Working in the Gloom and an Empty Flea Market

Gloomy London. View from my hostel window, circa 1980.

I’ve been drifting in an out of a funk lately. All the cloudy, rainy days here in California haven’t helped–we’re having London weather without the excitement of being in London! (And I do love London, even in the rain.)

My motivation seeps away in this weather and I’ve had to force myself to do things. Like yesterday. With resignation I started tackling some of the remaining items that are stored under my desk but not listed in any of my online stores. Some I have holding onto for years for various reasons. (Yes, years!) It was time to make some hard decisions. And I did. Maybe I was just in the mood to be tough. I started a pile of things that I felt weren’t really “good enough” to sell online and I literally just keep throwing things in that box–things that were not worth enough, had too much damage or that I think will take forever to sell. And frankly some of it I was just tired of looking at it!

Thankfully I did find a few things to sell in the pile like this packet of Raphael Tuck’s souvenir postcards of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation that I had originally bought for myself years ago.

With the Queen’s rather recent death, I’m hoping there might be some interest in this scarce set.

Well on Saturday, since it wasn’t raining, I decided to see if my local flea market was happening. It was but with just eight brave vendors spread over the whole parking lot. Still I bought a few things. Afterwards I headed to the next town over for a 25% sale at my favorite boutique thrift store.

In the end I didn’t get much of a haul though I spent $65. I paid more than I should have for the cross though I will make a small profit. Still, I am pleased with all these bits.

One vendor I didn’t buy from was super chatty. I remembered her from a previous flea market over a year ago. (She was chatty then too!) Well after 10 minutes of listening to various stories from her life and trying to politely leave, I wished her a profitable day and started walking away. And wouldn’t you know it, she continued trying to talk to me. Yikes! She seemed desperate for an audience.

At another seller’s tables, I picked up a large solid brass candleholder with a dragon motif. It was fantastic. Then he said he wanted $200 for it! Holy smokes. $200!! I carefully set it down and walked away. That was a “he’s dreaming” price–especially for this flea market.

But I did spend a bit of time with “the jewelry lady.” Haven’t bought anything from her in months and months and decided to get this sterling silver Mexican cross with stones (including malachite) and the big alpaca silver (nickel, copper, zinc) pendant.

Grape pendant listed for $40.

From another seller, I was happy to buy this big, heavy, beautifully cut, old crystal ashtray. Given my crystal fetish penchant, it’s one I’ll be happy to keep if it doesn’t sell. It has a couple fleabites (to be expected in older pieces) and a very faint cloudiness in the bowl. Nothing egregious but I’ll hopefully bring it back to full radiance with a bit of vinegar and baking soda.

I also bought this English transferware creamer from the same seller because it was designed by Clarice Cliff!!, though it is totally atypical of her own work. Still just adorable.

I almost never, ever, ever buy kitschy figurines like this, but he was well painted and perfect for Easter and spring. And for some reason I was drawn to him. When I put him in my basket I kept thinking “What am I doing? This is not me.” And yet, it seemed like a sweet reminder of childhood. Something my grandmother would have put on her mantel. And I could picture other people loving this too.

So there it is. Just a few bits. No amazing scores prompting happy dances. But considering what I had to work with, I’m happy. And it was grand to be out sourcing and good to get a bit of “fresh” inventory.

Wishing you happy hunting,


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