Pyrex Kitchenware Selling Tips

Here are some helpful tips for sellers of vintage Pyrex ware. While primarily aimed at online auction listings, most of the tips herein can be applied to all forms of vintage kitchenware sales.

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Online Sales

Photos of Your Item

Pictures of your item are a primary tool for buyers to assess the condition of your piece of vintage Pyrex kitchenware.

Always use photos of the actual piece being offered. Never use photos of similar pieces, photos from other auctions, or stock photos from manufacturer websites. Unless the obvious intent is to show scale, don't include items other than the piece being offered for sale, as it may cause unnecessary confusion and lead to trouble later.

This being the age of the digital camera, photos are essentially free. Proofing photos is instantaneous. There is no excuse, therefore, for having dark, grainy, or blurry photos of your item, nor a single photo only-- it only makes people think you're hiding something.

Photograph your pieces in good lighting or even outside in good daylight. Flash photography tends to cause reflections which obscure surface damage or imperfections. It also tends to make colors look materially different. Compare your photos to the actual item to make sure they represent its actual color.

Compose your photos so the item fills the camera frame. Show the entire piece from top to bottom, and all sides. Don't cut off the ends of handles. Clearly feature any flaws you observe, or any damage such as utensil marks, chips, or scratches. Ultra-close-up photos that show only a small area of pattern detail are of no real value unless it is to disclose damage. Conversely, photos from six feet way are also of no use.

Photographing color ware backlit to disclose scratches is great, but don't make such images your only photos. Always show the item in natural light so viewers can see how it displays.

Other than the early nesting mixing bowls, nearly every piece of Pyrex ever produced has its model number embossed on it somewhere. Be sure to list it in your description so buyers know exactly what they're viewing.

Resist the temptation to do as you have probably seen so many other eBay sellers do, and don't stack your nesting bowls inverted in a tower. Bare glass rims rubbing against painted-on decoration only invites potential damage. Don't do it.

Don't cause unnecessary confusion by calling a single dish with its lid a "set". Sets are made up of multiple similar or coordinating dishes, which may or may not have lids. A true set contains all of the dishes (and lids as applicable) in the colors and decoration as when sold new. State in clearly your description if your item does not include the lid for a dish that was originally supplied with one.

If your auction is for a single item and you happen have more than one of the same, do not show the other(s) in your listing photos. Again, a confused buyer will be an unhappy buyer.

If you have more than one of the same item and will be listing them both separately at the same time, you need to make it abundantly clear that you have not inadvertently listed the same item twice. Different listing titles, photos, and asking prices will make it apparent that you are offering multiple items, and have not just "double posted" the same item twice.

Let's talk more about damage. Disclose any chips or scratches in your description even if you are able to photograph them clearly. They may be apparent to you because you know where they are, but not necessarily to the viewer.

Don't say, "I don't see any...", in reference to a particular defect or damage-- either it has a defect/damage, or it doesn't. If you are able to confidently state, "No cracks or chips" as many do, then buyers expect you to also be able to honestly speak about scratches, utensil marks, paint loss, dishwasher damage, etc. with equal confidence.

Avoid the use of superlatives like "excellent", "mint", "perfect", as much of 30+ year old used kitchenware is rarely any of those things. Best that your buyer receives and finds your item better than described than the opposite.

Changes in the recent past by eBay now make the seller responsible for-- in addition to the refund of purchase price and original shipping cost-- the return shipping charges in cases of "Item Not As Described". It is therefore incumbent upon the seller to disclose item condition accurately and completely.

Consider avoiding several worn-out phrases in your description. Although frequently seen, they are of little or no value to an auction bidder:

· "Estate find", "farm fresh", etc. No one cares where you got it, but they do want to know what condition it's in.
· "Great addition to your collection". Not necessarily.
· "Antique". Redundant.

Savvy buyers don't care why you're selling the item. They also aren't impressed by "auction speak", e.g. phrases like "for your consideration", "up for bids", etc. Instill buyer confidence by sticking to concise, complete descriptions and accurate depictions of the item's condition.

eBay allows a certain number of photos to be included within a listing at no extra charge. While you may possess the skill of creating photo montages, multiple views of your item in a single image may actually detract from a potential buyer's ability to assess the condition of your item. Concentrate on providing clear, separate images, and not on displaying your PhotoShop prowess. Under no circumstances should you ever tweak images of your item, either to enhance its appearance or to minimize flaws.

