Gretel's Treasures

Follow her hunt for vintage jewelry and other treasures

How to Make Money Without Really Trying and With a Little Help From My Friends… November 16, 2015

Setting Sail for the AuctionEvery week at the auction brings new surprises and new treasures.  Last week I was looking at the previews and saw this.  Nothing makes me get warm and fuzzy more than gobs of colored glass.  Looking at all of these colored glass cruets, some of which were hand blown made me want to have them.  I thought I’d sworn off of buying blown glass, but cruets aren’t that big, and would easily fit into a small size priority box.  Bad news was, they were going to be auctioned off early. Instead of waltzing in at 11AM I’d have to get myself up and out of the house and be at the auction by 8AM… Part of my responsibilities at home are getting my teen age son up and driving him to the bus stop, by 7:30….auction is 25 miles away….I could do this.  Got child up and shoveled into car, and as I got to the bus stop, I slowed down, pushed him out and said “see ya”!

More Colorful Cruets!So I was on my way by 7:30, but I hadn’t had coffee yet. Ach!   I thought I might have time to stop for a Mickey Dees Latte, and still make the 8AM start.  Gotta have coffee.  So I stumbled into the auction before it started, and ran to look at the glass.  The auction at 8 is very different from the auction at 11.  I used to come earlier and work the outside field, but since I’ve started concentrating on jewelry, which doesn’t start until 1PM, I’ve slacked off from getting here so early.  I loved the cruets and lovingly fondled a few.  Of course the stoppers didn’t seem to match, but they were soooo pretty.

Colorful Cruets

I looked at the first table  and saw 2 huge boxes of junk jewelry. Hmmmm, not a lot of buyers here yet, and it is jewelry, I don’t usually buy box lots, they are a lot of work, but it is an auction, so I started bidding and got the boxes for 40.00. Surely there would be something in them.   I carted the boxes back to the jewelry auction and stored them behind the counter. Back to the glass.   I waited patiently for  for them to get to the cruets, there were twenty,  I hoped they would go cheap.   A woman pulled aside 8 of them, I figured I’d let her have them and maybe I’d get the rest.   I think she got them for around 60.00.  Fine, they were the nicer ones anyway, they put up the rest of them, and they went for over 100.00 Aw shoot, I got up early and everything and never even got to bid on them.   Life goes on.

Case of Junk Jewelry I'm Selling

So I now had about 20 pounds of junk costume jewelry,  I figured I’d try and flip it at the auction. Something I’ve never done before.  I got a large case, and carefully started pulling out ugly necklaces and arranged them in the case, trying to make junk look attractive.   I got another case and stuffed it fulled of carefully arranged jewelry. This left me with a huge box of more junk jewelry.  I had picked out a few interesting things,  so I was offered the last available case, took the box and just flipped all of the remaining jewelry into it, shoveled it around some, looking for treasures I would be willing to sell in my stores.  I’ve never just dumped jewelry in a case, but a lot of people do this, and I was tired of untangling necklaces.  My hope was to make back the 40.00 I’d spent on the junk, the same day.

Dumped the Junk Hope for the Best

This was a very confusing auction day for me.   I found a great box of jewelry in the back, with a Venetian Wedding Cake bead necklace I HAD to have.  At the same time there was also a Venetian Sommerso art glass bead necklace at the jewelry counter I had to have.  At this auction you can consign a table, and put what you’re selling on one table, then items are sold individually from it.  There is one seller who consistently has great vintage jewelry.  It can be a bit pricey, but the quality is great.

So I went to lunch with Mr. T, as I always do, and worried over the two necklaces.   I didn’t know whether I should pull the one necklace from the back, or bid on the whole box. At the same time there were treasures at the jewelry counter I wanted, including a case with a millefiori bead jewelry set.  I pondered my dilemma while munching on my egg salad wrap.  Side note, as a vegetarian, the egg salad wrap is the only food I can eat at the Amish restaurant in the auction hall, so every Wed  for 4 years I have had that.   Mr T mumbled on about knives he bought, and tools he was thinking of bidding on,  not realizing how important the jewelry dilemma was.  Men!

After agonizing over this monumental decision, I decided to ask Mr. T to bid on the necklace in the back, and I would work the jewelry dept. So I stepped up to the plate, whining to anyone who would listen about the injustice of not being able to be in 2 places at once. Another auction buddy volunteered to bid on the necklace in the back, but I told him I had it covered.   How cool is that, I have friends there who will bid for me,  and I have done the same for them…I love that.

Row of showcases, my 3 sold for 85.00 this week!

Row of showcases, my 3 sold for 85.00 this week!

So my cases did really well,  I was shocked, they sold for a total of 85.00,  I made about 75.00 from the sale, but it meant I didn’t have to take any of that junk jewelry home.  I also sold some rings for 40 and 2 trays of jewelry for 50.00…. Selling at the auction is always hit or miss, this week I sold high…but that also meant I bought high.  Mr T got out bid on that Wedding Cake necklace, he actually went higher than I told him to go, and he still lost it.  I did get the Venetian Sommerso necklace, but I paid way more than I should have. I bid with my heart, and we all know that is stupid and costly.   I also bought the case for 50.00 with the millefiori set, there’s a bunch of other jewelry in it to sell, but some will go right back to the auction next week.

I got some nice jewelry this week,  it’s always a surprise to me what I got, even though I look through everything ahead of time.  It was really nice walking out of there with  a little bit of cash.  I have so much stock,  and I can’t list that much, so I’m finding as time goes on, I’m getting very selective about what goes into my stores.   I specialize in Art Deco, Rhinestone, Figural Animal, and Beaded jewelry.  Mostly mid century, but I’m not afraid to go out of those boundaries.

Jewelry makes me so happy. I’m so lucky to have this as an option for making a living.

Please visit my Etsy shop, Gretels Treasures

Until next time,



2 Responses to “How to Make Money Without Really Trying and With a Little Help From My Friends…”

  1. I need to go with you and learn from the master1

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