Last Friday (which we will wrap up shortly), Erin and I hit up a few sales. One of these was pretty far away—in Harrison Township, but I really wanted to go because it looked like there were tons of photographs there.
I wasn’t prepared for how cool some of these pictures were, though. It seems like one of the people who lived there must have been a photography hobbyist, because there were lots of 8x10s that were clearly made in a personal darkroom. I’ll talk more about the boolsheit I went through to obtain these photos, but for now, I just want you to enjoy them as much I have!
The first is a Rat Terrier and the second is a Dachsund. There were a few actual portraits like these, and then many action shots:
Do you like how the one is totally jumping off the other one’s head?
Here are some pics with their people:
And other beasts…
My favorites, though, are these:
And finally, my #1 favorite:
I’m not sure I’ve ever found an “old” thing that I love more than these pictures. I haven’t decided which I’m going to sell. I don’t need to keep them all, and they could, as I’ve found in the past, make me some money.
I’ll keep you all posted!
Last Thursday, Sarah and I were diligently setting up for our annual garage sale. We decided to take a break though because we saw a sale listing that looked particularly intriguing. The sale was clearly of a hoarder, but it looked like a neat and tidy hoarder, similar to Best Sale Ever. Even though the sale was all the way out in Troy (about 40 mins. away) we still made the trek.
The upstairs of this sale was really promising. These old flags were BOSS, but each one was priced between $25-$55. They must have known this was pricey because look at that little sign they stuck on the wall near the flags: “VISA M/C DISC.” Yeah, we get it…people can charge their expensive nautical gear.
There was also an entire wall of old salt and pepper shakers, and they were all cute! I don’t collect these, but I imagine that someone who does would be in hog’s heaven.
I immediately found these cute vintage sunglasses. They had no price and the guy running the sale told me $5. This turned out to be awesome because later I found more vintage sunglasses and they were all priced over $20 each. Here’s me wearing the specs in a totally non-embarassing selfie:
As we got further back into the bedrooms of the house, things started to get a little more freaky. The quantity of items was overwhelming.
Look at that blue man above screaming for help. LOL.
Literally every single person at this sale was trying to make sense of all the stuff. We all kept saying, “She must have owned a store. Yes, that’s it. She had a store, and it closed, and here are all of the things left over.”
But you guys, the lady who owned this house DIDN’T OWN A STORE. Heartbreaking, I know.
The basement was worse. Kudos to the people who ran the sale though, because everything was organized impeccably. (This is where we found the art capes.)
It was literally as though every single item in this house was secretly a tiny family of rabbits that just kept multiplying and multiplying. The woman probably only bought one of each item and then through some obvious witchcraft there was suddenly 24 of everything.
Obviously, the comparison to Best Sale Ever was shot. Everything here was newer and seemed very dollar store-esque. I breezed through the sale pretty quickly and then found Sarah in a mountain of greeting cards. I knew then that we would be here awhile.
Sarah did find some treasures buried in the rubble here, so I’ll let her tell you all about them. I ended up with a giant metal rolling clothes rack for $15 (we used it for the garage sale), the sunglasses I mentioned already, and a giant box of bubble wrap.
Update from Sarah: Erin is right—in general, there was a lot of organized garbage at this sale. I did find some treasures, and some funny stuff. First the funny stuff.
In the book area of the basement, I found a whole sexy section of shelving (tongue twister for you):
And the award winning book, Hugs for My Wife:
Not only was the house super organized, but it was organized by holiday, which was very helpful.
Some of it was dollar store quality, but other stuff was Hallmark store quality, which is one step up. Some of the stuff I found was vintage Joan Walsh Anglund stuff. Some to sell and some to keep. I want to keep these little plates—they’re cute!
They’re really tiny—don’t worry—I’m not going to start collecting commemorative plates.
I also found lots of vintage greeting cards, but most were ’70s and ’80s. Unsurprisingly, many of them were sealed packs. Hopefully I can sell some of these.
Hugga Bunch birthday invites?! Yes, please!
Erin found these Easter knee huggers—they’re so cute!
It was very nice of her to give them to me.
I also found some cute vintage ceramic Christmas items.
These were little plates made by Josef Originals—very cute.
This cute little house is hollow inside so you can put a little light or candle in there. Made by Lefton.
I also found some very cute wrapping paper and these old Gummi Bears Easter egg wrappers:
All in all, a very successful trip!
badkittyuno said: Are those guys styrofoam underneath? I got the same set from my aunt a few years ago. She’d had them for decades!
DTT responds: Yes, they are styrofoam underneath! I am now seriously amazed that not only have I seen these snowmen twice at different sales (here and here), but also that someone else in the world recognizes them. They seem like a craft project more than an item sold at a store. Maybe the idea was in a magazine or something and people everywhere made them?
All I know is that they are old and also SO cute.
Wow… with all the Antiques Roadshow posts and garage sale planning, we’re really behind on our normal Friday wrap-up posts.
Two Fridays ago, Erin, my mom and I went to some sales that looked pretty good. The first was in Dearborn and seemed like it had a decent amount of antiques.
