. If something stinks, trust your instincts and rest assured it will smell even worse when you remove the item from its environment, which often masks much of the smell. Pass on moldy or musty items—these odors spread when stored with pristine inventory.

FEEL.

Your sense of touch can be invaluable when assessing the condition and value of estate sale items—and are especially useful when shopping for glass and ceramic items. Fingertips can spot a rough edge or chip faster than the eyes. When inspecting linens, a perceptive touch can discern synthetic from natural fibers. Fingers can also detect seams in ceramics that differentiate molded versus hand shaped items or help distinguish real wood carvings from faux-wood resin pieces.

HEAR.

Listen to the chatter at sales. You may be able to pick up on history of items or gain insight into demand. Some sellers will have expertise to share, so it doesn’t hurt to inquire. Another way you can use your ears is when encountering mechanical items. If you hear something rattling around inside when you give it a gentle shake, you may be dealing with a broken thing-a-ma-jig. You can also improve your purchase decisions by listening to what your gut is telling you. If your inner voice says something is overpriced, negotiate or pass it by. If you’re being too sentimental, check your emotions at the door.

TASTE.

I’m using poetic license to invoke this “sense”—my true meaning refers to aesthetics. Is your taste in line with what’s popular? Are you good at uncovering rare and coveted niche items? The best shoppers have a knack for identifying cool stuff that people want right now. You can’t always predict what will sell, but if you keep an eye on the marketplace, you can improve your ability to spot hot items in high demand.
May fortune favor you as you hone your senses in the exciting field of treasure hunting. Good luck!


2018 Christmas Gift Ideas

No more vanilla Christmas presents—give cool vintage finds instead! There's a better way to get your Christmas shopping done this year, and it doesn't require fighting for a parking space or wandering the malls.  Relax in the comfort of your own home and peruse the pages of the Cool Vintage Finds Store! You'll avoid a vanilla experience and instead find one-of-a-kind treasures for your family, friends and even yourself.Keep reading for ideas to help you have a more rewarding...

No more vanilla Christmas presents—give cool vintage finds instead!

There's a better way to get your Christmas shopping done this year, and it doesn't require fighting for a parking space or wandering the malls.  Relax in the comfort of your own home and peruse the pages of the Cool Vintage Finds Store! You'll avoid a vanilla experience and instead find one-of-a-kind treasures for your family, friends and even yourself.

Keep reading for ideas to help you have a more rewarding gift-giving experience!

Something special for your sweetie.


Our store offers dozens of categories to help you pinpoint the gift that will bring a smile to your honey's face. From clothing to jewelry, art & antiques and beyond, you'll encounter oodles of intriguing gift-worthy items to consider.
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His and hers ... or his and his... or hers and hers ... coffee mugs just might hit the spot.

Something thoughtful for mom.


Love the fragrance your mom used to wear when you were a kid? Chances are it's discontinued and she'd love to wear it again. Check our store for hard-to-find perfumes, colognes and eau de toilette from yesterday.

More mom-friendly ideas ...

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Everyone can use a pretty tea towel.
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It's always nice to have special occasion dishes on hand.
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How about a collectible cookie jar?

Something special for dad.

Maybe Dad would enjoy a book with historical significance, a magazine with a personal connection, art that for his office or den or clothing to round out his wardrobe. Keep looking, you'll find just the right thing!
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Clothes make the man, so get dad a sweater that expresses his inner coolness.
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Hook your dad up with art that recalls the Old West.

Something cool for a sibling.

Maybe it's a t-shirt from your favorite band growing up or a long-lost toy. Or a poster from the movie you both were crazy about. Our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay is an ever-changing repository of cool stuff any bro or sis will appreciate, especially coming from you!
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Shop our store and you might encounter a cool rock tee for a family member.
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Cuz you're both Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans, right?

Something awesome for your friends.

You know what your friends like! No probs acquiring nifty gifties for all your best buds, right here.
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It may be a bit self-serving, but why not get something to equip your pal's bar?
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Imagine a world with this cool poster. #Lennonforever

Something you've always wanted.

 Don't neglect yourself while you do your Christmas shopping! Pick out a gift you've been craving so there's at least one package under the tree you know you really want.
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Buy yourself a sweet reminder of a furry friend.

Shop now for quick shipping and happier holidays!

When you shop the Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay, your purchases will be shipped promptly and with care! If you're buying a gift that you'd like shipped to an address other than your own, be sure to add the alternate address to PayPal before buying. Happy shopping!


Halloween Monster Pocket Screamers

Creepy modern day Halloween collectibles So a while back we came across one of these vinyl squeezable creatures that makes a blood curdling sound when you squeeze its belly. It was strange enough to pique my curiosity and prompt me to assume someone out there is probably collecting these dudes. Turns out they have a variety of names—Halloween Screamers, Cacklers, Monsters, Screechers, among others—and shape shift from season to season, with different manufacturers and...

