Reader-Pam finds a stash of NOS Imperialites, how should she sell them? 24 photos

vintage-imperialite-peninsula lightReader Pam recently wrote:

I recently purchased a very large number of Emerson Imperial light fixtures still in the original boxes. I do not know what they are worth or where to sell them. Any ideas?

NOS vintage lightingI asked Pam to send some photos, and did she ever: Above are thumbnails of an album she sent to me. She says that in many cases, there are multiples of the fixtures shown. What a treasure trove. I’ve now asked for the back story — where the heck did these all come from. But, I cannot wait to show these lovelies photos — so here I am with some thoughts on her question.

imperialite lightingHow much are New-Old-Stock — NOS — also sometimes called Deadstock, New In Box (NIB), Mint In Box (MIB) — lights worth?

Probably the most mainstream way to check values is to look at Completed Listings on ebay. Use a wide variety of search terms. You can only count Sold items in your survey. You are looking for comparable items in terms of design and all-new quality. Please know, that old fixtures, even if they have never been used, should be rewired. There are sellers who sell beautiful vintage lights all rewired, and who get a pretty penny for them — but, recognize, the rewiring is done so these can realistically sell for more.

I’d say that in the past 5 years I’ve been watching vintage lighting on ebay, prices have increased dramatically. I bought my NOS Imperialite kitchen light for less that $20. The same light today would go for $100, or more, I bet. Good for sellers, bad for buyers, but I credit this blog for driving prices up.

vintage imperialite copper kitchen pull down lightWhat is the best way to sell NOS lighting?

I think the best way —  in general — to sell NOS lighting is on ebay, where you reach the largest possible audience.  You can list the lights with a set price via Buy It Now, or list them in auctions and hope to make some big strickes. Goodness, there is a whole science and art to ebay that is way beyond me. Ebay also has fees consistent with auction services that will eat into your profit; you need to take this into account.

As an alternative, you could try listing the lights on craigslist. The advantage: No fees, and assuming all your buyers are local, they would not have to pay shipping, either. Shipping is going to be a lot for these lights — you are not going to want them to break. Also, if you are in a big mid mod mad market — like on the west coast — you may already be in a sweet spot where you find lots of local buyers, fast. I spy with my little eye what looks to be maybe a storybook ranch in your photos. Perhaps you are surrounded by folks interested in updating their little midcentury houses all Retro Renovation style??

Finally, some folks who, like you, found a big stash of lights, listed them on our Buy/Sell Forum — and I think they found some buyers. My Forum is mostly about connecting buyers and sellers of vintage steel kitchen cabinets. But, I also have a spot for other stuff. And, there are a lot of active readers. Like craigslist, it’s free.

What would this Pam do? (1) Research the prices on ebay. (2) List the lights for sale on craigslist, to avoid fees and all the hassle of shipping. (3) Try the Retro Renovation Forum next, if craigslist did not work (avoids ebay fees). (4) If that was too slow, start listing on ebay. One more thought: Heck, you have so many lights, I might just try to make a big local event out of it: A big garage or tag sale. Advertise it in craigslist or maybe the local newspaper. See if there are mid mod mad bloggers in your city and get the word out to them. Make it a frenzy.

vintage atomic four arm chandelier by imperialiteReaders, as soon as get more details on the find from reader Pam, I’ll post the story. Meanwhile, I bet you want to see more of Pam’s stash: To view the slide show, click on the first thumbnail. Move forward of back via the arrows just below the photo; you may start or stop at any thumbnail:

Be-Safe-graphic2.3

Get our retrolicious free newsletter.

Newsletter-sign-up-2NMAS

Get our retrolicious free newsletter.

Comments

  1. Patty says

    If you don’t want to hassle with packing and shipping, try craigslist. You won’t have to figure out how much to charge for shipping, pay a fee, or worry that something will be damaged in transit.

  2. Cindy Friday says

    Forget ebay. They have tilted their approach to huge sellers IMHO. Find the mid-mod fans in your area, and do Pam’s approach but try a silent auction, where people walk by and list what they’d pay for it. Set the times for the items’ sales to end. Also, I have bought a few lights from ebay, and looked at a lot I didn’t bid on. Seems that anything space age looking is hotter than say, colonial ranch. On the other hand, it is hard to find copper plated lights that don’t have pits in them from use, and some gold-tone and brass has that trouble too. Pristine metal, esp. copper, should command more. This approach also avoids packing and shipping, and makes the new owner responsible for hauling.

  3. pam kueber says

    Reader Pam has now posted a lot of these lights onto the Forum. I think her prices are more than fair. Readers, remember, even if it’s NOS, you need to have these lights rewired professionally before hanging. Forum: http://retrorenovation.com/forum — go to Other Stuff section.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *