I love sharing my fabulous finds. I get to relive the excitement with like-minded folks like you. But I realized I’m not being honest if I don’t share my mistakes too. Because for every ten purchases I make for my store, there’s one that I regret. Usually because I paid too much, but sometimes I have a serious lack of judgment that results in a “what was I thinking” head smack.
Maybe you know that feeling. It’s frustrating after all these years of hunting and buying to still have screw ups, but I know they can’t be totally avoided, particularly in the hurly-burly, competitive environment of an estate sale, rummage sale or auction when you have seconds to make a decision before someone else grabs it.
A friend who’s been in the business for over 30 years shared one of his flubs. He’d bought a huge ceramic crock for $225 intending on selling it for $500+ which was the going rate for this particular piece. He was excited about this find and the price he’d negotiated. But after getting it home he noticed a long hairline crack he’d missed at the flea market. That crack effectively wiped out any profit. Ouch! I felt his pain.
So I know it happens, to newbies and pros alike. It’s a part of doing business. Hopefully a smaller part as the years go by!
Here are a few of my recent regrets…
Metal Shoe Pincushion
Antique novelty sterling silver pincushions sell for good money. This one was just a mid-century metal one made in Japan, but I thought it had more meat on the bone. I was wrong. It turns out the $15 I paid two weeks ago was almost retail. Poop!
Small, Well-Used Copper Tea Kettle
Some of you may remember this from a post a few months back. I’m still peeved about it. This kettle is not on-trend and not a quality piece. What was I thinking?! And alas, on Etsy alone there are over 1500 similar kettles for sale, most not selling for much. I paid $12 (!!) at an estate sale and realize it’s not worth listing. (Any local friends want this for free? Let me know.)
Bone/Ivory Stick Thingy
I have no idea what this was. The people selling it didn’t know either. I thought maybe the knobby end could be used to dial a rotary phone (look that up younglings!), but then the pointy end makes no sense. And what also makes no sense is that I bought it for $4 (six weeks ago). I guess I will add this to my dish of curiosities.
Small Cast Iron Owl Figurine
I bought this at a yard sale a few week ago. Originally the owner wanted $5 for it. When I balked at that price, she gave it to me for $1, but honestly I wouldn’t have bought it at all had I known. This little painted cast iron owl is a modern thing. He’s sold in online stores today (known as “Hooty”) for $7 – $11. As soon as you look at the black painted base you know he doesn’t have any age. I’m going to “rough up” the black part a bit so it doesn’t look so jarring. Not sure what I’ll do with him.
About eight months ago I bought this neat carved thing, which turned out antique carved coquilla nut, likely a blotting sand (pounce) pot used during Victorian times on the well-appointed desk. But it turned out to have more damage than I originally noticed at the store (drat!) and I paid way too much ($35). (Double drat!) This is now in my curio cabinet.
I hate to think about all my flubs…and all the money wasted in dribs and drabs. Still. Still most of the time my finds work out well. Sometimes even great. So I’m trying not to let it get me down.
Happy (and wise) hunting,