Buying Out of My Wheelhouse

I recently bought some things that were out of my wheelhouse, but seemed too good to pass up. (Does that ever happen to you?) I figure if things are not too expensive, it’s worth the gamble and a great learning opportunity. I’ll be honest, it doesn’t always work out, but when it does it’s exciting. For example, back in November 2019 I bought four Slovakian hand-painted wood beehive doors. Such quirky things. Would these sell? I didn’t know, but I thought they were fabulous and for $24, worth the gamble. They sold within a few days for $125 (with free shipping). When all was said and done I made about $70 profit.

This past week I found these four black lacquer plaques (15.5″ tall) with abalone inlay. I don’t buy many Asian goods with my limited knowledge, but I thought there might be a market for these. What really sold me was the incredible flash in the abalone. They appear to be circa 1960s-1980s.

I’m guessing the men may be three of the immortals.
Such nice color in the shell.
Listed for $130 with free shipping.

This little sewing machine was bought from a friend who weaves, sews and knits. I know nothing about sewing machines and all my friend knew about this piece was that her husband bought it in England. Turns out it’s an Essex miniature sewing machine produced from 1946-1956. This one has the extended platform. It wasn’t marketed as a toy, but many children ended up with it so now it’s considered a toy machine.

SOLD to one of my readers.

This hand-painted ceramic planter, a thrift store find, has some age (I’m guessing 80+ years) and intriguing marks on the bottom It’s not my style or what I’m looking for these days but so sweetly Old World that even with the chipped feet, I thought it was worth saving and finding a new home. I can picture it in a kitchen corralling wooden spoons. Or how about on a mantel with old love letters?

Listed this for $80 with free shipping.

Here’s what’s on the bottom. After a bit of research I discovered these are the markings for Ugo Urbano Zaccagnini, an Italian company. The Z with the squiggle line was a logo of theirs that began being used in 1938.

Limited edition pieces were also signed “Zaccagnini.”

This beautiful Singer sewing machine charmed me with all its fancy bits. It was another purchase from my friend. Turns out it’s in the G series dating it at 1911. It will be a tricky one to sell and ship as it weighs 28 pounds! Right now it’s non-working as it needs a needle and a new rubber belt for the wheel. But even as a display piece it has value. I may end of trying to sell this on Craigslist or FB Marketplace.

I spotted this woven basket on Shopgoodwill and thought it was “something.” Did a bit of research and found out it was made by the Tarahumara tribe of Mexico. Not rare, but certainly handsome and one that would work in many decors.

I bought these two highball glasses at my neighborhood thrift store. Not my thing at all, but they were acid-etched “BLOCK” on the bottom and kinda cool. At 1 lb. 5 oz. each they have some serious heft. From what I’ve been able to learn these were made in the Czech Republic and are in the “Stockholm” pattern.

Time will tell if I’ll do alright with these. My only regret is that some of these will take extra care to ship and store. I keep telling myself buy smaller things. Buy non-breakable things. Buy light things. But my heart doesn’t always listen. Still at some point I may segue to selling mostly jewelry. I’m weary all of the excess inventory in the house!

Wishing you happy hunting,


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