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Pottery & Glass Selling Guide

Tags:  selling | potter | glass | vases | ChinaWrite a guide!

Too many vases, not enough flowers? Got a China collection collecting dust? Time for a Fiestaware color change? Selling beautiful Pottery & Glass in every shade and shape, from every era and corner of the globe is easy on eBay. Whether you're trying to sell a top-notch collectors item or are just looking to sell your retro dinnerware set, you'll find millions of buyers on eBay looking for your special items.

Cash In on Pottery & Glass

Cash In on Pottery & Glass

Many Pottery & Glass enthusiasts successfully use eBay not only as a place to find unique Pottery & Glass, but as a way to help fund their growing collections. Whether you are saving up for that must-have Murano glass or a new Fiestaware set, selling on eBay is the perfect way to earn extra money. Swap out your unused pieces—those vases in your kitchen cabinet or a spare China set—and buy yourself a new treasure.

What's It Worth?

Already have an item in mind? Visit Pottery & Glass Seller Central to find out the average selling price of similar pieces on eBay. You can also search completed listings to see how others are selling similar items.

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Find Out What's Hot in Pottery & Glass

Find Out What's Hot in Pottery & Glass

Millions of people come to eBay in search of Pottery & Glass—from famous-name glassmakers such as Murano, Blenko, and Spode, to classic pottery and ceramics from Arabia, Blue Ridge, Lenox, Wedgwood, Rosenthal, and Roseville. The following provides just a small sampling of the myriad of Pottery & Glass that you could sell on eBay. To get a real-time view of what’s in demand, what buyers are searching for, and what items are selling the most, visit Pottery & Glass Seller Central.

  • Milk glass: Milk glass pieces are often an opaque, milky white, but may also be found in blue and green. Antique pieces may show translucence at the edges. Animal shapes (e.g., bunnies, hens) are especially popular. Historians believe that glassmakers in 18th century Europe created milk glass to serve as a substitute for the very expensive Chinese porcelain that was fashionable at the time. The classic look of milk glass has made it a popular item on eBay.

  • Murano: Toward the end of the 13th century, the island of Murano became a glass-making powerhouse, in part because its glassmakers were the only ones who knew how to make mirrors and other forms of specialty glassware. Murano glass is still synonymous with the finest Italian art glass, making it very popular with buyers on eBay for its beautiful and classy look. Murano currently exports traditional products like mirrors and glassware, as well as art glass such as paperweights, glass beads, necklaces, and knickknacks.

  • Early American pattern glass: Pattern glass was extremely popular from 1850 to 1890, and is still popular with collectors and enthusiasts alike. The patterns originally helped to hide any defects in the machine-pressed glass. As many as 1,200 patterns may have been made. Many clear glass pieces exist, and some patterns were also made in colors such as blue, green, and amethyst.

  • Carnival glass: Carnival glass was also made in a wide array of patterns. Manufactured from 1895 to 1924, the glass was coated with a metallic salt solution that created a multicolored iridescence. When the style lost its popularity, the glassware was often used as a prize for carnival games, and the name stuck. The unique look of carnival glass makes it a popular item on eBay.

  • Fiestaware: Fiestaware is still manufactured today, but the vintage form is most popular as a collectible. First produced in 1936, the original colors were red, cobalt blue, ivory, yellow, and green. Modern Fiestaware (made since 1986) has been produced in 17 colors. Fiestaware, both vintage and modern, is in demand on eBay for its bright and colorful look.

  • Red Wing Pottery: Formed in 1878 as Red Wing Stoneware Inc., Red Wing Pottery is still in production in Red Wing, Minnesota today. The pottery comes in a variety of forms, including coolers, crocks, and jugs. Although not all Red Wing pottery has identification marks (cups, for example), you’ll usually find marks on the bottom or sides of an authentic piece. Marks include the full name of one of the original Red Wing companies, abbreviations of the company names, and impressed or raised stars.

  • McCoy Pottery: In 1910, Nelson McCoy and his father, J.W. McCoy, joined forces to create the Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Company. In addition to plates, bowls, and mugs, McCoy pottery includes whimsical planters, vases, and cookie jars popular with collectors of all ages.

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Get Top Dollar for Your Pottery & Glass

Get Top Dollar for Your Pottery & Glass

Once you have an idea of what you’re going to sell, it’s time to think about how to attract Pottery & Glass buyers. Here are the top tips from eBay’s most successful sellers.

Help Buyers Find Your Items with Keywords

Keywords are a great way to attract buyers to your listing, especially when used correctly in your Listing Title. Listing titles are used by eBay’s search engine to pull up listings during a search. Use your 55 characters wisely, and try to anticipate what buyers will be searching for. Find out what is being searched right now with our list of Top Pottery & Glass Searches. Be sure to include common search terms like “art deco” and “McCoy,” when appropriate. State important characteristics of your item—what it is, brand, production era, material, and color. Of course, you should only include keywords that are relevant to the item you are selling. You can also search current and completed eBay listings to see what other sellers include in their titles.

