Diamond in the Rough Part Two
Ok, so here is the conclusion to our epic saga of the “To Be Checked for Diamonds” vial. Let me begin by saying that I REALLY thought the joke was on us. No way in hell this container had any real diamonds in it.
Sarah and I rolled up to our favorite Cash 4 Gold joint, only to find out that it had moved. We both let out a really defeated “NOOO!” when we saw the empty building. Sarah decided to call them up so we could pinpoint their new location. This turned out to be THE BEST. The guy answering the phone explained that the new location wasn’t actually open for business yet, and he then asked us what we wanted….to which Sarah said totally nonchalantly:
"OH, WE HAVE SOME DIAMONDS TO SHOW YOU."
I died laughing when she said this. We have “some diamonds” to show you?!? Multiple diamonds?! No Sarah, what we have is a plastic vial of broken stainless steel earrings with CZ stones. I loved the idea of mega rich people just calling up pawn shops and being all, “Hello darling, may I schedule a visit today to show you my collection of diamonds?”
What was also insane is that the dude DIDN’T WANT TO SEE OUR DIAMONDS. WTF. So we drove to another pawn shop.
I told the guy at this pawn shop that the items came out of my grandmother’s house. I then proceeded to keep up this lie by repeatedly saying, “Come on Grandma, don’t let us down,” as the guy was looking at each piece of jewelry. I believe I was also chanting “Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds.”
We started to notice that the guy was sorting the jewelry into piles, and finally Sarah blurted out, “WHAT DO THE PILES MEAN?!” We were getting very excited.
As it turns out, most of the earrings in the lot were gold! They didn’t weigh much so I only got $17, but I was happy with this because my initial investment was $1.
And get this, there was TOTALLY a diamond in there! It was part of a tiny pendant. Sarah and I lost it when the dude said there actually was a diamond. This whole situation was supposed to be a big joke and here we were the proud owners of a real diamond.
I scrapped the gold part of the pendant and was left with the diamond as a keepsake. The pawn guy didn’t have any use for a loose diamond. He said he would need a whole pile of diamonds before he could sell them to a broker.
I am not sure yet what to do with my diamond. The pawn guy seemed to think it wasn’t actually worth that much. Sarah suggested I put it in the White Elephant gift exchange she is hosting this weekend, which would be hilarious. I’m considering it…
Update from Sarah: I don’t have much to add to this awesome tale except OF COURSE I told the first guy we had a bunch of diamonds—because at that point WE COULD HAVE!
Erin is truly an expert at giving things an extra dramatic flair—I almost burst out laughing when she started talking about “grandma” and how it was a shame she couldn’t wear any of of the family heirloom diamonds because none of them were matching pairs of studs.
A memorable afternoon, indeed!
Diamond in the Rough Part One
The sale we hit this past Friday looked packed full of vintage goodness. It was in Lincoln Park, about a half hour or so away. There were no other sales near it, so we were taking a risk by driving out. If the sale was a bust, we’d end up going home empty handed. Luckily, things turned out hilariously good for us…
The living room had tables and tables full of jewelry. That’s a photo above of Sarah perusing the goods. I haphazardly glanced and the moved on because it was clear that everything was costume jewelry, broken junk, or cheapy Avon-type stuff.
Things seemed like slim pickings elsewhere. I was starting to feel discouraged.
Check out the back leg of that horse. Someone stuck a pen cap or something on it. I was cracking up when I saw this. Total pirate/Robocop type sh*t right thurr.
In retrospect, I should have bought these sunglasses that said “To Hot.” They are kind of the best. I thought that people only confused to/too/two on the internet, but it just goes to show you that grammar has been long gone for awhile.
Things were looking pretty dire. Then we hit the basement and a guy working the sale started chatting my ear off. He was clearly lonely down there in the cellar and was looking for any company he could get. He started telling me about sales long past (we’re talking decades) and how some dude still owes him $25,000 for his share in a giant lot of gold coins he found. He then proceeded to share with me that this particular house we were at had its own hidden treasures. See this shelving:
That bottom shelf was actually a secret hiding spot that was filled with rare baseball cards and coins! The guy who owned the house had two giant safes, both of which were kept empty to fool robbers. All the real goods were hidden away in this cabinetry.
