Downsizing Gifts from Friends!!

In the past, several friends in the process of downsizing have gifted me with items for my online stores. And this just touches me to bits. In this biz there are so many little costs and fees that eat away at any profit that it’s a blessing to get free things. (Take for example the cost of shipping supplies. I was running low on a size of padded mailer that I use frequently for First Class mail items so I just ordered 250 spending $52. And the month before it was two huge rolls of bubble wrap for $60. I try to be frugal and reuse packing materials and boxes as much as I can, but sometimes buying new stuff is necessary.)

But I digress!

Yes, I love getting free stuff from friends, but truth be told, not everything I’m given makes it to my stores. Some things just aren’t worth it to list/ship for one reason or another. Still I’m always grateful.

The other day I picked up a few such goodies from a dear friend. Most of them belonged to her husband, now deceased some years. I knew him too and in the past my husband and I enjoyed many lovely parties and dinners with them. I found myself getting emotional knowing these belonged to him and the hard decision she had to make in parting with them! Almost all the things she gave me were way out of my wheelhouse, but that’s making it more fun. Lots to research. Lots to learn.

Old, Unique Tools

I didn’t even know what this was, but I thought it was fabulous. Turns out it’s a vintage German micrometer, a measuring instrument. The previous owner, Curley, put his name on the tool and the box. Don’t you love that…Curley?!

And what about this Stockton Profile conforming gauge, circa 1940s/50s. Darn cool even though I hadn’t even known this type of thing existed. This one is rather special with its original box and instructions.

These wrought-iron pieces are old. Antique old. The larger pair are sugar cutters or nippers back in the day when sugar was sold in loaves. The smaller pair appear to be rather cute pliers! I may just keep the pliers.

Quirky Ephemera

Admittedly a booklet on “How to Buy Sell and Burn Coal” is going to have a very (very) limited audience, but I think this rare, signed copy will eventually find a home…likely with someone in the coal industry!

This 1929 paper ice cream box hales from “Brown’s Velvet Ice Cream” in Annandale, Minn! How this has survived all these years astounds me. There is one repair, but otherwise it is quite lovely with its charming Art Nouveau illustrations all the way around. This is not my normal type of item, but people do buy and collect this sort of thing.

Sweet History, but a No Go

Sadly, the vintage Otagiri hummingbird music box that once adorned the top of their wedding cake would not only be a challenge to ship with all breakable parts sticking out everywhere, but it doesn’t resell for much ($7-20).

Now some of you may be thinking, “But you got it for free. You should still sell it.” Here’s my thinking. First I have to take time to photograph and list it (15 minutes) and if it sells, carefully package it for shipping (15 minutes). But sadly it arrives broken. Now I have to refund the buyer the full price including the shipping cost of say $14. So now I am $14 out of pocket. I’ll then have to take time to submit a postal insurance claim that may or may not be accepted. So in the end I could have spent an hour on this and be out $14.

1950s/60s Plastic Promotional Cars

In the box of goodies from my friend were three vintage plastic promotional cars. Two are savings banks! One has coins rattling around in it but I haven’t figured out how to open the back without the key. I’ve put these all in one lot.

Vintage Lionel Train Pieces

Holy smokes, there were five Lionel train pieces in the box! I’ll have to do a separate post on them once I learn more. I know nothing about model trains.

What’s Next

I was planning on going to an estate sale this past weekend even though the items in the photos didn’t grab me, but with all these gifted goodies on hand I decided to take a pass on the sale and focus on researching and listing them. (Good plan!)

I don’t have a high-volume business and certainly don’t need to be acquiring new inventory non-stop. I suppose that’s just as well because I have other things I do in my life. And I am always happy to add old, quirky bits even when I know they won’t sell quickly.

Wishing you happy hunting,



  1. I love how the coal booklet is signed! Thomas A. Marsh must have been quite well known in his field. I also love how below his name is lets us know he is also the author of “Combustion in the Power Plant.” That sounds like a The Simpsons episode, with the famous Thomas A. Marsh visiting the power plant! Yes, someone in the coal industry should like it. I hope some day (soon) there are collectors of the coal industry items, not someone still in the business. You just need the right person for that one. \
    Such a lovely cake topper. And a music box as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never thought I’d be selling a book on coal, but I do think it will eventually find a home. (I cracked up about your Simpsons’ reference to Marsh’s other book!) The cake topper is pretty, but sadly just not worth the work to try and sell.


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