We recently entertained some friends from out of state. They had not been to our home for about 9 years and were inquisitive about where we found our “treasures.” It made me stop and think about just where I did find them. And it brought back some fond (and not-so-fond) memories – I’m happy to share them with you!
Probably my all-time favorite is our dining room chandelier. It is brass and has a lot of prisms and glass beads. Quite lovely. But it did not always look this way. When I first found it, it was in 3 bags, seated on the floor of a garage.
My sister and I had gone to a rummage sale. She always beat me to the costume jewelry, which was her ‘addiction.’ So I did not even bother rushing to the table where they were displayed. Who wants to be elbowed out of the way every time? Not me.
So I sought bargains elsewhere. I was looking at some porcelain figurines on a table and my foot bumped a bag and I heard a “clink.” I asked the seller what was in the bags. She replied, “My sister and her husband are opening a bed and breakfast. They decided to replace the old lighting fixtures with new ones and those bags hold the parts of their cast-off.” I was curious and picked up one bag.
To my amazement and great pleasure, I found a very large, cut glass prism! I looked further and found a lot more. The next bag had the brass arms and the third held the strings of beading. I tried my best not to be too excited and casually asked, “How much do you want for this?” Her reply got my heart racing “$5.00” she said.
I am so used to bargain-hunting that before I even thought about it I blurted out “would you take $4.00?” “Oh, sure” she said, “my sister will be glad to get rid of it.” I paid promptly.
When we got to the car, my sister showed me her little pins, then asked if I had any luck. I tried to stay calm and said I thought I had been lucky.
We got to my house and hubby and I pulled it out of the bags. We were in awe. I knew it was in pieces but he can ‘fix anything’, just ask anyone! So, he took it to his workshop and in two days we had it up, replacing our other chandelier. (On an even further positive note, we sold that newer one for $35 at our sale. Probably to the lady who wanted to open the B&B!)
Another of my ‘bests’ is this charming framed picture. It features a little girl who resembles “little red riding hood” and the frame is beautiful. My hubby actually found this one. We went to a block rummage sale with a lot of houses that participated. I went to one side of the street, he to the other. Along the way, he yelled to me “do you like this picture?”
I could not see it well, but what I could make out, I definitely liked and responded to the affirmative. He brought it to the car and I took a better look. And instantly loved it! I asked “how much” and he smiled broadly and replied “$5.00.” Yikes!
I rarely find nice jewelry at yard sales and especially so if my sis was along. But we went to a sale along Lake Michigan, ritzy place, and the lady had a lot of Oriental items. Not being a big fan of this décor, I thought I’d be leaving early. But on her table, underneath a shawl, was a ring. It was gold, (I thought it was “the real thing”) and had a green stone. She had $25 on the tag, but instantly said she’d take $20 for it – this was her third day and no one had even inquired about it. I paid her what she wanted.
It just FELT right. When I got to the car, I pulled out the magnifier and verified that it was 14K. The stone turned out to be jade. I wore it for a year or two and then sold it at our antique booth for $125. That was about 7 years ago and someone is probably writing a blog about the bargain they found at our booth. The circle of (antiques) life. Ahh.
When you are ‘into’ antiques, you don’t often go to the sales that advertise ‘kids toys, toddlers clothing’, and the like. But I was with a friend who had grandkids and she wanted to stop. “OK”, I said, “but make it snappy.” I looked at the books and games, nothing old enough to add to the collection or sell. But then something caught my eye and by the stuffed animals and Barbie tricycle, I saw a face peering out – it was a metal horse. I looked closer and discovered it was a very old child’s toy.
Made in England, and called a Mobo, it had some wear to the paint, but overall, it was quite nice. He only wanted $15 for it, telling me it was ‘old and had been ridden by numerous kids in the family.’ I did not quibble – paid him and popped it in my trunk. Hubby looked at it and was uncertain – nothing he’d seen before. We put it in the garage.
About a month later he was at a Cracker Barrel Restaurant. There, on a shelf above the check-out counter, was another one! He was excited and asked to chat with the manager. When she arrived, he inquired about the horse – what did she know about it, how old was it, was it for sale, and if so, how much?
She was taken aback but responded that these antique items are not for sale and she really knew nothing about it. It was a fairly new restaurant and she explained that when they were ready to build, a ‘team’ of pickers would come to the area and get nostalgic items – they’d also select other antiques from a warehouse and bring them in.
He was a little disappointed, but at least felt it had enough value to be so displayed. We took it to a summer flea market and put a ‘ridiculous’ price of $100 on it. It sold in 12 minutes. We have since seen two others in antique malls. We’ve learned they were made in Kent, England, are circa 1947, and actually called “Mobo Bronco” riding horses. One was in very poor condition and that price tag was $225. The other was in a condition that was similar to ours and had a tag of $350!
Another blogger somewhere, is bragging about this treasure they found from the ‘rubes’ in aisle 11. But we made our profit and had fun – so there!
Another time we went to an estate sale. It was the last day, sometimes a good time to attend. Usually things are half-price or at least there is room to wiggle. We saw these beautiful candle sticks in the basement. The gent who was in charge in that room said they had been in a trunk and not noticed until earlier that day when the trunk had sold.
We thought they were beautiful, but when he said he wanted $50 for them, we played our ‘good cop and bad cop’, being hesitant to make a commitment. Then he thought for a moment and said ‘oh, prices are 50% off today so they could be yours for $25.” Scooped those up and put them in our dining room. A wonderful find!
We continue to shop for additions for our home and some to sell. While it may sound easy, just yesterday we went to 11 garages sales, put 30 miles on the van, and came home with just $4.00 worth of ‘goodies.’ And that’s a pretty strong word for them. “Mediocres” would be a better word. But who knows what the next garage, front yard or estate sale might hold?