Creepy modern day Halloween collectibles

So a while back we came across one of these vinyl squeezable creatures that makes a blood curdling sound when you squeeze its belly. It was strange enough to pique my curiosity and prompt me to assume someone out there is probably collecting these dudes. Turns out they have a variety of names—Halloween Screamers, Cacklers, Monsters, Screechers, among others—and shape shift from season to season, with different manufacturers and varieties filling the market.


I did some research, determined the going price and listed our discovery in our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay.  Sure enough, it sold pretty quickly. So naturally we've been on the hunt for more screamers to satisfy the collectors who want to fill their pockets (and shelves) with these fascinating monsters.

This past summer, we came across a handful of pocket screamers dating back a few years. Again, these early screamers flew off our shelves. In the process, we had a conversation with Hugo, a customer and collector with his finger on the pulse of the pocket screamer craze.

"They use to come out like crazy in the beginning. over the years they have trickled down to only a few stores now. Use to be Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Jewels grocery stores, oh, and Party City was good for some classic ones. The ones with hair are the older ones and considered classics."
                                - Hugo
                                  Cool Vintage Finds Store customer

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Hugo was kind enough to share a pic of his collection of "way too many screamers." We think it's awesome!
Hugo's good friend maintains a Pocket Screamer page with an extensive compendium of screamer personalities—a page I had consulted to identify our monsters.  Hugo got a kick out of that ... apparently his friend named the creatures himself, and his nomenclature has caught on—not just by us, but others as well! (Check out "The Screamers" to learn more about each variety.)

Be forewarned, this page features the creepy screams, cackles and moans of the screamers, so you may want to turn down the volume on your device if you're viewing in a public place (or you may just scare the be-jebuzz out of those within hearing range)!

For the ultimate authority on pocket screamers, Hugo recommended we visit the BOO-GLEECH blog.

You can also check out the conversations on the Pocket Screamer Facebook page, which has a rather small but dedicated following.

Start your screamer collection now

It's not always easy to find these Halloween noisemakers, with eyes that light up and sounds that send a chill up your spine, but the hunt is half the fun! We'll keep looking and we encourage you to, too. For Halloween 2018, it looks like Kroger's is the place to hit up for the newest abominations.
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Here's what Hugo is stocking up on this season!

To see what we have in our inventory, check out the Halloween Scene in our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Halloween!


Finding the best eBay stores

It's an urban myth that eBay started as a Pez container exchange for the founder's girlfriend, but the online marketplace still serves collectors. This group of Pez containers is part of a set that recently sold for over $600 on eBay. In 2018, shopping on eBay is a whole different animal than when the online marketplace first opened its doors in 1995. Pierre Omidyar started eBay in his living room on a whim, as a way to enable person-to-person trading arrangements. (The tall tale that...

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It's an urban myth that eBay started as a Pez container exchange for the founder's girlfriend, but the online marketplace still serves collectors. This group of Pez containers is part of a set that recently sold for over $600 on eBay.
In 2018, shopping on eBay is a whole different animal than when the online marketplace first opened its doors in 1995. Pierre Omidyar started eBay in his living room on a whim, as a way to enable person-to-person trading arrangements. (The tall tale that Omidyar did it to sell his girlfriend's Pez containers has since been dismissed as marketing fiction.) The site grew quickly but took a few years to become the magnificent beast it is today.
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With millions of merchants vying for customers, even the very best eBayer stores can get lost among the masses.
Fast forward to 2018 and there are more than 25 million sellers on eBay and 175 million shoppers at any given time. In recent years, eBay has modified its search algorithms in mysterious ways that affect search results and seem to limit how often a seller's items are viewed (presumably to keep more sellers alive). 
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The sky's the limit on eBay, making it hard to choose where to shop. (Img source: Pixabay.com)
As owners of an eBay store, we're often challenged to get eyeballs on our merchandise, and we know shoppers on eBay can be similarly frustrated when trying to find what they want, particularly in collectibles, where availability is often limited. That's the reason behind The Best eBay Stores directory: we want to help quality eBay stores get in front of more customers AND help eBay customers find these sellers so they will have the very best experience possible and return again and again!
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All of the eBays stores listed in The Best eBay Stores directory meet criteria to ensure you're dealing with trusted, proven sellers offering a phenomenal variety of merchandise. (Image source: rawpixel.com)
To create the directory (which is an independent entity, not endorsed by eBay or its affiliates, by the way), we've established criteria that help ensure a good shopping experience. That means limiting the list to sellers who've been around for at least 5 years, own an eBay store and have had at least 500 transactions. We also look at feedback ratings and require that it be 98% or higher. Lastly, we've decided to focus this directory on sellers who specialize in vintage and antique collectibles and clothing (new merchandise merchants are left to their own devices).
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Browse and shop with confidence on eBay, with guidance from our directory of trusted eBay stores.
So that's the scoop! Go ahead and check out our directory now. Share it on your social platforms if you feel inspired. Contact us to recommend yourself or a qualified eBay store owner. We hope our directory will prove useful to everyone involved. Thanks for reading!


