Buying Bits of Vintage Sweetness

My daughter Tasha needed to run some errands the other day so I suggested we also pop into a nearby estate sale that had opened earlier that morning. She was game! I’ll admit I wasn’t super hopeful that we’d find a TON of GREAT stuff as I know there’s a competitive “gang” that shows up early to get the first crack at stuff, but I was hoping to find a few GOOD things.

At our first room in the house, I spotted a bit of antique lace on a bed. Tasha said it seemed a bit fussy (and she knows I am trying to veer away from fussy stuff), but this piece was so lovely and well made. (Later I discovered it was tatted lace, seldom made anymore.) It was probably used to cover a table, but at 34″ by 34″ it would make a great scarf or small shawl.

I also found a similar lacy piece in the master bedroom that I thought was a doll’s hat and now think is a small purse/jewelry bag.  Very old. Very sweet.


There were nice ceramic pieces I passed up because of cost. And the petrified wood bookends, though lovely, were $68 for the pair and I wasn’t confident I could make much profit. (Later research revealed that some pairs sell for $100 and up so they might have been worth it!!) I rounded out my finds with a William Carlos William book (for me) and a vintage Lo-Man totem pole game. (Never heard of it!) Not a lot of stuff, but all good and only cost $6. (Gotta love that!)


(My daughter ended up buying an “old man” ’80s orange suede jacket for $5! It looks very cool on her. She wore it out last night and got tons of compliments.)

An hour after the estate sale I visited a friend of a friend for private pick. This was my third visit to Mimi and each time she brings out a wonderful variety of things she wants to sell. We talk and she tells me stories about the things I’m looking at and I set aside the things I’m interested in buying. Eventually I give her a price for them and and inevitably she pulls one or two items from the group deciding she wants to keep them awhile longer and I set a new price. I’m realizing it’s hard for her to part with too much at one time. I understand this. And she understands that there are things I may not buy because they are out of vogue or have some damage. I did pass on some little china dishes and a bone bracelet that had a very visible repaired crack.

In the end I bought an early 1900s Illinois pocket watch with beautiful initials on the back (currently non-working), a vintage coral wrap bracelet, a fraternity tie clasp studded with tiny pearls and garnets (which I think is at least 10K gold) and a tiny linen purse made for Mimi when she was a child.

When I look back on my buys from yesterday, I realize they were all rather sweet and I so appreciate the history in these well-loved pieces.  Don’t you?

Now it’s your turn, please do share your favorite sweet estate sale or yard sale find.


  1. would be interesting if you could find name of fraternity ( I’m sure you can, with your research abilities) I think it might work as some other piece of jewelry but I don’t know quite what–reminds me that I have some coute after dinner drink glasses we found cheap at a garage sale, but I never use them–ask me next time you see me if you might be interested..Rosalie


    1. Hi Rosalie…actually I got the name of the fraternity from Mimi. The pin is really small, but so nice…would be great if someone creative could turn it into something cool. Would love to look at your glasses 🙂 – Karen


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