Choices in Life and Business

Every day we make hundreds of choices. Mostly inconsequential choices. Choosing what we’ll eat for breakfast. (Today I had leftover fish!) What to wear. To watch news or not. To have that second cup of coffee. (Lately I have.)

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on

But of course some choices are more substantial and have consequences, maybe even some risk. Like a few days ago. It was Saturday and I went to my neighborhood thrift store about 10 minutes after it opened. It’s a small store and it was super busy. So many people. Though everyone was wearing a mask I didn’t feel totally at ease. People kept getting too close to me! And afterwards I met a friend for lunch–which in “Covid Purple Tier” is verboten. Outside restaurant dining is ONLY for folks living in the same household. Still we sat at opposite corners of a four-person table and I felt safe. Both the lunch and company were delightful. I was with a friend of some 30+ years and she shared experiences and advice about a knotty family situation that was so helpful and such a blessing. And it was an insanely beautiful day–68 F and sunny. After all these months of “friend deprivation,” I needed to do this. It was a risk I was willing to take.

In my vintage business I make many choices too–mostly about inventory. These tend to have more consequences–both good and bad! Occasionally I choose unwisely and discover the item doesn’t have as much resale value as I anticipated or is damaged in a way that makes it unsellable. Some of these items are now in a box awaiting delivery to my favorite boutique thrift store. I could sell them anyway and recoup my money, but I am making the decision that my time would be better spent on better items! Particularly as I don’t have the energy I used to.

Here’s one…it’s a signed wolf kachina doll originally $240 with lots great details and I looked it over so carefully in the store and missed one bit of damage that has me shaking my head. Can you spot it?

Yes, it is missing one whole arm! I actually thought about listing him for $40 or so as a “wounded kachina.” but then decided against it.

But on the bright side, this Victorian English silver pyramid stud bracelet (found on eBay) was a great choice. It’s fully hallmarked for Birmingham, 1882, sterling silver and a pleasing 46 grams.

Paid $75.

Similar bracelets can sell in the hundreds. Here are some solds…

And here are some current listings…

So I’ll do okay with this piece. And despite being 139 years old, the clasp still works fine (can’t say that about the cheap jewelry made today). And it looks great–a bit goth, a bit tribal. Okay I am in love with it. (May take a while before I list this!!)

At my crowded thrift store I spotted these two 1970s Otagiri Japanese ceramic owl figurines. These are not going for as much as they were in the past, but I was still pleased to find them.

I’ll list these at $35.

And this mid-century modern Italian carved terracotta vase with a fish motif was a an easy choice. Can’t you picture this in a Mediterranean kitchen with a view of the sea out the window??

For me, this porcelain dove candleholder was a tougher choice. The shape looked Scandinavian, but the glaze style looked more Russian, similar to Lomonosov. And the candleholders themselves were very shallow.

Paid $6.69.

And the maker’s mark stumped me too. I’ve looked for hours online and in books and have done an image search. Who made this??? Please share if you know.

But I did buy it for its prettiness and slightly exotic flair, though I hope to find out who made this so I know if it’s a $40 candleholder or a $140 one!

Here was another tough choice. These two small stone (likely alabaster) busts were in a small boutique thrift store and I kept circling back to them, picking them up, looking at them and then putting them down. Finally I decided to say yes to them for $24. They are so sweet. But here was my dilemma, is anyone interested in things like this?

I’ll need to do more research on these to figure out a fair market price.

I choose not to buy the Quimper France Breton sugar bowl missing its lid for $1.49. Initially I had it in my basket and then I took it out. The only piece of Quimper I have sold (a plate) took forever to sell and when all was said and done, I made a whopping $8 profit. 😔 And without a lid I knew I’d have to sell this bowl cheap. It went back on the shelf.

This one is for sale on eBay for $12.50.

By the time I had circled around again, another customer had taken it. But I was happy with my decision.

I also chose not to buy these vintage cast iron bookends for $7.

I found them crudely rendered and a little sad. At first I thought the people were crying over something in the basket and then perhaps they were praying for the harvest, which seems more likely. Either way I didn’t find them appealing. I tend to listen to my gut on these matters, but I also checked online. There are a lot of them listed for sale (from $18 a pair to $99) and they typically sell for $22 and under.

Here are some recent solds on Worthpoint…

So leaving them behind was a good decision.

Today I am making the choice to stay home and get some things taken care of. Feels right on this dreary day.

As always, happy hunting,


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