LAUREN'S VINTAGE SOURCING GUIDE


 

Vintage sourcing is truly an art. Just as a painter has their preferred brand of paints, finding the best collectible vintage takes experience and strategy. As a longtime collector, Lauren has honed her search skills over the years. Today on the Journal, she shares her tips and tricks for finding the most covetable pieces.

My Favorite Sources:

ANTIQUE MALLS & FAIRS

Antique malls and fairs serve as my ultimate source for discovering unique treasures. Despite the time and planning required for these outings, the sheer variety of items I can explore in a single day is incomparable. There's an undeniable thrill in uncovering hidden gems amidst the rows of antiques, each piece bearing its own story and character. What sets these experiences apart is the opportunity to touch, inspect, and feel the weight of each item in my hand. I meticulously map my path through the venue, ensuring no corner goes unexplored. And when time allows, I happily embark on second or even third passes, knowing there's always something new to discover. These outings are not solitary endeavors but team affairs, with each member playing a vital role. I thrive on having a clear idea of what we're searching for‚ÄĒwhether it's a specific category like tabletop or a particular material like glass‚ÄĒadding an element of purpose to our explorations.

Vintage Flower Glass Vase

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Toll White & Rhodochrosite Tazza

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EBAY

I go through different phases, and I am currently very much in an eBay phase. I am finding so many great pieces at the right prices for reselling. With eBay, it's all about using the right keywords to search. Lately, I have been really into hand blown glass, especially Murano, and I am finding so many winners with these simple key terms. I always use the "make an offer" tool if it's available.

 

LIVE AUCTIONEERS

You can find fabulous pieces at auction, and it is a rush being in a live bidding situation. I browse Live Auctioneers weekly but don't purchase as often for a few reasons. First, prices can get very high, making it not the best place if I am going to resell. The auction houses generally take a 15-25% buyer's premium on top of the purchase price and shipping. In addition, you often have to arrange your own shipping, which can be a pain and expensive. All of this said, there are amazing finds, so if you do purchase at auction, try to find auction houses that offer in-house shipping on smalls. If they don't, we have had good luck with task rabbit picking the items up and bringing them to FedEx to pack and ship. This is often cheaper than the shipping partners at the auction house. Another tip I wish I had early on is to always message and ask about weight. I purchased a couple of pieces that ended up being incredibly heavy and therefore very expensive to ship.

Sterling Silver Vintage Candlestick

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Mother of Pearl Caviar Dish

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INSTAGRAM

Instagram is one of my favorite sources, not only because of all the gorgeous pieces I find but also because I get to connect with many other vintage-obsessed creatives. My best tip is to build a relationship with your favorite dealers. Most will source custom pieces and offer presale if you are a good customer. Some of my top favorite accounts are @broyt_, @two_poems, @spazioleone, @maison.ique, @goodeye_vintage, and @noordiskt. Read our Love Letter to Vintage for more!

A vintage bronze sculpture from Noordiskt. 

 

ETSY

I will use Etsy in a pinch if I am looking for something specific to source for LES, a styling project, or myself. It's not my favorite platform, but some good finds sometimes exist. If I buy one thing from a seller, I like to check out their other offerings, and if you lump a purchase together, you can often get a discount.

 

Siren Soap Dish

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Charlotte Glass Set

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CHAIRISH & 1ST DIBS

I lumped these two together because, in some ways, they are similar. They are both great resources for excellent vintage and antiques but are often incredibly overpriced. I will use them for myself if I am looking for something specific, but never to source for LES. Chairish is often slightly cheaper than 1st Dibs, but many of the same sellers are on both platforms. Chairish offers The Pink Book, which is an excellent resource for pricing and discovery. Just keep in mind they take 20%.

 

Tips for Identification or Sourcing a Specific Item:

 

Shop The Dreamer by Vincent Glinsky here.

"I OFTEN FACE SITUATIONS WHERE I TRY TO IDENTIFY A MAKER, FIND A SPECIFIC PIECE, OR RESEARCH PRICING. TWO OF THE BEST TOOLS I USE FOR THAT ARE GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH AND PINTEREST IMAGE SEARCH"

 

For google image search, I downloaded the Google app on my phone; right when you click in, you see a camera icon; if you click on that, you can upload a photo from your camera roll, and it will search for similar items. The process is similar on Pinterest.

Vintage Murano Vase

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Britton Glass

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My Biggest Sourcing Mistake:

A few mistakes I made early on were not being meticulous about checking the sizing of an item. I found this fantastic set of wood-turned bowls on Live Auctioneers, about 12 of them for an excellent price for so many bowls. The quality looked stunning from the photos. Unfortunately, I rushed to place my bid and didn't check the sizing. When the bowls came, they were the size of my thumbnail. TINY! I was so angry and immediately went to live auctioneers to send them a message saying they had scammed me. Low and behold, the word "mini" was right in the description, and the sizes were clearly marked. It was just my sloppy searching. Long story short, they now live in my daughter's doll house. A few weeks later, I made a similar mistake with a gorgeous mosaic urn I found at auction. I thought it was a tabletop piece, but it ended up being enormous and cost a FORTUNE to ship. I have since learned my lesson!

 

Nordic Candlestick Set

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English Chippendale Scalloped Plate

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Remember:

Have fun and stay focused! It can be tedious but building a collection is rewarding and even thrilling at times. And don't forget - let us know if you need help! We love to source pieces for clients! Reach out to hello@lescollection.com with any questions or inquiries.

 

Tiffany Glass Set

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Italian Glass Candlestick Set

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