Tuesday, April 26, 2011 | 7 comments

Hi everyone – welcome again to Tuesday Tips. I’ve been putting off this section on Taxes for our “How To Start A Reselling Business” series for quite awhile now. Two reasons for that: it’ll be a major snorefest for many, and I just didn’t want to run it right before the actual April tax deadline.

So now that everyone’s already sent in their taxes, I’m going to try crank it out. But I’m not going to make it all pretty with pictures – it’ll just be info.

Before beginning: if you’re new to our blog series, you might want to read the earlier posts on Legal, Branding and Planning first. You might also want to read the two intro posts: Should I Start A Reselling Business? Part 1 and Part 2.

Also a reminder: I’m not a lawyer / accountant, I didn’t take any business or econ classes and nothing we write here should be construed as “professional advice”. In other words, we DISCLAIM everything. =)

I’ll start off with the usual assumptions first. We’ll assume:

1. You want to legally pay any taxes for your reselling business to the best of your ability.

2. You are starting a sole proprietorship – that is, there is no legal distinction between yourself and your business.

Again, I’m not here to point fingers – whether you choose to pay taxes on income from sales is your own decision.

Paying taxes for a small online business is sort of a muddled affair, with different levels of government that don’t really talk to each other ALL wanting your money. It would be impossible to get into the specifics and laws for every different tax situation. Be aware that I definitely won’t be able to address any specific state/city tax questions.

Similar to the “Legal” section, there are at least three different levels of government that you’ll have to be concerned with for taxes: Federal, State and County/City. As I’ve mentioned before, It’s AGGRAVATING that these levels don’t coordinate between each other, but that’s how it is.

I would also like to talk later about Estimated Taxes and Sales Tax.

First, let’s talk about income tax on your sales through your ReSelling business. Pretty much anytime you sell something and make a profit, you have to report that as income. I don’t want to hear anyone say – “But, what about…” or “How do I avoid…” Let’s just accept this for the time being.

As a sole proprietorship, you’re responsible for paying taxes to the Federal goverment (IRS) and usually the state that you live in on the profit for sold items. Basically, when you do your taxes (or have your taxes done) at the end of the year, you’ll need to include this revenue from your sales in your return.

I’m not going to get into the specifics of it. I would really suggest you talk to a tax advisor about it, because there are different ways to report income. I also hope you’ve been keeping track of every inventory item and every sale in something like Excel, because it’ll make it easy to total it up at the end. If you use PayPal as many do, there’s an export feature that may also make your life easier. Basically, some of the important numbers you might need are:

Total Gross Sales – total of all your sales, includes the shipping, the sales tax and does not take into account the cost of the goods sold.

Total Shipping Costs – how much it cost to ship the items, if you are mailing them. In general shipping should not be counted as income and should not be taxed. Be careful, though, if you charge a stated “Handling” fee – that fee MAY be taxable.

Total Sales Tax Collected – if you collected any sales tax, this should be added up. I’ll go into the specifics below.

Total Cost of Goods Sold – this one is still confusing even after we’ve gone through it a few times. There are different ways to treat your inventory – and it matters whether or not you are carrying over your left over inventory year after year. But basically, you are usually allowed to count the cost of the goods that you sell as an “expense”. It reduces your total net profit, and consequently the income that you need to pay taxes on. The question is WHEN do you count this cost of goods as an expense – when it goes into inventory, or when it’s actually sold? I would seriously, seriously talk to an accountant about the best way to treat it for your situation.

Expense Totals – this one is also very open-ended. You may or may not be able to claim any number of things as expenses. My advice is to just keep track of EVERYTHING, total each category up, and present it to your accountant at end of year to see if it qualifies. Or as mentioned, use your software package to try and figure it out.

Here are a few of the possible Expenses that you might be able to claim to reduce your income:

1. Advertising
2. Research, Subscriptions and Books
3. Legal Fees (DBA, Permits, Licenses, etc.)
4. Office Supplies
5. Travel and Parking
6. Trade Shows, Swap Meets, Entrance Fees
7. Third Party Fees (Ebay, Etsy, Paypal, etc.)
8. Mileage

In general, when in doubt, KEEP TRACK OF IT. You might not think it’s important, but it may make life easier down the line if you happen to have it recorded already. Keep any related receipts as well. I’m going to focus on Record Keeping in a future post – good records usually make it MUCH easier to figure out taxes.

