Ok one more Halloween post before the child beggars come. Here is a sampling of spooky finds from garage sales, estate sales, and ebay. The terrifying clown mask that George is wearing is from that auction where they sold Little Debbie snack cakes. The Beistle reproduction window decorations are from ebay. The old die-cut skeleton is from the Greenmead antique market. Plastic light up pumpkin, as well as ceramic pumpkin are from garage sales. The black ceramic skull is a souvenir that Zach got in Mexico when he was a young little thing. The cool Voodoo lawn ornament is from an estate sale this past week that Sarah and I have yet to write about.
Happy Halloween people! About a month ago I was searching for some spooky decorations and came upon these gems. Enjoy! And eat lots of treats today!
Open for Bidding
After my solo auction excursion, I convinced Sarah to go to another auction with me the following the day. I had auction fever for sure.
This auction was in Romulus, so Sarah met me there. I had arrived first and scoped out the goods, and was pretty excited about most of the stuff there. Everything was high quality. I saw a bunch of old greeting cards that I figured Sarah would like, and a bunch of old chocolate molds for me.
There was also a separate doll auction going on in another room that I figured Sarah might like. Boy did she ever. I think she stayed in that doll room nearly the whole night. Every time I came to check on her, she was drowning further and further in a sea of dolls she had purchased.
That furry beast on the top of the heap looks like this up close:
Sarah paid money for that, in case you are all wondering. It came in a lot with a bunch of other animals, but this kitty was by far the best.
I bought many things at this auction but nothing that I really really wanted. Most of the stuff I bought was super cheap, and I decided to just take a risk on reselling it. This sale had some old paper mache Halloween decorations I wanted REALLY BAD, but like last time, they sold for a crazy high price. I was so disappointed. A lot of two pumpkins sold to this guy for $220 and I wanted to walk up to him and tell him that 1. they aren’t even worth that! and 2. my Halloween was now ruined.
There he is all smug with his pumpkins. I should say MY pumpkins. My stolen pumpkins. Also, someone is going to step on those as they are so carelessly placed on the floor. If I had those pumpkins, I would have gone to the doll auction and bid on a $400 antique doll cradle to carry my pumpkins in. That’s how much I love those pumpkins.
Whew, anyway…speaking of the doll auction, I did buy some dolls. I got a lot of 3 for $10 and a Madame Alexander baby doll for $10. The latter turned out to be my best score, as I sold it for $56.
I also bought an old print of a natural history museum to hang in our house. I used to work at a museum like this in Ann Arbor and got to teach kids about dinosaurs. This print reminded me of that and was just too darn cool not to buy.
I definitely overpaid for this ($40) but I love it so much that I will accept that hard truth. At some point, a dude came over to me and said, “You know that’s the Louvre in France, it’s a famous museum.” I politely thanked him for the knowledge, but will say now that that is a bold faced lie. No dinosaurs up in the Louvre y’all. The print also says Hunterian Museum, which wikipedia says is in Scotland.
I’ll let Sarah talk about how much she loves auctions now, but before I do, here is my favorite part of the night. Near the end of the auction, the auctioneers do a sort of speed round in which they break off into little clusters around different tables and sell the stuff on each one at a very rapid pace. Sarah was bidding on a bunch of cards and valentines during one of these rounds, and as soon as she started to, this older woman behind her let out a yelp similar to that of a trapped animal. A sort of singular moan/howl of true sadness.
I think this lady thought she was going to be the only person interested in these items, so when Sarah bid, she was obviously distraught. Every time the bid went up, she would repeat the same moany “NOOOOO.” I felt bad for her in a way, because I had been sad about my pumpkins…but at the same time, the whole thing was absurd and hilarious. Listen people, auctions are like the end of “Old Yeller”…heartbreaking but necessary.
Update from Sarah: I won a SH*TLOAD of dolls at this auction, and it was SO FUN! HOWEVER, Erin failed to mention that at least four dolls in that doll pileup were hers.
