Each week I will feature a quick list of items in a fixed price range to buy or pass on. This is strictly a general guide that I use to make a prompt decision while I'm out buying. It's not set in stone... it is something that works for me. Some of you may buy selected items that I marked as "PASS". If you have a shop to stock and don't mind holding merchandise for a long time, you could buy the "PASS" items to keep shelves full or you may have a client list that is searching for a specific pattern or piece to add to their collection. This list is for a quick turn around. To buy profitable pieces for a short term sales or a "flip".
Five bucks? Get over here, let's go!
Waterford Cut Glass Stems (singles)
Impressive on any table when set with fine china. This elegant crystal is highly collectible and is still being made today. There are a lot of good names in cut glass and crystal but I found Waterford to be the easiest to resell. There are lots of collectors for it. They make high quality hand cut crystal in lots of patterns and forms including lighting. It's unlikely you'll find Waterford glassware for 5 bucks IF the owner knows what they have. The green and gold foil or paper label is usually missing. With that said, I still find it all the time in thrift stores because the mark is hard to read or even find sometimes. Bowls, and single stems can be bought between 2-5 bucks. The common ship's decanter can be found unidentified for 20 bucks. They bring 60 to 75 on EBay. Stems, depending on pattern, 10-60 each. I have found several lamps in thrift shops that were over looked as just an old lamp. Look for the acid etched mark on the bottom and sides. They are often hard to find. Damaged stems are worthless if cracked or deep chips. Tiny rim nicks can be polished out if bought cheaply enough. Like sterling flatware and china, Waterford is collected by pattern. Identify the pattern online or in books before you sell it. If the bottom vases are stained a milky color have lime or water stains in them, stay away. It is next to impossible to remove and devalues the piece by 80 percent.
Lenox Etched Stem
Here's a case of a known brand that produces quality porcelain and crystal, but the desirability is not the same as Waterford. Lenox makes a fine product and their vintage porcelain is very collectible, but for me, I found the crystal very hard to sell. It's just not held to the same attention to detail and high standards as Waterford. Pass on it
Murano Art Glass Birds
Hand made art glass from the island of Murano Italy. Another item you probably won't find too many times for 5 bucks. Even people who don't collect Murano glass can appreciate the beauty in these hand made colorful pieces. They are out there though. I still find them at sales and on the shelves at thrift stores for 5 to 8 dollars. The reason is the Chinese copies that have flooded the market for the past 10 years. Some people can't tell the difference and price Murano as Chinese import. The Murano glass had paper labels that often washed off or were removed. Look for quality. Murano glass has richer deeper more vibrant colors. True reds and deep blues, crystal clear glass with copper or gold fleck finished with a neatly hand polished base.
Chinese Import Art Glass
Some of it is pretty good and could fool you into believing it's Murano, but most of it is cheap tasteless rip offs that contain high lead content. Wash your hands after handling and never use a art glass birds to eat with.. (jus sayin). These are pretty easy to spot once you know what to look for. Muted lackluster and sometimes murky colors. Machine ground bottoms, tool marks on beaks and tails. In general out of proportion and clunky. Avoid this junk. It's sent over by the boat load daily and can be bought at any Ross, Wal-Mart, or flea market.
Antique pattern glass is somewhat collectible. It was made in thousands of patterns. Snail, Alaska, Arched Fleur-De-Lis Basket weave. Too many patterns to name. It has crisp molding and some are whimsical Stags and Butterflies. I started out learning Depression glass and Pattern glass names and patterns. What I found was no matter what the book said regarding value of pattern glass, I was lucky to get 30 percent of the book price. I don't know where they came up with the prices but it was consistently high. So I went through the guides and focused on the high value pieces. Even then there wasn't much of a market for it. But it did eventually sell. Why am I telling you this bad news in the "Buy" section you ask? Abundance. I still see it on shelves mislabeled. It's 100 years old and it's marked as decorative plate or pitcher. It's a worthy pursuit to take some time and learn the high value pieces. Look for tureens, compotes, pitchers and covered syrups. Those are still sought after. Condition is everything. Chips and cracks should be avoided. Same thing with common pieces like salad and dinner plates that have lots of wear.
Cut glass wannabe. Large punch bowls with all the cups are the only thing I consider in pressed. It was never easy to sell. It's boring utilitarian glassware trying to look like something it's not. Buy it only if you're going to use it. Hard to move.