This Business is Full of…Characters!

One of the benefits of this buying-and-selling biz is meeting interesting folks. Some of them are characters! Yesterday, I met up with one.

I first met Grace* (pseudonym) two years ago through Craigslist. She had listed these two wonderful handmade ceramic flasks for $25. And I thought they were fantastic!

She suggested we meet her at her house. Or rather garage. Which was fine with me. The property, shielded from a busy street with overgrown shrubbery, was the most curious combination of mismatched, ramshackle cottages and sheds. Surprising really in her rather affluent area.

Grace herself turned out to be a short, spunky gal in her late 60s/early 70s who talked a blue streak. Her single-car garage was packed to the rafters with stuff, but she quickly dug out my items. Turns out she’s been in the biz for a while doing house clearances, running estate sales and selling things on commission. Nothing online though…no eBay, no Etsy. More old school.

In the end I bought the flasks, sold one for $25 and kept the other! 🙂

Months later I bought a 1950s/60s Paris motif wool needlepoint purse from her. What a cool handbag for $25. I sold it for $61 after accepting an offer, though I could have made more. (Not sure why I accepted this gal’s offer.)

And yesterday I headed out to buy an item from her for myself. A handmade wood shoe shine box, likely circa 1940s/50s. Parts are made from an old fruit-and-veg box. The sturdy web handle appears to be military issue. Not sure what to make of the somewhat fru-fru metal bits (which look like bells, but aren’t!) but they do add a certain je ne sais quoi. 

Grace had had this on Craigslist for over a year. She lowered the price from $60 to $50 and still it remained unsold. I offered $40. She countered at $45 and I accepted.

I know some of you may be thinking “Are you crazy? $45 for a bit of kindling!” But I think this little shoe shine box, possibly wielded by some strapping young lad back in the 1940s is fabulous. A bit of folk art. I can picture him strutting the streets of San Francisco, Chicago or New York scraping up shines for a quarter. As for me, I’m going to wipe off the dust and use it to store old greeting cards, letters and photos.

And Grace…she’s still hustling. Working hard. We (she mostly) talked for another 20 minutes about recent projects and friends and various sales. She has a very different way of doing business. Much more face to face than me. And a lot more physically demanding. More high volume. But it works for her and I have a lot of respect.

How about you…meet any characters along the way??

As always, happy hunting,



  1. The lady who works at our little post office is a total character. We’d been going to the PO for years when she finally started chatting with my Mom. We found out she runs estate sales and she knew I’d been mailing vintage items I sell on eBay here and there, so she invited us. We began going to her estate sales and as we got to know her, she’s the best. She’s serious and seemingly unfriendly at first, but she’s really a hoot, loves people and is one heck of a saleslady!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You’re so right! I’ve met so many interesting characters through the years; they’ve got stuff and they’ve got stories;) Love your shoe shine box and anything that was custom made out of old crates; I love that people used what they had and custom made things for their specific need. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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