I think Erin is an auction addict now, but I understand why. It’s like going to an estate sale but more exciting in some ways, because you don’t really know how much you might end up paying for something you want. There’s more mystery involved. Also the whole thing was mysterious for me because Erin invited me about 5 minutes after I got out of work, so I had no idea what would be there, and I definitely did not know that all those dolls would be there! The only real downside about auctions in general seems to be the sadness that happens when you don’t win something you really want—like the pumpkins.
The only complaint I have is that the food was not good. Erin had tempted me before by telling me that the auction she normally goes to with Zach in Plymouth has a huge food bar with french fries (I don’t know about you but that’s enough to entice me), but at this auction, I had a hot dog that was so bad that I threw it away after one bite. An occurrence that is unprecedented in the history of my life.
Before I talk about what I won, let me say that half the fun of going to this thing was the people watching and also seeing some of the insane things in that doll room. Erin said the stuff was all high quality but I mean, you saw that stuffed cat. And here’s another doll we didn’t win:
I don’t know if the previous owner was trying to make a statement (The Bluest Eye?…) or was just blind, but that is one crazy looking doll that I would not describe as “high quality.”
Unlike Erin, I ended up winning everything I wanted, and that stuff fell into two categories: dolls and stuffed animals, and ephemera. I haven’t even really sorted through the valentines and postcards that I won, but so far the dolls are doing well:
I think I paid $30 total for those three dolls (plus some), so I’ve definitely made a profit. There are many more where those came from. Here are two terrifying ones that I have on eBay right now:
When I saw that paraplegic doll it made me feel weird and sad inside. I ended up getting her because she came with that first doll (the antique Horsman doll) and when they brought her over to me I felt so genuinely creeped out. Erin wanted me to just throw her out but I feel like maybe some doll collector will give her a new pair of legs. Or who knows? Maybe you’ll see her zoomin’ around some day like Oscar Pistorius!
What’s in the Bag?
Last night I drove to Howell for an auction. Now, I wouldn’t normally recommend spending your Wednesday night driving to Howell, MI but I went for two reasons. First, I was cooped up working all day yesterday and started going a bit stir crazy. Second, Zach has either the Plague or Black Lung, so I wanted to decrease my chances of catching it.
Oh wait, and three, I wanted to buy these awesome old paper mache Halloween decorations:
That cat one alone sells on ebay for $60-$80. The pumpkin varies anywhere from $30-$70 or so. My plan was to buy them for keeps…we’ll get to that later though.
The online listing for this auction said “Boston Peddler Auction” but when I showed up, the sign outside said “HAMMER TIME AUCTIONS.” I laughed really hard at that.
The place was kind of a ghost town. And it seemed like most people were there for the snacks. In the back of the room they were selling various Little Debbies and that sort of fare. $1 per box! What a steal! People were walking out with boxes and boxes full of this stuff.
Besides selling probably-expired-moonpies, this place was weird for many reasons. Here is a sample of the decor:
Let me be honest and say that I don’t get the joke here at all. Is this a sexual innuendo or an ode to cannibalism?
Also weird were some of the items for sale. I wish this picture was more clear, but that there is a burlap sack for use in bagging terrorists. It has a silkscreened image of Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and the phrase “Terrorist Body Bag.”
I almost bid on this. Look at how nicely it is framed. Let me point out though, that you could NEVER fit two bodies in that little bag. I don’t speak from experience, but I do speak from common sense.
Ok so on to the auction. I’ll spoil it now and say that I didn’t win either of those paper mache Halloween things. It’s like people at this auction were made of money. Either that, or they were just super competitive and insisted on winning any item they bid on. Both of these items sold for over $50. My logic is that I could buy some on ebay for around that price, and in better condition. Still though, I was bummed.
I did buy some old pressed tin cap guns for $3, and this spooky old Halloween costume.
