Monday, May 28, 2012

Mid-Century Bonanza!

I went to a sale a week ago and am just now catching up to tell you about it.  It was close to home (always a plus and a rare event around here) and was billed as a Mid-Century Bonanza.  It certainly was!  As I looked at the pictures, I saw lots of things that I wanted to try to get to early.

I got there about 20 minutes before it started and had a chance to chat with the lady whose 'estate' was for sale.  This could have been creepy, but she'd already moved to a residence community, had taken all that she wanted and was thrilled that people would want the rest.  It turned out that she was from the same part of Ohio where I'd grown up and we had lots to talk about.  She was one of those people who you talk to for a few minutes and feel you've known all your life -- utterly charming!

I was number 6 going in and the people before me weren't interested in anything mid-century (imagine)!  I hurried to the glassware first and got some great glasses, then headed right to the basement (where my favorite stuff usually is).  I ended up getting everything I'd seen in the pictures and wanted, except for a little red formica table that was just priced too high for my budget.  All of the things were priced a little higher than I would normally pay, but not ridiculously so.   I got some great things -- take a look:
A laundry cart and clothespin bag
A HUGE (24x36) paint-by-number of an ocean scene (very well painted) and an orchard basket
A box lot of 'Made in Japan' Christmas things (I don't know why the tumbler got in the picture)
A large box of Christmas ornaments (as if I don't have enough already)...
The Flinch game is from 1913. The grocery pad is shaped like a chef
A sewing box that looks like a tweed train case
Odds and ends, including a dozen marshmallow forks
Two tablecloths -- I think the birds on the blue one are roadrunners...odd
I shared this in an earlier post -- a Red Wing Pottery hanging planter (also odd, but pretty neat)
 LOTS of glasses...
Six flamingo and palm tree plastic glasses in a wood tray -- souvenirs of Hollywood Beach, FL
Eight really nice frosted daisy tumblers
Four atomic glasses in original box
I think it's funny that the box reads 'Beautiful Glasses' (in case you couldn't recognize their beauty, I guess)
Six plastic turquoise and gold glasses in a black plastic carrier -- they're special!  Look at the next picture to see why...
The glass holders swivel in the carrier so they won't tip.  It's made for serving beverages on a boat!
While I was loading up the car, the owner came over to see what I'd gotten.   She was thrilled to see that I wanted her laundry cart and clothespin bag and that I got the Christmas ornaments.  She also was excited that I bought her sewing box (she's the one who told me what it was -- I thought it was a small train case).  I'm glad that she was so cheerful about it -- it was really nice to see how happy she was in her 'new life'.  She has a new cottage and got to make some money and I got a Mid-Century Bonanza!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Being First at the Sale -- THAT'S a First!

Last week I got to be first at a sale -- that's never happened to me before!  On Wednesday, I saw a small notice in our local county newspaper for donations to a village historical society's garage sale on 'Thursday, Friday & Saturday'.  No dates, just a time and place.  I took a chance on going there before work and was first in the parking lot -- there were no signs, so I had to go to the door and ask if the sale was that weekend. Since I was early, I even offered to help them set up (figured I might get a sneak-peek...)  The two ladies working it had spent the entire week setting it up in a very big room all by themselves ... they said they wished I'd been there earlier.

By the time they let us in, there was a HUGE crowd of 6 people (and I was first)!   Most of the things were newer and not to my junkin' taste, but I did get some nice things...
American Plastic Bricks, which were building tiles before there were Legos.  I HAD to snap these up -- I had them when I was little and want to play with them

A campfire toaster and 3 great 'Mad Men' mid-century glasses
A 1960s card shuffler and another thermometer set (minus the baster).  I may see if I have a baster I can add to make it complete

Some old books & booklets, but nothing exciting...

An unused scrapbook and (THIS is great!) a 1955 'Beauty in Britain' book.  I HAVE to keep that -- have I ever  mentioned how much I love all things British?
  I got some great Christmas stuff, too ...

1960s metal tree-hanger candy holders, in their store box
A tin with a few old ornaments
These three 1950s Made in Japan Santas are great! 
The two on the right have stuffed 'nylon' covered faces -- we used to get lots of little novelty dolls like this in the 50s & 60s.  Each of these is 9 or 10" tall and they were a real find! 

