FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What do you sell, and where do you get your stock?
A sizeable proportion of our current stock consists of items we have accumulated over the past twenty or so years, and which we have decided to sell. The remainder comprises items bought specifically for resale, which we have sourced mainly from within the mid-Cornwall area, at auctions, car boot sales and so forth.
We select genuine antique, collectable, vintage and retro items (not modern reproductions, excepting a few items which are clearly identified as such) to appeal to the varied tastes and pockets of our customers and visitors, who range from serious collectors and interior designers to casual shoppers. However, although we aim to stock a good general range of items, our selection is to some extent guided by our interests and expertise, and thus we specialise in vintage ceramics, glassware, advertising, Bakelite and early plastics, kitchenalia, lighting, books and ephemera. Of course, we naturally look out for such items as, judging by past experience, we believe will be most likely to sell!
In general, although we sell many items which are not in perfect condition, we avoid anything so badly worn or damaged that it has lost its collectable or decorative appeal, and large items of limited worth for which the costs of postage / delivery would be too high in relation to their market value. We do not currently sell furniture, whilst we prefer to leave certain other collecting areas of which we have scant knowledge – such as jewellery and watches – to the specialists!
I like your website, but do you have a “real” shop too?
Not at present, although we may decide to open one in the future. In the meantime, our website is our shop and our showroom – and, what is more, you can browse it from the comfort of your own home!
I have seen an item on your website that I would like to buy, but I have never shopped online before. How do I order from you?
All is explained in our How to Order page.
Does the “Our Girls Tip Top” book include a story called “The School Mystery”?
If you require specific information about any item we have for sale, which is not given in the item description, we will do our best to provide it, although we cannot guarantee an immediate response. (The answer to this particular question, sadly, was no – although at least one of the stories was in fact a mystery set in a girls’ school!)
I am interested in purchasing a couple of your china ornaments, but I am worried that they might get damaged in transit. If I order them, can I be sure that they will reach me safely?
We take great care to ensure, as far as possible, that all items are packed to withstand the rigours of the postal or courier service. For instance, fragile items such as glassware and ceramics are double-boxed with plenty of protective packing material (such as bubble wrap and polystyrene “peanuts”) surrounding them to cushion them from impact, whilst books, paper ephemera and other items at risk of damage from bending, bumping and wet weather are suitably protected. Furthermore, we always ensure that the packaging materials we use, whether new or recycled, are fit for purpose. The care we take in these matters is greatly appreciated by many of our customers, as a glance at our Testimonials page will tell!
In the unlikely event that your order does arrive damaged, we will of course give you a full refund of the purchase price, plus the cost of returning the item/s to us should we require this. (However, we may instead suggest that you send us photos of the damaged item/s and packing, which we can supply when claiming compensation from the postal or courier service; in this case, we will ask you to keep the item/s and packing whilst our claim is pending, since the postal or courier service may wish to inspect them.)
What payment methods do you accept?
Customers from within the United Kingdom are welcome to pay by cheque, postal order, Amazon Pay (for customers with Amazon accounts), PayPal (for customers with existing PayPal accounts), or credit / debit card via PayPal (no account required – just a valid email address). We may also accept direct bank transfer payments in pounds sterling (£GBP) from UK bank accounts, although you will have to contact us first to arrange this, since (in order to prevent unauthorised payments) we do not currently offer this option at checkout. Owing to variable bank charges for international transactions, we regret that we are unable to accept cheques issued by non-UK banks, or in any currency other than pounds sterling (£GBP), except by prior negotiation; customers from outside the United Kingdom, unless holding an UK bank account, must therefore normally pay by Amazon Payments, PayPal, or credit / debit card via PayPal. We do NOT recommend that you send cash through the post; if you send payment this way, you do so at your own risk.
How much do you charge for postage and packing?
All prices - excepting any that have been adjusted by prior request to include overseas or express / insured UK shipping - include free standard postage and packing within the United Kingdom only; please see below for details of the delivery services we use as standard. If your order is to be shipped to an address outside the United Kingdom (and no overseas shipping rates are given for the item/s concerned), or if you require delivery via an express or insured service within the UK (where this is not standard for the item/s concerned, and - in the case of express delivery - subject to our being able to process your order within the required timeframe), please contact us before you order, so that we can calculate the additional cost and add this to the price of the item/s you wish to purchase.
Which postal or delivery services do you use?
UK orders of single items will be sent via the postal or delivery service specified alongside the item description; orders of multiple items may, where the total order value exceeds the maximum level of compensation for loss or damage payable for the specified service, be sent by an alternative service with a higher compensation threshold. In some cases, a signature will be required upon delivery. In general, the services we use are as follows:
- UK orders, total value up to £20: Royal Mail Second Class Standard, except for certain heavy / bulky items which will be sent by Parcelforce Express 48 (or an alternative courier)
- UK orders, total value between £20 and £50: Royal Mail Second Class Signed For (or Second Class Standard if packed as two or more separate packages worth less than £20), except for certain heavy / bulky items which will be sent by Parcelforce Express 48 (or an alternative courier)
- UK orders, total value over £50: Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm (or Second Class Standard / Second Class Signed For if packed as two or more separate packages worth less than £20 / £50), except for certain heavy / bulky items which will be sent by Parcelforce Express 48 (or an alternative courier)
- Overseas orders, total value up to £10 excluding shipping: Royal Mail International Standard (Airmail)
- Overseas orders, total value over £10 excluding shipping: Royal Mail International Signed, International Tracked or International Tracked and Signed (depending upon destination) for small items worth up to £250 (or International Standard if packed as two or more separate packages worth less than £10 each excluding shipping); Parcelforce Worldwide (or an alternative courier) for heavy / bulky and higher value items
We would be happy to send lower value UK orders by Special Delivery (or another suitable express service) at extra cost; if you require this, please contact us before you order.
