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I started to reply to a discussion posted at IAntiqueOnline.ning.com, one of my favorite social network sites, and found that my answer was becoming a blog...so here I am....
The question was:
What is the typical markup for an antique or collectible dealer between what they would buy an item for and what the asking price is? For instance, a dealer buys a cameo at an estate sale fro $20 - what will the price tag say on it in the store?
This is my answer:
With vintage / antiques there is no typical markup! The amount of mark up depends upon whether it is a 'brick and mortar' store, or an online store. When you are at a store in a certain locale, you may not be able to sell antiques / vintage for the higher price as in a larger city, or other region. Some items are not popular in one locale, and there is much supply, as in vintage linens, and in other places they are scarce, higher priced, and in demand.
With the example of the cameo: It depends on what type of cameo you have. Is it a vintage plastic or synthetic cameo, or is it an antique shell cameo? Is it finer quality? What condition is it in? And is it costume jewelry or fine gold?
There are alot of factors to take into consideration. I'm only selling online now, and I research what prices of similar items are online, at different venues. There is a wide range of pricing, from too low to very high. I try to price in moderation, unless I have a very rare item. You have to consider the economy right now, and whether you wish to sell an item quickly or wait for the suitable buyer. The main thing is to do your research!
Also, sometimes I find terrific bargains, and I certainly wouldn't price the item at 3 x my cost price for example, whereas other items I've paid more than I'd wanted to, and cannot ask 3x the cost price. Alot of it depends on what item you are selling, and how rare and unusual it is.
You cannot use the typical retail store markup, as retail stores may have a markup of 100%! Selling vintage / antiques is different.
I've seen alot of people listing vintage online at 'give-away' prices, that must be doing it for a hobby, as they certainly cannot be making any money, or need it. This practice is hurting the online selling market for small dealers, and devaluating vintage in this recession! People new to vintage expect deals like at a WalMart store. Also, vintage in excellent condition is getting harder to find. I have found that the mentality today is 'buy on sale' more than ever before! Most people are being very careful with their money.
If you are thinking of listing online have a bit of leeway in the pricing, that you will be able to put an item on sale. People luv sales! For example, at my etsy shop, I put different items on sale at different times, at different markdowns, just to make things interesting! Sometimes the customer may find a really great deal on an item, if I found it at a bargain price, as I like to pass the savings on! I like to think of myself as the vintage treasure hunter at estate sales, yard sales, and thrift stores, while my potential customer is 'treasure hunting' online!
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