The Best Gifts To Buy Secondhand (or Vintage)

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Over here at The Mom Edit, we deeply appreciate a thoughtful, well-chosen, wildly unique gift. And as we brainstormed ideas for this holiday season, we realized that some of our best gift ideas (often based on favorite pieces at home) were items that didn’t necessarily need to be purchased new. And, in fact, some of these gift ideas were actually better – more unique, more charming, more nostalgic, perhaps – when they were sourced secondhand (not to mention, more sustainably sourced).

So we pulled together a list of our best vintage gift ideas. These ideas are gifts with wide appeal – they’re perfect for anyone who appreciates a truly unique, thoughtful gift – not just those who have no qualms about wearing a musty old coat. 😉

17 Gift Ideas That Are Actually Better Vintage (or Secondhand)

Below, we’ve rounded up categories of vintage gift ideas (depression wine goblets, for example, or vintage lockets), as well as our preferred online search terms and site. It turns out that “Daher tin” searched on Etsy (and/or Ebay, here) brings up much better results than, say, “vintage biscuit tin“. These search terms are important because most of the items we’re featuring are one of a kind, so will likely sell-out. That said, if you use our search terms, or – in some cases – recommended Etsy and/or Ebay sellers – you should be able to find similar pieces pretty easily.

Of course, if you’re a true treasure hunter, finding these gems in person would be a such a fun way to spend an afternoon. But, for the busy (or the allergic to dust, haha), we’re including the online sources as well.

The Best Secondhand Vintage Gifts - books, tea, candles, magazines, comics, jewelry

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1. Vintage Jewelry Boxes

vintage jewelry boxes

exact jewelry box

Where to buy: Etsy, using the search term, “vintage silver jewelry box“. Or on eBay, using the same search.

Ditch the random jewelry dish and let your dresser take on a bit of a royal vibe. These scream luxury, even if the little pieces you’re putting inside of it don’t, haha. (Hey, inexpensive jewelry does do the job.) Would make a seriously beautiful gift for that person that has everything – and it doesn’t have to be just for holding jewelry.


2. Colorful, Antique Glasses (In A Mismatched Set)

colorful, antique glasses (in a a mismatched set)

exact set

Where To Buy: Etsy seller Shop Penn Vintage and 1350 North Vintage.

I have a set of these at home – we bring them out for parties and nothing makes me happier. I highly recommend using Etsy Seller, Shop Penn Vintage. You can simply pick the number of glasses, the colors you’d like (you can also just ask for one color, if preferred), and they’ll put together the most incredible set for you. Etsy seller 1350 North Vintage does something similar, but seems to have more black/white glassware as well. My set has a mix of wine glasses and water goblets, but they’re all equally fun to drink out of.

Similar Vintage Glassware Sets


3. Vintage + Preowned Designer

vintage and preowned designer

exact bag

Where to buy: The Real Real, Coach (re) loved collection or search Ebay using the term, “Clare V bag.”

Now THESE really give you that bespoke, suuuper special feeling – especially Coach (re) loved collection where there really is only one of each fabulous creation. It’s a fun way to be sustainable (especially in terms of giving not-so-sustianable materials like leather another life) and wardrobe-thoughtful (meaning they’ll likely have it forever, so choosing one in a style & color that they’d enjoy is key).


4. Pretty Biscuit Tins

pretty vintage biscuit tins

exact tin

Where To Buy: Etsy, using the search term, “Daher Tin“. Or on eBay, also using “Daher Tin“.

I remember my parents having one of these tins on a shelf in the basement, so when I saw a similar one in Jess’ house, I felt a bit swoony. Apparently Jess noted my reaction, because she gifted me one on my birthday (looks a little like this). This tin remains one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received, and it looks so freaking cool sitting on my living room shelf. It turns out these are cookie (biscuit) tins, made by the Daher company in England. If you’re really feeling it, you could line one of these in parchment paper, and wrap cookies up inside.

Shop Similar Daher Tins


5. Old Books

old vintage books

exact book set

Where to buy: Search “vintage classic books” on Etsy or “preowned books” on eBay if you’re not only looking for classics.

When it comes to buying old books, there’s two ways you can *technically* go that any book lover would appreciate. There’s a ton of older, original editions on Amazon (and some previously-owned), or pretty recreations of classic stories (that you can probably find on most websites). But in light of us going truly secondhand, your best bet is Etsy or eBay.


6. Brass Candlesticks (Mismatched Set)

vintage brass candlesticks (a mismatched set)

exact candlesticks

Where to buy: Etsy seller, And Antiques, for perfectly mismatched sets, or build your own with Etsy seller, Nestlings.

We originally started looking for silver candlesticks (so pretty, especially when the tarnished is cleaned off), but real silver candlesticks seem to be items that are highly valued by vintage shoppers and sellers alike. Which means, for us, the prices were really high, yet the selection was…boring. Old brass candlesticks, however? Ooooo. We especially love a mismatched set. Etsy was our favorite place to find curated sets, in addition to the two mentioned above, Etsy seller, Our Vintage Bungalow, also had some great sets.

And maybe consider a vintage candle snuffer, too. Such a fun little add.

Shop Similar Vintage Brass Candlesticks


7. Comics

vintage comics

exact comics

Where to buy: Search “vintage comic books” on eBay or Etsy. A lot of them come in a bundle.

