5 Tips to Look Out For When Shopping For Vintage Ephemera Online


Online shopping has opened a whole new world of convenience and ease to shoppers and that includes vintage ephemera shoppers as well.  There is a whole lot of shoppers that are looking for either mixed media collage kits for their personal art work or elements they can add to their hybrid scrapbooking kits.

Two of the great places that I really enjoy is Etsy and Ebay, for finding vintage paper ephemera  that is not readily available in my local thrift stores ( or would take up too much of my time to find) or craft store.  While all this is good news to both shoppers and sellers, there are a few caveats you should watch out for.

1.   Know Your Purpose for Buying Vintage Paper Goods

If you are buying to collect actual vintage ephemera to add to your collection from an online seller, then you are going to want to check the authenticity of the item being sold and the reputation of the seller or online shop.  Your reasons for buying will vastly differ from the vintage ephemera buyer that wants to use the items for collage, crafting or other personal use.

2.  Check the Reputation of the Seller

In general, you can check the reputation of the seller by checking the feedback on either Etsy or Ebay online stores.  A good seller usually has very good to excellent feedback.  Try to discount that isolated negative buyer’s feedback, if the rest of the written feedback is consistently positive.  Sometimes a lower number of feedback, means the person just started selling online and is working on their online reputation.  Back to the super negative buyer, there are some buyers almost no one can please.

3. Buy One or Two items to Evaluate Your Buying Experience

As a rule, I don’t usually buy more than one or two items from some one I have not bought from before.  Why?  It’s just safer to make an initial smaller money investment and see how your seller is going to follow through on the whole transaction.  If you are happy with the transaction experience and the product, chances are you will be a returning customer and that will make both you and the seller very happy!

4.   Calculate the Difference Between Shipping Costs for A Similar Product

If you can buy an item from a local dealer, then you are more than likely to save a substantial amount of money in shipping costs.  You can narrow down your searches on both Etsy and Ebay to check for items from local or at least in-state vendors.  If you do buy something from another country, then make sure you spend the little extra for insurance on anything over the amount you can’t tolerate to lose.  Your threshold may vary but get that insurance, you will not regret it.

5.  Buy Items Off Season

Just like brick and mortar stores, online sellers want to move their seasonal merchandise.  Try to get a portion of your money and allocate it for off season items, this is where you can get enormous savings on online items as you are buying winter items when everyone else is thinking sunglasses, and shorts!  It’s a tip I shared in a previous post and to show you I follow my own tips,  I have a few vintage items and their  images I would like to share with my readers!

I purchased a couple of vintage mixed media ephemera packs from an online seller on Etsy.  One was a French ephemera pack and another was a Christmas pack.

Here’s the French mini-packet…


Here are some of the contents of the French packet… It included a music sheet, dictionary page, alphabet card, an engraved illustration, French Dennison stickers, a piece of Victorian rose paper scrap and a few newer or reproduction items that the seller included in the pack…


Here’s a close-up picture of some of the elements…


Woo-hoo!  Wasn’t that awesome?  There were 17 items in the total packet. I didn’t include all of the items in the picture.    I don’t know about you,  but sometimes I like looking at the products as much as I like buying them and using them.  They are like virtual eye candy!

But wait…there’s more (don’t I sound like a commercial?).  Here is the Christmas packet…


This was a larger mixed media kit, with 36 elements in all and both packages were shipped in 8.5″ by 11″ mailers.  I call these packages “happy mail” because that is what they do is make me all warm and fuzzy inside.  The following pictures are the various elements that were included in the kit:


Here is a picture of several of the number elements that I had been looking for, there was a combination of actual vintage items (they are the ones that show a patina of age and wear) and it seems newer or reproduction items…


And the following picture includes several of the vintage amusement park tickets and store elements, I had been searching for as well …for example, vintage milk caps.


All in all, it was a teeny mini-haul.

I didn’t mean to rhyme, but as you can imagine I am getting a little giddy writing about these items.  As for their intended purpose, well I will be revealing that in a future blog post as a new blog feature!

I hope you enjoyed the eye candy and check back as I share more fun vintage ephemera items as I find them.

Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment about the items that I bought…do any of them bring back memories?  And if you like, answer the question in the poll and I will reveal what I paid in US dollars after we get in a few results.  Thanks so much!

4 thoughts on “5 Tips to Look Out For When Shopping For Vintage Ephemera Online

  1. Great advice! I’ve never thought of mixing various pieces of ephemera into a packet — what a great way to find a good home for those miscellaneous vintage things!

    1. Well, I guess I just revealed my shopping secrets to an Etsy seller…but no matter, the interesting thing about selling vintage items is that the items are often unique enough to create “friendly” competition amongst most vintage sellers. And, yes, I think there are enough crafters that would like a mixed media kit for reasonable prices. Good Luck! 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by…these are just a few tips that I have picked up looking for my own original vintage ephemera. Hopefully, I can carve out time to share more tips in the future!

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