My neighborhood thrift store, just a mile from my house, has been tough picking for months and months! I only go about once a week now (down from my usual three to four times) because it’s been so bad–overpriced, not enough good stuff hitting the shelves and swarmed by other pickers.
Still it dawned on me over the past four weeks that I have found a few things. Not many. But enough to make it worth my while to pop in now and then.
Just this past week I found this vintage glass advertising ashtray for “The Rocky Bend” restaurant. I have a thing for these. Can’t explain it, but I think they are cool and such an anachronism these days. Think about it–when was the last time you remember seeing someone smoke in a restaurant? This one is in beautiful condition and rather scarce.
The vintage pewter market is a bit soft, but when I saw this vintage Norwegian pewter mug/stein with its fancy lid and claw feet, I was “Yes, please.” Just a neat, quality piece.
And I found one of my holy grails…a piece of old Roycroft in the wild! Finally! It’s an Art Nouveau-era pen tray. There is a discolored area that could be polished out but otherwise it’s darn lovely.
And this piece was a total, fantastic, happy-dance surprise. I unearthed it beneath some picture frames on a shelf. It was heavy with a painted bird on the front and a name on the back–Houston Llew. It seemed like “something.” I put it my basket and then looked it up later whilst in the store.
Turns out Llew creates these “Spiritiles” of wood, copper and glass. The new ones sell for $163. This particular one–number 135 “Alight”–is retired and versions are listed online from $225 to $495.
And lastly this little handmade signed pot, dated ’78. Not valuable, but I have an affinity for vintage pottery pieces like this. I generally put them in small groupings to sell. They make wonderful instant collections.
Five very different things, but each fabulous in its own way. Total cost $17.75. No complaints about that. There is potential for some decent profit!
But like many vintage sellers, it’s been a slow spring. A few full-time vintage Etsy folks have mentioned on social media that they’ve needed to take on temporary jobs to tide them over. It’s certainly a different time than it was a year ago!
Still as my biz has slowed down a bit, plenty of other things have filled the void–from “good things” to “necessary things.” This week I have plodded away at more of the necessary things for my brother’s estate–from making tedious phone calls to various financial institutions to filling out forms–six hours in all. Most of the forms need to be notarized and the one bright spot is that I have a notary public nearby who I am happy to support. She and her hard-working relatives have run a mail store for decades.
And I am finding more things at home to put in my store. I hadn’t forgotten about my superb Bonnie Cashin green leather coat (a surprising Goodwill purchase from 2019 for $49.99)–but I have obviously dithered about listing it. I think because I am hoping to get my eldest daughter to model it for me, but at the time her life was super busy and it never worked out. Maybe now I can snag her.
While I may just add this to my Etsy store, I have also contacted The RealReal store here in my city. I’m not sure they deal with vintage stuff, but Bonnie Cashin is a classic, well known designer. Thought it might do well there. The RealReal also sells online, but I have seen some negative feedback from consignors who share how in the end they received very little $ from the sale of their items. Maybe I should just stick with Etsy!
Wishing you happy hunting,
…Or try Poshmark for the Bonnie Cashin coat!
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Hi Liz. You’re the second person to suggest Poshmark to me. I’ve gotta check it out. Thanks!! Karen
I like the old ashtrays too! They are so heavy. Oh, I remember the smoking/no smoking sections in restaurants, and they didn’t work! Then smoking was only in bars, which I don’t frequent so it didn’t bother me. Now, I see people standing outside on the curb to smoke.
My latest ashtray, from St. Vincent de Paul a few days ago, is a turkey (or some bird) in a coat, hat, and a pipe in his mouth! I’m working on just where he’s from!
That’s a fabulous coat!
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Lisa, your turkey ashtray sounds fabulous!! You’re right…smoking sections in restaurants didn’t work. And it seems crazy to me that you could once smoke on planes!! Hugs, Karen