Ups and Downs…

Anyone remember the old playground seesaws? I enjoyed them, but you really had to trust your partner! (The kids in this blurry vintage photo look like me and my brother Dave. It’s not, but it is uncanny.) Nowadays you won’t find seesaws on most playgrounds. Too dangerous?? I was reminded of them as I thought about my vintage biz. Always lots of ups and downs!


Everyone in retail gets excited when Q4 rolls around. Me included. It’s the time of year we all make the most profit. And blessedly October has started off strong with some good sales.

So last weekend I decided to start packaging up my orders and getting them ready for my post office run on Monday. And BLAM. My wireless printer stopped connecting with my computer. So I did all the usual checks and reboots and what not. Still not connecting. Later I try just hooking up my laptop with a cable and it still won’t print for me. Humph! My husband tried his magic too, to no avail.

I’ll admit I’m frustrated. I can’t do my business without a functioning printer. I’ll need to print my labels elsewhere for now, but I am not a happy camper. NOT! [New printer is arriving in a few days…phew!]

So my errands on Monday did not include the post office, but I did get to my neighborhood thrift store…naturally! And on Tuesday when I did get my orders dropped off at the post office I popped in again. And on Thursday on my way to the plant nursery. So three visits this week. But…

Mostly, I Said No…

Sadly there were a lot more no’s than yes’s. Here are just a few of the things I declined to buy over the last three trips.

This vintage divided tidbit dish in hot orange was fabulous as was this quirky folk art candlestick, but I didn’t think either would provide the profit margin I wanted. (The dish was priced at $7.49. The candlestick just over $5.)

These vintage copper baby bootie bookends are a bit of fun, but just not on trend. More of a movie prop nowadays. They’ve been on the shelves for several weeks now. Priced at $11.09.

I love selling vintage cloisonné pieces but this lovely vase had too much damage for resale. Alas, alas. (Though it was gone the next time I popped in.)

I got excited for a minute when I saw this mille-fiore style glass perfume bottle, but couldn’t find an acid-etched maker’s mark on the bottom. I peeled back the price tag to find a “made in China” sticker. Now it still was a nice thing, but from a resale standpoint I decided to take a pass.

I’ve sold a similar quirky Haitian coconut globe before and it took a loooong time to find a new home. I’m not going down that path again.

This worn antique silver plate teapot is a bit of over-the-top ornate, Victorian nonsense and it took all my will power to leave it behind! I honestly don’t know why I’m attracted to this kind of fussy thing!

This kimono was pretty with some embroidered bits and in decent condition, but I just wasn’t certain. Was it really silk? Did it have any age? In the end I left it behind, but I should have bought it.

I wanted to buy these new-old-stock applique napkins, but they were part of a set with a large soiled tablecloth for $21 and and I really didn’t want the tablecloth. Had to leave these behind.

This 1940s/50s “See a pin and put it up” box was a bit of vintage cuteness priced at $6.79. But the resale value is pretty negligible. Even as a freebie, this might not be worth trying to sell online. So, sadly a no go.

Did I Buy Anything?

Well yes. My favorite is this small pressed glass trinket/ring box with an English hallmarked sterling silver top. Love finding this kind of thing! It’s marked for silver maker William Devenport and assayed in Birmingham in 1921. It was tarnished and I couldn’t get the top off in the store, but I knew a hot water bath would loosen the top and a silver wipe would take care of the rest. And it did! Such a sweet old thing.

Listed at $45.

Okay, this very tarnished silver-over-copper brandy snifter trophy by Sheridan was a bit of folly on my part, mostly because it was overpriced, still I thought it was a bit of fun. Likely from a college debate club. And did you notice1969?

Such a groovy time! (And yes, I was around in 1969, but not this old.)

I am taking off the worst of the tarnish to assess condition (tarnish hides scratches) but will not make it pristine. This will make a delightful quirky vase or just a cool piece on a bookshelf, very dark academia!

I haven’t been buying as much pottery and ceramics lately but I thought this small (unsigned) pottery vase in cream, mossy greens and blues was handsome and could work in many decor styles–boho, contemporary, coastal, etc.

Pottery is actually one of my favorite categories, but it hasn’t been selling quickly for me lately.


So three trips in total–90 minutes spent–and just three things purchased. Really not a great return on the effort I put into it, but I did enjoy myself nonetheless! Love the hunt. I envy those folks that fill up their cart every visit to a thrift or antique store, still I find enough to keep my biz ticking over.

Recent Sales…

Here are sales from the last 10 days or so. An eclectic mix to say the least. They represent finds from Goodwill (6), an estate sale (1), a flea market (1), a friend gift (1), ebay (1), Fabmo (1) and Shopgoodwill (1).

My most lucrative recent sale was the Kosta Boda “Brain” sculpture. I spotted that on an end cap at Goodwill and it just felt like something good. Weird, but good. After I got it home I found a Kosta Boda acid mark underneath the head. Good sign. Turns out it was worth a bit. Paid $6.29, sold for $350.

Some of these had been in my store for years (like the Paris painting and the fabric), while others were snapped up in a couple of days (like the promo cars and the Aldomartins sweater).

I’ll close for now wishing you happy hunting wherever you live,

Karen

2 comments

    1. Hi Lisa. Yup…I’m not sure why Goodwill thinks those baby booties are valuable!! That brain thing was one of my best GW finds. I had no idea it was worth so much when I bought it but I was later doing a happy dance at home!

      Like

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