For the first time ever, I am linking up with the Friday Coffee Date on the sweet blog Diary of an Addict. Pop on over and tell Alissa I said ‘hi’! While you’re there, check out what some other great bloggers are talking about today.
Finally! Friday! My posts lately have been pretty serious so I thought it would be fun to end the week with some eye candy and a lighter note. This week the Jenny and Pearl Etsy shop made it’s 800th sale. In honor of this milestone we are offering a 20% discount on your purchase through Memorial Day. Just enter coupon code MEMORIAL at checkout, to receive your discount.
I’ve been selling online for over ten years now. I started on eBay and still sell there occasionally. I’ve struck gold on more than one occasion with some surprising auction results, but my first big find was one that still stands out in my mind. Pay attention, because you may find they key to discovery your own treasure.
Approximately nine years ago we had a property tax bill come due and there was no room in our budget so I figured I would scour the garage to see if there was anything worth listing.
Months earlier, I got a box of clothing from an estate. Inside was a pair of Levi’s 501 jeans with the store tag still attached. Unfortunately, or so I thought at the time, they were too short for Steve to wear so I just tossed them back in the box.
Since I could find nothing else of value in the garage to raise money for our tax bill, I figured I could at least get a few bucks for a new pair of Levi’s and started to proceed with listing them on eBay.
Now, before I ever list anything on-line, I do some research (here’s a great vintage clothing resource). I did the same thing with these jeans. I needed to find out how much to sell them for so I looked for something comparable. I knew that, even though they had the store tags on them, they were at least twenty years old, because of the age of the rest of the clothing from the estate.
As I started researching, I got excited. They were clearly older than I had initially realized – over fifty years old! I won’t go into all the details, but here are a few key things I looked for in my vintage Levi’s, to help determine their age. These were the first indicators that the jeans in my possession were valuable.
1. The Big ‘E’.
The tag on the left is the one you will see on Levi’s if you buy them today. The tag on the right with the big ‘E’ indicates these jeans were manufactured before 1971.
2. The selvedge
If you look inside the pant leg there is a tell-tale red stitch, as seen in the above photo. This indicates that the jeans were manufactured before the mid-1980s. Be aware that these stitches may have faded to a faint pink on well-washed jeans.
These were the two main indicators that I had something good!
I looked at previous sales on eBay and excitedly told Steve, “I think these jeans will sell for $500 to $800!” It seemed hard to believe but I went ahead and listed them, with loads of pictures and lots of details.
Within minutes, my mailbox pinged repeatedly. Remember how exciting it used to be to hear “You’ve Got Mail!”? I couldn’t believe my eyes! Three separate people had offered to buy those jeans, on the spot, for $1,200, $1,400 and $1,800. I freaked out! We debated whether or not we should accept the highest offer or let the auction run for the full seven days and see where it ended up.
Now, I am NOT a gambler, but I figured if three people, within five minutes were willing to shell out that much money, I would ‘let it ride’ and take my chances with the auction.
We waited on pins and needles for seven looong days. The price slowly crept up, stopping at $1,300. I tried to be patient but was afraid I had made a big mistake when I declined the earlier offer of $1,800.
Well, to cut to the chase, seven days later, the whole family stood by the computer and watched as those bluejeans were bid up to an incredible $2,700! I screamed so loud I scared my kids and the neighbors! Even though I had done a lot of research and knew the jeans were late 1950’s vintage, over 50 years old, I did not realize how rare it was to find a pair that old with the store tags still intact.
That was my introduction to selling vintage clothing and I’ve been selling ever since, still scouring the tables at garage sales for another elusive pair that will bring in the big bucks.
Is there a chance you might have some valuable bluejeans in your closet? What about Grandpa’s closet? You might want to check it out. Keep your eyes peeled this weekend when you hit those garage sales! You never know where you might find a treasure!
Have you ever bought something at a garage sale or thrift store that turned out to be of greater value than expected? Share your story in the comments below! Curious for more information on identifying vintage Levi’s? There’s loads more information available at www.levisguide.com