There’s Cindy, inspecting the valuables.
A lot of the older pieces were pretty pricey.
This was a handmade high chair that Erin was obsessed with. To me, it looked like something the Dothraki made.
In the end, I found an old Pyrex travel thing—you know—the kind of thing with a warmer/carrier? Can you tell I cook ALL THE TIME? I also got a really cute sunhat that I’ll hopefully be able to use next week. Spoiler alert: DTT is going on vacation!
I found some other items but it was so long ago that I’ve forgotten about them. The one complaint about this sale was that a) the employees were a little pushy and b) they had too many people collecting money! Whenever you went into another area of the house, they would “ring you up” there, which just made everything take so much longer. Look people, nobody is going to steal that grandma’s old clothes.
Next up on our agenda was a sale that looked pretty high-end. We could tell because of the company running the sale. Anyway, even though it was high-end and a little pricey, I found some cool stuff. These people had a lot of really neat things in their house:
I was mesmerized by this thing:
We have these in our teaching labs at work and I could not figure out why in the world someone would have one mounted to their kitchen counter. Maybe they do powerpoint presentations for fun.
A few minutes into being in this house, my mom asked me to look on eBay to figure out if bagpipes were worth anything.
I tried, but in the end it was too complicated. I could not figure out which ones were or were not valuable, or whether this thing was even real! A few minutes after this, Erin came up to me and said, “Your mom’s buying a BAGPIPE?” Hey, she’s bought crazier things!
My favorite part of the house was the basement, where they had their collection of (repro) cast iron banks.
When I was down there, I also found this little model of me zooming around in my convertible:
For some reason, I really liked this picture:
In the end, I came away with this really adorable model of a carnival ride.
I love it so much. Adam does not.
The women running this sale were not very friendly at all. They were also completely unwilling to negotiate, which is a drag. I’m sure Erin will tell you more about that. My mom bought this thing:
I have no idea what it is.
The last sale on our agenda looked good to me because there were TONS of books:
In the end, I didn’t find much that was interesting. Except this old book about “sexual glands”:
I also found some cute little minis and some old Garfield placemats. Here are some things I didn’t buy:
And of course, this entry wouldn’t be complete without some info about what we ate that day. As I’ve mentioned, these days Erin only likes to eat at places with “family dining” in the name, so we ended up somewhere where she could eat this:
I think my mom and I would like nothing more than to forget this meal forever and ever.
Update from Erin: Sarah is right, the first sale had way too many sales people, and they were mega aggressive. I got in one room by myself and the guy there said, “I’m not letting you out of this room unless you buy a pair of shoes. We got too many shoes.” Um, ok, that seems kind of not fair/illegal. (I mean kidnapping women at an estate sale, not owning too many shoes.)
I actually did buy a pair of shoes which was hilarious. They were black Keds tennis shoes, brand new, and were $2.
I didn’t buy much here. I got Zach some soap from Saks Fifth Avenue because he loves fancy soaps and once had a soap blog. I know, very exciting.
The soap looks grody there, but it wasn’t. I also bought this (vintage?) cigar that says, “It’s a boy!” because we found out the day before that our baby is going to be of the male gender. (Do boys like estate sales? I HOPE SO.)
The second sale was fun to look at, but I’m really not into reproduction antiques. There were a few real-looking antique pieces in the house, but it was hard to trust them when everything else was new. These Toby mugs were real, but super super pricey:
I will buy a repro if it is MEGA cute. Some of the cast iron banks were contenders:
Ultimately though, I didn’t buy any. I did want to buy this large Santa bulb (I pulled this pic from the internet). While the one I found looked “vintage,” you could tell from the markings that it was brand new…probably from Pier One or something. The filament inside was broken so it wouldn’t light up, but I thought it was still pretty cute as a decoration.
The woman running the sale told me $20 for this and I was astounded. I told her I’d pay $10 (still a stretch) and she seemed really irritated. I apologized and said I didn’t mean to offend her and then put the bulb back. At this point, Sarah and her mom were still shopping and I was out of breath from going up and down stairs while being pretty hugely pregnant. I asked the same woman if I could sit on the couch in the living room while I was waiting (it was a nice couch so I thought I’d ask) and she looked like she wanted to kill me. I did end up sitting there but I just barely put my butt on the edge. Oy.
The last sale was nothing to write home about, except that I found these adorable snowmen. They were missing their hats which I found nearby, and then proceeded to place back on each one of them. I didn’t buy these, but I was happy that with their hats on, someone else might.
P.S. Sarah’s mom didn’t buy the bagpipe after all.
I know, it’s a mouthful.
Last Monday, while I was at the secret auction with my parents, I spotted this gem and literally LOLed. I considered buying it because it would be an excellent white elephant gift around christmastime.
Who cares that she’s missing a finger? She’s a sexy beast. Speaking of sexy beasts, check out her gross buddies:
Here’s a closer look at the she-devil. Dolly Parton up in there!
Before our visit to Antiques Roadshow ended, we had one final piece of business: an interview with executive producer Marsha Bemko!