  The sale was 'by donation', so you took your items up to the checkout and suggested your donation.  I offered what I thought was a generous donation (and the checkout lady did, too) -- until the other lady came over and was really upset that the Santas were there.  She had intended to price them separately, but didn't get to it.  Oh, well -- a bargain for me!  Do you think it was wrong that I just smiled and agreed when she said (bitterly) "You really got a good deal there."?  I don't (they had all week to price, after all)!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What is This? The Answer!

Well, faithful readers, what is it?  Your guesses included an ashtray, incense burner, candle holder & bird feeder.  I thought it was a string holder. It took a lot of google searching with lots of different keywords to finally find it -- and we were ALL WRONG!  It's a Red Wing Pottery hanging planter.   I NEVER would have guessed that -- especially since it didn't have any drainage holes.

I still think it makes a great string holder and think I'll suggest that when I list it on Etsy.  Look at how good it looks with string:
I can just see that on the check out counter of some upscale store or on the work counter in the studio of a glitzy Etsy seller.   Hopefully, they'll use nice baker's twine or something stylish and not white string from an old man's workbench at an estate sale...

Thanks for guessing!  It seems that there's ALWAYS something new to learn!

Friday, May 18, 2012

What is This?

I went to a great sale yesterday and another today!  I'm still cleaning everything up and snapping pictures, but wanted to share this little goodie with you and see if you can guess what it is.  I'm not positive, but I have my own idea -- I'm not going to tell until I post about the sale tomorrow, because I want to see what some other people come up with.

I got it super-cheap and was sure it was mid-century pottery.  When I got it home and looked at the bottom stamp under good light I found out it's Red Wing Pottery!  It's about 8-9" tall...

What is it?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Fast, Fun Sale!

Because my basement (and my barn) is starting to look like an episode of 'Hoarders: Buried Alive' and because my van gets about 23 MPG, I've really tried not to go to a lot of sales.  Sometimes, though, you've just GOT to SHOP! 

There was an estate sale in our own town last Friday, so I went on my way to the mall.  I didn't get there at the beginning, because I decided to go on a whim, as I was driving past the neighborhood.  I'd been to several sales with this dealer before and they're always really friendly and nice and, though their prices aren't dirt-cheap, they're fair. 

Anyway, I came away with a few good buys.  They always have sturdy strawberry boxes to use while shopping and I loaded one up with little odds & ends.  Here's the prize of the day, though:  an old Pixiano child's grand piano, with the bench!  All of the keys but one work, though it sounds like it needs to be tuned (can that even be done?)  I spent more on it that I usually do at sales, unless it's something for me to keep, but I really think it was worth it.  Now I just have to decide if it's going into the booth or on Etsy.  If I take it to the booth, I won't have to crate & ship it, but it might get payed with and broken (you'd be amazed at what people allow their children to do to items in the mall!)   On Etsy,  it would be safe, but I"m totally clueless about shipping something this big.  Isn't it great though?  
A 1950s or 1960s Pixiano Grand Piano
 That was on the first day of the sale.  I went back on the second day to see if some of the things I thought were too high were still there.  They all were and I got them all at 50% off.  One of them was this step chair -- $2.  The seat was sticky with grime & grease and coming out at the back.  I immediately recovered it with some oilcloth I had left over from another project.  There was so little effort or creativity involved, it doesn't even count as a restoration...  It's not really old (maybe the 90s), but it's useful.  I might keep it or sell it  -- more decisions!
Before -- YUK!
After -- MUCH better!
 On my way out, I saw this metal hamper, which I KNOW wasn't there on Friday!  I got it for 1/2 price, too! 
I love this hamper -- we're using it at our house.  It has obviously been repainted, but even the repaint is so old that it's vintage!
 Pretty good buys for a quick trip through a sale...twice!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I LOVE Rummage Sales!

I'm still catching up on old posts, so jump into the Wayback Machine and pretend that this one was posted 2 weeks ago (if you're too young to get that reference, click here ).   

I have to admit, I never met a junk vintage sale I didn't like, but it seems like the best bargains are at rummage sales (and church sales are my favorites)! 

