Thursday, March 12, 2015

TEN Tips for Finding the BEST Miniatures in Your Pajamas. (and at a bargain)

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best. Oscar Wilde

You don't need the expense of traveling to miniature shows when the very best miniatures are no farther than your keyboard. We all came to earth with gifts and one of mine I know for sure is that I can find the best things in just about anyplace. And I know who has what gift. So when it comes to miniatures I am pretty good at ferreting out great stuff. To add to my own collection. And here are some tips to help you find treasures of your own:

1) Don't Overlook Ebay.
There are wonderful artisan miniatures available there every day often going for way below original cost. Check under 'Artist Offerings" in Dollhouse Miniatures (under Dolls and Bears). But don't neglect the larger category because many things there are not followed by most.

2) Check out the Artisan.
If you see something on a popular miniature website and are not thrilled with the prices, go directly to the artisan (Google) You may well get the better price. Plus you can find wonderful things from artisans who might not be dealers at the shows you attend.

3) Auctions.
For years I thought I would never be able to afford the wonderful miniatures that were coming up for auction. I did not even know how to sort out bidding on those auctions. So, sadly, I passed up bidding. Eventually when an auction got to be too tempting, I jumped in.  While things are usually sold in lots and you might be interested in only one item, charge in and get the lot. You can later sell off the unwanted bits and in the end come out ahead with your prized item costing nothing.

4) ETSY.
While I find ETSY to have a lot of miniatures less than top, artisan quality (lots of decal-ed plates and crockery, computer printed books, paper watering cans etc), there are quality pieces there, you just have to look.  As new artisans emerge with wonderful things you can score amazing miniatures for great prices. These artisans eventually move on for some reason, often showing up on eBay where there is great competition for their work. Strike while the iron is hot. (And hey, nothing wrong with decals and computer printed stuff, I use and make it myself,  but that stuff will not bulk up the pocketbooks of your heirs)

This is a Yahoo group consisting of over 1800 members at the time of this writing. Its a great place to share anything about miniatures and ask for help with your projects or locating a item. Lots of help from many well informed artisans and collectors. When one finds something fabulous it gets shared and you can find great deals and great artisans by word of mouth. I believe it to be the ultimate miniature online group. Join HERE.

6) Facebook. 
While not for everyone because I have heard that joining scares some people into believing their information might be shared, its still one of the biggest if not the biggest social media sites. There are many miniature groups there and you will find wonderfully talented artisans coming out of the woodwork from all over the world and many sell their work. I would start with IGMA: The International Guild of Miniature Artisans.Go HERE.

7) Pinterest.

Another social media venue full and I mean FULL of miniature eye candy. Again, you can find wonderful creators of minis there and many do sell their work. You can also leave a message asking to place an order.

8) Blogs.
Yes, there are millions of blogs these days. Just another sign of the times that the internet is where it's at. It can happen this way; you find something on Pinterest that links to a blog. That blog lists favorite blogs they happen to follow - miniature related, of course, and you can scroll through several at a sitting, see what the owner is doing and how they do it. Many show step by step photos of their own personal projects. But in and among this information is reference to items they collected and where to find the artisan.

9) Show schedules with dealer links.
Whether you go to shows or not, you can always visit the show's website. There posted are dealers for upcoming shows with links directly to the artisans. Click around and you will find something to please you in your budget directly from the artisan. Since you saved a pile of money not traveling to the show, spend away.

10) And last but not least THE IGMA Fine Miniatures Forum. This is an online forum of the very finest miniatures but anyone is welcome to view and post their work. You need not be a member to participate. But once there, you may well be inclined to be part of a group promoting miniatures as an art form. Which indeed they are. Check it out.

Did I miss anything? Found anything wonderful yourself off the beaten path? 
Tell all below.


  1. Estate sales and of course flea markets. It couldn't hurt to put the word out to family and friends who will find things for you in their own travels or holiday gifts. :-)

    1. YES! Great places to hunt up treasures. But not in jammies. Unless you like going out in your PJ's.
      And no judgement there either. lol.

  2. Hello Patricia,
    Great post. I daily go on ebay, online miniature shops and about 5 artisan website. It is so important to compare prices. I once saw someone purchase an artisan vase on ebay for 98 American dollars. The artist offers them on their website for 18 pounds plus shipping. With the exchange rate, shipping and customs, it still comes to about 2/3 of the cost at most.
    Big hug,

    1. Hi Giac! and thanks. Yes very important to compare prices - sometimes on eBay things get out of hand too. Always best to see if the artisan is still around and still making the piece. You can get a fabulous collection of museum quality pieces if you are persistent, patient and careful!
      Good luck in your quest for fine miniatures.

  3. Patricia, I LOVE this post! May I re-post it on my blog with attribution? LMK!

    1. Joanna, yes please do! I am a neglectful blogger so please do share with your readers.
      I am trying to be more consistent but fail more often than not.

  4. Awesome post!
    Thanks so much for sharing your expertise :)