Marsha revealed the highest priced item brought to the Detroit stop of Roadshow, and also let us know some great beginner tips to antique collecting. Hint: Your Bibles aren’t worth anything!
Thanks Antiques Roadshow! We’ll see you next time!
We hope you all enjoyed our Part One recap of the trip we took to Antiques Roadshow. It was a really long read, but thanks for hanging in there!
Today’s entry is all about some of the cool people we met at the Roadshow, and perhaps more importantly, the treasures!
Before Sarah, Zach, and I arrived at Cobo Center in Detroit, my dad had already been there early that morning. He unfortunately had to wait in the crazy long triage line to get in (more proof that Timmy needs his own blog and thus press credentials). Luckily, he brought a chair for the 3 hour excursion.
People actually started offering him money for the chair because they were so exhausted standing! Anyway, Timmy also brought two items for appraisal. First, a 1948 Babe Ruth watch and second, a Ty Cobb signed check.
His appraisals went really well. Much better than my illegal scrimshaw one. The Babe Ruth watch is from 1948 and is a “caricature watch.” The most famous caricature watch is from the 1930s and features Mickey Mouse. Other notable examples are The Lone Ranger and Dick Tracy.
My dad found this watch at an estate sale about 5 years ago. And the tale is a really great one. The sale was of a baseball collector. If I remember correctly, the man had worked for the Detroit Tigers, so the house was packed with all sorts of Tigers things. I wasn’t there, but my sister went with my dad, and they both brought giant bags to load up. While waiting outside, my dad chatted with another guy waiting. My dad explained how he collected all things baseball, and the other guy said he collected only vinyl records.
Inside the sale, the stranger my dad had met walked up and handed my dad this Babe Ruth watch. He said, “Hey baseball guy, I found this for you,” and proceeded to hand it over. Such an INSANELY kind gesture, considering that I’m about to tell you what this watch is worth.
My dad paid $90 for the watch at this sale, and flash forward, he’s here at Antiques Roadshow. The appraiser was shocked to see the watch in its original box, with its original plastic baseball case, and with all of the paperwork inside (even the purchase receipt). He appraised it at $3,000!
This is my dad’s most favorite possession, and he was thrilled by the value. Of course, he will never sell it though!
The Ty Cobb check ended up valued at $1,200, which was also more than my dad expected. He bought it in the 1970s at a sports card show for $125. Apparently Ty Cobb’s family sold a bunch of these checks from his estate after he died in order to raise money for his foundation.
Everyone we met at the Roadshow had just as much fun as my dad, even if their appraisals weren’t as high.
Karen brought a baby doll from her childhood. She would change its diapers while her mom changed her sister’s diapers. It appraised for $15. I think this was because it was vinyl, and not bisque or composition. Still a very cute doll!
We also met Debbie and Susan, sisters from Royal Oak. They brought their great-grandmother’s Homer Laughlin pitcher and an old alabaster and marble framed bust.
Debbie thought that her entire family might end up fighting over this vase, but said she reconsidered when it appraised for $75. She said everyone assumed it would appraise a bit higher because of its age, but that they will still all cherish it a lot!
The alabaster and marble framed bust was purchased by Debbie’s and Susan’s mother at a church rummage sale. At the time, their mother paid $80. The bust appraised for $500-600, which was a great surprise! Maybe the family will fight over this item now instead of the vase!
At some point, I saw a woman walking around carrying a Dream Baby doll. I practically bum rushed her.
Jayne and Sue got this doll from their aunt. They remember seeing it growing up, and knowing they couldn’t play with it. The doll is from the 1910s or 20s and is made by Armand Marseille. It appraised for $75-100, which I was shocked by! I thought for sure the doll would be worth more because it was in amazing condition. I do have a soft spot for Dream Baby dolls though, so I’m biased.
We saw lots of other amazing treasures at the Roadshow, and some of them I suspect will be shown on the program when it airs.
Kachina dolls! I would probably give up my first born child to own these (sorry Zach). I don’t love all Kachina dolls, but that furry guy in the front is exquisite!
I don’t even know what this next thing is, but Sarah would probably give up her first born for it (she really likes Peanuts stuff):
We had several people ask if we saw this velvet John Lennon portrait roll by:
And yes, yes we did.
We also saw this giant buffalo roll by:
But what was the COOLEST thing that Detroit brought to Antiques Roadshow? Well, we didn’t know! But Marsha Bemko, the show’s executive producer, sure did! Stay tuned for Part 3 of our recap, when Marsha reveals the highest priced item at the Roadshow!
Update from Sarah: This is sort of a non-update because I don’t have much to add! Erin got it all right! The one thing that surprised me was how positive every single person was who we talked to. They had to wait so long to get their items appraised, but all of them said they had a great time and loved the chance to meet a whole bunch of new people while waiting. I guess that’s the midwest for ya!
About the “art smocks”…
lezzomatic said: they’d still work really well as smocks though with the vinyl-like surface and all. Are they collectible?
DTT responds: We are Tumblr dummies and can’t figure out a better way to respond to people who ask questions within Tumblr notes rather than through Disqus. I don’t think they’re collectible, but it looks like if you happened upon a Pee Wee Herman mask, you’d make a few bones. :)
Update from Erin: Again Sarah, ART CAPES not “smocks.” Ugh.
