Past Hence: Research Resources

After a successful treasure hunt, I can’t wait to get back to my computer to research what I have acquired.  My husband says I spend too much “unpaid” time this way, but more often than not, this is not “unpaid” time because shop items that include proper identification will sell for more than items that are listed more generically.   I still have a vase that I bought in a box lot with 3 other ginger jars for $15.  The ginger jars were newer and I sold them for meager profit in a yard sale.  But the one vase was of much better quality, and with about 15 minutes of research, I found out it is from Japan’s Meiji period by Makazu Kozan and worth a tidy little sum.  If I hadn’t researched it I might have sold it for $10 in the yard sale!  A great site for researching Chinese and Japanese pottery marks is

Why just list an unsigned big, fancy rhinestone brooch, when you can check out to see if it has previously been confirmed as a Delizza & Elster piece?  And even if it hasn’t, you can submit a photo for free verification.

There are reference books out there on almost everything, but they can be expensive.  Over time I have built up quite a library covering a range of items, but it still isn’t near enough. has a great selection, and if you sign up for Borders Rewards, they email you a coupon every week for an average 30% off one book.  The library can also be a source for reference books, depending on where you live and how well-stocked your library is.
Google at least is free, and it can open you up to a variety of collector sites or mark identification sites.  But sometimes you get a piece that you cannot ID easily, maybe you don’t even know what it is!  Ebay has great discussion forums on all types of things where you can post pictures and ask questions from a wide range of fellow collectors and sellers.  When you log in, in the top right corner is a link for “Community”, and in a drop-down click “Discussion Forums”.  There are different seller and buyer information sites, where you can get great information on selling tactics, shipping options, Paypal, etc.  My favorite is the Category forums, with such categories as Antiques, Collectibles, Vintage, Jewelry, Dolls, Cook’s Nook, almost everything!  My favorite is the Pottery, Glass, and Porcelain board, there are regular buyers and sellers, and there are some quite-well-known-in-real-life experts.  If you want to find out about an Italian piece of pottery, address your question to Walter, he is one of the most renowned Italian art pottery experts in the entire world.
One of my favorite sites to use for research and in particular pricing is  This is the ebay Marketing Research site, and they have access to past ebay sales.  You can research sales in the last 14 days for free, or a monthly membership price of $16.99 will get you sales results for the past 90 days.  You can see the price ranges and averages, and the sell-through rates.  They list your search results by completed sales in descending price point, and invariably like items with the more detailed and accurate descriptions achieve much higher values. 
There are many resources just a few free clicks away, a little bit of “unpaid” time can make you the most money.

Past Hence
Diana Behlmar

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