We use an accountant for our business, but you can probably use these type of totals in order to figure out your year end income taxes for Federal and State using the software programs out there. You might need additional information too – I don’t know because we have never done it ourselves. In any case, if you are going to an accountant – they’re going to LOVE it if you can provide detailed excel files and totals instead of just handing them a big mess of receipts and handwritten scribbled notes…

OK, so that’s the income taxes you have to pay on a reselling business for the Federal and State entities. All done, right? Nope. You also need to consider Estimated Taxes.

Basically, Uncle Sam and the state that you live in don’t like it very much that you get to hold onto your income until the end of the year. They’re going to want to have it FASTER than that. If you receive a paycheck at a normal job, it already has the necessary taxes taken out of it. Estimated Taxes are usually reserved for the self-employed and others who don’t have taxes taken out automatically.

If you’re an independent contractor or self-employed, you likely already know about this. Here’s a confession – when I first started working for myself about 10 years ago (not in the ReSelling field), I didn’t realize I needed to pay any estimated taxes! I’d never been exposed to the self-employed world, and so I didn’t realize it was necessary.

What happened? Well, nothing really. I was still paying taxes at the end of the year as normal on income, and maybe because it wasn’t that much, it didn’t trigger any red flags. But in general, you DO need to pay Estimated Taxes on income if it’s not already taken out. I wouldn’t press your luck.

So – when do you need to pay estimated tax, and how much do you need to pay?

It likely depends on how much you make (or plan to make). For ourselves, and I believe for most other people – you will need to pay estimated taxes on ReSelling revenue FOUR times a year.

Check with a tax professional, but here are the dates and the computation quarters for a normal calendar year as far as I know it:

1st quarter is January 1 – March 31. Payment is due April 15.
2nd quarter is April 1 – May 31. Payment is due June 15.
3rd quarter is June 1 – August 31. Payment is due September 15.
4th quarter is September 1 – December 31. Payment is due January 15 of the following year.

I know these dates do not seem “symmetrical”, but believe they are intended that way. Please check them, as they sometimes change. Both the Federal and the different states should have online voucher forms and instructions that you can print out in order to submit your estimated tax every quarter.

As for how much estimated tax you pay – both the Federal and State also have calculation worksheets for figuring it out. It will differ greatly from person to person, so I won’t even begin to try to give any advice on how much. I do know that you can be penalized for paying too LITTLE and too MUCH estimated tax. (Geez, they SURE don’t make it easy, do they?)

Still, I don’t believe that they’re going to follow through on penalizing you – unless you’ve grossly misrepresented the amount of tax owed. Make sure to record the amount of estimated tax paid for each installment, and make sure to let your tax accountant know about it.

One thing to keep in mind – paying estimated taxes quarterly is a REAL bitch. God, I HATE it. Always try and keep in mind when the due date rolls around, because it can be a really nasty surprise to suddenly have to come up with such a large amount of cash. The January due date one is especially nasty, because a lot of other year round bills tend to pile up near that time.

All right, the last part of taxes I’d like to talk about is Sales Tax.

When you go to the store and purchase an item, you’ll likely have to pay Sales Tax on it (unless you live in a state that doesn’t collect it). This sales tax is collected by the merchant and then remitted back to the state at the specified time(s).

As a ReSeller, you also are required to collect Sales Tax when applicable and remit it to the state. The key here is WHEN APPLICABLE. There are so many different state rules and sales tax situations that I’m not going to be able to cover all of them.

So: How much do you collect, from which sales do you collect them, and when is sales tax required to be remitted?

Let’s tackle the last item first. For most folks, I believe that all the sales tax you collect during the year is likely due at the end of the year. Your state’s organization that handles this tax will have a worksheet and form that you can fill out. Sometimes you can do it all online. Similar to estimated tax, I believe the frequency that you have to remit sales tax may also depend on how much you make, so check the regulations in your particular state.

I probably should give an example: for California, the sales tax is administered and collected by the California State Board of Equalization. This entity is also who you obtained your California Resale Permit from. They have a form that you need to fill out (usually something called “boe401″) and submit with your collected sales tax. You can do it online nowadays. I believe the previous year’s sales tax is due at the end of January. Other states should be somewhat similar – but again, check with your state government or tax advisor.

