eBay shows over 22,000 listings for the keyword Bakelite. These items are in categories all over the board including jewelry, collectibles, antiques, office supplies, sewing, kitchen, garden, art, dolls and bears, and crafts just to name a few. Those younger than Baby Boomers might not know what Bakelite is or why it is highly desirable by collectors.
Bakelite was invented in 1907 by Leo Hendrik Baekland. This unique thermosetting plastic was a material used in the 1930’s and 1940’s for many different products, like handles for hair brushes, kitchen utensils, napkin rings,buttons, razor handles, jewelry, or hair accessories. The cast resin material was originally only available in a few select colors.
These resins were being produced in a wide variety of colors by the 1930’s. The versatile Bakelite material was inexpensive to produce, easily manipulated by artists and manufacturers, and easy to blend into most decorating schemes. Before long, Bakelite items were seen in every room of the house, serving every purpose imaginable.
During the Great Depression, when women couldn’t afford expensive jewelry, Bakelite jewelry became popular. In some ways a popular fad, Bakelite products were produced by famous designers of the era and sold at retail stores including Saks. Fun to wear and inexpensive to collect, Bakelite earrings, necklaces, and rings were commonplace. Affordable Bakelite pins and brooches brightened up drab clothing everywhere since the resin could be carved into beautiful shapes.
The most popular Bakelite items to sell on eBay:
1. Bakelite jewelry. There are over 8,000 listings for Bakelite jewelry on eBay. Sold prices go as high as $323 for a chess piece necklace.
2. Collectibles and home décor. This category shows over 2,000 listings for items like games with Bakelite pieces or dice, tube radios, inkwells, trinket boxes, and walking cane handles. A Bakelite tube radio sold for $520.
3. Kitchenware has over 1,200 listings for Bakelite items. Look for items like salt and pepper shakers, utensils with Bakelite handles, and appliances with Bakelite handles or knobs. Sold prices up to $150 for a retro tea pot with a Bakelite handle.
4. Vanity, perfume, and shaving accessories. eBay shows 900 results in this category. Sold prices go as high as $151 for a vintage Bakelite slant razor.
5. Clothing, shoes, and accessories show over 800 results for items including buttons, evening bags with Bakelite handles, belts, hair barrettes, and eye glasses. Sold items go as high as $150 for a vintage clutch purse with Bakelite handles.
More vintage items to sell on eBay: