Friday, May 1, 2009

A Hummel Lesson Learned The Hard Way

Whenever we visit Dan's parents, we never leave without his mom handing us a box of something she just wants to get rid of. Most of the time they are things we love. However, sometimes they are items that we personally don't have an attraction toward. Such was the case for a box containing 17 Hummels(above photo of all pieces). A series of small table top ceramic figurines that were the original creation of German artist/nun Maria Innocentia Hummel, who sold her first collection in 1935 and have been a hit ever since. 4 of the 17 pieces had a small chip on them which made me consider tossing the box in the trash. After all, Dan's mother said she no longer wanted them and to just get rid of them. Although the pieces are charming, for me, they just aren't "shiny" enough. Yes, I am a big lover of shiny objects. So, Dan and I decided to put all 17 pieces as a group on Ebay. It would be my first time as a seller on Ebay as oppose to buyer. Not really knowing much about the demand for the figurines AND wanting to make sure we could get someone to buy them off our hands, I offered up all of the pieces for $10.00. The bidding was set to end in 5 days. Day 1 & 2, no takers. Day 3, still no bidders, however, if you're not familiar with Ebay, it provides a feature to buyers where they can tag an item they are interested in as "watch this item". This allows them to keep track of the item being sold. For the Ebay seller, he/she can see if potential buyers are watching an item of theirs. Day 3 ended with 2 bidders watching. Day 4, there appeared to be a slight bidding war. 3 bids were offered moving the price from $10.00 to $21.50. I was so relieved someone had offered to buy the pieces AND that I was going to bank $21.50 from them. I did my little happy dance that night. The afternoon of the final day, I decided to see if there was a change or maybe someone had a question about the pieces. The bidding had gone up to $60.00!! Of course I was excited but then I began to wonder if I had been a fool this entire time. This was a thought that crossed my mind when trying to decide on a minimum to start the bid off. Maybe, it would have been prudent to do some research on the pieces that were in good condition. Well, it seems I should have made the extra effort. The bidding ended at $276.00. I was estatic. This was my first item for sale and it was success. However, I later learned from the winning bidder who happened to be a Hummel expert, once he received the items, that several of the pieces that were in perfect condition alone were worth at least $100.00. I didn't need to hear that. Nevertheless, I'm still happy that I was able to make money getting rid of the pieces to someone that I knew would appreciate them. I now have the seller's bug and have since been gathering many unwanted items in the garage and basement for auction.


Paris Atelier said...

Wow Julio! Who knew people would pay so much for those!! I'm a shiny gal (hence the Liberace)myself so I understand :) Congrats!!!

I wish we lived closer as well! We would get into so much trouble, I just know it. How fun would it be for our little ones to hang out (they are so close in age).

It was so good to hear from you and I hope all is well. I'll try to save some babysitting rollover minutes to send your way!!! We could all use them :) I swear a few hours away felt like a week long vacation! That's just not right.

Best wishes and Happy first of May my friend!!!


Linda said...

My great aunt Dorothy was a WAC in the US Army. She served in WWII and so the story goes, met or knew the Hummels artist. She liked Germany so well that after the war she lived over there for about 30 years. When she finally moved back, my mother was her last care giver and sort of helped her etc.
She had all her things in storage in CA all that time. When we shipped it up to our state, it was like time capsules and she had collected alot of Hummels, she had larger ones too that are worth more. Her collection got devided between all my great aunts nieces and nephews, which included my mom.
I had to help my mom alot research things so we didn't throw something valuable out.
We ended up with neat family things too, some from my GG grandparents and all.
Good luck with the eBay thing, you need any pointers just ask.
I have been at it with small antiques for about 9 years now.
Have a good week!