Now – on which sales do you collect sales tax? If you maintain a physical presence in the state from where you sell, and you are selling to people who reside within the state, chances are that taxes are due on pretty much all items. If you’re an online ReSeller selling to BOTH customers in your state and to customers in other states and countries, then you MAY not be required to collect sales tax on those out of state orders. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen this question asked…

But basically, I think that for interstate internet commerce outside of your state, the buyer is responsible for any taxes that may be incurred. I’m not sure if this is completely correct, but in any case, YOU shouldn’t need to collect the tax. If you sell online to someone who resides in the same state as you, you ARE required to collect sales tax that will be remitted at the end of the year. I believe there are exceptions and whatnot – I’m going to leave that up to you to figure out.

OK, so what percentage sales tax is required to be collected on sales?

Ah, this is a tough one.

The reason is because “sales tax” is made up not just of taxes that the state collects, but also District taxes and City taxes. They are completely different for different cities and districts. In California alone, there are hundreds of different rates for different cities, and they are CONSTANTLY changing.

Like I said, everyone wants your money, for doing absolutely no work at all.

I really thought hard about it, and finally decided that I’m not going to say anything about it. I’m sorry, but it’s just not worth the questions I’ll get about it. And I don’t want to mislead anyone in collecting the wrong amount of sales tax.

Here’s what I’d do. I’d check with your state, district, and city for the different percentages of tax required. I’d also definitely check with an accountant who is familiar with sales tax laws in your state for his opinion.

Ugh. This concludes our long post on Taxes and Reselling. I hope this has given a little guidance for those starting up, but since this is not a tax blog, I’m probably not going to answer any specific questions.

When in doubt, I would seriously think about consulting an accountant who has had experience dealing with online business taxes.

The next TT post in this series will deal with “Recordkeeping“. I promise it will probably be more interesting than this post!

If you found this information helpful I would really appreciate it if you could leave a small comment. It helps me decide how much effort to direct toward this series – when there’s no response or comments, then I tend to re-direct my efforts toward listing more items as opposed to blogging…

Thanks for reading!

Previous posts in our Tuesday Tips ReSeller Series:
[3/7/2011] How To Start A Reselling Business: Legal
[2/14/2011] How To Start A Reselling Business: Branding
[2/1/2011] How To Start A Reselling Business: Planning
[1/25/2011] Should I Start A Reselling Business? Part 2
[1/18/2011] Should I Start A Reselling Business? Part 1

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Archives for April 2011



Thrifting: Buy or Pass

Saturday, April 23, 2011 | 9 comments

Hi everyone. I thought I’d do a quick round up of our latest thrifting finds – the theme of today’s post is “Buy or Pass“. Many times, just finding a potentially valuable item at the thrift isn’t the last decision you have to make. Sure, there are times when it’s a no-brainer to pick something up. But as a reseller you’ll often be forced to make quick decisions about whether you should buy an item or pass on it.

I guess this is somewhat related to our earlier thrifting post, Taking Chances at the Thrift. However, that post mostly dealt with items that you don’t know much about. Today we’re talking about items that you DO have knowledge about, but you need to make a decision on whether it’s worth buying.

I always have a tough time passing on any of the blue Bitossi pieces by Aldo Londi. They’re just so hard to come by. This is a large ashtray, which I also have a rather strict rule about not buying. Basically, we try not to buy any ashtrays to resell unless they are really spectacular, or by a rather famous company/person. I guess this hits those points… but still, it’s an ashtray with some damage and not dirt cheap. I ended up getting it anyway, LOL. This was one of those instances where I just had a hard time passing – though experience tells me that I probably shouldn’t have bought it.

Here are two different vases. One is glass and the other is porcelain. I picked up both of these at the thrift for different reasons. The one on the left is a newer vase by SEA Glasbruk of Sweden, which is actually part of Kosta Boda today. I got it because it just looks really nice, and it’s hard to find undamaged glass at thrifts near us. It’s not worth a ton, but it’s worth more than what I paid for.

The simple, white porcelain vase next to it is by Bing & Grondahl of Denmark. A nice looking object, but pretty unassuming right? Would it surprise you to learn that versions of this vase sell for $200-400? It sure surprised me. It’s designed by Lisbet Munch-Petersen, a fairly famous ceramicist.