Yesterday, Sarah and I took a break from setting up our garage sale (which FYI is TOMORROW in Livonia, in Old Rosedale Gardens). We headed out to Troy for what looked to be an insane hoarder sale. We’ll be doing a longer entry on this sale next week, but for the time being, all you need to know is that the whole sale pretty much looked like this:
[Editor’s Note: I just noticed that brown bear face-planted in the foreground of this photo, and am now dying laughing.]
Anyway, at this sale, I noticed these things, which I called “art capes”:
These are like little plastic apron shirts that I remember wearing in kindergarten while painting. Or at least I remember something similar to these…
Anyway, I said to Sarah, “Did you see those adorable art capes?” I thought Sarah was going to explode or punch me or maybe start seizing from disbelief. She yelled out, “ERIN!”, which sounds like “AIRRRRR-INNNNNNNN.” You know, like a really calm and collected person speaks, except not.
Sarah went on to explain that these are actually Halloween costumes from the 80s. I didn’t believe it. Sarah is 7 years older than me, so she DOES know more about the 80s, and yet still, I am still skeptical.
If these are costumes, they’re lame. And I feel bad for any kid who had to be these instead of a ballerina pig like I was.
Update from Sarah: Can anyone else back me up here? These were costumes, right? ALSO, Erin said absolutely nothing to me about wearing something similar in kindergarten, so I think she’s trying to cover her ass.
On Monday night, I called Cindy and zz popps to see if they were going to their secret auction. They were, so I hopped on board! Normally on Monday nights, I get my fitness on (Turbo Kick, WHAT UP?!) but I decided that treasure hunting was going to take priority.
In case you didn’t read the other entry about this auction, it’s a little different than most. At any given time there are THREE different people auctioning off items, so it’s a little stressful, but in a good way. You might remember that last time, I scored a GIANT lot of Muffy bears and made a small fortune off of those. Well, here’s what I saw when I walked in on Monday:
I’ll be frank—I was almost trembling with excitement when I saw all those Muffies sitting there, waiting for their new (temporary) home with Mama Sarah. Right away, I ran over to my mom and exclaimed something like, “Awwww sh*t, look what I found!!!!” and showed her that picture on my phone. I mean what’s the likelihood of that happening twice—the only times I’ve ever gone to this auction?!
There were other cool things up for sale in the other areas—mainly in what my parents called the “guy area.” In the “guy area” there’s an auctioneer who mainly sells old toys, tools, and other collectibles. While I was looking at things in this area, I stopped to check out this thing of marbles:
Because I’m a dummy, I did not realize that this jar did not have a lid, so I proceeded to knock it over when I grabbed it to take a look. Fortunately, only a few were lost in the abyss. I also saw some other interesting items for sale:
Lots of early ’70s heads up in the mix.
That buddy knows what’s up. Also, for a while my mom wanted one of these lightening rods for her garden (?! I know!) but thankfully she changed her mind.
After dumping the marbles, I high-tailed it outta there, and headed back over to Muffy-ville. It felt like I had to wait FOREVER for them to put them up for auction and in the meantime, my mom stopped over and won this terrifying thing:
The funny thing is that my mom sent me this picture and the name of the file is Jiggy, but his name is actually Zippy and apparently he was from Howdy Doody. You’re welcome, mom. Anyway, I think she paid $3 or $5 and it looks like she will definitely make a profit! Also, people would NOT stop commenting on this purchase.
After getting Zippy, my mom went to another auction area and I was left to stress on my own about the bears. They started with the ones in boxes like this one:
There were six of those, and I got them for $3 each. I got a little worried because I thought, “Are they going to sell ALL of those Muffies one by one?” I wanted to maximize profit, of course, so I wanted them to be sold in a lot! Well, spoiler alert: In the end, I got that GIANT group of bears for $10. YES YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY!!!!!!!! Here’s the big pile of bears:
I was seriously so pumped.
A few minutes later, a guy came up to me and said, “You’re the girl who won all those teddybears. Whachoo gonna do with all those bears?!” I should have been a smartass but I told him they were semi-valuable. He then proceeded to talk my ear off about how one of his friends has a huge collection of Shirley Temple dolls that she’s willing to part with. Cool story, bro. I didn’t bite and then he said, in a very annoyed tone, “I’m trying to give you a hint here.” I said I didn’t get what he was saying (even though I did, I just didn’t want any more dolls after scoring 30+ teddy bears!) and he proceeded to call the woman on the phone and hand me it! WTF?! It was so weird! Thank god the reception in that joint is terrible because the call dropped and I was able to get out of that one. I told him that I really wasn’t interested and he gave me the most “you are a fool” look I’ve ever seen, but then insisted on giving me her number! In retrospect, maybe I should have called her, though:
There are lots of other Shirley Temple dolls that aren’t worth nearly that much, so I’ll just hope THOSE are the kind she owns.
Right after this wacko encounter, the area with all of the cool older antiques started getting put up for auction and I won this egg scale that I had my eye on.
