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

https://www.etsy.com/shop/GretelsTreasures

Until next time,

Gretel

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LIONS AND TIGERS AND BEARS OH MY! VINTAGE FIGURAL ANIMAL JEWELRY September 25, 2015

Celluloid Scottie Dog Pin signed Japan

Celluloid Scottie Dog Pin signed Japan

At the auction last week was all about better quality costume jewelry. It was very stressful, time consuming, and could be disappointing if I didn’t get what I wanted. I talked to one buyer this week, who gave up on bidding for things because prices were going too high. Last week he asked me what I thought the Miriam Haskell jewelry would go for. I said 300-500 dollars (I don’t know much about the brand just that it’s priced really high online) He scoffed and said it shouldn’t be more than 100.00. Well this week I checked and one necklace did go for 325.00.

Group of Miriam Haskell jewelry from last week

Group of Miriam Haskell jewelry from last week

So this week was back to normal, no Miriam Haskell. No Juliana rhinestone jewelry.   Just the regular bunch of hit or miss assorted vintage stuff. which I like. I can buy a lot for my money, pick out what to keep (the most perfect and profitable items) and regurgitate the remaining jewelry back to the auction next week.

Stacks of jewelry, ready to be auctioned by the tray

Stacks of jewelry, ready to be auctioned by the tray

There was tons of jewelry to pick through. I probably ended up with 15 pounds (a lot of which is going back) What I’d like to talk about today is the opposite of high end costume jewelry. Figural animal kitsch jewelry. It’s a weakness of mine. (I guess all jewelry is a weakness for me) I often wonder what the other bidders think about me. I’ll go some weeks and buy just a few things. Then one week, bang, buy tons of what looks like junk. Which just about describes kitschy animal jewelry. It was thrown together in a cardboard box. I said to someone, don’t let me bid on this. No one stopped me. I got it for probably around 30.00.

Cardboard box with assorted figural jewelry

Cardboard box with assorted figural jewelry

These smallish pins were often sold in pairs to be worn together, thus the term scatter pins. I think of these mostly from the 1950s and 1960s, though you can find animal jewelry back to the Art Deco period. These are not fine quality pins. Often sold in 5 & 10 stores, Woolworths, etc, they can be painted, have rhinestones, faux pearls, even googly eyes.   They aren’t particularly sellable, but what I love is finding a pair of ostrich pins and waiting for an ostrich lover, somewhere in the world, to find them and buy them.

Poodle holding a beach ball with 2 dachshunds holding a stick

Poodle holding a beach ball with 2 dachshunds holding a stick

In this box were turtles, fish, elephant with eye glasses, cats and dogs, a dancing fox, a cat playing a saxophone, mice, donkeys, and who knows what else. Some were signed Trifari, some Gerrys. I find a significant amount of these were signed Gerrys, painted in bright crazy colors and sold in pairs. In this box there were a dachshund, ostrich, squirrel, and mouse pairs.

Unusual pair of ostrich scatter pins, signed Gerrys

Unusual pair of ostrich scatter pins, signed Gerrys

Often, to justify the madness in buying this silly pins, I will group them together, hoping to find a buyer who collects a particular animal. I’ve done well with turtle and bug collector pins.

Group of turtle pins, bottom left is signed Trifari

Group of turtle pins, bottom left is signed Trifari

Gretels Treasures shop can be found on Ebay and Etsy.  Some day I’ll tell you how and why I sell on both venues.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/GretelsTreasures

Assortment of cat pins, all from the same cardboard box

Assortment of cat pins, all from the same cardboard box

If you’d like to see the oddities I find at the auction, follow me on Instagram, I try to post something every day that I’ve seen including bad clown art, Mid Century Modern furniture, Buddha statues, cowboy boots just to name a few things I’ve seen in the last week. Thanks for visiting Gretels Treasures blog

https://instagram.com/gretelstreasures/

Teensy cat, 1 inch, playing a saxophone, with a pearl belly

Teensy cat, 1 inch, playing a saxophone, with a pearl belly

 

WHAT $80.00 BUYS YOU AT AN AUCTION! June 12, 2015

Wow! Look at all the Treasures!

Wow! Look at all the Treasures!

Pickings have been pretty slim at my auction.  State law recently changed and we aren’t allowed to sell precious metals anymore, unless we have a precious metal license.  Ever since they started enforcing that rule at my auction,  there has been a lot less jewelry.  Auctions are a great place to dump unwanted stuff, and for me that would be odds and ends of sterling that I couldn’t sell on Ebay or Etsy. Now I have it saved up in a plastic baggy.