In the case of these two vases, I knew of both of the companies that manufactured them, but I didn’t know the details. But I took a buy on them – because the price was right. This is probably the most important factor in a buy vs. pass at a thrift for me.

This Ford advertising dog bank almost didn’t make it home with us from the thrift. It’s produced by Florence Ceramics of Pasadena, and because I knew of the company (from dealing with California pottery) and because it was an obvious advertising piece – it became a buy versus a pass. Ordinarily, we’ll pass on “cuter” stuff like this for the main shop. But our Etsy outlet does have quite a few items like this, because it’s what a lot of people over there have interest in. However, it just barely squeaked by as a “buy” – and it was because of the low price.

I’m always on the lookout for any teak pepper or salt mills – especially if they’re from Denmark or other Scandinavian countries. So this interesting pair was an immediate buy. I haven’t been able to find out much about them – they were made by Peugeot, but definitely aren’t any of the more famous ones like those made for Dansk. Instead, they were made for an obscure company called “Saap of Denmark” (not Saab). I thought about passing on these because they were originally so dirty. I was really pleased that a lot of the dirt came right off with just some brief washing.

It was pretty easy to make a decision on these next two items. The vase on left is by Rorstrand of Sweden. I’ll pretty much take my chances with anything by Rorstrand as long as it’s a decent price. The Hazel Atlas yellow polka dot bowl was also an instant buy, because of the popularity of any vintage goodies with colorful dots on Etsy. I didn’t even think of passing on either one.

Last up is this silver plate sugar and creamer set by Merle F. Faber in San Francisco. Er… you can also see this set in the Brooklyn Museum – so I guess it’s probably worth something. It’s circa 1930s-40s, with a definite art deco vibe. However, if you can believe it, I seriously considered passing on the set. I don’t have as much knowledge in post 1950s art and design, and the sugar IS missing its lid. It was also taped up and shoved together with all the old Christmas items at the Goodwill. (Tell me again, why does the Goodwill have an Xmas display in April?)

However, I had a hunch that they could be special – and seeing a set of Faber candlesticks on the iPhone listing at a thousand dollars at auction was enough to convince me to just go for it.

OK, hope you enjoyed this thrift roundup. Obviously, if you’re thrifting only for yourself and not to sell, this isn’t as big of a deal. But for the thrift-resellers out there, I’m curious – how do you make a decision on whether or not to buy something to resell? Do you have certain criteria, or is it a combination of factors?

This post is linked up to ATG’s Thrift Share Monday and HLA’s Flea Market Finds.

Did you find something cool at a thrift or flea market lately?
Please leave a comment here if so…

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Archives for April 2011



Thrifting: The Endless Treasure Hunt

Saturday, April 16, 2011 | 10 comments

Hi everyone. We had a couple of great thrift and estate runs the past week or so. I know we’ve said that we’ve been trying to cut down on buying, but it’s difficult to pass up certain things – especially stuff that you’ve been hunting for (LOL please don’t say it- Hoarders).

Thrifting truly is a treasure hunt – I have a mental list of things we’re on the hunt for, both for the shop and for ourselves. Sometimes it takes YEARS to come across things, and other times you’ll come across a treasure just a week after you learn about it. I guess this is part of the allure of thrifting – it’s an endless, unpredictable exciting treasure hunt.

These Rosenthal pieces, designed by Raymond Loewy, are always on my list of things to look for. I was really happy to come across the gravy with spoon – actually, I’m still not 100% sure it’s a gravy, but the only other thing it could be is an open sugar. We also found bread plates and saucers – but no cups. I’m not too worried, because they turn up every so often.

Early this year, I came across an enormous cache of Loewy Rosenthal at a thrift, maybe 60 pieces. I’d thought that I might be able to get it cheaper after it went on sale in a few weeks – but it didn’t even last the day. How do I know? Because I had a change of heart and went back for it later and it was gone. Oops!

We’ve only been dabbling in book buying for a couple months now. It’s still tough to know what to buy, and also the competition needs to learn some manners at estate sales (a personal rant on iphony book buyers at estate sales will be omitted here, but may make an appearance later).

The “Underglaze Decoration” instruction book by Marc Bellaire is something I’ve been trying to thrift for a couple years now. Was happy to come across it discarded in a stack of unrelated magazines. I was seduced by the great looking gold cover on the “Today Is Here” book by Don Blanding – however, I didn’t realize it originally had a dust jacket. But I’m still curious about it regardless because Don Blanding was a well known designer for Vernon Kilns, a California pottery. He specialized in Hawaiian and sea themes – some of his dinnerware is extremely valuable.

