I haven’t been thrifting much lately. No runs to estate or rummage sales. But I have gone a few times to my neighborhood Goodwill because it’s so darn convenient.
The other day my only find was a Christmas plate made by Monroe Salt Works, Maine. It was marked $3.99 and a quick Google search in the store showed similar plates for sale from $22 – $45. Turns out the company was bought out in 2011 and the new owners ceased production which makes existing pieces all the more valuable. (I love finding new companies and products to be on the lookout for.)
Alas, when I got the plate home I realized I had missed seeing a mark on the front of the plate that had been made with permanent marker. Nuts! Well, that’s no good then. A few days later I took the plate back knowing I would need to find something of equal value for exchange. I was pretty sure I could come up with $3.99 worth of goods!
What I Considered Buying
The dish-ware shelves were so crammed with stuff it was hard to look at things. I’m guessing everyone is doing end-of-the-year closet cleaning and donating the unwanted bits. (I did some of that in November, but realize there is still more to do!)
I almost bought three terracotta escargot dishes by Emile Henry, France, at $2.89 each. They looked unused. And then I came to my senses. Escargot dishes? Of course they’re unused!! I put them back. I also considered a huge, heavy Italian pasta dish that was 24″ wide, but at $25.69 it was just too crazy expensive. I mean, honestly!
What I Bought
I found a pretty little plate that had just been put out on the shelves the day before. It was by PirkenHammer, Czechoslovakia. Now this is more like it. A quality, unblemished piece that many people will appreciate and can use. For all you dish queens: “Pirkenhammer is a porcelain manufactory started in 1802 by Friedrich Holke and J.G. Lilst. It was located in Bohemia, now Brezova, Czechoslovakia. The company made tablewares usually decorated with views and flowers.” (Kovels.com)
But at $3.19, I still needed to find something else for my exchange. There was a ton of Christmas stuff on the shelves so I spent a lot of time trying to find anything vintage. Okay, anything vintage that wasn’t damaged. I nixed the brass reindeer missing an antler! And then I found this little wood, hand-painted Father Christmas ornament also put out the day before. Probably not vintage, but appealing none the less. He even has a sweetly painted face. (And is it just me, or is Father Christmas rather cute?!) Looks very Russian to me. This one I’m keeping! And at $1.09, my exchange was complete.
A day later I popped in on the way Christmas tree shopping. My husband was with me so I just did a quick sweep of my favorite areas and found one thing…a big ashtray that looks very ’60s/’70s. Darn cool and in fab condition except for the worn felt glued on the bottom! I am partial to ashtrays though have never been a smoker. (Of course there was the ill-fated cigar incident for my husband’s 50th birthday…but that’s another story.)
So just a few things. No home runs, but a few bread-and-butter finds.
I follow a number of resellers through various social media and some are quite negative about thrift stores and Goodwill tends to get bashed a lot. But honestly, despite the plethora of junk, the occasional wonky high prices and the picker competition, I do find some nice things at reasonable prices. You have to go often and look thoroughly.
A Few of My December Sales
A great arts and crafts bronze cigar humidor from the HEINTZ Art Metal Shop, Buffalo, NY. Circa 1912. The decorative bits on the front are sterling silver.
I won this in an eBay auction a few years back. It was one of those things that cost a bit, but I knew was worth a lot more. It’s been in my store for two years (definitely a long-tail item) and finally sold. Worth the wait as not only have I enjoyed having it, but when all is said and done I’ll make about $170 profit.
And then there are the Art Studies playing cards. I bought these at a yard sale this summer for 50 cents. Circa 1950s/1960s they feature women demurely posing in the “altogether.” These sold for $45.
Another yard sale find, I bought this vintage West German ashtray for $4.00 and sold it for $20.00.
It’s insanely large and fabulous and I’m glad it’s found a new home.
How about you? Any fun vintage finds??