Etsy vintage shops sell a large variety of unique items, but I wanted to give you my Top 10 vintage products that actually sell on Etsy. We have sold all of these items in our shop so we know they sell with a good profit margin. I've learned from my years of experience selling on Etsy what to buy and what not to buy. I've made lots of mistakes, and I want to keep you from making them in your Etsy vintage shop.
This is my Top 10 List of Vintage Products to sell on Etsy.
1 – Flatware Sets and Flatware Replacement Pieces
Flatware sets and flatware replacement pieces sell very well on Etsy. Stainless steel flatware sets are not as profitable as silver and silverplate flatware sets. That being said, there are some stainless flatware sets that do sell well, but do your research before you buy to make sure the profit is there.
I do recommend selling silverplate flatware sets because they are more affordable than sterling. That way you don't have a huge investment (under $100 and sometimes under $50). Depending on the pattern, you may be able to sell the set for $200-$400+.
I had a friend who opened a shop with my help and sold her mother's silverplate flatware set within 30 days. Her shop was new and this was one of her first sales – amazing! In fact, she opened her shop with 4 items and had them all sold within 30-45 days. I had told her that it would take time so Etsy and buyers get to know her so sales may not happen right away. So obviously whatever we're doing and what I showed her resulted in a shop that sells.
If you want to know more, check out Selling Silver, Silverplate and Stainless Steel Flatware on Etsy.
2 – Typewriters
Typewriters are huge because they are a great decorator item, great for photographs, and great for aspiring writers who want to do it the old fashioned way. We have had a variety of typewriters, and they don't stay in our shop for long. When buying typewriters, be sure they work. Try them out if possible. If they have a case, check that it also works and closes properly. We had one very old typewriter that we bought sight unseen at an online auction and although it looked good, it needed a repair. They told us the typical repair costs $50-100, but could be more based on the condition. Ours was $100, which we were fine with because we counted a repair into our cost when we purchased the typewriter so we still have plenty of room for profit.
3 – Porcelain China
China is a great item to sell because, if you're like us, china makes your table elegant and beautiful. You can sell full sets or you can sell replacements. If you are new to Etsy, I would sell replacement pieces because they are less expensive to buy and you can make a good profit on each piece (it all depends on how much you pay for the piece). However, if you can get a set inexpensively and it's a desirable pattern and manufacturer, it would be worth buying a full set. A full set is more work and may take longer to sell. A word of caution – only buy a desirable pattern and manufacturer or your profit margin will be much smaller. For example, a Noritake china set and replacement pieces are much less expensive because there was so much of this china made that the individual pieces don't have a high of a profit than other manufacturers. For example, a Spode Chancellor Cobalt dinner plate sells for $89.99 versus and this Royal Worcester Hyde Park dinner plate sells for $29.99 versus the Noritake Somerset dinner plate for $8.95. Check out our 5 part series on china and its value starting with How Much is my China Worth (Part 1).
4 – Costume Jewelry
I love selling costume jewelry, especially anything with bling or rhinestones. Costume jewelry is a crowded market, but if you buy the right pieces, you can be successful. First, buy signed vintage costume jewelry. There are so many collectors for high end jewelry like Miriam Haskell, Chanel and others (do some research to find some great vintage jewelry makers). There are collectors for other costume jewelry makers that are not as expensive, but very desirable, such as Weiss, Kramer, Eisenberg, and Crown Trifari.
Second, you can focus on certain categories of jewelry such as Christmas pins (very desirable in all price ranges), animal brooches such as Weiss's bug brooches, cameos, etc.. Next, you can sell a type of jewelry by just focusing on brooches, earrings, necklaces or rings or even jewelry sets. It's all up to you because you are in charge (one of the benefits of Etsy).
5 – Toys
People have a love with the toys we played with when we were young, which makes this a desirable area to market and sell to. That leads me to warn you that not all old toys are valuable. You must research an item before you buy it to ensure that you have room for profit when you sell. Buyers won't pay more just because you overpaid for an item. I would recommend that you start with one category and become an expert on what is valuable and what is not. For example, if you want to sell dolls, find the value of dolls by reading books and online research. My husband collects Matchbox cards and wrote this post for me about Collecting Matchbox Cars, if you want more information.
6 – Collector Items
Collectors will pay for items to add to their collection. My better half collects Lesney Matchbox cars, but only a specific time frame. That leads me to warn you that not all old toys are valuable. You must research an item before you buy it to ensure that you have room for profit when you sell. Buyers won't pay more just because you overpaid for an item. Collectors pay more for items in mint condition and in the original box (they will pay a great deal more if the box is in mint condition, too).
Some ideas for collectibles to sell are vinyl records (vinyl's back, baby), Life Magazines, first edition old books, Flow Blue china, bottles, stamps, watches, pens, celebrities (Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, and more). Be sure to do research because this list is almost endless.
7 – Paper / Epherma
Sellers on Etsy sell old newspapers, magazines, song books, sheet music, postcards, etc. You name it – there is a buyer for it. If you are selling paper epherma, the older the better, although magazines in good condition from the 1920s-1950s do particularly well.
8 – Accessories, Hats, Clothing and Purses
We have sold many accessories, but we try to limit them to scarves and purses. You can sell clothing and shoes, but these are not our specialty. I love vintage purses and they can be quite valuable, especially if they are a designer brand (see the vintage designer section below). Condition is key to selling accessories.
Scarves are wonderful because you can purchase them for a low price and we generally sell them at 10-20 times what we paid for them. Designer is best, but silk scarves and scarves with beautiful designs do very well. Here are some scarves that we have sold at a great profit.
9 – Old Signs
Vintage signs are getting harder and harder to find at reasonable prices. However, if you can find them at a garage sale or thrift store or flea market, go for it because these are great sellers. However, there are many reproductions out there so you want to research the best pieces to sell.
10 – Vintage Designer
This category could also be a part of some of the products above because vintage designer anything sells. Here are some examples of items you could sell:
- Vintage Chanel jewelry or clothing
- Limoges trinket boxes
- Tiffany lamps or desk accessories (authentic, not reproduction)
- Louis Vuitton sunglasses or purses
If you decide to sell vintage designer items, make sure you are able to authenticate them. Also, they have to be 19+ years old. Be sure to do your homework and become an expert in the designer items you'd like to sell.
I wish you luck in selling these top 10 vintage product categories. Again, do your research, don't overpay and be sure you make a good profit!
By the way, as I was writing this post, I sold a silverplate flatware set! How lucky is that?