Research, research, RESEARCH. SERIOUSLY!

So as 2011 draws to a close, and I have another decent eBay sale today due to another professional dealer’s laziness, I’d like to share the ONE thing I’ve learned so far being an online reseller; research, research, RESEARCH! SERIOUSLY! I’ve been amazed that ALL of my best scores this year have come not from thrift stores but from either antique stores or estate sales run by professionals who allege they know what they’re doing. Sometimes it truly boggles my mind how little effort people are putting into researching their items. Google search, especially Google image search, should flat our be your BEST FRIEND if you are a dealer or an astute buyer. On that note, let the 2011 near thievery recap begin.

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Ahhhhhh! My baby!!! As stated in an earlier blog, I purchased this watercolor by famous Chinese artist Zao Wou-Ki from my neighbor’s estate sale about five years ago for $12. Please note, it sold this past May, right before I started my Etsy shop, for $77,000! Granted, it took me five years to figure out who the artist was, but the painting had an appraisal label from a pro who only deals in Salvador Dali artwork now. That alone should have been a clue that the piece might be unique. In my estate sale friend’s defense, however, that sale was massive and something was bound to slip through the cracks.

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This 3.5 POUND art glass piece above was purchased from an antique dealer for $20. It was clearly marked Studio Ahus on the underside. A quick google search would have confirmed, had he looked, that it’s worth about 20 times what he charged. I sold it very reasonably priced for $195.

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This French painting above was also featured in an earlier blog. I purchased it from my favorite estate sale outfit for a laughable $45. And shame on them, the painting had a typed label on the back with the artist name, Michel Delacroix. A 5 second google search would have confirmed the painting was worth over a grand. Tsk Tsk Tsk!!!! I sold it within a matter of hours to an art dealer on eBay for a low $850 since I refused to go through the trouble of authenticating it. He requested I insure it for $3000.

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Also purchased from the same estate sale dealer was this German painting on porcelain above (featured last month). They carelessly thought it was a print, since the painting was so fine, and sold it to me for $11. I got an auction estimate from Dallas for $900 to $1200 and sold it myself on eBay 12 hours after posting it to a dealer in NYC for $875. Now you know why that estate seller is my favorite >:P

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Above is an ultra rare limited edition Royal Copenhagen plate from 1898. I bought it from an antique dealer for $20 who was too lazy to take the five minutes required on Google to find out its worth about $300.

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Above is a ridiculously hot piece of art deco glass from Moser. I bought a PAIR of these for $34 from an antique dealer. Ironically, he had a nice piece of Murano glass that I had planned on buying at another store that he got to first. Apparently he knows more about Murano than fine Czechoslovakian glass because I sold one of the two for $125. Keep your Murano, “pro”, and I’ll gladly take your Moser instead, ha!

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Above is a stunning little frosted glass bowl from Lalique I purchased from a large estate sale outfit last week. I got it late during the sale so it was half off, reduced from $1 to 50 cents! In this case they were literally too lazy to hold the dish up to the light to find the Lalique signature. But in the pros’ defense, so was every buyer who looked at it prior to me purchasing it.

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Last but not least we come to today’s sale, pictured above. I’ve really started getting into pueblo pottery and with a little research, awesome, valuable pieces are to be found. I bought this tiny Santa Clara black on black pot for $30 two weeks ago from an antique dealer after quickly googling the name on the bottom, Maria Tafoya. I bought the pot since the Tafoyas are a famous pueblo potter family and the most famous is a Maria Margaret Tafoya. She usually signed her pieces Margaret Tafoya, however, so I couldn’t be certain on who made this pot. It sold today for $195 to an art dealer so I suspect the pot might be a Maria Margaret Tafoya, if so, the dealer got quite the deal. I still made a tidy profit, however, and am eager to see if I can find my little pot online to see the valuation from a pueblo pottery expert.

Guess I don’t know everything yet if the pot is worth tons but I’m still learning and at least I made the effort required to really make a profit.

This past year has been TRULY awesome and I’m very grateful for all the blessings I’ve had in 2011 (most awesome husband in the world, three vacations to Mexico, New Orleans, and Scotland, the Zao Wou-Ki sale, and the launch of my Etsy and eBay stores that have been more successful than I hoped with a total of 160 sales in 6 months!)

Can’t wait for 2012 and to see my husband again. Picking him up from Antarctic via New Zealand on January 7th! And then the treasure hunts for 2012 will begin again in earnest. Will report again next year unless something crazy happens.

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