I couldn’t believe I came across another piece of Franciscan china from the rare Contours line the other day at a thrift. This one was a smaller pink footed bowl. We’ve been using these pieces as the backdrop for most of our photos – so you’ve probably seen them before. They’re exceedingly rare, because they were produced for only a year or so, and are very fragile. I originally got them to sell, but they’ve been just too useful as set decoration…

These two items are my favorite thrifted pieces from this run. I’d read about Sascha Brastoff’s resin items before, but had never come across them until now. This amber colored, diamond shaped candle holder was sitting on the shelf at an estate sale that I went late to. It’s even signed “Sascha B.” on the bottom – but I guess it didn’t click with the estate organizers. I believe if it was one of his ceramic pieces, it would’ve been gone (or priced much higher).

The modern black ceramic bird is from Jaru Art Products, another California pottery. You may remember the Jaru giraffe we snagged earlier – this bird is from the same company. This one actually had the “price tag” style company sticker that we mentioned that leads many people to overlook Jaru items.

I admit to being a little mystified by this cone shaped creamer. When I first saw it, I got all excited because it sure looked like one of La Gardo Tackett’s designs for Freeman Lederman. Those can be quite valuable (hundreds of dollars), but this one didn’t have any markings on the bottom.

After I got home, I took a better look around – and I haven’t been able to find any exact matches. In addition, it looks a little different than the Freeman Lederman pieces I’ve seen – less elegant. Well, hopefully will find out more about it in a bit. If it’s a newer item – at least it didn’t cost too much at the thrift!

I picked up these vintage card packs at the same estate as the Sascha Brastoff resin piece. The Whitman animal ones are still sealed. The Hallmark double deck is actually a Bridge set – I liked the card back design so I grabbed it even though the condition wasn’t as good.

We think this orange mod lacquer ball thing is a condiment set, but we’re not sure! It was buried deep inside a mess of smelly tupperware. Sometimes you sure have to dig to find goodies… This set is one of the nicest lacquer ware items from Japan that we’ve found. I couldn’t believe it even had the spoon.

I’ve actually been leaving behind Vera Neumann scarves lately, unless they’re striking/unusual, cheap, or in perfect condition. However, I usually pick up any Vera towels or other items I can find. This one features avocados which I thought was pretty cool.

The divided dish is from Rorstrand, and I got all excited at first because I thought it was the “Picknick” line. It turns out this pattern is called “My Garden” – I haven’t been able to find out much about the line. It seems like it might’ve been another one of Marianne Westman‘s designs, but we’re not sure.

Finally, I picked up a whole bunch of little knickknacks – here are a few of them. Buying too many of these little tchotchkes can be dangerous – because it’s sometimes not cost efficient to list all of them up individually. Well, at least they’re small so they don’t take up that much room? (Hoarders, again)

I know the little bird is a Ken Edwards piece, but I’m not sure who made the cups. I thought they looked pretty cool though – will probably try and research them more later. The little Xmas figure is from Denmark by a company called Holline. Will probably list that one during the next holiday season.

OK – this concludes our thrift round up for this week. Hope everyone has a good time treasure hunting at the thrift!

This post is linked up to ATG’s Thrift Share Monday and HLA’s Flea Market Finds.

Did you find something cool at a thrift or flea market lately?
Please leave a comment here if so…

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Archives for April 2011



Thrifting: Rockin’ The Couroc

Saturday, April 9, 2011 | 15 comments

Hi everyone. Really in a rush today, so will just post up a few photos of our recent finds. One of the coolest discoveries was this nice cache of Couroc of Monterey trays.

From the 1950s to 1990s, Couroc produced a ton of these black plastic (phenolic resin) items with inlaid details made of wood, metal, shell and other natural items. While not terribly valuable, they can be really fun to collect them because at least where we live they’re readily available at thrifts and antique stores. We were happy to find some of the cat trays, as well as the “Fish market” one that uses wood. I feel that Couroc is currently undervalued – the trays were never sold very cheaply when new, and they were mostly inlaid by hand as far as we can tell. There’s a ton of it out there, though.

