Antique Mall vs. Estate Sale

These last few weeks I’ve been finding great things at my neighborhood thrift store. Surprising things. And it’s been very satisfying. But I do enjoy sourcing from other venues and on a sunny Friday I decided to venture further afield. Glad I did!

Antique Mall

First I headed to a small antique mall that was having one of their rare sales. The 40 or so vendors are vetted and the mall prides itself on having only true vintage and antique items. I don’t visit often, but when I do it’s always a joy looking at so many sigh-worthy items. The real trick is finding anything priced with a bit of meat on the bone to resell in my Etsy store. It’s NOT easy. Truth is I rarely buy anything here to resell.

But after 45 minutes I found two things from the same vendor. (Spent $30.) I couldn’t pass up this vintage early 1940s photo album of Jack–from baby to pre-K. Jack must have been a very beloved child because there are tons of photos and tons of him with every possible relative. Then at age four (ish) the photos stop, even though there are plenty of pages left in the album. Makes me wonder if something happened to Jack?! (I did find out the names of the parents and their last name, so I’m going to do a little research.)

I’ll split the photos into groups and likely add them to lots with other photos. Won’t make much profit, if any, but I like old photos and will keep a few for myself.

I also bought a small bronze bud vase tagged as 20th century Japanese. I need to see if I can get the Kanji characters translated, but this could be the sleeper in the group. In general Asian bronzes are desirable and some valuable. Is this one? Not sure yet, but it has a beautiful form, impressive weight and appropriate wear/dings/patina for a piece with some age. (I’m guessing 75 to 100 years old.)

Estate Sale

Since this estate sale was more or less on my way home from the antique mall, I knew I had to pop in. They had just opened this three-day sale 90 minutes before and I wasn’t in the mood for a crowd, but thankfully it wasn’t…crowded that is! Turns out the family was running the sale for their deceased grandfather/great grandfather. Not an easy task. Here are some of their advertising photos…

Photos courtesy of

There were quite a few smalls, but most were humble, run-of-the-mill items. Nothing that excited me. And some items were strangely pricey, like the plain glass amber-colored ashtrays for $15 each!! Oh dear. I whizzed through the house in about 20 minutes. Still I had gathered up five unpriced items and was given a price of $20 for the the lot and was fine with that. (One $2 item was for personal use.)

Photos courtesy of

My absolute favorite find for today was this glass sugar shaker with a sterling silver top. It was amidst the flotsam and jetsam on the table shown above. (Can you find it?) I knew it had age and quality and was rather excited when I found the sterling mark on the lid.

Turns out it’s a Gorham piece, early 20th century. Other than a little tarnish, it’s in good condition, including the glass which has a beautiful shape and feel.

I spotted this tooled leather box in the kitchen haphazardly piled on a bunch of other stuff. No one was paying it any attention and I quickly snagged it. Turns out it’s hand carved by Heiser, Denver, Co. The company was best known for their outstanding saddles and holsters. Was this box possibly meant for ammo or a small gun?

So far I’ve found three solds: $15, $138 and $238. I haven’t found any others for sale online. Not a one. This is likely my best find of the day!!

I also bought two vintage (1970s) cookbooks. These are both from the Grange organization which I just learned about from my friend Kristie who joined her local Grange!

I enjoy looking through old cookbooks. There are always recipes for things we never eat anymore (like weird Jello concoctions), but definitely tons of good recipes too. I’m tempted to try this coffee cake recipe which is now almost 150 years old.

The family also advertised having quilts and there were probably 15 or so in clear plastic bags in one bedroom, but none were for sale…yet. Other relatives hadn’t been by to pick ones they wanted and the family wasn’t sure how to price them. I felt a bit bad for one shopper who was there especially for the quilts.

The Result

I need to do more research, but in the end I think the estate sale will bring the greater profit. Not surprising really!

All in all it was a lovely morning and I feel good about everything I bought.

Wishing you happy hunting,



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