My mom won a bunch of other cool things:
Cool old tin toy made in Italy.
And a tin sign. I am not sure whether or not this is actually old or if it’s a repro.
My mom also bought some not so great stuff:
The biscuit tin had potential but I think it’s missing it’s glass window. Still, maybe she’ll resell it. One like it resold for a decent amount but it was complete.
I think the big winner of the night was zz popps. He bought a Federal Sign & Signal Beacon Ray for $80. Apparently it’s the same emergency light they used on Hawaii 5-0.
There are different models of these beacon emergency lights, but one identical to my dad’s sold a few months ago for $500! We’ll see what happens.
All in all, a very fun night! The only regret I have is eating Nachos and chocolate cake for dinner. At one point, a lady next to my mom was raving about the homemade frosting on the chocolate cake, so I tried it.
Betty Crocker all the way!!! Still delicious. I shouldn’t be surprised, though. At the end of the evening, they put out all of the hot dogs that did not sell in a paper basket and people can come up and grab one for free with their grubby little fingers.
Utterly disgusting. And that’s coming from a true hot dog lover.
The rumors are true. Dig This Treasure was lucky enough to snag some press passes to the Detroit stop of Antiques Roadshow. If you’re not familiar, Antiques Roadshow is PBS’ highest-rated ongoing primetime series, in which guests are invited to bring their dusty old treasures in for appraisal. The show is best known for surprising antique owners with high-price valuations for items the owner believed to be worthless.
The Detroit event had 28,922 ticket applications, with only 6,000 tickets being issued. Each attendee is permitted to bring up to two items for appraisal, which meant that over 10,000 appraisals were expected this day. Which also meant, long lines…
Luckily, after checking in at the media area, we were escorted by Roadshow aficionado Peter, who whisked us right past the 2+ hour wait. (Sorry everyone!)
They call this first waiting area —yes, it’s only the first—triage. Once you get through triage, you must show your appraisal items at this table:
The Roadshow person working here will decide which category of item you’ve brought. There are 22 categories. I asked Peter if there is a sort of “catch-all” category for items that don’t fit into the other categories. Kind of like ebay’s infamous “Other” category. Surprisingly, Peter said no. I assume this means that Antiques Roadshow has seen every sort of item under the sun, even the weirdest of the weird.
Peter had us pull out our appraisal items. All three of us (me, Sarah, and photographer extraordinaire Zach) had items in the Toys & Games category. I also had some folk art, and Sarah had some jewelry.
After getting a category ticket, guests approach a line of Roadshow workers. They are there to guide you to your next line of waiting. Here, you will wait to meet the Roadshow appraisers (of which there were 70 at the Detroit event).
All of the appraiser tables are arranged in a circle. This is by far the most chaotic, and yet most interesting, part of the Roadshow. The lines are pretty haphazard and we heard lots of tales of line jumpers. At the same time, this is the best area to scope out what other people have brought.
Don’t worry! We will have a whole entry tomorrow on other guests’ items. Anyway, this waiting area was also the best place to see all of your favorite Roadshow appraisers. They are hard at work looking at each item, researching it if necessary, and then calculating their best price estimate for the item. [Fun Fact: All of the Roadshow appraisers participate on their own dime! The exposure is good for their appraisal businesses.]
We stepped up to the Toys & Games appraisal table. I had brought a weird sort-of-taxidermy toy horse that I bought last year at a Brooklyn, NY flea market. I knew that it wasn’t worth very much, but I was super curious as to how old it was.
Appraiser Julie Scott figured the horse wasn’t really that old, perhaps only a few decades. She also humorously said that it looked like the horse had its “neck smashed down with a hammer” because it wasn’t anatomically correct. The horse was in fact made with real horse hair, and Julie explained that the very best and oldest toys like this one are made from fetal horse skin because the hair lays nice and flat. My horse was made from an older horse. Julie also suggested that the horse may have come from Mexico. In the end, she said it was worth about $45, which means I definitely overpaid (I bought it for $70). Whomp whomp! I still love this weird little guy and his gnarly neck.
Zach had brought a box of his lead soldier collection. Julie seemed much more interested in these toys than my horse. She began to rummage through the assortment.
The soldier on horse above was estimated to be from the turn of the century. Zach also bought this at Brooklyn flea last year. Julie said it was worth about $50, which is exactly what Zach paid for it (the seller originally had $150 on it). In fact, a few of Zach’s soldiers were worth between $35-$50 each. The more common ones he had were about $10 each.
Julie liked the soldiers, but was clearly more interested in the lead Santas that Zach had. She said that his large skiing Santa (made in the USA) was from the 1920s, and his sledding Santa was from the same time, except from Germany. Each were valued at around $50, which is great because we got them for way, way less.
I’ll let Sarah go over all of her appraisals. She had one at the Toys & Games table too, and after that, we headed to the Folk Art appraisal area. I had brought my coveted whale tooth scrimshaw to be examined.
We walked up to the table and lo and behold, there was Wes Cowan from PBS’ History Detectives! I told him that we were big History Detectives fans, and he kind of chuckled at that. Otherwise, Wes was all business. I pulled out my scrimshaw and he asked me what I knew about it.
