My 9 Best Selling Items on Etsy | Learn What Sells and What Does Not Sell

After selling antiques for years on Etsy I found there were several go-to items that consistently sold. How do you choose which items will be winners in your shop?

Selling vintage on Etsy is great fun but which items sell for the highest profit? I ran a report in my shop and found over the past 6 months a few categories of vintage items stood out from the rest. FIND OUT OUR WINNERS BELOW.

Vintage Egg Beaters

Farmhouse Kitchen Colorful Egg Beaters

The Egg Beater was patented back in 1856 in Baltimore, Maryland. You would be surprised at how many people collect these beautiful bright country kitchen mixers. I have found that the egg beaters with colorful wooden handles sell quickly from my shop. I am always surprised by how fast these retro egg beaters sellout. I find these gems at many estate sales. I have found that you can find up to 2 or 3 vintage egg beaters at one estate sale if the home is older. I usually purchase these hand mixers from $3.00 to $7.00 each. Depending on the condition of the wood and the functionality of these kitchen gadgets they can sell anywheres from $25.00 to $50.00 each.

Vintage ViewMasters

Scenic Location View Master Slides and Bakelite Viewers

Every Viewfinder real that I have listed in my shop has sold. View Master reals normally come in a 3 real sets. When purchasing, note that if all 3 reals are not in the set don’t hesitate to buy it. Collects sometimes are missing one real and they are willing to buy what you have on hand. I found the View Master reals that sell the quickest are the ones that feature popular destination reals such as Disney Parks or Niagara Falls. I posted a set of ViewMaster Disneyland reals from 1966 and it was sold within hours.

There are a lot of vintage educational sets that sellout as well such as “Meet Mr. Lincoln” but they do sit in my shop a bit longer. I purchase most of my view master reals at FleaMarkets and auctions.

Normally, the original owners of these reals have a collection. Try and negotiate a bundle deal and buy them up as a group. If you see them together in a box they are usually marked for individual sales however, don’t let that stop you from making an offer to buy them all. I recently purchased a full box of 32 sets for $12 for all sets. I sold each set for $10 a piece. The more popular sets can sell up to $15 a set. If you find the actual viewer itself you can usually get them at a great price of under $5. The views without the reals can bring $30-$40 if it’s made of Bakelite. The viewmaster viewer shown above is made of Bakelite and dates back to the 1940’s. If the viewer made post 1966 it was made of a lighter plastic not bakelite. I have sold these later date viewmaster for around $20 each.

What is Bakelite?

“Bakelite was patented on December 7, 1909. The creation of a synthetic plastic was revolutionary for its electrical nonconductivity and heat-resistant properties in electrical insulators, radio and telephone casings and such diverse products as kitchenware, jewelry, pipe stems, children’s toys, and firearms.

In recent years the “retro” appeal of old Bakelite products has made them collectible.”

Wikipedia Bakelite

Vintage Door Knobs

Porcelain and Glass Door knobs

In the past 6 months I have seen a major surge in home repairs and renovation. I have had contractors reach out to me through my shop and ask for these vintage door knobs. The contractors have clients loving the vintage look of these beauties. Needless to say they do not stay in my shop for a long period of time.

When buying these knobs keep in mind the if you have both sides of the door knob that actually match you can sell it for a higher value. I have sold a few single one sided door knobs but having the set is a better find.

The most popular ones in my shop are the brown and white porcelain knobs. Ones that are difficult to find are the Antique mercury 12 point glass door knobs. See below a photo of these glass knobs. If you come across these knobs inspect them carefully as they chip and crack with use over the years.

These particular knobs I just sold went for $65.00. I purchased them at an auction for $10.00.

Antique mercury 12 point glass door knobs 

Vintage Bells

Brass Shop and Front Doorbells

Oh the bells! My buyers love vintage bells. Living in New England I come across a lot of bells that were taken from ships. I used to shy away from them as they are always large and heavy brass. If you can obtain a bell at a good price don’t hesitate to purchase it. I have learned that there are many buyers out in the world that have no problem with the shipping price as brass bells are usually good quality bells. These vintage bells are built to last.

Another bell that seems to be in demand are shop bells. I have only sold a few sets but the last time I found a group I decide I like them for my own home. Coming into my home you can hear the chimes of these shop bells. Buys love them!

