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Selling Antiques - Big Money for Small Items

Fabulous Finds Still Thrill Collectors


Northwood Carnival Plate

This Northwood Carnival Glass plate in the rare ice blue color sold for $16,327.55 on ebay.

-Photo Courtesy of PR Collect
Have you ever dreamed of finding a priceless antique and making a fortune off it? I think I can speak for most avid collectors by saying that we all have, to one degree or another, had these visions of collectibles dancing in our heads. And I know my husband would love it after putting up with my treasure hunting jaunts all these years.

Well, I’m here to tell you there is indeed hope. Those dreams of fabulous finds do come true from time to time. Sometimes it’s through diligent shopping; other times it’s through inheriting something wonderful from a family member. Think I’m pulling your leg? Consider these fantastic stories before you write off the possibility of a fabulous find of your own.

Priceless Brooch Found in Basket of “Junk”

I read a CNN online article a while back, forwarded to me by my ever-hopeful husband, exhibiting the very best of collecting luck. The newsy tidbit told of a Newport, R.I. antiques dealer, Alan Golash, whose partner paid $14 for gold brooch he found in a basket of costume jewelry in an antique shop. The largest gem decorating the jewelry turned out to be a rare purple pearl.

This type of pearl is so rare that a knowledgeable representative of Christie’s auction house in New York reported never having seen one like it before. Some gem experts believe that because of the size of this particular pearl, 14 millimeters in diameter, it may be one of a kind.

No estimate was given on the value of the brooch, but the article did say that it would eventually be sold at auction in Hong Kong where pearls are highly prized. Until then, the brooch is included in the American Museum of Natural History's international pearl exhibit, now in Japan. The exhibition will move to Australia for much of 2006, and then to the Persian Gulf and London in 2007, according to an online Boston Globe feature.

While it’s not likely that any of us will ever hit a collectibles lottery of that magnitude, there is a possibility we could be blessed with a nice find on a smaller scale. Sometimes they even turn up on eBay.

Rare Carnival Glass Sells Inconspicuously on eBay

Awhile back, a Northwood carnival glass plate in the Strawberry pattern was listed on eBay along with dozens of others. What made this particular piece so unusual, and valuable, was the color: ice blue. "This is one of four known plates - two have been damaged, which makes this plate the second perfect one," said glass expert Reyne Haines, Antiques Roadshow appraiser and co-owner of online mall JustGlass in a related press release.

As you can imagine, when a rare plate like this one suddenly comes on the market it creates quite a stir in the online glass collecting community. Word quickly spread about the plate and when all was said and done, it topped out with a high bid of $16,327.55.

While that’s impressive in it's right, probably the most significant piece of the puzzle here is that the owner, who lives in Michigan, inherited the piece from her husband’s grandmother and had no clue it was extremely rare when she listed it for sale.

Fishing Lure Reels in Big Bucks on eBay

A few months prior to the Northwood Cinderella story, another unsuspecting treasure made headlines on eBay. This time it was a fishing lure that reeled in the bucks.

The ultra rare Heddon fishing lure started with a bid of only $9.95 and no reserve price, indicating that the Canadian seller probably didn’t realize it was such a valuable collectible. Bids quickly rose past the thousand-dollar mark and by the end of the frenzy, it topped out at an unbelievable price of $31,851.50, according to a PR Collect press release.

If you didn’t realize that old, name brand wooden fishing lures could be so desirable, it might be time to take a look at your grandfather’s tackle box for a few treasures of your own. While most wooden lures with glass eyes aren’t nearly as valuable, they can still bring several hundred dollars apiece if you’ve got just the right ones.

Of course, focusing only on the selling aspect of this story leaves out an important element. The folks spending money on these types of treasures have to really want them for a collection. In this case, the buyer likely ended up just as happy as the selling party when they added this rare specimen to their stash of old lures.

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