I explained to Wes that the tooth was supposedly from the 1920s, and supposedly from a MSU Zoology professor’s collection. I told him how I bought it at an antique festival, to which his eyebrows sort of raised.
Wes then proceeded to essentially “school” me about my scrimshaw being illegal. The problem here was that my scrimshaw was indeed on a real sperm whale tooth. Most scrimshaw nowadays is on plastic fake teeth. You see, in 1973, sperm whales became protected, and the selling of their ivory was banned. Only ivory, and thus scrimshaw on real ivory, that is at least 100 years old can be sold legally. Wes had serious doubts that my piece was that old. In fact, he couldn’t really tell how old it was at all—just “not that old.”
I had secretly feared that my scrimshaw was illegal when I bought it, but had held out hope that it wasn’t. I felt like a real bad kid getting caught smoking outside of school or something. I felt like Wes Cowan himself was ashamed of me. This didn’t stop me, however, for asking how much this illegal scrimshaw was worth.
Turns out that the appraisers cannot appraise illegal things. That would be like me taking a giant bag of cocaine up to Wes Cowan and asking him how much the going street price was on it. Wes did eventually reveal to me though that if a dude came up to me in an alley on Cape Cod, opened his jacket and had illegal scrimshaw, he would probably want “a few hundred dollars.” Fair enough…at least if I illegally resell this, I’ll make a profit.
After our appraisals, we got a peek at some of the actual TV show taping. The way this all works is that everyone who attends Roadshow gets an item or items appraised, but not all of these appraisals are on camera. Producers are flagged down by appraisers when a particularly interesting item comes up to the table. The item’s owner gets whisked away to hair and make-up, and the appraisal ends up being filmed on a tiny set near to the appraisal tables.
The individuals chosen for filming are super lucky! Only about 50 appraisals are filmed, and remember, there were about 10,000 appraisals done this day!
After peeking at a few of the filmings, we caught up with some Roadshow attendees to ask all about their items and how their appraisals went. Stay tuned for all of that goodness!
Update from Sarah: Ok, so I knew nothing about Antiques Roadshow before this trip, so my mind was a little blown. First off, I’ll just say THANK GOD for Erin. She is so good at talking to strangers. Here’s proof:
That was about 30 second after meeting Peter the tour guide. Look! They’re already BFFs! I know this is poor quality but I had to share. Pictures on iPhone were prohibited except for in the triage area, so I took a couple of pictures while I was allowed! (After the triage area, we had Zach as our pro photographer, so thanks to him!)
Anyway, Erin’s excellent at talking to strangers and I am not. She kept whispering things to me that I should ask during my appraisals, and asking if she was talking over me. Heck no! I don’t do that well in crowds of people in big open spaces like that—my eyes dart around and I have no idea what to look at—so I was just trying to keep cool and calm while there were 8 zillion people around.
Oh also, one other thing—I felt REALLY BAD about getting to skip that insane triage line. But also very grateful! You should take another look at how crazy it was.
Oh well! Guess everyone just has to deal with it when there are world famous bloggers in the hizzy.
Here’s the first item that I had appraised:
That adorable bunny that you see is Bunnykins, my dad’s stuffed animal from childhood. My dad gave me Bunnykins before I can even remember—I’ve had him for what seems like forever, and I’ve always kept him on my dresser. I love him. But I don’t know anything about him, so I thought I’d have someone give me the lowdown.
Julie Scott (I just wrote Jill Scott and then remembered THAT’S A RAPPER) also did Bunnykins’ appraisal.
She looks a little pissed here, but rest assured, she loved Bunnykins. I learned a few things about him. He was made after WWII—probably around 1952 or 1953, which makes sense. He’s also not made of mohair, which I thought he was. He’s synthetic. But she did say that dressed bunnies are very collectible, and that he is VERY cute. True dat. Also, he’s worth about $90. Even with his to’ up feet!
The second item that I brought with me was a diamond ring that I inherited from my mother-in-law, who passed away two years ago.
It was her grandmother’s engagement ring, and it is absolutely gorgeous, and I am blessed to have it. She wanted me to have it in case Adam and I ever had a daughter, so that it could keep getting passed down. I got it appraised the year she gave it to me, and I just wanted to know more about it. This baller, Kevin Zavian, did my appraisal and he sounded like a true New Yorker.
He told me that it looked like it came from the early 1900s—between 1910-1920, and that it is interesting because the prongs/setting are platinum, but the band is 14k gold. Usually platinum is matched with 18k gold or higher. He thought that maybe the band was added later—possibly in the 1930s, meaning the top was probably originally on a necklace or brooch. He also told me that retail, it would probably run about 3K less than what it appraised for when I got it appraised! Oh snap!
This disappointed me at first, but then Erin explained that an insurance appraisal is different than the sort of appraisal he was doing. Also, he estimated the number of karats in the ring incorrectly, and I only know that because of the previous appraisal. Anyway, it was fun to talk to him about the ring but he sort of made me nervous with all of his do-dads and special eye pieces. Also, him and Zach bro-ed down about watches. Apparently, Kevin is a “watch guy” so it’s his favorite thing to appraise. Cool enough!
