Tuesday, 20 July 2010

What are things really worth?

As someone who has collected clothes and homewares from the 50s for over 20 years now sometimes it dumbfounds me when I see things on ebay for some astronomical price.

Admittedly when I started collecting things were pretty cheap, no one wanted stuff from the 50's apart from likeminded people. It wasn't mainstream to wear 50's stuff or have it in your house, the word 'vintage' hadn't been invented and so it was all ours and no one elses!

The world has changed massively, partly because of ebay I think, you can pretty much buy what you want from whereever, that would have been amazing when I was in my 20s, I didn't have a choice I had to trawl around places to find stuff I loved!

However I do think that things have gone a little crazy price wise, I do wonder what you all think, here are some of the things that have shocked me recently price wise.


Now these are very nice however they are only a set of 6 50s coasters, how much are they? £5? £10? £15? oh no, these are Buy It Now for £49.95 oh yes people £49.95, that's $76 for my US readers!! That is a crazy crazy price!



Now don't get me wrong, this is fabulous and they do naturally find their price online and they do go for a good price, however this one is priced straight in at £395! This is at least twice the price I've seen the best ones go for, in fact most go for about £120 which I still think is a little pricy but that's fine as the price is reached by demand, but £395? That's just over $600, shocking huh?



Now to be fair this seller seems to sell mostly designer stuff, something I know nothing about and I'm not interested either, so I could be wrong about this but personally I think this is totally overpriced as I've seen similar stuff FAR cheaper. How much? £565! That's $860 approx. Maybe it's a certain designer or whatever I don't know as I said I'm interested in buying what I like, not something just cos it's 50's or cos it's worth something or has a designers name on it.

Not long ago there was a seller on ebay in the UK selling several pairs of fabulous 50's curtains and they really were fabulous, sadly I didn't save the pics cos they were stunning but the prices were crazy I have no idea where they got the prices from, they started at about £800 and went up to about £1200 (That's $1200-$1800)! Needless to say they didn't sell, they were listed several times and still didn't sell, wonder what happened in the end....

I'm sure we all come across overpriced stuff when we're out searching I was just wondering what your view is on it, now don't get me wrong I'm all for private enterprise I mean I run a business but my view on business is I would rather get the sales and sell at a reasonable price than overpriced and not sell. I wonder if these sellers are misinformed or just ambitious! Would be really interested in your views.

25 comments:

Helen Highwater said...

It's very odd because if you have something to sell which you think will fetch a good price, the best thing to do is watch other people selling similar things on ebay and see how much they sell for. But these people aren't doing this - other than finding out how much something usually goes for and then doubling it!

I think you're charitable in deeming them "ambitious": I'd be more inclined to call say "greedy". ;)

Straight Talking Mama! said...

yes that's so true if I had something and thought it was really worth something I'd do my research first and have done in the past and haven't doubled it :o)

THE BIG MAMA INTROSPECTION said...

Hey Straight Talking Mama, try to see the positive side :) Now we are rich girls with all the 50's things and "shits" in our respective houses ha ha ha ha ha ha

These sellers are crazy. Theirs auctions stayed on loop on ebay without bid. When i see a pake muu at 1300 $ !!! I can't stop laughting, i never paid mine over 37$...

Straight Talking Mama! said...

ha ha ha good point, we are rich ;o)

Retro Model Sari said...

I feel the same way. Sometimes I look at something and think "Are you kidding???". And sometimes Iam surprised what prices things go for. Some years ago there was high demand for a German pattern book from WWII. I went and got me all editions I could at flea markets and German ebay because people in the US paid CRAZY prices for them! I would never pay 300$ for a pattern book, but some people do.

Ivy Black said...

It does make me wonder!I'm seeing much more overpriced stuff than I did even two or three years ago. I think some sellers have jumped on the vintage bandwagon without really understanding their prospective customers. Many of us have been buying and collecting for over twenty years when you could pick stuff up for pence or even out of skips. Unless it's really worth it, we are all a bit too savvie to pay such ridiculous prices. x

VintageVictory said...

I love this blog!
I used to work at a store in Los Angeles that sold furniture with NO price tags.
It's gotta be the right product in the right place with the right customers.
And believe me, it was and they were!
IT'S THE PRICE THE MARKET WILL BEAR.
Cheers,
G&K
http://vvcnews.com
http://vintagevictory.com

1950's_atomic_ranch_house said...

Why do people price Buy It Nows with crazy prices??? That's crazy!!

Those German plant stands do fetch a fair amount every time they sell. There was an amazing black and red one, BIN for $175 US with about $100 shipping. I thought about it because it was a fair enough price. But finally passed on it.

There is a lamp seller who always has fair to good vintage lamps waaaay over priced. I ask myself every time I see them: "What are they thinking!"

Another seller has the same blue and black boomerang table I bought for $200 US, for $12,000!! You have to be out of your freaking mind!! Hahahahaaa............

Miss Matilda said...

Just imagine how much of this stuff is out there still waiting to be found for a good price....

If I wanted something badly and had the cash I pay for it, but I still love my thrifty finds~ says the gal who came home from the charity shop after spending £16 today on a victorian bamboo table, a lloyd loom table, some deco glasses, a tea set and about 6 other items.....I know not 50's stuff but I guess I am saying I like to search my stuff out, even now!!!

Straight Talking Mama! said...

all so interesting, that's people for sharing your views!

Dolly Cool Clare said...

Well, I suppose the old saying goes that something is only worth what someone will pay for it!
I like old stuff, but never so much that I would EVER pay ££££££ for it. EVER. No matter how much I love it. I was brought up a car booter, charity shopper, rummager and bargain hunter and thats how I will stay! That plant stand is amazing, but will never be mine at those prices.
BTW - my 50s vanity was £50, which I think was absolutely worth it and a fair price for the quality and condition :)

Welcome to DeluxeVille said...

