Hunting Highs…and Lows

Every one who buys and sells stuff for a living (or even for pocket money) will tell you it’s the hunt that’s the fun bit. The bit that causes giddiness and an excess of adrenalin and makes all the tedious work worthwhile. (And there is a lot of tedious work!)

But oh boy there are are some highs and lows. I recently wrote about one of my lows in “The One That Got Away!” That was just the tip of the iceberg. Take today for example, another one got away. The item, an antique sterling tea strainer, was in a word…fabulous…and I was one of 22 watchers on the eBay auction! Bidding was pretty lively early on, but then went dead in the last few minutes as we all waited to make last-second, snipe bids. Here’s mine as I’m waiting to press the Confirm button when it got closer to the end. Admittedly it wasn’t a huge increase, but reflected what I was willing to pay.

To say I was outbid is putting it mildly. I was whomped. In the last six seconds of the auction the bids jumped to $304! I wanted this item, but a couple of people REALLY wanted this item. It was great, but not $304 great, IMHO.

So after losing this auction I decided to pop into my neighborhood thrift store when I was out running errands. It’s pretty hit or miss at thrift stores and today was no exception. Lots of pleather purses, lackluster china, junky knick knacks, damaged things and newer crapola. You know how it is.

The Christmas decorations were 50% off so I decided to give them a good looking over. There was a container on one upper shelf that had a few odd bits including a large decorative brass French horn. Hmmm. A possibility. I pawed through the container a little more and found something that made my heart skip a beat. It was silver-colored salt cellar with a blue glass liner. (Not sure what it was doing in the Christmas stuff.) It was taped up to keep the liner in place so I couldn’t see it very well, but there was writing on the bottom and, gasp, what appeared to be English hallmarks! Into my basket it went.

At home, after de-taping it, I found it was a hallmarked Garrard Co. Ltd, 119 Regent Street, London, sterling silver salt cellar made in Birmingham in 1958. Yahoo!

Now that’s more like it. Garrard silversmiths have a long and outstanding history starting in 1735 and were the “first official Crown Jeweller of the UK, charged with the upkeep of the British Crown Jewels from 1843 to 2007, and was responsible for the creation of many tiaras and jewels still worn by the British royal family today.” (Wikipedia) Cool, right?

The price on the store label indicated that the staff didn’t know it was sterling silver. It wasn’t a huge score, but still a good one. These are the kind of finds that keep me out hunting and keep me motivated during the “lean” times when I’m not finding anything good.

I think this salt cellar (based on a 1700s design) would look great on a nightstand corralling rings and such.

In a very different genre, the medical slides I won in an auction last week arrived in the mail. Oh boy. There was a sheet in the box that provided a key to what each slide was–a sheet that that auction never showed.

Page 1 of a 3-page document.

Essentially the slides show various pathologies (mostly cancers) of the female reproduction system. There are close-ups of cells which look like abstract paintings, slides of icky surgically removed tumors and cringeworthy closeups of female anatomy with diseased parts. (The last two categories I will not be showing here…you can thank me later!)

I have mixed feelings about this lot though I think it will sell.

The lot of ten scarves I won in another online auction also arrived. I was nervous opening the small box because the listing had given no details (condition, material, size, etc.) about any of the scarves. Was I getting a pile of damaged, cheap items??

The scarf on top was a vintage Adrienne Vittadini silk animal print in great condition. Cool. The second scarf (with a fun Faberge egg print) was made by Echo for the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. (I have two of these in different colors.) They are silk and both in lovely condition.

The third scarf was a HUGE silk Nicole Miller in vivid colors and a pattern like a mod stained glass window. Fabulous!

Now I was excited. As I continued to pull out the scarves I discovered they were all in good condition and all are marked silk or appear to be silk.

(Happy dance commences.) I paid $16.25 for the lot (including shipping) and given the little bit of research I’ve done so far, I should be able to make $200-$300 profit when all is said and done. And bonus, scarves are easy to store and ship. So that gamble worked out okay.

I’ll close for now with a shout-out to reader and fellow vintage lover Beth. I was in the grocery store the other day and Beth recognized me from my blog photo! What a delight it was to meet her, and bonus, we hope to go thrifting together in the new year. 🙂

Wishing you a joyous Christmas,



  1. Yay! It’s great to end the year on a high note.
    LOVE the scarves especially the Nicole Miller. I’d be tempted to keep that one and wear it just about every day!! Makes me happy to look at it!
    Thank you for all the wonderful posts this year – the confessions of not so great decisions, missed opportunities, the scores, and the craziness that is associated with ‘picking’. Your experiences help me immensely. Thank you, again!
    Merriest Christmas, happiest of New Years!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for your kind words Shari! It’s been a wild ride this year.

      I think that Nicole Miller scarf has your name on it! Email me you new address and I’ll send it along. 🙂

      I hope you have a blessed Christmas in your new house. I can just imagine all the goodies that are going to come out of your renovated kitchen! – Karen


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