While the Couroc cache rocked, this Bellaire vase was a huge disappointment. Well, it was more of a bummer – because it turned out to have a huge crack in it. I was super excited to find this signed Marc Bellaire piece at the thrift, because I knew that his work can be quite valuable. I grabbed it so quickly that I didn’t realize it had damage until later. Not sure if we will keep this one or sell it.

Bellaire worked with Sascha Brastoff creating some of the most spectacular mid-century modern ceramics in California. I’m not sure which line this is – have seen it called “Hawaiian” in some places, and “Polynesian” in others.

These Dorothy Thorpe creamers were a nice pickup, though of course I would’ve rather found more of the roly-poly tumblers. We can’t seem to keep those things in our Etsy shop longer than a few days. I actually would’ve passed on these, but they had the real silver and were in pretty good shape. A lot of times there’s too much wear to justify grabbing them.

One of my favorite thrift finds this week was this little Waechtersbach honey pot with little bee and honeycomb decorations. I think this one might be from the 80s – I actually thought it might have been newer, but is has a “W. Germany” mark on bottom. A side note: I don’t know about you, but I have a heck of a time remembering how to spell “waechtersbach”!

Last up, another nice Denby score, in what I think is the “Sherwood” line designed in the early 70s. I actually didn’t know they were Denby, but had a strong feeling they were either English, or from Japan. Unusual that every single piece is unmarked – but something about the coffee pot spout reminded me of Denby.

OK, hope you enjoyed this roundup!

This post is linked up to ATG’s Thrift Share Monday and HLA’s Flea Market Finds.

Did you find something cool at a thrift or flea market lately?
Please leave a comment here if so…

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Archives for April 2011



Blythe Outfit Benefit Auction for Japan

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 | 1 comment

Hi everyone. Just a quick note: Linda is holding a benefit auction with 100% of proceeds to be donated to the Red Cross to help Japan. The auction is for a hand-knitted “Red and White” Blythe doll outfit.

We would appreciate it if you could forward this auction to any Blythe doll fans that you know who might be interested in bidding for this worthy cause. We’ve been very concerned with what has happened in Japan (we have relatives who live in Japan as well), and over the past few weeks have been trying to figure out the best way to help out. Rather than donate a percentage of each sale made on our site, we decided that an auction with the full proceeds going to the cause might be more effective.

The auction ends this Sunday at 5pm EST. Thanks!

[Added: Linda ended up raising $90 with this one auction, which her company will also match for a total of $180 raised. Thank you to all who placed bids!]

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TT: Taking Chances At The Thrift

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 | 5 comments

Hi everyone. This Tuesday Tips post will be about “taking chances” on items at the thrift. Whether you’re shopping at the thrift for business or pleasure, there’s going to be a lot of times you might buy something based on incomplete information or merely a good hunch. As we’ve said before, the iPhone isn’t always going to be the answer… Sometimes you just have to take a chance on things.

I guess the nice thing about taking chances on items at thrifts and estate sales is that the cost to do so is often low. I’d be a lot less likely to take a chance on a picking an item that costs $100 versus one that costs $10 – like the Tempron Taste Tempters set by Ben Seibel that we mentioned earlier. This is a case where I took a chance based on the look of the item, and the nagging feeling that I’d seen this set somewhere before. Turns out this line is pretty well-known. I just didn’t have it in my arsenal of thrifting-knowledge. I sure do now. =)

This type of thrift-picking is all about risk control. I usually have an internal price-point for different types of items we might pick up – and it’s based on a number of different factors. Some include:

A guess of potential for profit
Condition of item
Size of the item (storage concerns)
Possible rarity of the item
Country of origin, if known
Markings or labels, if any

And often most importantly – whether or not we would use it OURSELVES if it turns out it’s not something we can sell. You’ll make quite a few mistakes on the way to finding the good stuff. I don’t believe anyone who says that they’ve never made a mistake while thrift-picking. It comes with the territory.

One note – making a big mistake on buying something that turns out to be worthless can often be a great lesson for getting better at picking!

I have to admit that about 50 percent of the time, when I take a chance on the thrift it’s mostly on a hunch. I know that too many of these “hunches” can put you out of business super-quick, but I’ll still give in to them if the price is right.

