Tip of the Week: How to Become a Great Picker

julie 004Wild Wednesday and;

this weeks Tip of the Week presents;

boxes worth digging through.

In yesterdays post Rockland Reveals Deals, I mentioned I would dish out the goods on my latest record collection discovery. I will not take the credit for this weeks’ score.

Who has taught me everything I know about the world of vintage & antiques? My Dad! It has been a long road and around 20 years of watching and absorbing but I think I am getting the hang of things.

I strolled into the family home on Sunday afternoon just to hear,  “Jewel come here for a second and see what I got.” A pile of The Rolling Stones vinyls were flashed before my eyes. He got a wicked awesome deal on a full box of records 10+ of which were just the Stones.

pizap.com14006394327111This successful British rock band was formed in 1962. In total, the Stones made close to 30 studio albums, roughly the same number of compilation albums, upwards of 10 live albums and around 100 singles.

Let It Bleed (1969), Hot Rocks 1 (1971), It’s Only Rockn’ Roll (1974), Love You Live (1977) and Dirty Work (1986) were just a few of the albums in the colourful pile.

How does finding a box of records relate to becoming a great picker? There are a few secrets to being a successful picker and getting startling deals on magnificent things.

In most cases you don’t just walk away from a sale with riches.

1. Never let the seller (person you are buying from) know you are just going to resell the item you purchase from them shortly thereafter. Nobody wants to know that you are going to make money off them. There are a small number of people that won’t care if you make a comment like this but it is very rare. You will get the item(s) for cheaper if you steer clear of suggesting it’s going up for resale. Honesty is always the best policy but in some cases less is more.

2. Educate yourself so you know what to avoid (ex. if you know what records are in demand it is helpful as it was eliminate what not to grab) while keeping in mind sometimes it’s worth taking a chance. It is good to take risks sometimes if you are unsure of what you are looking at. Sometimes not knowing something can be because it is rare or not often talked about. I say calculated risks are a good thing. Remember Research and Risks are two R’s that can go a long way.

3. Try not to fall head over heels for the things you buy. When you like what you pick it can be hard to let things go. You may wish to keep your findings. Detach yourself from the object as much as possible, if not your house may get cramped. I must admit sometimes I do this myself but I am getting better as the years go by at saying  – this can go to the auction. Playing some Rolling Stones is awfully tempting right about now hehehe.pizap.com14006391217321

4. You may have to buy a large sum to get a small sum. You could spend all day looking at something but the second someone wants to buy it may be gone in a jiffy. If you see a box of records (or large quantity of similar things that may bring hold different value) it is good to look through them but you may not have all the time in the world to be picky choosy. Truthfully you may also get a better deal by buying it all and ridding someone of it.

Whether its listening to music or picking on a Saturday morning I say,

Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” – Mick Jagger

Off to clean out my storage locker to make room for…





Old treasures that can be toxic


pendalum It hurts me to say this but there have been cases of different kinds of health problems attributed to antiques, vintage pieces and older collectibles. Says the girl (me) who jumps head first into every mangled box she finds at an estate sale.

Other than quickly wiping my hands I have never second guessed what I might be getting myself into.

Here are a few tips on what to look out for. These are not all of the potential toxic treasures out there but a few of the most hazardous ones to your health.

Every heard the expression “drop dead gorgeous” I once heard it came from a time when Victorian women would dance the night away and the arsenical dust from their gowns plagued ballrooms. Harsh levels of arsenic was found in vintage green clothing and most commonly gowns (dresses) in the 19th century. Avoid green tarlatan dresses (fabric) and the Scheele’s Green agent I believe to have been used in dye. Arsenical pigments have also been detected in stockings in the red colour family. Some candles, curtains, and wallpapers from the period were also known to contain harmful levels of arsenic.

Mercury was once used to weight old lamp bases and antique clock pendulums as well as act as the reflective surface behind glass mirrors in the mirror backing. Make sure you are additionally cautious when buying dated barometers and thermometers. You should check for damage and ensure seals on these items are mercury leak proof.

Radium or Tritium can be found in old clocks and watches circa the early 1900’s. Beware of those that glow in the dark. It seems like shiny things with an intriguing glow weren’t so great back then. Back in the day it was also said that Uranium was added to Vaseline glass to give it a yellow-ish green glow.

Unfortunately toxic amounts of lead have been found in thrift and consignment store collectibles such as dishware, jewelry and antique toys. Look out for furniture where lead-based paint may have been used too.

Colourful ceramics made in the 1960’s attract the eye because of their radiant glazes but the glaze may have Radionuclides in it. Pottery and Tiles also fit this mould.

I am not a health expert so cannot suggest all the side effects or health issues that may derive from contact with these items relayed above I am merely just sharing years of information I have come across.

At the end of the day it is always a rush to find that “piece to die for” but not literally speaking.



What is the Difference between Antique, Vintage and Retro?

what does the word mean

Good Afternoon Readers,

It has taken me a while to understand what the difference is between the terms (and classification of) Antique, Vintage and Retro.  I wanted to share my informed answers built from many different resources and research over the past few years.

Antique: Refers to an item that is at least 100 years old. You may notice in recent years that antique shops are filled with items from the fifties and sixties. It appears that some people deem antiques can also fall in the 50-99 year range as well.  I have also read (and heard) that while you can restore/repair an antique to be considered an antique it should retain its original character after any restoration or repairs. Many have thrown around percentages that relay how much an item can be adjusted (during restore/repair) without diminishing value. I have not found a widely accepted number. 

Definition: of or belonging to the past; not modern. dating from a period long ago: antique furniture. Source: Dictionary.com

Vintage: Refers to an item that is around 20 years old or older. With this being said some people (retailers included) consider anything that is between 7-15 years or older authentic vintage because it is from a previous era. The line is blurred in many cases and it is not entirely understood what the oldest age would be. It is said that vintage is anything that approaches the age of being an antique.  

Definition: representing the high quality of a past time: vintage cars; vintage movies. old-fashioned or obsolete: vintage jokes. Source: Dictionary.com

Retro: Refers to an item that appears out of fashion or is not in style for the current time period . Again with this being said you will find many objective opinions on what retro means and what decades people believe fit the retro time frame. Most people think retro consists of items reminiscent of the 1950’s-1980’s. Whereas others believe it is a “once upon a time popular item” that may not be so popular at the present time. 

Definition: of or designating the style of an earlier time: retro clothes. Source: Dictionary.com

On another token Wikipedia mentions clothing which was produced before the 1920s is referred to as antique clothing and clothing from the 1920s to 20 years before the present day is considered vintage. Source: Wikipedia®

To be clear many would say there is no 100% correct answer as this (the definition of these 3 items) can be quite subjective. These above are my best compiled answers.

I hope this post helps you to easily distinguish the difference between the items your find in your travels. Come back soon for more on how these terms came to be and what some of the experts say about how these pieces can be further defined.

* Note: Antique/vintage car (vehicle) classification does not generally follow the same definitions above.