Stay tuned for more exciting Antiques Roadshow tales!
You may remember that a month or so ago, Erin and I found a secret auction where they were selling lots and lots of dolls. My main purchase that I thought might make me some cash were these creepy doll heads for $10.
I finally sold them last week and let me tell ya, it was awesome. People started bidding them up really early on, and right away I was amused by some of the buyers’ eBay names. My favorite, by far, was “ArtsyFartsyFairy,” and she ended up winning the auction. Part of my theory about why these sold for so much was that a week before that, I had gotten a new iPhone because zzPopps accidentally broke my old one during our garage sale. Check out my baller eBay pics!
My other theory was that crazy doll ladies wanted these for parts—especially the sleep eyes inside. I’ve sold some really old sleep eyes for quite a bit of money in the past. Here’s what the ones looked like inside these doll heads:
All of them had these eyes and they were all in great shape. Anyway, at the end of the auction, here’s what I made:
I emailed ArtsyFartsyFairy and asked her what made these heads so desirable, and here’s what she said:
To learn more about Shirley’s Junque Jarz, check out her blog. But here’s a picture of one of them:
Anyhow, here’s proof that people will buy your stuff on eBay and do all sorts of wonderful things with it!
You may have noticed that Sarah and I (and Zach) went to Antiques Roadshow on Saturday. We’re working on a whole slew of entries from that adventure, but in the meantime, I’ll indulge you in some tales from Greenmead. You may remember my visit to Greenmead last year, which was full of fun and treasures. In fact, I’ve written about Greenmead twice, but didn’t know the first time that I was at Greenmead. Yesterday’s stop there was sure to be lots of fun, and the weather was incredible.
We got to Greenmead kind of late (I slept in from total Antiques Roadshow exhaustion the day before), and so I rushed to the back of the place, assuming that most of the booths up front were picked over.
I LOVED this scrimshaw jewelry box, but the price ($120) seemed kind of steep for a resin piece.
I love when treasures are laid out in boxes like this. It has the appeal of a “digger” sale, but with less of a time commitment.
I imagined my future child pedaling this buggy like a true BOSS, but then I looked at the price and thought, “NO WAY!” It was $250, which is probably what it is worth, but out of my range.
I saw this walkway paver/garden stone thing and immediately died laughing. I had to walk away and come back to take a photo of it:
If you are like Sarah, you only noticed the insane price on that thing:
I also strolled past the same Hugga Bunch Hugglet that I TRIED TO BUY LAST YEAR! The guy selling it was not wearing mega crazy pants like last time, but he did still want $4 for it. I asked him if he would take $2 for it, and he said no. Last year, I offered him $1, so I guess each year I will go up on my offer. He said that “at least 10 people had looked at it that day.” I explained that I tried to buy it last year from him, at which point he said, “Ok, how about $3.” I said no, and told him I’d buy it next year for that price.
I actually only ended up buying one thing. It is a wooden Santa and reindeer that you stick on your lawn. It looks 1950s or 60s. I paid $8 for the whole set. And by “whole set” I mean only Santa and FOUR reindeer, because the others were mysteriously missing. Oh well.
I made Zach carry them because I was super busy eating ice cream.
Here’s the set in its full glory:
Zach also found a lead speed skating figure, which is adorable and will find right into his lead soldier collection.
Our friend Lisa came with us yesterday too, and she had the most finds for sure! Her first treasure was a vintage metal belt, which she wasn’t sure WAS a belt. It looks really good as a belt though, so I say go for it.
She also found a Blue Mountain pottery bear and cub, a locket necklace, some earrings, and a little framed art piece. I was told she is going to paint the frame hot pink, which sounds excellent.
Dig This Treasure is headed to Antiques Roadshow today!
There are a few other amazing antique events happening also, so we wanted to be sure to share (with the fellow Michiganders on here).
Head over to Midland for one of the LARGEST antique shows ever! The Michigan Antiques and Collectibles Festival with over 80 acres of vendors! Happening today AND tomorrow. Here’s our DTT entry from last year.
So happy hunting everyone! And maybe we will see you today at the Roadshow!
Thank you so much! We love you, too!
Our research process isn’t too scientific. We mainly use estatesales.net— this appears to be the #1 place for sales to be listed in the metro Detroit area. The interesting thing is that this seems to really range by state and even part of the state. I live in the western part of this area and Erin lives in the middle, and there are more listings by FAR in metro Detroit than other outlying areas. My brother lives in Connecticut, and they do not use estatesales.net out there—they seem to use estatesales.org out on the east coast.
As far as our procedure goes… we don’t draw a map. I have a really good sense of direction/location—I’ve always lived in this general area. We just take a look at the listings each week, and then one of us sends the other a short list of the best things out there… and then on sale day, we try to plot things out by location and by when they run until. If one sale looks insanely good, we start there and the rest falls into place after that. But many times, we are making choices about what general vicinity to travel to, because we live in such a suburban area that there are just LOTS of sales each week and not enough time to travel to all of them.