Vintage Canning Jars

Ball Masson Canning Jars

The world of vintage canning jars is massive and quite detailed. My canning jar finds sell well in my shop. The mason jars date back to 1858. Later Ball started producing these jars in 1885. It’s pretty amazing to me these jars have lasted over the years.

How can you tell how old a mason jar dates back too? The Logo.

Take a peek at this article by Rose Hechelbach entitled How To Identify And Value Mason Jars. This is my go-to article on pricing these gorgeous finds.

Rose explains that that “the logo is the best way to date the jars because the Ball logo changed throughout the years.” Her article even has a handy chart that gives dates for different logos used which I use often.

Vintage canning jars have come back into style thanks to all the HGTV design shows showing them off at the end of their shows in the revels. They photograph beautifully in my window and I’m always a bit sad to sell them and ship them out.

Vintage Inkwells

Glass and Rod Iron Inkwells

When I post a vintage inkwell into my Etsy shop I notice my Etsy stats rise. The view count on these pretty glass creations gets the most views over any other item I sell. I believe there are a high number of vintage in inkwell collectors in the world.

Most of my Inkwells sell for $75 and up. I honestly do not come across them often but when I do I can usually get the price down low enough to make a nice profit on them.

Vintage Christmas

Knee Huggers and Christmas Cheer

I sell vintage Christmas all year long. From vintage song books to elfs buyers love their Christmas items.

My knee huggers sell like hot cakes. What are knee huggers you ask? Knee huggers are the original Elf on a Shelfs. With their plastic faces and felt little suites people adore them. I can usually sell them for $15 to $20. I’ve never bought them for more than $5 each. I like these elfs as they are easy to ship and not breakable.

If you happen upon any vintage Christmas books dated prior to 1950 in good condition you will have a profitable item. I normally steer away from books however, if they are Christmas books they sell well for me though the whole year. In addition, any Christmas song sheets are big sellers as well.

Vintage door Stoppers

Cast Iron Door Stoppers

Like my large vintage brass bells these door stoppers are heavy. Surprisingly, vintage cast iron door stoppers can bring you a nice profit. Buyers are not afraid of the hefty shipping price on these gems. This 1920’s Antique Cast Iron Hubley football player shown above was sold for $70 out of my shop recently. I purchased him for $10 at an auction. (shout out to my girl Julie for finding him first)

With cast iron door stops always check for chips and cracks. I’ve turned down a few with visible damage.

Vintage Sewing

Sewing Pins, Patterns and Instruments

My vintage sewing items always sell quickly on Etsy.

The target market for these vintage sewing items are of course crafters that enjoy sewing.

As of the date of this article there were 78,205 custom sewing listings for sale on Etsy. Knowing I have a buying audience with my vintage sewing items it makes it easier to roll the dice and post these items in my shop.

Some of my most profitable items for the sewing community are the vintage sewing patterns. They are easy to store and ship which is a win/win. Vintage Vogue and Butterick patterns seem to sell the best. The 1960’s Butterick pattern shown above sold in my shop for $10. I can usually get these patterns for under $1 each in a lot.

QUICK TIP: I like finding similar items to buy in a lot as they are quick and easy to list in my shop with the help of the “copy ” listing feature.

How To Re-list A Similar Item In Your Shop With The Copy Feature.

  1. Go Etsy shop and click on the Shop Manager.
  2. Click on Listings and select sold items on the left side.
  3. In the top search bar type in the product name you wish to copy.
  4. Find your sold item and open it by double clicking it.
  5. At the top of the screen click on Manage and choose copy.
  6. Delete the current photos and replace them with new photos.
  7. Check your items price, tags, and description and update that information for your new item.

In Conclusion

After 4 years of selling vintage on Etsy I’ve made my share of mistakes. Early on I would try sell items like circa 1900’s records that were heavy and expensive to ship and 1920’s magazines that would sit in my store for a year without being sold. You need to be familiar with the trends. When buying vintage to sell always go for high quality, well made items. Do your research and you can turn a nice profit while doing what you love.

Written by Lisa

Lisa Lividoti Blogger and Owner of Homebyliv Etsy Shop

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