Remember that the values given in collectibles reference books apply only to pieces in excellent condition, and that those values were considered valid at the time the book was published. Check eBay's sold listings search to see what your item or ones similar to it have actually succesfully sold for recently. Compare your item to those in like condition to determine a representative value. The "completed listings" search will also show items that did not sell for whatever reason, perhaps giving a clue as to why not.

Be realistic in your pricing. Setting a too-high starting price, only to receive no bids and having to re-list your item again doesn't get it sold quickly. Knowledgeable bidders will dismiss you as opportunistic at best, unscrupulous at worst. Setting an unrealistic starting price only wastes everyone's time.

Values of vintage Pyrex are based primarily on three things: rarity, intactness, and collector interest, each dependent upon the others. A rare but damaged piece holds little value. An intact but common piece is also worth little. And a piece collectors find uninteresting will not sell for much, regardless of its condition or how infrequently seen.

eBay gives sellers the option of listing their item in a traditional auction format or as a fixed price "buy it now" sale. The former allows the seller to set an attractive minimum price to generate interest, but with the hope that competition between bidders will drive the price perhaps even higher than anticipated.

Conversely, the "Buy It Now" format can get the item sold quickly, but not if the pricing is unrealistic or the description is lacking. Serious buyers ready to "pull the trigger" in BIN items don't want to wait for questions to be answered or for better photos. If you are as ready to sell as your viewers are ready to buy, don't let an incomplete description or sub-par photos slow things down. Add the "Make Offer" option to your listing only if you are in fact willing to consider reasonable offers below your BIN price.

One of the best things you can do to insure your item sells for what it's worth is to consider the timing of your auction, or more specifically, the ending time of your auction. You might be a night person, and it may be convenient for you to list your items in the quiet time at the end of your day. But that will also dictate the time of day (or night as the case may be) your auction ends, unless you make sure to use the alternate starting time option. As much as eBay pushes the notion that entering your maximum bid any time before auction's end is the smart way to buy, the truth is most people still "snipe", placing their bid in the very last seconds of the listing. This is especially true with hard to find collectibles. You can capitalize on this behavior by not having your auction end between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time, when most of the country is either fast asleep or busy getting ready for the day. Instead, create your listing so it ends when most people are awake and watching, which is Sunday afternoons and evenings.

You may be tempted to use an application to help you list multiple items more easily. The downside of this is that all the items you list in one session may have ending times seconds apart. If you have a group of like items all of interest to the same type of collector, you will be shutting many buyers out of bidding on all but one of your items. See "sniping" above. Consider listing similar items so they end 15 to 30 minutes apart, so as to allow more last-second bidders to "attend" all of your auctions.

Many people think Pyrex is durable enough to just put in a box and ship-- it is not. When viewing photos of Pyrex in original boxes, it is important to realize that packaging was not intended nor suited for individual parcel shipment. If subjected to sufficient impact in the right way, Pyrex will shatter. It is therefore extremely important that Pyrex be packaged in a manner that insures its best chances for surviving the rigors of shipping.

In no case is an envelope acceptable-- padded, priority mail, or otherwise-- and no matter how small or flat the piece. And, although they have in many ways been a boon to eBay shipping, the USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes are very often poorly suited to the shipment of any fragile collectible.

Crumpled newspaper, moderately tightly packed, and bubble wrap are preferred packaging materials; styrofoam peanuts or other loose media that may allow the item to move around inside the box during shipping are not. And, while the contents of your paper shredder bin may seem like a perfect opportunity to recycle, unless very tightly packed, it is quite ineffective, not to mention a huge mess upon unpacking.

The piece itself should be wrapped in multiple layers of bubble wrap first, and the bubble wrap secured with tape. The larger bubble type is preferred, but multiple layers of the small bubble type will also suffice. Special attention should be paid to protruding parts like handles, which should be wrapped as well.

The box used should be at least two inches larger than the item in all directions, meaning there should be at all points between the bubble-wrapped piece and the box walls a minumum space of 2" which should be filled with suitable packing material. Packing material should be placed on all sides, top, and bottom. In no case should the piece be able to move within the box, nor should it be able to come in direct contact with the walls of the carton during shipment.