Estatesales.net also has a mobile version that shows you sales based on your location, and garage sale rover is an app that is super helpful—it basically pulls together stuff on Craigslist, estatesales.net, etc., based on location. It’s how we found the Sylvan Lake city-wide sale last Friday!
For auctions, we use auctionzip.com. As far as I can tell, that’s the only place where people list auctions out here, and they can range from regular old estate auctions, to weird things like industrial cooking equipment auctions.
Great questions, and I hope that wasn’t too long-winded! Thanks for your super nice message and happy hunting!
Nothing looked too fab on Friday, but hey, who are we to complain? We started our morning at a sale in West Bloomfield that looked interesting, because it was a living estate sale (I think?) at the home of a local AM radio DJ.
The guy had some cool stuff at his house, but the problem was that it was all a little too pricey or a little too big (furniture, etc.)
We had a discussion with a stranger about who this is. Conclusion? Not Gandhi.
That’s all the big stuff. Now on to the cool, pricey stuff:
Doesn’t that look like the inside of a cottage in the English Countryside? Or a J.Crew catalog in the ’90s?
Anyway, it was a mishmash of stuff, but the sale had started on Wednesday so it was a little picked over. Speaking of mishmash, here’s what I ended up with: Erin found me a big bag of old baby shower cards, a Henry Rollins book, a vintage Cape Cod pennant, and this awesome lamp that Erin tried to talk me out of:
Yes, it’s a glass block on top of a planter. Someone made this thing. But I really liked it! Also, Erin is a liar. She told me my hair looked good, and CLEARLY that is not true.
Also, here’s the super cool pennant:
Looks sorta dinky here, but it’s decent sized.
Next up on our list was a sale that possibly had Herend porcelain. Erin thought it might be knockoff but we were so close that we decided to stop by. When I saw the signs for the sale, I said, “Oh no! It’s _______ Estate Sales?! They’re the worst!” but like I said, we were there so we had to go. When we walked up to the sale, the woman who owns the company was right outside the front door smoking a ciggy. She’s about 1000 years old and said, “come on in, girls” while blowing smoke in our faces. The good thing about this is that Erin’s baby got it’s daily dose of nicotine, which it normally has to get by chewing Nicorette in the womb. I know—complicated.
Anyway, everything in this house was either terrifying, or insanely overpriced, or both. An example:
This is my fave find of the day, though:
Adam actually refused to believe that Erin DIDN’T buy this.
We high-tailed it outta there and got our Ellen’s Bakery and Cafe on. While we were here, Erin asked me what gazpacho was. This is what their “Rockstar” cookie selection looked like after Erin and I had at it:
The only other sales we had planned on going to were out in Rochester Hills, which was a half hour from where we were at, so we decided to find some garage sales nearby. Right away, we discovered that it was the city-wide Sylvan Lake garage sale that day, so that worked out well!
Many of these sales ended up being sort of duds, but I did find a few treasures. My favorite is this group of Del Monte plush fruit that matches the cute Christmas ornaments Erin found last month. Here’s Erin carrying them all for me, like a true friend:
Adam was not happy about this acquisition. I have other stuffed food items in my living room so these guys will fit right in.
We also found a sale where a young boy had a really baller snack stand outside. When we drove up, Erin exclaimed something like, “They have good snacks!!! THEY HAVE NACHOS!!!” I scolded her only because we had literally eaten about 10 minutes prior to the snack bar sighting. She claims she was just excited by the exoticism of finding nachos at a garage sale, but I’m not sure I buy it. Now I know what I’m getting Erin for Christmas.
Update from Erin: I can’t believe Adam thought I would EVER buy that scary lion “art doll.” Does he not read this blog? Does he not realize that in like 96% of all cases, it is Sarah buying questionable items and not me? So rude.
Case in point, I really tried to talk Sarah out of buying that lamp at the first sale. It is literally one of those basement window blocks that someone glued to something like a Harry & David leftover gift thing. I knew my efforts were fruitless though because Sarah does this whole routine when she tries not to buy something but then totally buys it. The psychology always ends up that she can carry something around and sometimes put it back, but if something is on a table and she has to walk away from it, she just can’t. It’s like leaving a fallen soldier. She can’t walk away. I assume this is because she has a good heart, and not because she is a hoarder.
Sarah covered how awful the second sale was, so I’ll move on.
The community garage sale seemed really promising. But then it wasn’t. I noticed Sarah’s increasing brutality as we scoped out each house, and decided that I had to start secretly filming. The results are a truly amazing peek into our DTT adventures:
The nachos moment is captured on there. And let me say that I DON’T EVEN EAT NACHOS. I was just so amazed that someone was selling NACHOS AT A GARAGE SALE.
Also, that Ryobi tent house is where Sarah found her little stuffed fruits…so someone owes Ryobi tents an apology.
So what did I find all day? Besides a Myst video game for my Nintendo DS (holla to the nerds!) I found some great fake vegetables to jazz up my vintage scales collection.
Here are some sexy lady shoes that I did not buy:
Look at those heels behind the flip flops. I’m like David After Dentist…is this real life?