Hot antiques and collectibles for 2009 – an interview with Mitzi

mitziWhat are hot collectibles in 2009? Mitzi Swisher of Vintage Goodness reports from the front lines of etsy, ebay and Columbus, Ohio (one of my proclaimed retro-epicenters.) Are you into mid century and danish modern *anything*…made in japan ceramics…vintage coats and purses…lingerie…costume jewelry… pulp romances? Read on for Mitzi’s advice, along with an interview with one of our favorite, longtime readers.

Mitzi, tell us more about exactly what you do…and what got you to this spot?

I currently maintain 3 online stores – Vintage Goodness on eBay, Vintage Goodness on Etsy, and Vintage Goodness Too on Etsy. My blog for Vintage Goodness can be reached at vintagegoodness.com.  I also run an online vintage shop directory called The Vintage List and a blog to go with it. Last but not least, I co-host the weekly AuctionWally podcast with Walt Kolenda, where we discuss vintage, antiques, collectibles, auctions and selling online.

I started out selling used books on Amazon back in 2000, as an excuse to go out to the garage sales every weekend and to help fund my thrifting habit. 😉 I started selling vintage on eBay seriously in 2005, on a part time basis. In April of 2007 I was laid off from my job as an ad designer at a newspaper due to outsourcing, so I decided to use my severance money to start my own business selling online full time.


Have you always been a collector? What influenced this, do you think?

I’ve had a long running love affair with vintage, starting back when I was around 12 years old and would go with my grandparents to the flea market. I collected whatever caught my eye or what I could afford, which is pretty much the same way I do it now! Old habits die hard I guess…

The first “themed” collection I’ve ever had I started when I got my first apartment – anything mushroom related for the kitchen. I got over that after a while though, and it all ended up on eBay. In fact, that was my first real attempt at selling something on eBay, now that I think about it…

What do you collect for yourself personally?

Well, now that I have the business, I don’t get to keep much… in fact my house is kind of the Land of Misfit Collectibles – if it is chipped or cracked or otherwise unsaleable (like being too big/hard to ship), then it stays with me!

I do have a bit of a bird theme going on in my kitchen right now – some Fire King mugs, some West Virginia Glass rocks glasses, a Ransburg canister set… Vintage kitchenware has always been a favorite of mine, I have a Lustro Ware breadbox, a bunch of funky vintage drinking glasses, we use Corelle dishes and Corning Ware and Pyrex casseroles, things like that. I will try to dig up photos of some of the things that I have kept, that might give you a little idea of my tastes…[photos featured below – p]mitzialienbabycropped

What do your mom, dad, sister, brother, significant-other, friends…think about this pursuit of yours? Crazy? Or fabulous?

Well, my mom and dad thought I was a little crazy at first, but now they go to auctions and buy stuff for me to sell! My boyfriend Will is my business partner, he does a good chunk of the photography and all of the packaging. I couldn’t handle all this work without help! Everyone I am close too complains I work way too much… they say I have too strict of a boss! 😉 They are probably right, I’m still working on maintaining a balance. It’s hard when you work from home and everything depends on you!

What’s “hot” right now?

  • Mid-Century and Danish Modern *anything*
  • Vintage Made in Japan Ceramics
  • Vintage Made in Japan Dolls and Toys
  • Vintage Fabric, Sewing and Crafting Supplies
  • Vintage and Antique Books (especially illustrated books) and Paper Ephemera
  • Vintage Coats and Purses
  • Coffee Mugs

Can you predict the top-10 items you’d recommend to watch/hunt for in 2009? Like, what’s a good value right now, that you think will only grow in near-future years?

  • Vintage Made in Japan that I mentioned above
  • Vintage Milk Glass
  • Vintage Lingere and Undergarments (in good condition, of course!)
  • 70’s and 80’s toys – Action Figures, Fisher Price, etc. (mint in package or complete and in very good condition)
  • Vintage Mexican Pottery
  • Vintage Christmas Decorations, Ornaments and Collectibles
  • Vintage Rhinestone and Figural Costume Jewelry
  • Vintage Office Supplies
  • Vintage Hand Painted Toleware Paper Mache Trays
  • Vintage Pulp Style Romance Magazines and Comics

7Is the economy worrying you? Or encouraging you?


It’s kind of a double edged sword – people are buying less, but they are selling more – so it’s a good time to buy! I predict a huge increase in garage, estate, moving and downsizing sales this year.

Any tips for collectors at RetroRenovation.com?

If you want to find good stuff you have to put in the time. Searching for that perfect something online and/or in your local area takes time, patience, and persistence – but the rewards are totally worth it!

Anything else I missed?

I want to invite everyone to check out my online shop directory, The Vintage List – thevintagelist.com. If you are a buyer, you can find vintage shops by category, and know that they have all been personally checked out by me so you can shop with confidence! If you are a seller, have a look around and consider joining – it’s a low one time fee!

Thanks, Mitzi!

  1. Cyndi says:

    Great interview, you all share so many ideas of run things to look for! I already think I need to make a back trip to a store I was in last week, I wish I had got a doll I saw! smiles, cyndi

  2. It’s great to see someone like Mitzi confirming some of the trends I have been seeing (and I would encourage everyone to check out her blogs and sites).

    Mid Century items in strong colors are working for me right now. Strangely, also wooden decorative items from any era.

    My prediction is that in a recession people will open their eyes more to the possibilities of vintage. At least I certainly hope so 🙂

  3. Great article. I am always struggling with “Should I buy it or not”, for my Etsy shop. Just yesterday I passed up some Ceramic Swans in great condition. Wouldn’t you know came home looked at Vintage Category and someone had listed and sold the exact one at a very good price.
    It is good to know what is selling overall so I can narrow my focus!

  4. Barb Scott says:

    Columbus, Ohio has a bunch of great shops for those who love retro!

    Mad 4 Mod and The Boomerang Room (formerly 3 Sisters) are within storefronts of each other on North High Street. They always have a great selection! Mad 4 Mod has scads and scads of vintage clothes and I can never walk out of the place without having bought some vintage jewelry! Jason has recently added a basement area to Mad 4 Mod. Mad 4 Mod also has a basement area in Eclectiques, which is across North High from The Boomerang Room. Eclectiques is an antique mall where you might find just about anything. We found a cool Turner Wall accessory clock the last time we were there.

    Farther up on high street, there’s Grandview Mercantile and ReVue (two shops in one building). Grandview is an antique mall set up and ReVue is a consignment shop in the same building. We’ve found stuff there, including a cool credenza.

    Joe Valenti of Cleveland’s Flower Child shop recently opened a Flower Child shop in Columbus, Ohio and it’s always a treat to shop there. Joe always has a great selection of furniture and I love to visit his shop when he has it decorated for Christmas! The Cleveland shop, which we’ve only been to once, is great as well. We bought our boomerang coffee and end tables from him about this time last year!

    Heritage Square Antique Mall (on the east side of Columbus) also has some great finds!

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