I think the one thing I hate seeing is any old ratty piece of crap dress from the 40's/50's and the seller wants $75 for it just because they've seen another 40's/50's dress sell for that much. The bad thing about ebay is....it makes everybody think they're a dealer and most of them have no idea what the things they are selling are really worth.

I rarely buy from the internet...I prefer to do my vintage shopping locally and I think I do okay and I know I save a hell of a lot of money this way!

MaryDeluxe

Kim Bombshell said...

One of my bosses favorite sayings is "Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it"

Personally, I, like you, don't want something just because of a label. I prefer to own something because I like the look of it.

I completely blame ebay. It made vintage shopping so easy for people who never took the time to go through thrift stores in the 80s (when you could find vintage cocktail dresses for $7!) In California, in the 90s, it was very popular to wear vintage clothes, but even then, cute dresses were rarely over $40 at a vintage clothing shop.

NOW...we have some pieces, that I believe we mark low at $125...but those pieces would easily go for twice that on ebay. Ebay distorted the value of things. I do sometimes pick up deals there, like my hand painted mexican shirt with sequins in perfect condition...think I'll wear it today.

Kim Bombshell said...

I just wanted to add, I got my mis-matched 40s deco bedroom set for a total of $80. The large dresser was $70 at the Good Will, the dressing table and stool were $10 on the side of the road and the cedar chest on the end of my bed was given to me by my Grandmother.

'The Girl Can't Help It' said...

Yes ebay has a lot to answer for as the prices are routinely outragious!! Sometimes I am at a loss as to why a simple cotton 50s dress is so expensive! It seems everything from that era is 'collectable' and everyone is a dealer.
Don't get me wrong I actually like ebay as it makes items available to me that I otherwise could not buy but please............
Even etsy is pricey!!

Coedith said...

I have been saying the same thing about vintage clothing lately. I cannot believe the asking prices-and I'm looking on Etsy not ebay. But if someone wants to pay that....
I too have been buying and wearing vintage for 20 years and can't inagine paying $100 + for a dress let alone a cotton house dress. I buy vintage to wear it-and I wear it hard. I also like you saying you like what you like regardless of designer or vintage. I feel the same way.

Darlene said...

Oh Mama... I have no idea how much stuff is worth. It all seems so arbitrary to me. And designer labels escape me too... I might like something for its overall appeal and I could care a whit whether something's a Swirl, Shaheen, Dior... But I am pretty simple minded that way.

Is the weather getting cooler there now?

Andi B. Goode said...

I think when it comes to designer furniture it makes sense that something will cost more - collectors are looking for good condition pieces (though I'd say most collectors who are paying $$$$ would do so at reputable auction houses where they can actually SEE the piece they are buying but I don't know anything about that sort of thing really) and some of them would be very rare.
If you're lucky enough to be able to find 50s, etc. stuff in good condition for small prices, then that's great. Unfortunately, depending on where you live, it can be impossible. I find cheaper things on the internet than I do locally most of the time. I spend quite a lot of time going through op-shops, etc., and find pretty much nothing (I can't travel too far, though). Sigh. ;]

Anyway, enough of my whinging. I would still prefer to get a bargain than pay high prices for something. And I wouldn't buy furniture from the internet, I think...I'd like to be able to see it!

I DO get annoyed when I see some sellers with dresses (or other things) that aren't in very good condition selling them at super high prices, though.

-Andi x

Straight Talking Mama! said...

I agree with you all, I think the above are crazy prices but you're right even worse are poor condition clothes sold for crazy prices, I'm selling a Kamahameha dress on ebay at the moment I've started it at a low price, because I want to sell it, cos of the label alone I know some people would have started it off at $150 and that with the size would probably start at $200, not me!

Darlene said...

THANK YOU! I really think that if something, with or without label is good, it will fetch the money it deserves... I know that sounds elementary.

P.S. I asked you a question on my blogger... if you don't mind, missus, popping by when you get a moment - I'd be obliged! :)

Hugs from Chi-town.

Kesenya said...

Oh wow - I totally want that drinks cabinet !! Honey - would you like to be one of my living dolls on Alice Jean's? Let me know (email me at edendesign@aapt.net.au) and I can send you the questionair..... Just keep on loving your amazing blog !!! XX

Straight Talking Mama! said...

wow so many comments, it's obviously a subjet close to our hearts!

Darlene I've replied

and

Kesenya I've emailed you!

Mick said...

That Is Madness! Thank goodness where I live in Texas it takes FOREVER for trends to catch on so everyones 50's "junk" as they call it is still super cheap! But im afraid in about a year prices wil start going up... Love your blog! Be sure to drop on by "Everyone Goes to Mick's" :)

Eartha Kitsch said...

I miss those days of no competition! I do have to agree that eBay has made everyone think that they are a vintage dealer. It makes it much harder to snatch up bargains at yard or estate sales, and even shops because people see things and think, "I can sell that on eBay!" and buy them whereas before eBay, they wouldn't give these items a second glance because it wouldn't be their actual taste.

eBay has made everyone a potential dealer and yes, it's made everyone think that EVERYTHING is worth a ton. It's crazy.

Retro Chick said...

I have no problem with things getting high prices at auction, even if it prices me out of the market. It's fashionable right now and market forces mean prices will rise. It does bug me when people have such high BIN prices though. I have no idea where they got them from!

I was at the War & Peace show at the weekend and there was one particular seller there with virtually nothing price under £100. They were gorgeous dresses, but really I think she was just pushing her luck! Other stalls were more reasonable, but I still prefer to do my hunting in thrift and charity shops!

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