This seriously peaked my interest. There had to be treasures in this house! I just wasn’t looking hard enough! OK, time to work…
Ok, still not a good treasure. I returned to the upstairs and found this Nintendo magazine. I saw that the same one sells on ebay so I snatched it up for $1.
Sarah was still hard at work looking through jewelry, so I joined her.
And then I found this:
It was a vial filled with broken and mismatched earrings. I chuckled because what are the actual odds that this might contain a REAL diamond? I showed it to Sarah and jokingly mentioned how crazy it would be if in fact there WERE diamonds in here. Sarah told me to take my chances and buy the container, and at the very least, we would have a funny story about returning to that Cash 4 Gold place we visited once. The lady charged me $1 for the vial!
This entry is getting really long, so I will hold off on telling you about the contents of the vial until Part Two. In the meantime, check out my final purchase from this sale. This cool old automatic watch was still running just great, and will be an easy sell on ebay. They charged me a mere $2 for it! I had Zach put a new band on it so it might sell better.
Update from Sarah: That watch right there is a beaut! Maybe I’ll buy it if she puts it up on eBay.
So Erin summarized pretty well. The only thing I want to reinforce (if it wasn’t already crystal clear) is that there was not an abundance of really great treasures at this sale, even though the pictures online made it seem like there was. Here’s a basic summary of the sale:
So Diamond in the Rough is truly a perfect title for this post.
The one blog-worthy treasure I found I have to keep secret for now because it’s a gift. What I will say this sale had going for it was that the prices were insanely cheap. So cheap, in fact, that I felt sort of like I ripped these people off. When we got outside, I said to Erin, “Did we just rob them?” She answered in the affirmative.
Anyway, I ended up with some classics of children’s literature, and some cool costume jewelry.
Oh, and also this teeny tiny cow.
My total, including the really awesome cool find that I can’t blog about, was $6.50. WTF?!
Stay tuned for the second part of this story!
Shake Rattle & Roll
On Saturday, there was a mega snowpocalypse here in Michigan. The roads were pretty much a ghost town and the snow plows were mysteriously MIA. Zach and I stayed holed up all day watching the accumulation, until I went completely stir crazy and decided I had to get out.
Like a true crazy person, I decided to take the baby to the Plymouth auction nearby. I drove 5 mph all the way there and it wasn’t actually that bad. You could tell though that everyone at the auction was judging me hard. Sorry not sorry!
Everett usually sleeps anytime we go out into the world, but for some reason he was wide awake at the auction. I camped out near the door so that I could bolt in case he started screaming. Eventually he did fall asleep.
What I didn’t anticipate was that I had a baby in a giant car seat, and therefore it was impossible for me to go walk around the tables of items and see what was up for bidding. I figured I would just bid at random if something sounded good when it went up on the block.
After a million garbage-y items, I was getting frustrated…and bored. Finally, I grabbed the car seat and walked up to the front and started looking at the items. It was hard to negotiate the small area while holding a super bulky car seat, but it turned out to be worth it.
I saw an old silver rattle I wanted to buy for Everett, as well as a SASHA DOLL! Still in the box! Unfortunately it didn’t look like me (it was a boy doll) but I figured I could buy it to resell.
The rattle went up for auction first and it was in a lot of a bunch of other random items. I won all the items for $15. There was a knee brace in there that I gave away for free to some lady. There was also a set of old dominoes that I put on the ground and forgot about. If you have my dominoes, you’re welcome.
Everett loves the rattle. Also in the lot was an old sterling silver lipstick case.
There is a cool hidden mirror that opens on the side:
Only one dude was bidding against me for this lot, and after I won it, he came up to me and asked to buy the lipstick case. Knowing that he went up to $14 trying to win it, I told him he could buy it for $8. He scoffed so I then said, “Ok how about $5?” He looked at me like I was totally crazy! But really, he was the crazy one. I kept the lipstick case, obviously. It seems like these things sell on ebay, so it will end up there.
