I’ve been a thrift-store lover for years but I’ve also been known to kvetch about them from time to time too. Prices keep going up. And nowadays, many of the best donations get sent online. It’s not unusual for me to walk out empty handed because all I see is new tat, damaged goods or overpriced stuff. (You know what I’m talking about.) Plus, there’s a lot of competition. Some days when my neighborhood store opens, there is a small mob of buyers waiting to rush in.
Still I pop in an average of three times a week. I’ve learned persistence is key to finding the good stuff. (I know I’m preaching to the choir here!) And I was happy recently to be rewarded with a few nice finds…
Like this marble vase in neutral tones of beige and white. It’s not particularly old or unique, but a classic design with a great minimalist palette and darn heavy at over four pounds.
And I spotted two big taped-up bundles of Arabia of Finland Karelia cups and saucers in different sizes. They look to be in perfect condition.
In shades of light gray and brown, they were made in the 1970s (designed by Anja Jaatinen-Winquist) and are now discontinued. Not uncommon or wildly valuable, but desirable. (There are eight cups and saucers in each $9.79 bundle. I’ll split these into lots of four, pricing them at $30-$40 a lot.)
I always keep at eye out for items marked Arabia, a company founded in 1873 and still producing fabulous ceramics. The chart below shows the wide variety of their manufacturing marks over the decades. (You can see closeups at the Dishware Heaven website.)
Oddly enough I’ve found that my eight espresso cups have two different date stamps: four from 1964-1971 and four from 1975-1981.
Some of the older Arabia pieces can be quite valuable. This vintage vase sold for $400 in 2018. Alas, the original listing did not include a photo of the mark on the bottom. I am surprised the seller did not include that since it could greatly affect the price and as a buyer I wouldn’t have bought it without seeing that mark.
Whimsical Arabia mid-century pieces, like those in the 1959 Emilia series by designer Raija Uosikkinen, also do very well.
So in my books, Arabia is one to look for.
But my best find, just this past weekend, was one that I knew nothing about, but felt in my gut it was a good thing–a pottery jug with applied leaves and grapes. It was interesting and well made.
After I got home I did some research. Turns out it’s an antique salt glazed wine jug likely made in the late 1800s. Possibly German.
That’s Bacchus on the front. The handle looks like a twig.
It’s a charming thing in amazing condition and I am so jazzed to have found a true antique at this thrift store!! It’s not my first, but they are rare as hen’s teeth. My previous antique find there was in late 2018–this fabulous antique majolica bulldog pipe stand from Austria.
Thankfully I find just enough things at this thrift store to keep me stopping in. But persistence is key!
How about you? Any good thrift store finds??
Wishing you happy hunting,