If you know a comic/print/book enthusiast, it’s hard to go wrong with a super cool vintage comic. Also, if you know someone that you think would be a prime comic/print/book enthusiast, get their obsession started. (They’ll always have you to credit for it, hehe.) They’re really easy to find in your local home thrift/secondhand shop, and even easier online. This would be an easy, somewhat inexpensive collection to curate which makes it all the better (and makes finding the rare ones even more fun to splurge on).


8. Cute Teacups + Plates

vintage teapots and plates

exact teacups + plates

Where to buy: Search “vintage teacups” on Etsy.

These are just so dang pretty, aren’t they? Another perfect gift for a friend who has it all (and, well, one that likes tea – or even coffee!). They’re so fun to look through on Etsy & make a really low-cost gift (even if you add on a tea sampler to go with it).


9. Teapots

vintage teapots

exact teapot

Where to buy: Etsy seller AllLittleCuteThings has a ton of vintage teapots, cups, saucers, mixed sets. Etsy seller DishUponAStar has an assortment of small vintage teapots, cups & saucers, too. (And $15 teapots).

For a tea or vintage homeware lover! We’re going to assume that if you’re getting a pretty vintage teapot for your friend that loves tea, they’ll just be putting it on a shelf to display their love and affection for the craft (of sipping!). And that’s perfect! These can be for use or for decoration, both are equally as great. I’d gift with a pretty set of teacups and a tin of yummy tea.


10. Vintage Magazines

vintage magazines

exact magazines

Where to buy: The search terms will differ depending on what type of magazine your person would love, but we found some luck searching “vintage Vogue magazine” on eBay. Or search “vintage magazines” on Etsy.

Grab them a set of their favorite magazine or branch out to some new ones and put together a little collection to match their personality & tastes. This can be SO FUN.


11. Locket Necklace

vintage locket necklace

exact lockets

Where to buy: Ebay search “vintage locket” or “vintage cameo locket.” OR search “vintage photo locket” on eBay and select Authenticity Guarantee (suuuper expensive but very vintage).

For the jewelry enthusiasts! Charm jewelry has been popping up everywhere lately… so adding a bit of vintage appeal on top of current trends? That’s a home run of a gift if we ever heard it. It helps to know if your friend goes for silver or gold and/or if they have a simpler jewelry style or they go all out glam. Here are a top pick of each: silver, gold, minimalist, maximalist.


12. Mechanical Chess Clock

Secondhand mechanical chess clocks

exact chess clock

Where to buy: Search “vintage soviet mechanical chess clock” on Etsy or use the same search on eBay.

These are so freaking cool. Pair with a vintage chess set for the ultimate chess-lovers gift or tie a ribbon on that thing for a really gorgeous home decor present. This one is gold-rimmed and this one has a bit of neutral, modern flair. Love both.


13. Maps

vintage maps

exact maps

Where to buy: Search “vintage maps” on Etsy, but go down to item details and check to make sure it says vintage and whatever year it’s from for the most authentic old maps instead of a reprint. You might also have some luck if you search “vintage cartography” on Etsy or eBay.

Unless your gift recipient is anti-tech (and good, optimal timing), we’re assuming that they’re either going to add these to a collection or frame ’em, so keep that in mind when picking through colors & designs. Pro tip: find a pretty obscure-yet-meaningful map if you can. It really ups the special.


14. Records/Vinyls

vintage records and vinyls

exact vinyl

Where to buy: Search “vintage vinyl” on Etsy, and use the same search for eBay.

Old vinyl records can feel really special, and I’d argue the pre-owned ones feel even more special. They were probably once loved by someone who’s now in their 80’s and saw rock bands perform at the peak of their careers. Maybe they even wore leather vests and flared pants but in the genuine, it’s-actually-the-70s kind of way. You can easily get a bunch of 99 cent or $2 records (or vinyl covers) at thrift stores or Etsy so they can be repurposed as art. But if you want the real deal – vinyl, cover and all – eBay is probably your best bet. Etsy has some bundles where they give you a bunch of random records for a pretty low price, too (and some will let you choose which ones).


15. Pennants

The Best Secondhand Vintage Gifts - pennants

exact pennants

Where to buy: Search “vintage pennants” on Etsy and eBay.

If you have a sports fanatic in your life, there’s zero doubt they’d love a vintage pennant from their favorite team (especially if that said team won the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup etc etc, that year). But you can also find cool ones from different cities, states or landmarks on Etsy and eBay and — get this — I found one on Etsy from the ’40s of the Philadelphia Zoo. Sometimes it really is the little things.


16. Silver Vintage Frame

silver vintage frame

exact frame

Where to buy: Etsy search, “vintage Sterling silver picture frame.”

These add a good bit of old-money charm to a space. They often come in very unique shapes with interesting little details. Super cool to add to really any style of space + it becomes even more meaningful if you throw a picture in there before you gift it (not necessary, tho).


xo,

Team TME

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Incredibly creative and artistic, Abby is the one we turn to for absolutely jaw-dropping, stunning curation. She’s got a knack for finding hidden gems and has the ability to make any space beautiful, plus her own style is enviable. Abby is one of the few team members who is not afraid of color, so her contributions (both digitally and in real life) feel like a breath of fresh air. She manages to come up with options that are both wildly original…and exactly what we want to wear.

1 COMMENT

  1. Great ideas! I’ll never forget going to a restaurant back in the day, a neighboring table was celebrating a birthday and they had gone to Goodwill and bought everyone a different ‘tacky tourist’ glass as a party favor. I’ve also heard of using the vintage teacups as a party favor for a bridal shower/baby shower.

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