The last item in the lot was this pewter plane, which I might try to sell on ebay or just keep for Everett’s nursery. It is pretty adorable.
So after winning this lot, I was sticking around for the Sasha doll. And would you believe it? I MISSED OUT ON ANOTHER SASHA DOLL. This has happened SO MANY TIMES. Seriously, I am cursed. What happened was that some other dolls went up for auction and no one wanted them. So the auctioneer threw in another pile of stuff, which the Sasha doll was part of. I didn’t even notice. The whole lot sold for $20. I almost cried.
I went up to the woman who won all the dolls and asked if she wanted to sell the Sasha. She said she came to the auction specifically to buy it, so no she wouldn’t be giving it up. This led me to believe that even if I had noticed that the doll was up for bidding, that I would have lost it anyway.
Oh well! Maybe next time….but probably not!
You might remember my family’s trip to Holly, MI last year. It was full of Dickens characters, steampunks, and Skookum dolls. This year, we all returned to Holly and it was noticeably less full of all of the above. Despite being advertised as the annual Dickens festival, there were very few Tiny Tims and Jacob Marleys. It might’ve been because it was cold as, well, the Dickens.
Zach suited up in the Baby Bjorn because Holly isn’t suitable for strollers. All of the stores are mega cramped.
As it turns out, Zach didn’t really need the Bjorn, because he camped out in a bar with my mom and brother-in-law, drinking Christmas beers instead of shopping with the rest of us.
The baby seemed to love the bar, which is both adorable and unsettling.
I drank a fancy candy cane martini since Everett was eating formula this day. I was very pleased about this.
Timmy, Lindsay, and I did end up antique shopping. Holly really brings it hard when it comes to antiques. They have some of the coolest stuff around.
For some reason, there is a TON of Native American stuff. All of it high quality.
Those moccasins remind me of that time I got in a fight with an auctioneer over moccasins. Seriously, curse that dude.
I did buy a Native American item, but it is a Christmas gift for someone and therefore I cannot disclose it yet. I’ll be sure to blog about it after the holiday.
I really want one of these old German paper mache rabbits. One day I will pony up and buy one.
Ok, so you should also know that Holly is apparently haunted. So while I was shopping around for cool antiques, I kept running into this group of people who were ghost hunting. This was frustrating for many reasons. One, it was the middle of the day. Ghosts do not come out and say hello in the middle of the day. That is like Ghost Knowledge 101.
And like I mentioned, the shops in Holly are super tiny and hard to maneuver. I kept trying to look at things in glass cases inside the antique stores, and all of a sudden like 4 people are in the way trying to take photos of the cases because “you can see a ghost’s reflection in them!” No. That is a lie. There is no ghost face reflection in these cases, just old sh*t that I am trying to look at and possibly buy.
The crowds tired me out, so I didn’t buy much. I did get Timmy a baseball bank for Christmas, which I am disclosing here because he accidentally caught me buying it. It kind of looks like this (I forgot to photo it before wrapping).
Update from Sarah: First of all, Everett doesn’t EAT. He only drinks. Second, why did you not buy that Rasta Santa? He even has a sunburn from his most recent trip to Jamaica, mon.
eBay Battle: Christmas Edition
You may have noticed that we aren’t posting as much as we used to. Some of that is due to this lil’ man existing.
But some of it is because I’ve been crazy focused on selling rather than buying these days.
So exactly a month ago, Adam challenged me to a month-long eBay battle for the holiday season (in case you missed it, we’re trying to pay the $2,000 in medical bills that our cat racked up after eating cellophane). This was the challenge: we both sell as much as possible and the person who makes the lesser sum of money pays the person who makes the greater sum of money $100 when it’s all said and done. I’m not sure I’ve ever turned down a bet that I have a decent shot at, so I was game!
I recognized that Adam was really just trying to motivate me to purge, but I was fine with that. I thought I was clearly going to win, because little did Adam know, I had a stockpile of Christmas goods, just waiting to be listed.
I really thought I was sitting on a goldmine with some of those greeting card lots. There are still a few that haven’t ended yet so we’ll see… but so far things are looking grim.
