Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Collecting my {Pyrex} Thoughts...

Heather from over at June Vintage here...{Note: its a new bloggy space!}

I found the motherload of Pyrex in one booth at an antique mall this past weekend...This particular antique mall happens to be a good source of Pyrex pieces but this one particular booth was mind-blowing. My heart started to race, my mind started to picture the pieces I saw on my shelves at home...But after the fantasy ended, I walked out of that antique mall with a vintage harvest gold set of Tupperware containers but no Pyrex!

I left that antique mall thinking far too deeply about my choice to not purchase any additions for my collection...{someone please tell me that I am not the only one who over thinks silly things!}

Collecting and thrifting is often more, to me, than just merely acquiring possessions or completing an unfinished set. The hunt, the bargain: these are both important parts of why I collect certain vintage items. When buying them in a retail situation such as this, both the hunt and bargain seemed to be removed, taking away some of the satisfaction from the experience for me.
However, as an Etsy vintage seller, I wanted to talk a bit about how collectibles are priced. Certainly, there are locations and sellers that have items highly overpriced {Goodwill, I am looking at you!} but I find it important to point out why certain items are priced the way they are...
Understanding vintage retail pricing:
  • supply and demand {Vintage is hot right now! Less supply, more demand= higher prices}
  • quality {full set? Casserole/fridgies with lids=higher prices}
  • rarity {again, tied to supply and demand...i.e. Pyrex promotional pieces}
  • condition
  • brand {no name milk glass vs. marked piece}
  • retail location : online vs. brick and mortar. This is important and often overlooked... Etsy/Ebay sellers typically sell their pieces for slightly less than brick and mortar stores because they also charge shipping. The sticker shock in B&M stores must be met with a consideration of retail overhead costs, lack of shipping charges and the ability to see/try-on/etc. the vintage piece. And, I can say from experience, online vintage sellers often have trouble selling if they charge more than the bottom line shipping cost, often losing money on the necessary packing supplies {not to mention extensive time} used to package breakables.
  • retail location: B&M stores...where my in-laws live, vintage Pyrex is simply what is still lingering in granny's cupboard and they think I am crazy for collecting "old stuff." Pieces at their flea market for Pyrex: cheap, cheap, cheap. In a marketplace where kitschy/vintage is big with younger folk with disposable incomes: prices are much higher...
So-collectors, sellers and everyone in between: what are your thoughts? Do you buy your Pyrex {or other collectibles} full price? Do you only thrift pieces? How do you feel about the retail prices of vintage items? I would love to hear some feedback from other sellers as to how you feel!

{Location of antique mall and the motherload of Pyrex: Whistle Stop Mall, Franklin, NC}


  1. Great post, Heather! Really well-said. Love the photos of the Pyrex motherload :)

    As a long-time collector, I have a hard time paying full retail price for Pyrex. I thrift 95% of everything I collect (what can I say, it's the thrill of the hunt!) and only pay full price when it's a "hot ticket item" that I simply must have.

    That said, collecting is a very emotional experience. An item's worth is what someone is willing to pay.

    As a seller (both on Etsy and my own online shop), I concur on the bottom line shipping cost in order to sell items - I never over-charge buyers and will always refund the difference in shipping. That said, I really wish Etsy would add a built-in shipping calculator like eBay has so buyers don't feel like they're getting over-charged when they live in the same state as me.

  2. For me the hunt and bargain in Pyrex is important. I don't usually buy from an Antique Mall unless it is just a bargain piece. Still if you looking to complete a set then B&M store, Etsy or Ebay is the way to go. I sell only on Etsy and I agree I don't make much at all due to the high cost of shipping. Still I think B&M stores can be very overpriced...well at least for this thrifty girl.

  3. Thanks, Lindas! I am glad that there are other people like me!

  4. I guess it comes down to how quickly you want to complete a set :) For instance, I am chomping at the bit for a Balloon chip and dip set, so the question is do I buy one online or hope that some day I will find it at a thrift store or estate sale? I could wait my whole life and never find it (bearing in mind that I thrift or sale at least 5 days a week!)

    As a seller on Etsy, I think my shop (and everyone else who sells vintage) provides a service to those people who really want to work on a particular pattern (or whatever kind of collectible) and don't want to wait a lifetime to get there. I'm not real long on patience, so I can relate. Of course, I still love the thrill of finding something great for next to nothing :)

  5. It certainly does make one's day to find a bargain...and that is why it would have been nice to see some of the price tags in that antique mall! It does take away some of the thrill of the hunt when you see it all in one place like that. Of course, that is after your heart beat slows back down to normal! Nice to look at anyway.

  6. The thrill of the hunt and finding a bargain are the main motivators for me. I did buy a couple of pieces at an antique mall, they were really gorgeous pieces that I really wanted, but otherwise, I let chance be my guide. As for Ebay, I found a cute teal blue fridgie for $2.99 at Value Village, and when I got home, I looked it up on Ebay to have an idea of the value. I found one for $3.99, so I thought okay, ballpark, until I saw the shipping cost, $24.99!!!! I could have found that same fridgie at the antique mall for $12.99! So you see, the thrill of the hunt and the bargains are much more fun!

  7. For me, it's the thrill of the hunt and getting a bargain at flea markets, thrift stores, etc. However, with that being said, I have purchased a few pieces at antique malls, and other vintage stores. I haven't started buying Pyrex on ebay or Etsy yet, but you never know...I'm not ruling those options out yet. I think it's up to each individual collector, and how they want to spend their money.

  8. I have just started collecting the turquoise butter print.. maybe I should head down to Whistle Stop and check out their prices.. I am usually cheap - unless I love it...

    Pyrex is the best.

  9. Sale-ing in Denver- you are absolutely right...there are pieces that I am pretty sure I will never find randomly in a thrift store {and if I did, I would love to have a 2nd piece!} I do have an itch to purchase-full price- a pink Pyrex piece since I have never been lucky enough to even spot a piece...

    Amanda-It was seriously a rockin' collection of Pyrex there at the Whistle Stop! Next time we are there we can scope it out together! :)