Saturday, October 19, 2013

Christmas Presents from the Past

Don't know what to get that special someone this year for Christmas? How about vintage items instead of Chinese produced items from a Target or Walmart. Vintage can provide memories as well as the ability to put that item somewhere on display to be seen 365 days a year. These items and more can be seen at

1950s wall clock from PAM Clock Company of New York for dad. This one is a very rare one.

1950s/60s Marx Mini Crawler Tractor for Billy. This one is in exceptional condition.

1960s Barbie case for little Sally.

A 1930s Chunky Bakelite Necklace from mom.

Most of these items can be purchased for the same price as a big box item. Giving vintage items as a gift shows thought and will be cherished forever.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bakelite Testing 101 and How to Determine if My Piece is Bakelite


Bakelite was developed by Dr Baekeland in search of a replacement for shellac. What he formulated was a predecessor to today's plastic. Bakelite was used in lots of items during the 1920-40s. Bakelite jewelry is one of our favorites. We have picked and sold quite a few pieces. Value ranges based on transparent, translucent, end of day, carved, size and colors. 

If you search the behemoth eBay you will find a lot of people don't know Bakelite from Shinola.  There are lots of items posted with Celluloid, Bakelite or Lucite in the titles at the same time. Folks it can't be all of these. 

Bakelite is very easy to test using semichrome, plastic polish or even just plain water. We use water soaked Q-tip swaps when picking to test the item. Water doesn't freak out the store clerks. Rub the item vigorously with your Q-tip or cloth with your test solution above. No matter what the color of your item you will see a nicotine colored stain. That is Bakelite.

You would be surprised to how many items we have tested negative. The most expensive piece was a $425 Bangle that was plastic in a shop in South Carolina. We showed the manager and she was going to get in touch with the showcase renter. 

Share your favorite Bakelite item in the comments below. For more information on this and other vintage items visit

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Attention Flea Market and Antique Mall Sellers

Why Flea Market & Antique Malls make it hard to shop

Just went to Kentucky over the weekend to hunt for some new items. Visited many flea markets, antique malls and shops. My overall comments are 60 to 70 percent of the items we saw are garage sale items, not items most collectors or dealers would buy.

First, if you want me to consider your item please put the price tag where I can read it not upside down or under your item.

Second, don't put so much stuff in your booth or showcase that I can't see it for the clutter.

Third, don't price an item 2/3x retail and expect it to sell. Especially if your item has condition issues.  I will buy items that are reasonably priced even if they have condition issues, but when they are priced over highest eBay sold or refer book guide prices, not going to work. Collectors expect pristine condition now days, so any small flaw on the item will not yield top dollar.
TADA X 5 Heavy M G ATOM Astroboy Gun Tin Toy
This little guy has some typical wear marks where it was played with, but the price was right and we bought it.

Finally, if you get down to Franklin, KY stop by the Brickyard Cafe in downtown Franklin for dinner. Excellent food and service.