And that’s because… little did I know… Adam had a stockpile of video game systems, rare emo records, magazine back issues, Kickstarter products, Legos, and an iPhone to sell.
So it sort of goes without saying—Adam is kicking my a$$ right now! If you have a heart and love treasures, please feel free to buy my sh*t. Perhaps your special someone loves The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and needs a new iPad case. Perhaps your BFF loves chihuahuas AND vintage photographs.
Meaning, perhaps what you really want is to pay $150 for an old cabinet card. Hey now—don’t judge—I’m just going based on completed listings like it.
Whatever your taste, I can offer goods that will satisfy.
Our battle ends on Sunday so I’ll be sure to update you on who won on Monday!
Unearthed these in my “sell separately” photo box. Not sure I’ve ever seen a scarier Santa in my life.
Are your Christmas decorations up yet? If not, here are some super jank holiday items I saw at our local antique mall. My personal fav is the nativity scene with stand-in snowmen. I guess Mary and Joseph needed a break. Also, CHRISTMAS PANDA WHAZZZUP.
I like to tell myself that I purposefully saved some of these sale-ing wrap-ups for busier times of the year, but the truth is that I’ve just been lazy. At the end of SEPTEMBER, Adam and I tried to stop at a sale in the late afternoon that was supposed to be open until 7. When we got there (literally at 3:55), there was a note on the door saying they were going to close for an hour and re-open at 5, when, at that point, everything was going to be half off. Because this was in the front of the house, I did make the choice to come back at 5.
The sale was close to our house so that made it an easy decision. When I arrived back, there was a super long line out front, but I stuck it out. When I finally got inside, things were pretty picked over, but it was worth the wait.
This is mainly because the house basically looked as if nothing new had come inside since 1974.
Especially in terms of clothes.
There were lots of books but this guy was the owner of all of them, apparently. He had been behind me in line and was huffing and puffing the whole time, and was also located about negative 3 inches away from me at all times. This is one thing I will never understand—do people think that invading your personal space will get them inside more quickly? Anyway, he was not allowing me to get anywhere near those books so I had to get on with things.
The thing I loved the most about this house were that the bedrooms of the kids who grew up there were completely untouched. That means that every single wall hanging and poster was still on the wall. My favorites, of course, were these handmade emo banners.
The second one is courtesy of David Bowie. I wanted these banners so badly but everything was so old and dried out that as soon as you tried to remove it from the walls, it crumbled.
I left with a few treasures, and also a lot of sadness because I’m sure the house was just completely packed earlier in the day, so I know I missed out on some cool things. But here’s what I did find. First, these cool old valentines. I featured one of these that looked like Adam the other day.
I also got some cute flannel baby blankets (for our dog beds) and kitschy little books, including one of my faves by Joan Walsh Anglund.
Finally, I got some great records for myself and Adam (the Zombies, what what!) and a cute illustration of a beaver or otter taking a bath.
Here’s something I passed on.
I know, you’re shocked.
Fave Find: Russian Lacquer Art
Yesterday my parents surprised me with a gift to kick off the Christmas season. It was this amazing Russian lacquer art pin. I actually saw this pin LAST YEAR in Holly, MI (you can read about that trip here). My parents snuck back and bought it to give me this year. I know, seriously nice (and kind of insane).
I didn’t know anything about Russian lacquer art until I went to San Antonio last year and saw some elaborately painted boxes in an antique store. The owner explained that they were hand painted in Russia using super fine horse hair. The process was labor intensive and artists used magnifying glasses to create ultra detailed scenes. Most lacquer art features fairy tale imagery.
Most boxes are pretty little, so you can just imagine the work it takes to create such intricate paintings. Besides boxes, Russian lacquer art can be found on cigarette cases and pins.
Antique lacquer art sells for big bucks, so keep an eye out! Lacquer art however is still made today, so it is easy to buy an affordable piece should you want one. Here is a sampling though of just how high prices can go on this stuff:
Neat, huh? I love all of these pieces! They are so gaudy, yet whimsical.