What’s weird about this costume is that it looks very similar to someone I know. I don’t want to name names, but I will say that it rhymes with “Barah.”
Perhaps my best buy was this Mickey Mouse pull toy from 1939. It is in rough shape, but I only paid $10 for it. Ones in good condition sell for $150 on ebay, so hopefully I can at least make my money back.
I don’t anticipate heading back to Hammer Time Auctions anytime soon, but I will for sure remember it fondly. Well, kind of fondly.
Hard to Resist: Uncle Fester
Sarah and I hit a pretty crummy sale the week before our Traverse City trip, and it was such a letdown that we didn’t even blog about it. Sarah did find this t-shirt, but it was too dirty to buy:
There was one pretty great “Hard to Resist” item at this sale. A giant animated Uncle Fester candy bowl. You could tell it was broken. His eyes were rolled back in his head and stuck that way.
I think this is Uncle Fester. Maybe it is just some creepy man candy bowl. Regardless, I took this photo, chuckled to myself, and walked away. Later, Uncle Fester reappeared in the arms of a shopper! I was so glad someone was actually buying him.
There he is peeking out of that lady’s shopping basket!
Too bad this story has an unhappy ending though. When this lady went to check out, the sales people informed her that Uncle Fester cost TEN DOLLARS. I have a hard time believing that he EVER cost $10. The shopper was equally shocked by this price and sadly decided to pass on the purchase.
I’m hoping that Fester was too hard for someone else to resist, but I’m not holding my breath.
Update from Sarah: Good god why didn’t you crop my head out of that first photograph? Also, these pictures don’t accurately capture how dirty that shirt was. I was reluctant to even touch it and I’m not typically grossed out by dirt.
Hard to Resist: Jewels Bag, Masks, and More!
It’s time again for a “Hard to Resist” post, featuring all sorts of great items we just had to leave behind while out at sales. First up is this box of arguably racist Halloween masks:
You can be an Asian person, a gypsy lady, or a…um, not sure what that is…Native American wrestler? Anyway, we passed on these because I already found a Charles Manson/Rob Zombie mask at a previous sale.
Need a place to keep all of your valuable jewels? What about a bag that is clearly labeled “jewels”???
Oh wait, you think it might be totally irresponsible and risky to keep your jewels in a bag labeled “jewels”?? Yeah, maybe you are right. What I do know for sure though, is you can’t stop the cake machine…
Don’t even try to stop the cake machine.
TTFYHO: Toddler costumes when you don’t have a toddler
I’ll admit it. I bought this costume. And I don’t have a baby or a toddler.
This was a hard one to explain when I got home.
Erin and I saw this costume at a sale right after she and Zach bought their home. They were in the market for busts, and as soon as we walked in, she spotted a Mozart bust which will probably be featured as a Fave Find one day. Anyway, this was buried amongst some Burger King Alf Puppets that I actually carried around with me for a while. Can you believe I thought they might be valuable? Well, I did. Give me a big, fat break.
So, Erin is sometimes obsessed with my unborn children, and while we stood contemplating the costume together, she exclaimed, “You need to buy that for your baby!” I reminded her I do not have a baby, but she told me I should buy it for my future baby. I then screwed myself by admitting to her that my mother had made the exact same costume (different fabric and pom-poms) when I was a toddler. Seeing the costume reminded me of some good times, and Erin was starting to really convince me that buying it wasn’t crazy. There was no turning back after that!
Here are some pics of me rocking the costume while gathering some Halloween loot when I was two:
I wish my mom saved some of her clothes from back then. I’d totally wear that coat now.
I do have one question, though. My brother is five years older than me. Why did my parents think it was a good idea for him to wear a toddler’s Halloween costume the next year?
Anyway, when I came home that night, I did have a lot of explaining to do. But it was all worth the look on Adam’s face.
I realize it seems like I’m obsessed with clowns, since the first edition of Things That Freak Your Husband Out (TTFYHO) was also about them, but I’m really not.