Earlier, I’d said that I had a good idea who this giraffe was made by, even though it had no markings. I’m now pretty certain it’s made by Jaru Art Products. I’m pretty familiar with California potteries, because of that other site that we run. In addition, I’d thought I remembered seeing the giraffe listed a book – sure enough, it’s listed in Chipman’s California Pottery Scrapbook – although the glaze was metallic.

The ID was further solidified by seeing a recent auction with the same giraffe in orange, but with a Jaru sticker on bottom. Jaru often used paper tags – but I knew that these often look like price tags and are removed. Our giraffe had the remnants of what looked like a price tag on the bottom, which was another positive sign, so I just took a chance and bought it.

I could go on and on about things we’ve taken on at thrifts that turned out to have value. On the flip side, I could also go on even longer about the items we’ve found at thrifts that turned out to have NO value. It’s like controlled gambling – and one big reason why all those Auction Hunter and Pickers shows are so popular. People are just plain excited about the chance of finding things. The eternal hunt is almost greater than the actual find.

But we need to get back to listing our items – so I’ll just end it with this recent little gem.

I took a chance at the swap meet and picked up this vase. I just liked the color and shape, and the construction seemed rather solid. The glaze was nice as well. And this one was marked.

The guy selling it asked me if I knew who it was – at the time I had no idea. But now I’m fairly certain who it’s by. Though, I’ve been wrong before…

Actually, I’m not going to say who it is – I thought I’d throw it out there as a fun mystery to solve. Or, maybe you’re able to recognize it immediately. I will say this: the deciding factor on me taking a chance on it was the little “รค” in the word written at bottom. Yes, I know – that’s kind of crazy to buy a vase based on a single foreign letter! But I just had a hunch…

Do you take chances at the thrift store? I’d be interested to hear what your tolerance for risk is when buying, and what kind of items you’re more likely to take chances on.

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Archives for April 2011



Thrifting: Fast Finds

Saturday, April 2, 2011 | 8 comments

Apologies, this is another thrift roundup that has no “theme”. We’re sort of short on time again, so we wanted to get this post up earlier. We’re participating in ATG’s ReSeller Challenge again for the month of April, so we really need to start listing items…

Speaking of being short of time – we’ve been really cutting down our thrifting lately. Some upcoming time constraints, plus we just have too many things to list. I’ve also been trying to do more speed-thrifting, that is trying to find things faster at thrifts and cover more ground.

I know it means you’ll miss some things, but there’s just no time to really dig around. I find I can cover the most ground doing quick scans of thrift stores that I’m familiar with. We often try and do a bunch of stores in a row – perhaps 6 or 7 thrifts in about 3 hours total. This is a little tougher than it sounds (especially considering driving times and waiting in line!), but it’s easier when you’re familiar with the thrift stores. A big tip: use your iPhone less for looking things up. Rely on the noggin to recognize things whenever possible…

These finds were all from one thriftrun of 6 stores in 3 hours. We’ve been really picky lately – three years ago, I would’ve came home with 5 times the amount of things in this photo.

The wonderful teapot is from the German company Hutschenreuther who’ve actually been around since 1814. I recognized this pattern as Blaue Sonne, but perhaps overpaid for it – couldn’t help it. =) Has a nice Scandinavian sort of look to it.

Also came across another large cache of Dorothy Thorpe knockoff cups. Actually, we found more, but they wouldn’t all fit nicely in the photo. These have the chrome-style rims instead of the silver (Thorpe did make non-silver ones, called “Allegro”, but we don’t think these are hers) – we’ve found that they often hold up better than the real silver ones.

The John Ciardi LP in back is actually an Edward Gorey illustrated cover. This is actually part of a series of books that John Ciardi also did that have Gorey illustrations. I think we’re keeping this one. =)

The mini Chemex surprised me. I mainly grabbed it because we have 2 other sizes but not this particular one. The hourglass shape isn’t as pronounced as the other ones we’ve seen. They actually still make these, but this one is definitely a vintage one.

Lastly, I was really happy to come across the Rorstrand trivet or “quickplate” in the Eden pattern designed in 1960 by Marianne Westman. She designed several other really nice patterns for Rorstrand. We’re going to have a hard time letting this one go.

OK, hope you enjoyed this thrifting round-up!

This post is linked up to ATG’s Thrift Share Monday and HLA’s Flea Market Finds.

Did you find something cool at a thrift or flea market lately?
Please leave a comment here if so…

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