In your Listing Description, make sure to include both basic information and details about your item. A good description is concise, well organized, and easy to read. Create bold section headlines, bulleted lists, and be sure to restate the information featured in your title plus more details such as dimensions, condition, estimated value, and any other interesting features. You can also insert photos or links to videos that highlight the unique attributes of your item. Think about your listing from the buyer's perspective. The more information you provide, the more likely the buyer will be to place a bid on your item.

Here are some terms commonly used by other sellers to describe their Pottery & Glass. Make sure you only use a term when you are sure it applies to your item.

  • Limited Edition (LE): Collectible pieces may be limited in production by a specific, announced number (such as 5,000 or 10,000) or by time period. Limited edition items typically show two sets of numbers, usually on the back or base of the item. The higher number indicates the total number produced while the lower number indicates which one you have. Limited editions often come with a Certificate of Authenticity (COA).

  • Firing limit: Companies can choose to set a firing limit, meaning that they only make a piece during a specified number of firing days. A product with a lower firing limit typically has fewer copies produced, which often makes it more desirable to collectors.

  • Annual edition: Annual edition pieces are produced for one year.

  • Open edition: Open edition products are not limited and could still be in production.

  • No longer available (NLA): A product that is no longer available is no longer being produced by manufacturers or sold in retail stores.

Other common abbreviations used in the Pottery & Glass category include:

  • New in box (NIB) or New with tags (NWT) or New without tags (NWOT): A piece that is new in box has never been removed from its original packaging. Pieces that are new with tags have never been used and still have original tags attached. Pieces that are new without tags have never been used, but retail tags have been removed.

  • Gently used (GU): A product is gently used if it shows slight signs of wear such as scratches.

Do Your Research

If you don’t know much about your item, a little research can help you understand what you are selling which can lead to a higher return. Examine your Pottery & Glass for any signatures, markings, dates, titles, or brands. Try to learn about the collection that your pieces belongs to—size of the collection, production era, production company, and rarity. All of these details will give you a better estimate of your item’s value, and educating your buyers can increase the attraction of your item.

When selling a rare or expensive piece that is potentially worth a lot, it may be worthwhile to get your item appraised and authenticated. Authenticating your Pottery & Glass not only provides you with a good estimate on expected sale price, but it also builds buyer confidence. Third-party graders and authenticators are qualified, experienced professionals who pledge to provide unbiased opinions.

Note: Opinions expressed by evaluators are theirs alone. eBay does not examine items listed on its site and does not have the expertise to evaluate items. eBay cannot guarantee the findings of any evaluator — authentication and grading are difficult, often subjective matters where experts themselves occasionally disagree. Each of the companies listed on the Opinions, Authentication, and Grading page that provides authentication and/or grading services is an independent company, and eBay is not responsible in any way for any action, inaction, opinion or service in connection with these companies. You should review the credentials of each company and use your own judgment before using any company's services.

Showcase Your Pottery & Glass with Great Photos

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words! Photos are the closest you can get to putting your Pottery & Glass in the hands of potential buyers. Here are some tips on how to best represent your item:

  • Choose the Right Background: Use a contrasting, solid backdrop. By placing your Pottery & Glass on a solid black or white backdrop, you draw a buyer’s immediate attention onto the item. This is easily achieved by hanging a bed sheet or placing poster board behind the item. Glass pieces tend to stand out well against a black cloth backdrop. Most importantly, avoid background clutter that can distract buyers or confuse them regarding what you are selling. If you are selling more than one item in your listing, take pictures of the set as a whole and of individual pieces.

  • Cover All Angles: Take pictures from multiple angles and distances, zooming in on important details. Make sure highlight any signatures, dates, and details. Zoom in to show textures and colors. Always include photographs of any flaws—it gives the buyer a clearer idea of what they are bidding on and builds buyer trust.

  • Use Proper Lighting: Natural light tends to give the best representation of your item, however direct sunlight can have the nasty effect of shadows. Find an area that receives indirect sunlight. Try taking your item outside on a sunny day and photograph it in a shady area. If you can't seem to find an area like this, or would prefer to use indoor lighting, try surrounding your item with desk, overhead, or floor lamps. Above all, avoid using your camera's flash which causes distortion and shadows—especially on glass or shiny pieces.

  • Add Gallery: Including a Gallery photo with your listing is extremely important for success. You can attract attention to your item with a photo next to your listings in search results. In addition, when a buyer uses “Picture Gallery” to look at search results, your listing will be shown. Your Gallery picture should be a very clear, uncluttered view of your item. Since it is the only photo visible on search pages, make sure it provides a good representation of your item.