Build your antique alphabet block collection

We recently attended an estate sale where I discovered a box of antique wood blocks. The box contained four unique groups of blocks, which are now offered in our store.Early alphabet blocks are hand carved and painted. They often feature word pictures and numbers as well as letters. The blocks shown above and below are 1.75" cubes with a color stripe painted across the sides with raised letters.Antique blocks that have been played with and passed down over decades are rarely in original...

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We recently attended an estate sale where I discovered a box of antique wood blocks. The box contained four unique groups of blocks, which are now offered in our store.

Early alphabet blocks are hand carved and painted. They often feature word pictures and numbers as well as letters. The blocks shown above and below are 1.75" cubes with a color stripe painted across the sides with raised letters.

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Antique blocks that have been played with and passed down over decades are rarely in original pristine condition. In my opinion, flaws that develop over the years such as wormholes, chips or fading simply add to the character of old blocks.
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Carved letters and numbers are often painted with different colors on opposing sides. Word pictures on the sides of blocks can be flat or carved.
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Blocks with ridges are another variation found in this lot of blocks. The ridges help the blocks stay together when they're stacked.
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The letters are carved out rather than raised, while the word pictures are raised (the green zebra, for example). These blocks are smaller than the others, roughly 1.25" cubed.
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These blocks are quite lovely old things. There's plenty of wear, but no limit to their decorative value and allure to collectors. Just imagine how they entertained and educated little ones long ago.
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Naturally, some old alphabet toys are worth more than others. Complete sets typically fetch higher prices. The sets shown below sold at prices starting $95 up to $1500 (images and information from Worthpoint.com.
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This charming set is blocks is more desirable because of the handmade vehicle that holds them.
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These cute figural alphabet blocks are called Schoenhuts Alphies and date to 1882.
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Victorian obelish alphabet block sets such as the one shown here are highly sought after and command a high price due to their rarity.
PictureItem sold by Etsy shopkeeper MilkweedVintageHome.

Vintage and antique blocks look great just as they are, displayed on a shelf in a nursery, kitchen or den. Some collectors like to complete the alphabet or spell out words. If you're the crafty type, check out Etsy to get ideas for upcycling old blocks into new and fun home accents. Whatever you do, don't pass up that box of blocks when you encounter them at a sale or thrift store down the road.


Visit our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay to get your block fix or simply to peruse a fascinating assortment of merchandise.


Turn yesterday's trash into crafted treasures

Guest blog post by Emily Graham Emily Graham is the creator of MightyMoms.net. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life. On her site, she offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms, from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family. Find jewelry lots on eBay for your next crafting adventure. Vintage is in and that means your kids might perk up when you suggest...

Guest blog post by Emily Graham
Emily Graham is the creator of MightyMoms.net. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life. On her site, she offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms, from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family.
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Find jewelry lots on eBay for your next crafting adventure.
Vintage is in and that means your kids might perk up when you suggest hitting your neighborhood or online thrift store in search of materials for your next craft session. Everything from old buttons to antique costume jewelry can be re-purposed into cool crafts and wearable things even the pickiest tween will be proud to create.

Here are a few ways to turn your vintage finds into contemporary masterpieces:
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This shadow box of skeleton keys is for sale on etsy.
Skeleton key wall art. Buy old skeleton keys online or round up a few at your local antique shop. With a piece of old board and some strong glue, you can create a skeleton key wall plaque. These plaques are easy to make and will add a cool twist to your decor.
Lace brooch. Repurpose grandma’s cotton crochet lace (crochet doilies also work) and her extra-large earrings that no longer have a match into a handcrafted brooch. Each lace brooch only takes a few minutes to make and requires little more than a needle, thread, piece of lace, and adornments. Positively Splendid lays out the full instructions here.
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Lots of lace remnants are easy to find on eBay.
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Vintage buttons, brooches, bric-a-brac and linens all have potential to star in your next craft project.

Vintage button ornaments.
It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, Christmas crafts are always fun to make. Grab a jar full of vintage wooden buttons, a spool or two of ribbon, and clear filament (fishing line works nicely), and you have everything you need to put together some cute and colorful ornaments. Get inspired with how-to steps in this DIY Network tutorial.


Creepy doll head lamp. If your older kids have a twisted sense of humor, there are tons of ways to reuse an old doll head to create spooky Halloween decorations. A vintage candle holder, doll head, and battery-powered LED lights provide exactly the right creep factor for your All Hallow’s Eve shindig. Get inspired by the I Like That Lamp blog.
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Just one idea from the ilikethislamp blog.
PictureThis lovely embellished Victorian postcard sold on eBay for over $100.
Jewelry Art. We’ve already mentioned that you can use jewelry to create beautiful brooches, but a pile of old costume jewelry can also make great wall art. Head down to Goodwill or check out estate sales in your area. You can likely find a grab bag of old busted jewelry for a few dollars and old framed art pieces. Using glue and lots of patience, embellish your old painting for a dazzling one-of-a-kind piece of art.

Are you a writer with special expertise and a connection to the vintage, antique, collecting and re-purposing world? Interested in contributing to our Scouting Blog? Contact us for guidelines.


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