I thought a good topic for today's posting would be research. It's one of my favorite parts of buying and selling vintage (other than the actual buying...and selling!). It's a bit like figuring out a puzzle in a way. I do a lot of research online - I just can't imagine how much more difficult it was before the advent of the Internet. That being said, who knows what you can believe online? I can't tell you how many times I have found terribly conflicting information. By way of example, I was researching the Fire King Blue Mosaic cups that I found recently. My Fire King book says that the pattern was produced only from 1966-67. Well, I found a listing for the same cups online and the seller indicated that the pattern was only made for 3 years in the 1950s! That's why, although I may start on a resellers site when trying to find an item, I always try to corroborate any information I find there in a more reliable source. There are a lot of associations for different vintage items; those can be a great place to get good information. So are collective blogs and what I call "super collector" sites. For the most part, though, I use online information to determine value more than anything.
To find maker information, dates of manufacture, trademarks, etc., I usually hit the books. I have about 25 books checked out from the library on subjects ranging from depression glass to pyrex to country antiques. I find these books invaluable for determining historical information. The books you find in the library may not be the most recent (and therefore not much good for determining value of a piece), but the information about the history, maker, etc., won't change, so even if the book is 10 years old, it is a great resource.
Inevitably, there are things that I just can't identify. I take a chance and buy things without knowing what they are because, to me, that's part of the fun and a great way to learn. But if it's not over 20 years old, you can't sell it on Etsy. And I want to be really careful to only sell "authentic" vintage items. So right now I have probably 10-12 items that are in limbo. I can't list them until I can verify their age and I can't find any information in any of the sources I've checked.
Since I haven't included any photos recently, I thought this would be a good opportunity, so here are a few of my "mystery" items:
I believe this is half of a double boiler. I also think this cobalt swirl pattern is fairly old in enamelware. It has a good amount of rust too, so I think it has to be over 20 years old, but I can't confirm.
This stovetop percolator screams vintage to me. I mean, do they even make stovetop percolators anymore? Unfortunately, there is no maker mark.
I love these brass (?) bottle openers! But I have no idea who made them and I can't find anything similar online or in the bottle opener books I have.
These look like they came right off a farm somewhere. The woman we bought them from said they were her husband's grandmother's, so they have to be old, right? Just wish I knew something about them.
Have a great day and don't forget to vote!