Maximize Profits with Low Priced, No Reserve Listings

Auction style listings are a great way to create excitement around Pottery & Glass items, which in turn can develop into a bidding frenzy among buyers—which could result in a higher selling price for you. The keys to a successful auction style listing are to get your first bid and encourage bidders to continue bidding.

  • Low Starting Price: Getting that first bid is critical, as other buyers are generally more likely to jump in if they see there are already bids on an item. To do this, many sellers prefer to set an opening bid below what the item is actually worth. Try beginning with a low starting price—such as 99 cents—to jumpstart bidding activity.

  • No Reserve: Be careful when setting a reserve price. Buyers may lose interest in an item if they place a bid and find it doesn't meet the reserve. Because they do not know the reserve price, they may assume the seller is simply asking too much for the item. To prevent this from happening, try listing your item with "No Reserve." Items sold with "No Reserve" typically attract more buyer interest, as buyers know that they will actually win the item if they are the high bidder.

  • Accept PayPal: Buyers want to know that they can pay securely when making a purchase on eBay. By accepting PayPal payments, you can build buyer confidence and help protect yourself. PayPal transfers payments to a bank account of your choice and notifies you when a payment has been received. Best of all, PayPal offers free online tools to make managing your payments easier. You can even print shipping labels and track your shipments.

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Ship Your Pottery & Glass

Ship Your Pottery & Glass

Specifying reasonable shipping and handling costs in your listing is essential for smart selling—and it improves your search ranking when buyers sort by total cost. Never leave a buyer wondering how much shipping will cost.

Calculate Shipping Costs

Often times, shipping costs will vary by distance. To make sure your shipping charges reflect this, incorporate a shipping calculator into your listing. With the shipping calculator, eBay can automatically calculate the shipping cost for your buyers based on the size and weight of your item and the buyer’s location. You can also program the calculator to add in the cost of packaging materials and your handling fee, if any.

Select a Service Option

To protect both you and your buyer against loss or damage during shipping, consider purchasing shipping insurance for your package—especially for higher priced items. Shipping insurance is available through most shipping companies, and can be purchased while you pay for shipping. You can factor in the cost of shipping insurance into your shipping cost—but make sure you state in your description that you are doing so. Buyers want to know that they are paying extra for shipping for a good reason.

Package Your Pottery & Glass Securely

After your item sells, you are ready to ship it off to its new home. Make sure you package your item safely and securely—especially important when shipping fragile Pottery & Glass pieces. Use bubble wrap, foam, or other packaging materials to make sure your item is not damaged during its move. Here are a few steps to think about:

  • Wrap It: Individually wrap items with a think layer of cushioning (bubble wrap, peanuts, foam, corrugated dividers, or crumpled paper). If you have a hollow piece such as a vase, stuff the inside tightly with packaging material. Be careful if you choose to reuse newspaper—the ink can rub off and damage your items. If you use foam peanuts, be aware that they may shift in transit, so overfill your box. If any pieces could be damaged by water, make sure you wrap them with a layer of sealed plastic. Remember, wrap and pack firmly—you don’t want to hear any rattling!

  • Box It: If the item is on the smaller side, you can order free USPS Priority Mail boxes right on eBay—the United States Postal Service will even deliver them right to your door for free! For larger items, use a corrugated box with rigid sides, intact flaps, and plenty of room for cushioning on all sides. Don't exceed the maximum gross weight of the box (usually printed on bottom flap).

  • Seal It: Use strong tape designed for shipping, rather than masking tape, cellophane tape, string or paper over-wrap. Once you’ve sealed up your package, you can pay for shipping and print shipping labels right from your PayPal account. You can even request a pickup from USPS or UPS, saving you a trip to the Post Office or UPS location.

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Build Your Reputation

Build Your Reputation

Communication is the key to a successful transaction. Make sure you’re available before, during, and after the sale. Answer any questions about your item promptly. Include a thank you note in your package—it’s a great way to surprise and delight your buyer and encourage them to leave you positive feedback.

Always Leave Feedback

Feedback is extremely important for all eBay users. Consistent positive feedback lets buyers know that you manage transactions well and that you care about your reputation. One way to help ensure good feedback is to communicate well, represent your item truthfully in your listing, and be polite. Also remember your buyer’s feedback score is as important to them as yours is to you—so be courteous, thoughtful, and truthful when leaving feedback.

Express Yourself

Be more than just a username to your buyers. Introduce yourself through your About Me page and MyWorld. Add pictures, keep track of your favorite buyers, and tell the community about your interests and collections. Show your expertise by writing Reviews & Guides. Connect with other Pottery & Glass enthusiasts on the Pottery, Glass & Porcelain Discussion Board. Remember, be yourself—and have fun!

Sell for a Cause

Support your favorite cause and enhance buyer trust and loyalty at the same time. eBay Giving Works listings tend to sell at higher final prices, because buyers are more willing to purchase, and often pay more for, items that benefit a nonprofit. Get more exposure and receive a receipt for your tax-deductible donations!

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