Similarly, if multiple pieces are shipped in the same box, they must be individually wrapped and securely packed in such a way that they are not able to contact or impact eachother. This includes lids and accessories like cradles or candle warmers. Simply taping a lid to its dish is not sufficient, nor is packing a dish sitting directly in a metal cradle. Both will result in chipped or broken glass or scratched finishes. Beyond wrapping each piece individually in bubble wrap, also consider cardboard partitions within the container to prevent items migrating through the surrounding packing materials.

Nesting bowl sets present a special challenge. Not only must they be protected from outside impact, but also from themselves. Original packaging included special cardboard inserts or extra heavy kraft paper between each bowl. Whatever you do to replicate those measures must insure there is never glass-to-glass contact between any parts of the bowls during handling. Small bubble wrap is ill-suited for this task as the bubbles can easily pop, leaving only a thin, non-protective layer of plastic between bowls.

For larger, very valuable, or irreplaceable pieces, packing in a box surrounded by packing material within another box is an excellent idea.

Another idea is to take a cue from online retailers such as Amazon and secure the bubble-wrapped item to a piece of cardboard cut to the inside length and width of the carton, which will also prevent it moving around and coming in contact with the carton walls.

Finally, even though you may consider it futile, mark your shipping carton as "Fragile". Or, when presenting the package to the carrier, declare it as fragile and ask that it be labeled as such. It is not the carrier's responsibility to guess what's in your package or how it's packed, and treat it accordingly; you must be proactive.

If you think about it, the buyer in an online auction has fulfilled his/her responsibilities to the transaction if he/she has (1) asked any questions about the item sufficiently in advance, (2) placed the winning bid, and (3) paid for the item in a timely manner. As such, the buyer is therefore owed a positive feedback from the seller immediately after payment. In fact, eBay won't let a seller leave anything but a positive feedback for a buyer; it either has to be positive or not at all. For a seller to withhold feedback subject to the buyer first leaving positive feedback for the seller is a litte bit like extortion. Telling buyers that their leaving positive feedback for the seller first will let the seller know the item was received or deemed acceptable really doesn't make much sense. Good sellers should give good buyers positive feedback where and when it is deserved, and that's before the item is shipped.


In-Store Sales

If you have enough Pyrex or related items to sell, you might venture into the world of in-store selling by renting a booth or space at a local antique mall or managed flea market.

Selling in-store is a somewhat different animal from online sales. Shoppers get to touch and inspect your wares. Of course, they may also break or steal them, but that is an assumed risk you'll need to build into your business model. While you'll need to rely on store security to prevent theft, there are some things you can do to lessen breakage.

Don't stock your inventory in such a way that it requires shoppers to dig through precariously stacked bowls or to move several pieces to get to the one they're interested in. This haphazard manner of display increases the chances of breakage.

If your selling space is on hard flooring, consider placing walk off mats like those used at store entrances in front of your display shelving. They can possibly mean the difference between a dropped piece and a shattered one.

It's common for lids to be seen taped to their dishes. It keeps parts from being separated, and makes it clear what goes with what. It can also conceal damage the savvy shopper wants to know about before purchase. Since Pyrex lids are easily inverted for storage and stacking, tape them to their dishes upside down. This will allow you to increase the utility of your selling space, and also show shoppers the lid's condition, since 99% of all chips and flea bites occur on the edges and bottom rims of lids. The need for shoppers to untape the lid will be removed, as will the chance of breakage in that process.

Price mark your items clearly. Always use adhesive tags. Never mark dishes or lids directly with markers. Use tags that aren't easily removed without damage to prevent tag switching. Make sure your entire inventory is tagged, and instruct store personnel to always consult you before selling any of your items if they are presented at the register without a tag.

If a lid is included, state that on the tag. If no lid is included, state that as well. Buyers also appreciate the disclosing of minor damage on tags, as it conveys to them you are an ethical seller.

About tape: There's nothing more aggravating to a buyer, other than finding concealed damage after the sale, than spending a ridiculous amount of time removing sticky tape and glue residue from their new purchase. That thin, clear packing tape might be cheap, but it's a royal pain to remove. Consider instead 1" masking tape or a better quality Scotch-type tape.

Your success with in-store selling will depend on repeat customers. Make sure you follow these steps to make sure they return.