It’s always dangerous walking into a thrift store itching to spend money. Monday was a sale day, 35% off, which is about as good as it gets at my neighborhood Goodwill thrift store. So I joined the line and trooped into the store when it opened. I was excited, expectant, hopeful. As I perused my favorite aisle–pottery on one side, metal on the other–a woman ran past me back to the paintings. A few minutes later she had a cart and had filled it with artwork and blank canvases.
I began to feel a bit agitated. Was I missing all the good stuff? Why wasn’t I finding anything? I looked and looked. I was determined to find something to buy. Well I finally found a few things to put in my basket, but gosh, it was a struggle.
Here’s what I bought: I thought this French biscuit tin/bank of a Citroen delivery van with movable wheels was quite fun. This was in the toy section. These appear to be somewhat uncommon in the resale market.
I love marble vases and this black one was a stunner, but it had some chips on the base. I hemmed and hawed about it. The chips are not obvious or distracting, but still I generally don’t buy pieces if they are damaged. In the end, I decided to go for it. If it doesn’t sell, I’ll use it.
The next day after dropping off a few orders at the post office I decided to hit up three boutique thrift stores in the next city over. Honestly, the stores are small and pricey and it’s always a crap shoot if I’ll be able to find anything with meat on the bone. Still I enjoy looking.
The American Cancer Discovery store is a favorite of mine. They always have wonderful items and friendly staff. On this visit they had a quantity of art pottery, some quite intriguing, including a mid-century vase that I coveted for my own collection, but it was priced at $225. Oh dear! The rest of it was also priced too high for me for resale. But I did like this little Powers & Weightman pharmacy box for $1!
And this Italian artichoke ceramic spoon rest was cute. I wasn’t going to buy it, but I wanted to get the pharmacy box and didn’t have any cash on me and knew I couldn’t use my credit card for a $1 purchase! I went around and around the store trying to find something else to buy and finally settled on this spoon rest which I liked though my profit on it will be minimal. (I think I could have chosen better.)
I walked into the GW (Goodwill) boutique store without much hope. The small store no longer sold any hard goods, just clothes, accessories, new jewelry and random vintage books for $4.99 each. I haven’t bought anything here in years so I was thrilled that I was drawn to a few things almost immediately and both vintage. The first being this Coach shoulder bag. It was made in their New York City plant in the 1970s! Outside it’s still lovely. Inside I found bits of tobacco (which I will clean out) and the interior pocket has weird bleach-type marks inside the pocket. Can’t figure that one out! Still there’s no egregious damage and it still has its hang tag!
I enjoy looking at their fun display of necklaces (here’s a photo taken two years ago) though I never find anything. Typically all the jewelry was made yesterday.
But this time I spotted a double-strand crystal choker. The aurora borealis flash in these crystals was beautiful, but it was the box clasp that drew my attention. Most modern necklaces close with a lobster claw or toggle. This was vintage (1950s/60s) and signed “Vogue.” Perfect with a little black dress when you want to have a little Mad Men glam.
The third store, a Junior League store, was a bust. All the best vintage stuff was priced at retail, high retail. Vintage evening bags were priced at $100! Small, plain sterling silver demitasse spoons were priced at $40 each. I walked around the store sighing.
This is typical, but I continue going here because every once in a rare while I spot something that I know has money left in it–like these antique barley twist oak candlesticks from England I bought two years ago. I paid $30 and sold them for $265, marked down from $295. Could I have gotten more for these? Perhaps but I was happy with that result.
So my thrifting for the last few days was a mixed bag.
In memoriam to a fellow dealer
I just found out that a cousin-in-law of mine died in August and it’s hit me like a ton of bricks. Kurt was kind and funny and we shared a loved of vintage and antique things. Every visit back to my hometown (nearly 3000 miles away) meant a visit to Kurt’s tiny collectibles store where we’d chat about our recent best finds. Naturally I also bought from him! One of my favorite purchases from his store was this tiny 1800s Gorham candlestick. It was fabulous.
While I didn’t have his years of experience or expertise, I felt that he respected me and I remember him telling me “You have a good eye.” That meant the world to me coming from him. I’ll miss you Kurt.
I’ll close for now wishing you happy hunting,