3 MOONGLOW BEAD NECKLACES WITH STERLING SILVER CLASPS

3 MOONGLOW BEAD NECKLACES WITH STERLING SILVER CLASPS

Still there are lots of opportunities to buy treasures every week.  Earlier this year I’ve had problems with people outbidding me.  Poor Gretel expects treasures to be handed to here, on a silver plate, for very little money.  So I’ve had to bite the bullet, put on my big girl pants, and start bidding with abandon.  What that meant was that 2 weeks ago I paid 325.00 for a case of jewelry….that’s a lot of money. I was outbid on 3 other cases for similar prices…..and you know what, I’m not going to make a great profit on that case. (Insert Buyer’s Remorse sign here)

BLACK AND WHITE ART GLASS BEADED NECKLACE

BLACK AND WHITE ART GLASS BEADED NECKLACE

Then, last week, I bought a box of jewelry for 20.00, and found loads of good stuff in it, surprisingly.  And a Minolta camera, which I gave to my auction buddy Todd, because I just don’t want to deal with things  other than jewelry and vintage accessories. It’s taken me 3 years to realize my niche market. I know what I’m selling with costume jewelry, I can describe it really well, and find the perfect buyer for it.

AURORA BOREALIS FACETED GLASS BEAD JEWELRY SET

AURORA BOREALIS FACETED GLASS BEAD JEWELRY SET

So what did 80.00 get me? Every week, since I’m a special person, I get to go behind the counter and paw, examine all the jewelry they’re selling. I get to turn pins over and see whether it is signed, and whether it has the pin back attached. (Frequently it doesn’t) This gives me a distinct advantage over other buyers, because I know whether something is a Crown Trifari or an Avon pin. One is very desirable, the other, maybe not so much.

4 LOVELY BRACELETS

4 LOVELY BRACELETS

This week there were loads of vintage necklaces.  This Spring I’m selling tons of necklaces,  and was happy to see them. Plus, the other buyers aren’t aware of their value.  Not worth a lot, but for the right price, I get a lot of jewelry to play with.

5GLASS BEAD NECKLACES

5GLASS BEAD NECKLACES

These were multi strand aurora borealis beads, art glass beads, moonglow beads. Some were signed West Germany, some Sterling, some Art Deco, and one sweet little Amco gold filled necklace.  So much bidding strategy was to bid on everything (sold in 2-4 tray lots at a time) and just see what I could get, cheap.  I got about 12 trays of jewelry for 15-30 dollars a lot.  There was some junk in there that will be funneled back into the auction in the near future.  What I was left with to sell was about 40 necklaces and bracelets! Gotta get listing!

AMCO ANTIQUE REVIVAL GOLD FILLED NECKLACE

AMCO ANTIQUE REVIVAL GOLD FILLED NECKLACE

BROKEN ART DECO GLASS BEAD NECKLACES

BROKEN ART DECO GLASS BEAD NECKLACES

WEST GERMANY ART GLASS BEADED NECKLACES

WEST GERMANY ART GLASS BEADED NECKLACES

Hope you enjoyed the pictures,  please visit my shops on Etsy and Ebay!

http://stores.ebay.com/GRETELS-TRINKETS-AND-TREASURES

https://www.etsy.com/shop/GretelsTreasures

 

Cat Fight at the Auction Getting Down and Dirty with Gretel February 16, 2013

I promised you a catfight story today. People can be really mean and possessive about stuff they haven’t even bid on. You’re allowed to poke around at other peoples stuff, but they’ll jump on you, that’s mine! they yet ready to fight for some dirty broken down piece of I dont know what. Fine, I’m just looking and walk on. Then there are times you see a really great pile of someone elses, and you’re allowed to bid on it and beat them. I’ve never done that, but the time may come. This week there wasn’t much in the field. I put together a lot with some old hats and handbags, shoved in some broken jewelry, some blown glass trees, just to beef it up. My friend T. makes big money buying stuff noone knows what it is worth, then sells it on Ebay for big bucks. I saw an old tool and threw it in with my stuff. He told me about another tool to add to my lot, he’d clean it up for me and let me sell it. He’s very generous that way. So we were chit chatting around my pile and another woman started looking at my stuff. T. said she was going to bid against me and called a cat fight. I drew my claws out ready to fight to the bitter end (or 20.00 whichever came first) for my pile of stuff. Meow! I hate when I do the work, and some know it all comes by and outbids me. That’s not nice. And it wasn’t that great. This was a 10.00 lot.Bidding started blew past 20.00 (rats, drew in my claws, no blood letting today) and T. bid the darn lot up to 50.00!! One thing I have learned, for me, 40.00 is my top price when it comes to maintaining profitability. So T. paid for the lot, took his 2 dirty tools and left me with everything else. I bought him lunch as a thank you. Turns out his dirty marking tool was from 1840 and rare. Whatever. Good for him.

