Wednesday, March 5, 2008

eBay Buying Tips Revisited


Lets be realistic. The best market for purchasing pince-nez is on eBay. I buy everything from vintage shoes to historical autographs on eBay and have been very pleased overall with my purchases

The other day I walked into an optical store on Union Square in San Francisco. I took a long lunch hour and decided to do some window shopping. I heard that this store carries a selection of vintage eyewear including pince-nez. Turns out that their selection was small and prices started at $300 for just the mountings! Absolutely ridiculous. The salesman had little knowledge and no interest in this style.

You are far better off buying several pair off of eBay and still wind up with a huge savings.

I've been cruising the eBay selection of pince-nez. Here's a tip: also use the search terms "antique eyeglasses" as well as "pince-nez." You'll find many pince-nez which aren't properly labeled as such. There are some interesting items but you do have to be careful. The nice part is that if you do have buyer's remorse, you're only out $20 or so. Not the $300+ at the Spectacle Shoppe!

If you haven't read the Renaissance's "eBay Buying Guide, Parts One and Two," I suggest you look it over. The tips are excellent. Unfortunately I can't take credit for most of the wisdom contained therein. My friend with years of eBay buying experience and more years of pince-nez expertise provided most of the tips.

A big lesson is to avoid a twisted or bent frame. Despite outward appearances, it's not easy or even possible, to correct damage which has been done to a mounting. Initially, I was very interested in this 10k hoop spring. If my friend didn't provide the tips mentioned earlier, I might have bought this pince-nez.


If you look closely, you can see that the left side of the photo shows an uneven nose guard and the hoop is not symmetrical. Unless you are a jeweler or an experienced optician, don't plan on making quick fixes. It's harder than it looks to make the right adjustments.

pince-nez hoop bent frame
The other bad deal is easier to spot: riveted lenses. This most often indicates a cheap, drugstore pair of sunglasses if it has colored lenses. Even if it is a quality mounting, riveted lenses are highly difficult or impossible to refit with lenses. Always look for the screw on the mounting strap.

pince nez hs rivetThe more you look, the better your eye. It's fun window shopping.

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