Friday, 26 August 2011

Tennis spoon disaster and Maltese Cross spoon

After the slight upturn in fortune with the kingfisher spoon, I tried my luck with the tennis spoons on eBay. Considering they are EPNS (electro-plated nickel silver) and have a (little) bit of age, I thought I'd start the auction at £4.99 which, in hindsight, was a mistake. With smaller antiques it looks to me as though you have a far better chance of selling if you begin low - a starting price of £0.99 would probably have attracted more attention and I may try that strategy in future.

So, after paying the listing fee of £0.27, my running total is now £3.04 (plus a box of 39 spoons)!

I've tried to find out a bit more about the Maltese Cross spoon. It seems that '917' means it contains 917 parts of silver per thousand. So my spoon is definitely silver but not as pure as Sterling which contains 925 parts per 1000.

I've taken a couple of photos so if anyone can give me an idea of age or, even better, value, I'd be very grateful. As I said before, the marks are, from left to right, a Maltese Cross, '917' and 'F'. There is a final mark which is incredibly difficult to work out - it may be of a ship with a square-shaped sail but after staring at it through a magnifying glass for half an hour I came away thinking it could be a big, badly stamped 'H', a rugby goal or a cheese slice...

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Back from a break - tennis memorabilia

It's been eight months since my last post. Demoralised after my first 'antique' - a vintage 'Lexicon' game - failed to make a profit - I lost momentum and put the whole idea on the backburner.

However, a purchase of a 'job lot' of old spoons for £8 has revived my interest. The box contains 40 spoons from (I presume) practically worthless 'souvenirs' celebrating cities such as Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Johannesburg to more intriguing items such as a twisted-stem foreign silver spoon. The latter has what appears to be a Maltese Cross finial (the hallmark on the back also features the cross and reads '917 F').

There were also silver-plate spoons with animal finials (a panda, a fox and a kingfisher). I listed the kingfisher spoon on eBay and it made £1.99. Take off £0.27 listing fee and the profit on that was £1.72 - not bad considering I still have 39 spoons left! So my running total is £3.31 + 39 spoons (£9.59-£8 job lot+£1.72+39 spoons).

Among the collection were also six tennis spoons which were probably presented to winners or runners-up in tournaments. They are all EPNS, engraved on the back with 'P.B.T.C' and date from 1960 through to 1973. P.B.T.C could possibly relate to Purley Berry Tennis Club in Surrey. I love sports memorabilia - I'm particularly interested in old golf books and am intrigued to find out whether anyone will be interested in a little bit of tennis history (even though we're only talking about items from 40 or 50 years ago).

I've found a website that looks like a great resource for spoon information; it also has a highly informative glossary.

Friday, 22 October 2010

A slow start

Disaster. I put the Lexicon game on eBay with a starting price of £3.99 and it sold for... £3.99. I was a bit disappointed as, having done some research,  a figure between £7 and £12 looked possible.

Still, I bought the game for £3.25 so I'd made a 74p (18.5%) profit hadn't I? Unfortunately not - once you deduct 73p in eBay fees as well as the 42p that went to PayPal, the end result is a 41p loss.

So instead of £10 to spend on my next antique, I have £9.59. I was a bit sad to see Lexicon go - it's a great little object and would have looked nice on a bookshelf. But I'm remaining optimistic. I'm heading up north next week and know of an excellent little antique/collectable shop that might just throw up a bargain.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

My first buy - a 'Lexicon' card game

It's taken nearly a month but I've finally made my first investment.

I saw this unusual 'Lexicon' card game in a local charity shop and was immediately struck by its unusual book-shaped case embossed in gold-coloured lettering. The front reads, "WADDINGTONS LEXICON CARD GAME, THE GAME OF SKILL, EXCITEMENT AND INTEREST" and the fantastic war-era language continues on one of the advertising cards inside the box: "Hostesses: You will find entertaining particularly successful if you invite your friends to a Lexicon Drive." You can just imagine hostesses everywhere beaming with excitement.

The set comprises: 51 x alphabetical letter cards, 1 x MASTER card, 2 x advertising cards, 1 red booklet entitled Rules of Lexicon and another blue one labelled New Games to be played with Lexicon Cards. The game itself sees players try to dispose of all of their cards by forming words.

At the back of the red booklet are the words: "Copyright JOHN WADDINGTON LTD., Leeds: and London. October 16th 1933." It is difficult to say what the actual production date of my game is (the blue booklet is copyrighted 1935) but by comparing it with similar sets online I reckon it is from the late 1930s/1940s.

There is a similar set described on Leicestershire County Council's Heritage Services pages, although this one comes in a special 'wartime pack'.

I bought mine for just £3.25. The box is in fair condition but the red rules booklet is immaculate and the cards are in good shape considering their age. I've done a little bit of research and similar-looking sets are going for anything between £2 and £12 on eBay.

I'd love to hear from anyone who knows about this or other games from this period. Where shall I try and sell it? Is eBay my best bet? Classified advertising? The aim, of course, is to come away with more than £3.25 (after costs) and then I'll start looking for my next item!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Can I turn a tenner into a ton?

I've set myself a challenge - to buy an 'antique' for £10 or less and sell it for a profit via traditional or online auction.

The plan is then to reinvest the profit (and the original tenner!) in a new treasure, sell that for a profit... and so on. My only rules are:

1. Each object has to be at least 30 years old.
2. Auction house commision/listing prices/postage costs will be deducted from any monies in the 'pot'.

I've always been interested in antiques - I was a massive fan of the Lovejoy television series during the 1980s and will tune into Antiques Roadshow, Bargain Hunt or Boot Sale Challenge whenever I have the chance. I suppose my long-term ambition is to own an antiques shop - but that dream is a very long way off.

So in the meantime I'd like to have a bit of fun and learn a bit as I go along. I know 10 pounds isn't going to go very far but I'd like to think it's possible to turn it into £100.

But where should I start? I have very limited knowledge and even less time available. Should I go for something silver, something made of wood, something from the '50s, the '60s or later? How old does an object have to be to be considered an 'antique' or 'collectible'?

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this blog and check in from time to time to see how I'm doing.

Wish me luck...