Two weeks ago, I went to a local church's big fundraising sale of the year -- billed as the BIG Barn sale.  I've gone there the past few years and always find some good stuff.   This year, I got there before they opened and stood in line -- there were already 30-40 people in front of me!    It's always hard to know where to go first -- they have the stuff divided into the usual sections (holiday, books, linens, etc), but they also have a 'collectables' (translate: more expensive) section and a back tent that's the 'bargain basement' of the sale.  I headed there first, rather than the collectables.  Except for collectables, everything was priced at $7 a bag and I loaded up one bag pretty quickly.   The second bag was barely full, so they gave that one to me for $2.  I got some good buys -- some of it has already gone to the booth, but here are a few of the goodies:
4 place-settings of Harmony House melmac dishes -- square (so cool)!
Some Christmas napkins and a FILTHY DIRTY rotary phone (the cord didn't match -- it was black, not tan -- so I took it off)
A super slim Pyrex starburst carafe and a large strainer
 These were from the collectable area, along with a bakelite-handled frosting spreader,  a vitrock shaker and some Made in Japan salt & peppers (all already gone to the booth):
Two celluloid picture frames -- the monogram is either a J or an I.
I was heading to the checkout when I saw the box for this beauty under the holiday table!
A 6' aluminum pom-pom tipped tree!  The ladies gave it to me for a super-good price, too!
Right above it was a box with these 12 Made in Japan Putz houses in it.  I'm a little addicted to Putz houses, so I'm not sure that all of them will make it to the booth or Etsy this year...
They're tiny (each about 2-1/2" wide) -- they came with a white light cord and I think were supposed to be hung on a tree.
It's never too early to think about vintage Christmas!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

To buy or not to buy...

Selling on Etsy and at an antique mall (and the buying that goes with it) has definitely been a learning curve.  Each new experience teaches me something.  Like the one I had today...

I have lots of people ask me about selling on Etsy, and I often help them out with it.  I had been writing my email or cell phone number over and over, so I finally had some business cards made up that had all the important information.  The mall lets us put cards up in a central area for customers to take, so I mine there, too.  Because of this, I get lots of calls from people who want to sell things to me.

I think everyone who likes old stuff or who has old stuff has seen Antiques Roadshow, Pawn Stars or American Pickers.  AND they all think they have the next hidden treasure!  They seem not to notice the part where the Pickers tell the seller they have to 'leave some meat on the bone' so they can sell it at a profit!  Anyway, most of the calls I get are for fancy glassware, upscale Victorian items or expensive appraised jewelry, none of which are my thing.  So I always thank the caller and politely decline.

Secretly, I'm relieved that they have things I don't want -- how's that for being a smart business woman!  I'm so afraid of cheating someone, though, or offending them or hurting their feelings, that I've been a nervous wreck just thinking about these meetings.  Last week I got a call from a lady who had 50s kitchenware.  Really?  I couldn't pass that up and went to see her today after work. 

The kitchenware she had was, indeed, from the 1950s.  It was NOS (New Old Stock) from the gift shop of her grandfather's motel up north.  It had never sold and he couldn't throw it away, though her grandmother begged him to.  The seller told me she wanted to get rid of it because 'it's just gathering dust' (I'll add:  and grease and grime, too)!    I have to tell you that I prayed my way to her house, asking for wisdom and that I a) wouldn't offend her and b) wouldn't get taken and spend more than I should because I felt sorry for her or was embarrassed!

I liked what I saw and I offered her what I thought was a fair price for her and me and purposely left some wiggle room for her to sweeten it (so she'd feel like she got me to pay more).  She came back with a significantly higher amount, which I countered by upping mine a little.  Well, I bought 4 pieces. The lesson I learned is this  -- start lower!  If the seller is going to come back with the moon & stars anyway, you may as well start lower so you only have to go up a little at a time!  That's for next time...

Here's what I bought -- what do you think?
Enesco 'Made in Japan' Humpty Dumpty oil shaker (from a vinegar & oil set), a Humpty Dumpty Cookie Jar and a Humpty Dumpty Teapot -- all never used & all grimy
A Stanfordware corn teapot -- never used and really dirty!
 On the way home from her house (which was about 15 miles away  -- on my gas, which PROVES that I'm a smart businesswoman!), I stopped at 2 or 3 garage sales and picked up these things:
An Argus camera & case
A little (4") white dog figurine that, though damaged, was just too cute to pass up.  Thankfully, he was priced right!
A sewing machine drawer with some interesting old-man-added features
So, that's my adventure in private buying!  I went, I saw, I bought and I lived to tell about it!  Do you think I did okay?