A Sad Backstory and More Good Stuff

First here’s a followup to the liquidation estate sale I went to a few days ago. Out of curiosity I googled one of the names I had come across at the house and discovered a tragic history. In 1986 one of the sons died from a brain tumor. He was just 18. The kid had actually started his own computer business at age 14. Less than a year later in 1987 the heart-broken dad committed suicide, leaving behind his wife and another son. 

That news just stunned me. Then it occurred to me that perhaps that explains the depth of the sadness I felt at this estate sale. This was a home that had been filled with intense grief for many years. Not that I think inanimate objects pick up our emotions and yet there are those rare times when I’m in a home and a certain feeling becomes predominant. I assumed the sadness was just because of the mess and the photo albums no one wanted and all the personal bits left behind, but maybe it was more than that. Too kooky?

On a more positive note, the mother apparently remarried at some point and the remaining son has a wonderful career in music/music education and three children he adores. (I know because he blogs about them.)

Phew…I wasn’t expecting that backstory when I started my internet sleuthing!

Now let’s leave that behind and move on to talk about what we all love—hunting for vintage and antique stuff!

Finds from my neighborhood thrift store

I found this fishtail art glass beauty and even though the bottom was all scratched up, I spotted a signature. At home, after an hour or two or research, I deciphered it as Adam Jablonski. Yeah! He’s a master glass maker born in Poland who started making his creations in 1952. I’m dating this piece between ’70 to ’90.

.Paid 9.49. I’ll likely list this for $125.

While I don’t buy much glass, when I find signed pieces I’m on board! Of course a lot of what shows up in thrift stores is not signed and is made in China. While it can be pretty, it has little resale value and I leave it behind. I would love to find “fire and light” pieces but so far no luck, though to be be honest I’m not sure I’d recognize them in the wild!

I also picked up this Royal Worcester porcelain egg coddler. A few years ago I wouldn’t have bothered, but when my friend Sue gave me several pairs, they sold fairly quickly. (Dang, who knew? And how the heck do you coddle an egg?) This one was never used and had the remnants of a price tag on it.

Paid $5.09. I’m going to wait to see if I can find a mate for it!

Finds from my collections

In an effort to continue downsizing some of my personal stuff I am letting go of most of my vintage recipe cards. Some were from my mom and grandmother. Others were given to me at one of my bridal showers long ago. I decided since I wasn’t using or displaying them, I could let them go.

I am saving a few however, like the quintessential Chex Party Mix my mom (and every other mother) made in the ’60s and ’70s. You can see she used this card a lot!

A keeper!

I’m also letting go of more of my jewelry. For a time I collected antique photo mourning pins and wore them in little groups on my blazers. But I haven’t worn these for a few years so I decided it was time to move them along. This collection of three is rather bittersweet because they are all so young!

I added this small vintage gold-tone locket to my “let go” pile. I can’t remember if I ever wore it or not! It’s by W & H Company and shows some wear, but is still as sweet as can be.

Finds from online sources

On eBay I spotted this vintage sterling silver charm bracelet. There were no wildly valuable charms (or so I thought), but enough good ones to give me a reasonable profit. Here are the charms that swayed my decision: the mechanical Charlie McCarthy charm ($30-$35), the lucky 13 with moon ($20), a mechanical typewriter charm ($25) and the woven flower basket ($20-$25), mechanical pencil sharpener ($20), two enamel flags, plus many others.

Paid $70.

But as it turns out the plain map charm paid for the whole bracelet and then some! It’s a map of France by famed jewelers Cartier.

Gold versions of this charm sell for $440 and above.

I wasn’t able to find comps for this rare sterling silver version, but I decided on a price of $125. It sold in three days! Drat…I likely could have listed it for a lot more. Still I can’t complain.

SOLD for $125.

Most charms do not sell quickly, but they do sell. For those of you who are interested I’m working on a blog post about vintage sterling charms and what I look for.

I’ll close for now wishing you all happy hunting.



  1. Dear Karen,
    Thanks for sharing the story of those who lived in that estate. I’m relieved to know that despite the intense grief, the mother and son managed to rebuild a happy life.
    Lovely finds and a nice ebay purchase. I saw your charm and the next time it was gone 😉
    I finally have come around to list some of the things from my “let go” pile but still plenty to go.
    On the other hand, i couldn’t resist buying a quantity of very fine vintage glass/crystal for my own use from a local stall who does house clearances. The previous owner must have been rather well off and had good taste 🙂 These were not something I needed but I liked them so much, I couldn’t resist. Do you like crystal?
    Have a lovely week and keep safe xx


  2. Hi Gabriella. I was so surprised when I found out the bigger story about the people who had lived in the estate sale house! But it does sound like they eventually found happiness.

    I’m glad to hear you bought some lovely crystal for yourself!! I’m not really much for “fancy” stuff, but I do like crystal. I have a thrifted Waterford bowl that I’m likely going to keep. And there is nothing like drinking wine from a crystal goblet. I hope you enjoy using your crystal…and write a blog post about it!

    XOXO, Karen

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, what a sad story. Sometimes it’s better not to know, but the Internet makes it so tempting to try to find out. I know I always try to find out more.
    I have a few of my mother’s recipe cards. I love that she wrote little notes on them. She called my father “Dar,” short for “Darling,” although people assumed his name was Darwin, since his shortened name was Win. One card says “Dar loves” about the cake.
    Are your cards old enough to measure ingredients in relation to everyday objects? Like “butter the size of an egg” is a popular one!


    1. Lisa, it was sad to find out the history about the estate sale house and family, but I’m glad I did.

      I love your story about your mother’s recipe cards. How sweet!! Mine do not have any annotations, but some are super stained from use. I think most are from the 1960s/1970s. I hope they find a good home.

      All the best,


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