If I order from you today, when can I expect to receive my order?
Since we aim to dispatch all orders within two working days of receipt of cleared payment where possible, most UK orders paid for by credit card or PayPal (excluding eCheque payments) should reach their destination within a week, and most overseas orders within two weeks, of being placed; orders paid for by cheque are likely to take an extra 1-2 weeks, since we firstly have to wait for the cheque to reach us, and then for it to clear (which may take around five working days). However, at busy periods, and in the case of some large orders, dispatch may be delayed; likewise, delivery may take longer at busy times, or may be delayed by circumstances beyond our control (e.g. bad weather conditions or industrial action). Therefore, unless you have requested delivery by Royal Mail Special Delivery or another express service, please allow 28 days for delivery (or longer still in exceptional circumstances, including orders to certain overseas destinations).
If your order, or any part of it, does not arrive within the expected timeframe, please let us know – if sufficient time has elapsed following the date of dispatch for a claim for loss to be made, we will refund you in full or in part as appropriate, and claim for the loss from the postal or courier service accordingly.
I placed an order with you recently, but have decided that I no longer wish to purchase. Can I cancel my order?
You are welcome to cancel your order with us, in whole or in part, and for any reason, within fourteen days after payment has been made. If we have not already dispatched your order when we receive your request to cancel, we will refund the purchase price in full. If your order has already been dispatched, you are welcome to return the item/s at your own expense for a refund of the full purchase price, which will be given upon receipt of the returned item/s in their original condition. However, if you are returning the item/s because they are not as described, or have been damaged in transit (please see above), we will gladly pay for postage both ways.
We regret that we are unable to give refunds for items which have been lost or damaged on their return journey; should such loss or damage occur, it will be your responsibility to claim for compensation from the postal or courier service as appropriate (although in the case of damage we can provide photographs of the damaged item/s, and will retain them for inspection if required). We therefore strongly recommend that returned items, if not returned unopened, are repackaged to at least the same standard as that of the original packing; we likewise recommend that returns are made by an insured postal or courier service.
How can I contact you?
We recommend that you contact us by email at:
You may also contact us by phone at (01726) 73886 (UK landline) or 07516 995364 (UK mobile) during normal UK working hours - please ask for Peter (the proprietor) or for Vanished Eras. (Should Peter not be available when you ring, there will usually be somebody around to take your message; otherwise, please email us, so that we can answer your enquiry at our earliest convenience.) N.B. Please note that neither of the above numbers are used solely for business purposes, so please do not be too surprised if we do not identify ourselves as "Vanished Eras" when we answer your call!
We are based in the St. Austell area (mid-Cornwall, United Kingdom), but we do not currently have a “bricks and mortar” shop or showroom to physically display our stock (which is stored at more than one location). However, you are welcome to write to us at: 3 Meadow Close, Boscoppa, St Austell, Cornwall PL25 3UD, United Kingdom (postal address, for correspondence, payments and returns only).
I have recently inherited a porcelain vase from my mother-in-law. How old is it and how much is it worth?
We do not currently provide an antique appraisal or valuation service as such, nor can we claim to know all the answers! However, if you can give us a full description of your item, preferably with at least one clear photo, we may be able to help. For this purpose, we strongly suggest that you email us rather than phone. (Please be aware that it may take us some time to reply, especially at busy periods – as we are running a business, other things may have to take priority!)
Otherwise, we would suggest that you take your item to a museum and/or a reputable auction house in your local area. Alternatively, your local library may have suitable reference books that you could consult, whilst there are numerous websites that give useful information upon specific collecting areas (you will find links to some of these in our Resources page).
Whilst clearing out the attic, I came across my Grandad’s postcard albums. Would you be interested in buying them?
If you have any antique or collectable items you wish to sell, you are most welcome to let us know. However, we currently source most of our stock in the mid-Cornwall area, where we are based. If the items happen to be in mid-Cornwall, we may be interested in buying them, if they are such as we believe we could resell for a reasonable profit. If you live further afield, we regret that we are unlikely to be interested, unless the items happen to be in high demand and in limited supply in our area, in which case we might consider making an offer for them. Otherwise, we would suggest you take the items to a suitable dealer or auction house (i.e. one which deals in similar items) in your local area, or else you could try selling them at a local flea market or car boot sale, placing a classified advert in a suitable publication (which could be a local paper or a specialist magazine), or offering them for sale in an online marketplace or auction site.
I am looking for a green glass bowl to replace one which I broke last week. Do you have any in stock?
If you cannot find the item you are looking for in our shop, please contact us, as we just might have it in stock but not yet listed for sale. If we do not already have it, we will add it to the “wants list” we keep, so that we can let you know if and when any become available.
Page last updated 11 April 2017