Ebay is a great resource of vintage, retro, antique and collectable items. Of course we all know this but do you know how to find a real bargain?

Mis-attributions and a lack of creative titles and search descriptions are a fantastic source of under priced and un-noticed gems. It amazes me how many people list items under the most dull generic terms that aren’t likely to be easily found by the average connoisseur or enthusiast!

We love scouring Ebay, avoiding all the obvious channels and descriptions, and finding items that really lack imagination and research when it comes to listing titles and descriptions.

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We love glass, ceramics, clocks, mirror, furniture etc. but when we search we avoid all of the obvious keywords, popular brand names, designers and periods. We would start somewhere like ‘old clock’ or ‘old vase’, you’d be amazed at the amount of Ebayers who avoid the obvious search terms of antique, vintage, retro and collectable!

For glass searches try using terms thick, heavy, chunky, funky, cool, you’d be amazed at what comes up with no other definitive attributes! If you’re after a Frank Thrower Marguerite vase for example just head straight for glass flower vase or even daisy vase. So much that’s listed is from people clearing house for elderly relations, vague car boot finds etc. that they don’t really know anything about or do the research that’s likely to increase their chances of a sale.

While we’re on glass, bark styles are still very popular, the most obvious and well collected being Baxter’s designs for Whitefriars, but there’s also many similar ranges by Ingrid Glas, Scandinavian and even Japanese designers. This is a great way to purchase by mis-attribution if you know what you’re looking for.

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If you’re into clocks, our particular favourites are ‘tulip’ style with pedestal bases; we’ve seen these described as many things from car headlight clocks to space age!
Vintage wall clocks from Metamec, Smiths, Seth Thomas etc. are very much in vogue right now, again avoid the obvious search terms and opt for the simple ‘wall clock’ or ‘kitchen clock’, even throwing in a colour or two to narrow your search.

Local gems are often overlooked as many sellers, although we can’t imagine why, refuse to post glass, ceramics and tableware, greatly restricting the potential purchasers to the local vicinity. We’re in Hampshire but the number of times we’ve seen a glass vase, collect only from Cheshire, finish without bids frustrates massively!

The difference between a bargain and an average price for a piece can depend greatly on the postage costs. We’ve seen small pieces quoted at £8-9 for UK delivery, again reducing your potential customer numbers, but if you use the Ebay search function of reducing to a 10 km radius there are local bargains to be had with little or no bidding competition – we’ve certainly found a few 🙂

There are a few creative titling terms that often miss the mark slightly, these are worth investigating; they include atomic era, space age and molecular, often referring to clocks, tables, lamps, ceramics and occasionally glass, from the 1950’s.

Bay Keramik Dish by Bodo Mans

Datelined descriptions – many search by category, sometimes items are mis-listed under generic household categories. It’s worth searching within categories that stay away from periods and titles such as vintage and retro and try searches within general categories for fifties, sixties, seventies, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s to see what pops up?

Of course Ebay isn’t the only place to search for the examples above, there’s also Ebid, Gumtree, Preloved and many more to try your luck at!

Happy hunting and let us know what you find 🙂

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