Here’s a trunk shot for entertainment:

101_2671

It was really pulling teeth out in the field. I put together another little lot, with some Franciscan Apple china, 2 old coats and some hardware stuff for hubby to play with. Got it for 10 dollars. The Apple china is our pattern, so what I don’t sell I can use. Isn’t that practical?! The coats were pretty ratty, so I ripped off the cool buttons and the fur collars and left the remains in the field. Most practical time to head inside.

Close ups of trunk shots

Close ups of trunk shots

More close ups of trunk shots

More close ups of trunk shots


101_2674

When I went inside I found a few things, some thermoset bracelet earrings sets, nothing special in the rhinestones area, some figural pins, I got alot, but nothing really special. I’m going to end up putting alot of them into lots and selling them that way. There was a really nice rhinestone pin, in with the silver, turned out to be a Weiss, but it sold for 40.00, I couldn’t resell it for much more than that. There was a gorgeous danish large pin and earrings set, original box, enamel on sterling, like david anderson, but I dropped out at 150.00! Yikes what was I thinking. I got a couple of onyx pendants, nice big sterling settings, they’ll do well. Let me show you a few things:

Small selection of the jewelry I got

Small selection of the jewelry I got

I’d like to go back to last week and show you 2 things, one a gorgeous Austria rhinestone pin I got, I really like it, it’s unusual because it’s BIG:

Large Austria Rhinestone Brooch with Multiple Dangles

Large Austria Rhinestone Brooch with Multiple Dangles

The next item is a beautful large dragonfly pin/pendant combination in sterling silver. Artisan signed, with what I believe are Mexican Opal eyes. This is going to go to a very special person, and they don’t even know it yet. (I have no idea where they live, who they are, but they’ll find each other once I post it)

Sterling Artisan Dragonfly pin/pendant combo with Mex. opal eyes

Sterling Artisan Dragonfly pin/pendant combo with Mex. opal eyes

Finally, last week was a great week in the field for me. My car is still full of stuff I haven’t gotten out yet. Do you remember I bought a large box of owls, sight unseen? I unwrapped a couple japanese gift show owls, knew they would work in my shop, and got the whole kit n kaboodle for 30.00….well today I listed 2 of them. One was a Boehm Flat eared owl, made in England. Boehm is a very well know porcelain figurine company, I did a happy dance when I saw it. So I listed him today, and sold him within 2 hours for my full asking price of 109.99. (I know you all want to know numbers don’t you)…All that was going on while I was out doing the trunk shots for todays post. I unwrapped some more owls, and found at least 5 more! When I told hubby I could get 50.00 for one he was thrilled. Here’s the cuties picture:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=230929956100

Boehm Short Eared Owl

Boehm Short Eared Owl

Things are shaking out for me right now with “Gretel’s Treasures” I love jewelry, but it’s not the most profitable thing to sell. Obviously I do great treasure hunting in the field, I would never have guessed to even think of buying a box of owls. (Theres also cheaper owls in the box, don’t get too excited)…What I’m learning, and this is true of any business you want to start is, do what you know. I know costumer jewelry. I know textiles, glass, figurines, crafts, these are all things I have done for 30 years in one way or the other. I have a textile degree, I have worked in hot glass making beads, I’ve collected china animals since I was 8! Because I know this stuff in my bones, it’s easy for me to see potential in a crewel embroidery border. I dont see the potential in tools. That’s why my friend T., does so well with tools, guns, and freaky stuff. He’s well respected in his field of expertise. If you want to sell on ebay, or etsy, or flea markets, find things you know about, or love, that you can express some passion about the item. And that passion will rub off on the new owner.

Thank you for reading my blog, I really appreciate your comments, your just being there, if you have questions, I’d be happy to answer them or direct you where to go.

See you next time.

Gretel.

 

 
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