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Discussion Starter #1
I love thrift stores and antique shops (I'm sure most of you do also) and have a question about pricing. This is what got me thinking about how you know if something is worth the price being asked for it or not. I spotted a vintage Halloween tambourine in a local antique shop and the dealer wanted $59 for it but would go down to $42. Not knowing much about this item I wondered if that was a good price of not?? I told him I would think about it and come back if I wanted it. I walked to my car and got on EBay and checked vintage Halloween tambourines and low and behold there was the same tambourine for as low as 9.99 plus $6 shipping, far below the $42 quote in the antique shop. We are having a LARGE antique sellers gathering next week end and planning on going one day. My question is how do YOU know if something is worth the asking price or not? Do you use EBay as a gauge, is a site like "worth Point" worth the subscription price, what tips and tricks do you use if find the worth of an item? Normally thrift shops are not a problem pricing items because more are low anyway but I guess the antiques shops are the major problem for me. BTW here's the tambourine that got me thinking about this...

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His name is Roger Clyne
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I guess it's worth it if you want to pay that much for it & have it in your hot little hands right now or wait for it on Ebay. Those antique places have rent, electric, overhead in general so it may be priced to take that into consideration.

I usually hit up Ebay to see what's out there but even in Ebay stuff is overpriced sometimes.
 

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Valuing older items is always a tough one for me. I have seen the Worthpoint listings (not subscribed) and to me it looks like it's just a summarized history of what an item has sold for in the past. For a shorter timeframe you can also click on the Sold Items or Completed Transactions on ebay for a recent record. Sometimes I will buy a used item on ebay without much checking if it seems reasonable to me, other times I will do internet searches and/or check current or past listings on ebay.

From my perspective, a non-collector, an item is ultimately worth what you are willing to pay for it. And clearly some people out there are buying off sentiment, aren't aware of how to search for items, get in a bidding war and want the item now, are just compulsive people in need of control, or have extra funds at their disposal and don't really care what they pay, all influencing the price you may see on a site like Worthpoint. Ebay's sold price is dependent on associated shipping cost which may or may not be reflected in the sales price info you see (some buyers will include shipping in the cost). I've also paid more for an item when multiples were listed if the overall cost to me on an item was still less. In the end that's waht really matters to a buyer or should. Apart from the condition of an item, sometimes it might be dependent on the buyer's location, smoker or non-smoker house, shipping method or rating but I guess ebay at least gives you a ball park figure. There use to be other auction sites many years ago I would use but I think they fell to the wayside. I still occasionally check out what RubyLane.com has listed when I'm looking for a certain item (I've mentioned them before on HF). With shipping costs going thru the roof I don't buy too many items off of ebay these days. I looked up Halloween tamborine on RubyLane's site and there was one listed there with a witch on it...$65, if that helps at all. I pretty much think of RL as more collectible/gift shops than individuals putting something up for sale, who would be marking an item up to cover overhead.

Are you buying for yourself or with the intent of resale?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
RCIAG, you're right there is overhead and of course a item is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. GOS, I buy mostly for myself but, if I see an item that I think someone else may like I will buy it and resale it. I also look at if my taste changes next year and I'm not "Into" the things I've collected and want to go in another direction can I resale the item and at least get my money back from it.
 

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If it is something that seems unique, appeals to you, and is of a price that is what you would consider reasonable, buy it. Lots of times, vintage items that turn up on eBay are not in ideal condition, yet that often does not deter the sellers from still asking a hefty amount. When you are able to get a look at items in person, you are privileged enough to be able to tell if there are any flaws and can attempt to talk the owner down if so, whereas you are pretty much stuck taking a seller's word for it on eBay and hoping that what is shown in the photos is what will be received. Regarding the tambourine, good thinking on your part; I would have said no higher than $25, which is still above what you managed to obtain one for.
 

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Ebay perhaps isn't the most reliable source in appraising an item or collection. My brother is an auctioneer, who trained in appraising items, so, I have gained a little (a very little, but some) insight on what to look for. Usually how collectible an item is depends on the manufacturer, condition, overall aesthetics, and of course the current market. Typically, you can do some basic research using resources at your local library and taking that to appraisers who know that particular market well. But that's the extent of what I know about gauging such things.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all and I agree with being able to put "Hands-on" is the best, having it in your hand and being able to inspect it can't be beat. 84, I have a little experience also but, just enough to be dangerous to my bank account LOL.

Now I like this way of looking at it..."If it is something that seems unique, appeals to you, and is of a price that is what you would consider reasonable, buy it."
 
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