Auctions, estate sales, and flea markets are fantastic places to shop for one-of-a-kind pieces like vintage costume jewelry or even designer bags and scarves. You can also score some very unique items that you won't find in a store, like classic white gloves and old-fashioned handbags made from interesting materials like Lucite or hand-beaded with intricate designs. And you can always spot some gorgeous jewelry with a history all its own. Lots of places, especially in our area, uncover vintage items that were made with impeccable detail, before everything was mass-produced.
To shed some light on the auction world, I interviewed auctioneer extraordinaire J. Bear Savo of Savo Auctioneers in Archbald.
THE WEEKENDER: What's trending these days?
J. BEAR SAVO: There are many popular vintage fashion items being offered at auction these days: vintage hats, handbags, etc. However, the most popular items continue to be jewelry (whether fine or costume), and the most sought-after jewelry are pieces from the Victorian Era or the Art Deco period.
W: What item went for the most money?
JBS: In recent months, we sold a vintage 14K yellow and rose gold cigarette case with ruby encrusted initials for $2,750.
W: What items are under-appreciated at auction?
JBS: There really are no “under-appreciated” items at auctions. Merchandise is either marketable or not. The level of marketability may depend on rarity, condition, or even current trends in vintage/antique items.
W: Where do you get your lots from?
JBS: The majority of the merchandise in our auctions comes from private estates.
W: What was the most unusual piece you've sold?
JBS: The most unusual piece of jewelry that we recently sold was a Victorian watch fob made of human hair ($110). Indeed, making hairwork items was a popular craft in the late 1800s.
W: Eww. Oldest items?
JBS: The oldest fashion items we find in estates come from the late Victorian Era, 1870s through 1890s.
W: Most common items?
JBS: The most common vintage fashion items found in estates are vintage ladies' hats from the 1930s through the 1950s. (Men's hats are harder to find and usually bring a premium.)
Almost every estate has a stash of handbags. Many are unmarketable, but those from the early to mid-20th century that are high fashion (metal mesh, flapper style, Lucite) can do well at auction.
The bulk of costume jewelry found in estates is from the 1950s-60s. Most of it is marketable, but in group lots. The Victorian and Art Deco jewelry that is so popular right now is much harder to find and therefore commands higher prices.
W: What sets Savo Auctioneers apart from other auction houses?
JBS: We do not purchase items from estates or individuals. We sell strictly on a commission basis, exposing our consignors' merchandise to a nationwide level of competitive bidding. For our buyers, we provide a user-friendly atmosphere through our clear presentation, organization, and efficiency. At Savo Auctioneers, we believe the auction industry is about excellence in service, and our dedication to this philosophy is what has made us Northeast PA's leading auction and appraisal company.
For auction location dates, times, and items, please visit savoauctioneers.com.
Whatever you do…
Check out Savo Auctioneers (14 Kennedy Dr., Archbald) regularly for an eclectic mix of very cool items – the theme changes every auction. Visit savoauctioneers.com to view auction dates, times, and even pics of items up for auction.
Have some valuable or interesting items you want to auction? Savo offers free appraisals on Mondays from 1 p.m.-7 p.m.
Come to a live auction and see how addicting it can be!
-Erin Rovin has been working in the entertainment industry for 10 years and writes for various national gossip publications. You can reach Erin at [email protected]