Finders Keepers!

I love buying and selling things. But mostly I love hunting for them. It’s the adrenaline rush we all crave–spotting the really good (undervalued) things from the ordinary, mundane or just plain junk and buying them before anyone snags them! Some of you know exactly how this feels.

And 98% of the time I buy things with the intention to sell them and they get listed in one of my online stores. But then every so often I change my mind because I realize that this is an item I really, really like and am not likely to find again or be able to buy again.

Like this vintage sommerso ashtray in red, gold and clear glass. It’s a beauty. And at one time I had it listed on two different sites for a year and it was my youngest who asked “Why are you selling this? We all like it.” And that took me back a step or two. She was right. I deactivated the listings and at least for now it’s part of our “permanent collection.” (This type of glass, typically made Murano artisans, is not uncommon, but tends to be expensive, from the low $$$ on up.)

I paid $20 at a thrift store in Santa Cruz, CA.

Vintage sterling silver puffy heart charms (1950s and earlier) are a gold mine these days and in demand. In 2019 I was thrilled to find this packed bracelet for a snip of a price ($148) on Etsy. I had intended to remove the charms and sell them individually ($35-$80 each). Some are enameled, others are inset with rhinestones, some are engraved with names or initials. But once I got the bracelet, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t break it up. It almost felt like sacrilege. So instead I enjoy wearing it! Maybe some day I’ll sell it on.

This quirky wood box was made from bits and scraps and has writing on the side. I can picture a dad helping his child make it in the 1940s. I listed it for a while and then unlisted it. This touches me in a way that no fancy designer piece ever will. It’s now in my permanent collection.

Bought it in an antique store in New York state for $5.

These vintage glass Christmas ornaments (circa 1930s-1950s) were in a $6 Goodwill bag with others. I sold the fab Italian ones (making a tidy profit), but decided to keep these old sweeties–I think in part because I have none from my childhood. After my mother died over 20 years ago now, I’m sure our dad just tossed out our box of Christmas decorations. He is not sentimental. But there was one little, very old cast iron bell that had belonged to his mother’s family. It was a plain thing but I really wish he would have saved that one.

It’s nice to have a few older ones to put on our tree.

Along the Christmas theme, years ago I had thrifted several Italian plaster wisemen that had once been part of a nativity set, but alas I later discovered one had been decapitated and reglued. As a repaired piece he wasn’t worth reselling but I didn’t want to toss him out, so now he resides most of the year on top of my curio cubbies. (Surprisingly individual pieces from nativity sets sell for me. I focus on the vintage Italian ones.)

He enjoys a more prominent position on our living room mantel
during the holidays.

I bought this Victorian mother-of-pearl horse head fob years ago at my cousin-in-law’s small collectibles shop back in my hometown in NY state. Kurt was far more knowledgeable than me, but did not have an online presence and I’m guessing he did not have the walk-in clientele who appreciated this fob. When he quoted me a price of $5 I thought I’d heard him incorrectly. What a deal!!

Online these sell for $200 upwards, but so far I haven’t wanted to part with it!!

So these are a few of my keepers over the years. Rather an eclectic group, but then my aesthetic is quite eclectic!

I would love to hear what you’ve kept from your treasure hunts…or what you look for specifically!

Wishing you a happy beginning of fall,



  1. What lovely collection of different pieces, Karen. They are really beautiful, all of them.
    I feel the same about items that might not be “designer” or “expensive” or trendy, but they fascinate and speak to me. I prefer weird and quirk, or simply different.
    I find hard to part with some old silver pieces, for instance an 18th C chamber candle holder, or old paintings, like a very old picture, likely late 18th/early 19th C, unframed and quite damaged but just so attractive in my eyes.
    And then there was an old vintage glass brooch, you might remenber that one, which I unlisted and worn – sadly it fell off my jacket without me noticing and couldn’t find it anymore.
    Still, it’s good to enjoy a few special pieces 🙂
    Hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the old Christmas ornaments. I have one of the clip-on birds, but he lost all his tail “feathers” years ago. But for a few novelties, I only hang glass ornaments. I’m not sure where my childhood ones went, or the old light strings, with large bulbs and those huge metal reflectors. My mother cut down to just a table of decorations, so many she gave the rest away. She did that with things, with no warnings to me or my brothers.
    That’s a lovely ashtray. I collect glass ashtrays. I love how heavy they are, and the advertising ones are a piece of Americana, I think! I never smoked, and currently know no one who does, I just like them as glass!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lisa. Your Christmas tree must be lovely each year. Your mom sounds like my dad. He often gave away things (some that belonged to us kids) without warning. I came home one year to find my treasured marble collection gone.

      Advertising ashtrays are so fun. I have one from a restaurant that I worked in when I was 18. It no longer exists and I treasure it.

      XOXO, Karen


  3. I have a hearts charm bracelet that I love to wear. I’ve collected the heart charms from everyplace that I travel, making it fun to have something specific to look for. So fun when it’s for you and not just to sell.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ann, your bracelet sounds like a wonderful way to remember your travels. What a treasure! I am enjoying wearing the one I bought even though I didn’t assemble it.

      Hugs, Karen

      P.S. If you are ever in the Bay Area, let me know if you want to spend a day thrifting/antiquing.


  4. I love your puffy heart charm bracelet! I started to collect some little heart charms to make a bracelet but stalled out. (Same sad story for the snowflake bracelet and squirrel bracelet – they’re just kits at this point. I did finish a deer forest bracelet and found to my dismay the antlers get caught in *everything*.) In a “what was I THINKING???” moment, I paid an astonishing amount for a bracelet with more than 50 German shield charms. Turned out the bracelet itself was in no way a normal size. It’s too big for a wrist, too small to double, too big for an anklet (??), too small for a choker…I really don’t know what the seller was doing. I don’t have the patience to take it apart and sell the charms individually. So here it sits. I’m looking at it right now and just shaking my head.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lisa. Hope you get back to adding to your heart bracelet!! The 50 German shield bracelet sounds amazing (my daughter is a big fan of those), but it’s strange that it doesn’t fit any normal part of the body! You could turn it into a necklace by adding a plain link bracelet of similar style to the back.
      Hugs, Karen


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