Finding Unique Vintage Things to Sell

I’m always on the hunt for unique things for my Etsy and Chairish stores, but during this pandemic I’ve really cut back on my sourcing time. Still when I do go out I’ve been blessed to find some great items. Here’s how my week went…

Yesterday, I had some lovely “me” time. I had arranged to pick up an item from a FaceBook Marketplace seller one town over and I decided whilst there I should visit my favorite boutique thrift store. I had 40 minutes to kill before they opened, so I dropped into the diner next door and had breakfast–a yummy blueberry waffle (though the whipped cream application admittedly lacked finesse!).

I am one of those weird people who actually likes dining out alone now and then. It was lovely sitting outside with the sun on my back, enjoying my waffle and people watching.

I had just paid the diner bill when the thrift store opened up next door and I made a beeline for it. The store was blissfully filled with lots of “new” items since my last visit over a month ago, but it is a tough picking venue because of the prices. They had lots of pretty china, but it’s just not my thing and much of it is out of favor. But I might have been tempted by a few pieces if the prices had been cheaper.

The first thing I picked up was this small rolled and textured pottery vase. It’s marked OWEN and is by Ben Owen Pottery out of Seagrove, NC. While this is one of the more humble Owen pieces, it was still a good find.

This wonderful item falls in the “what was I thinking!” category. It’s a handmade antique oak carrier thingy. The door slides up and down and is removable.

The top is carved with leaves and the initials “MJM.”

I thought it was beautifully made and intriguing, but the question remains, what was it meant to carry? I’ve ruled out coal. My husband and daughter are plumping for pets but that doesn’t seem quite right either. Possibly food like apples, onions or unshelled walnuts?

Besides not knowing what its original purpose was or what it could be used for now, there was another red flag. It had an antique store price tag still hanging on it that made me think the dealer who was trying to sell it had had no luck and donated it. (He/she had it priced at $145.)

Still I bought it…a $40 white elephant. Honestly what was I thinking!

Now this Facebook Marketplace buy was a hands-down great find–two vintage Giovanni Desimone candlesticks. These Italian pieces by Giovanni are great fun and sought after, as are those by his two daughters who continue his pottery business. Sold prices for similar candlesticks vary wildly, though the average seems to be around $40 for one.

Paid $12. Still researching what I’ll list them for.

Another fun Facebook Marketplace find–six yards of Congo African wax cotton fabric. So wild and bold! While fabric is not a fast seller for me, it does sell and is easy to store and ship. I typically look for high-end designer fabrics, those made of natural materials and quirky prints.

I go to my small neighborhood thrift store about twice a week these days and gosh this place is getting super busy with customers. Still I’m finding a few things…like this tiny polychrome seed pot. Its checkerboard design has a pleasing graphic look. It’s signed by Marta (or Maria) Acosta who I believe is from the Mata Ortiz area of Mexico.

This looks more fabulous in person! I’ll list this charmer for $45.

Typically I look for pieces that are signed and the more intricate the painted design, the better.

I also found this vintage shrinkwrapped set of Italian miniature cookie/fondant cutters. I bought this for our own use because they are so darn cute, though I may sell them.

These are all about an 1.25″.

I just had to buy this carved wood Don Quixote statue made by Ouro Artesania (Spain) even though I can’t imagine there is a large market for these! He is more finely carved than others for sale and quite striking though he has suffered a barely noticeable partial thumb amputation.

Known as “The Pledge” I’ll list him for $40.

This small chunky crystal candelabra had a “Made in Western Germany” tag on the bottom so despite the price ($7.99) I thought it might be a good gamble. After a little research at home I discovered this was a “Wiesenthal Hutte Block Crystal Candle Holder.” While the angel candle holders by this company are fairly common, this style apparently isn’t.

Not sure what I’ll list this for.

All in all I’m pleased with my finds this week, but I really need to get cracking on listing all this stuff! (Any thoughts on what the antique oak carrier was used for??)

Happy hunting and stay safe,


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