Despite the floods, we’re still buds…
My mom came along on Friday again—she’s turning into a true estate sale junkie, which is fabulous. She especially likes to come with us when the sales are really far away so she doesn’t have to drive all the way from her house on her own. I don’t blame her.
Both sales we were going to were in St. Clair Shores, which is pretty far away. On the way there, someone in the car mentioned that they had read that one of the sales had an update on it that morning that said the house the sale was in flooded and everything was moved to tents outside. Sounded shady to me, and sad, because it was raining. Sure enough, when we got there, the woman running the sale looked familiar, and then half of the stuff in the garage looked familiar. Turns out, some of the stuff was from that duddy sale we went to a few weeks ago. Part of me wonders if the sale wasn’t just at the house of the woman running the sale and she was just fibbing about the flood. The quantity of stuff in the garage was definitely not the entire contents of a house.
Anyway, we still found a few treasures. I found a huge lot of vintage cards and I can’t remember what Erin found but I do know she bought a really dirty (as in filthy, not sexy) book. Here is one thing we chuckled about:
They’re so versatile!
The only thing I remember my mom buying was a rubber faced monkey that she has up on eBay now.
The next sale looked more promising because it was overwhelmingly packed with stuff. At this sale, we discovered that my mom likes to take her sweet time, while we tend to be able to get in and out of sales quickly, even if they’re packed. You can sort of get a vibe in terms of what sort of stuff is there, and these people didn’t have a ton of the type of stuff that either of us are interested in. Still, of course, I bought a lot of things.
Before I go on, allow me to complain: One particularly disappointing thing that happened at this sale was that there were a TON of cast iron figurines and larger statues, but they all ended up being reproductions. As Erin has discovered, original cast iron can end up being really lucrative. Still, I found one cast iron thing that I bought for myself because it was cute:
It looks big here but it’s a tiny little dish.
UPDATE: Since writing this, Adam pointed out to me that it’s an ashtray. GROSS.
I also found ANOTHER Max statue!
Erin cannot deny that this looks like Max.
One other fun thing I found was this mug, that I got to surprise Adam with.
He recently bought me a Keurig machine for my birthday and he started drinking “coffee” out of it (these weird coconut mocha cups) but I was horrified to discover the other day that he uses the same mug every morning. (Note: We have many, many mugs at our house. He just likes this one particular mug.) Now he can alternate. The “Paw” part is appropriate because I often call him “Daddy” when he’s acting like a dad (paying for dinner with coupons) or wearing dad-ish clothes. I hope he loves it.
One strange thing at this sale was the abundance of depressing decor. Here are just a few examples:
Worth noting: That is the second time I’ve seen that exact nervous breakdown plaque at a sale. Someone needed to give the man who owned this house a big hug.
Ok, back to happy times: I also found this weird doll. It’s by a Japanese brand called Senpo, probably from the late ’60s or ’70s. I know that dolls with these sort of faces can be valuable thanks to all of my stalking of Becky’s Flickr and asking her various questions, but I still can’t identify which ones are the most valuable. But this one is sort of cool because it’s also musical and rotates. Last night while trying to describe her clothing in my eBay listing, I got sucked into a Wikipedia hole of pages of fashion from various time periods. Whatever, I called it “Victorian”…
I found some other treasures, one of which I’ll write about some other time. The really excellent part of this sale was that everything was priced reasonably. The people running the sale were the same ones that gave us some good deals when we found Timmy’s Santa.
We knew we were in trouble when we finished going through the entire house and my mom had only made it into three rooms on the main floor. I told her we would go grab some food and then come back and get her and she was cool with that. On our way to find a Mr. Pita, we actually found a secret church rummage sale! I didn’t really think this was worthy of the secret sale chant but we did it anyway. The most exciting part of this sale was this sign, telling us that really excellent things were ahead:
We quickly discovered that we would not need to go to Mr. Pita, because this was a Greek Orthodox church and the ladies inside were cooking up some badass spankamankapita or whatever the Greek word is for SPINACH PIE. It’s a good thing because the “Mr. Pita” on my map ended up being someone’s house in the middle of a neighborhood. I still can’t figure out why that happened but we got some good laughs out of it.
Besides some tasty Greek treats, I found these two items at the church rummage sale:
Look, I’m shocked that Erin didn’t grab those earrings. One year ago she was wearing bedazzled velvet Christmas shoes, but now she’s too good for Santabear earrings? Also just an FYI, if you have a secret stash of Sandra Boynton items, try to sell them on eBay because there is a crazy market of cat ladies out there just waiting to give you their life savings for your fat cat gear.
We went back to the sale to pick up my mom, drove home, and then Erin and I had an argument about Christmas in her driveway that drove us both to tears. True story! Coincidently, I discovered this picture in a photo album last night while I was visiting my grandpa:
Clearly, not much has changed since I was six.
You’ll be relieved to know that we’ve completely recovered from this argument and are still friends. I mean after all, SOMEONE has to run this blog.
Update from Erin: It’s true, Sarah and I went all Cash & Cari on each other in my driveway. At one point I remember exclaiming, “JESUS CHRIST SARAH!” which means that I was both really mad and not scared of going to hell. I’ll just blame the whole thing on a drop in blood sugar because I’ve heard other people give that excuse before when they are cranky.
ANYWAYZ, I got some neat things at the first sale. The first was a Nippon gravy bowl that I had actually seen at a sale the week before. It obviously didn’t sell, and had made it here to this sale. Last week it was $15, but this day I got it for $4. I plan to put gravy in this at Thanksgiving.
Speaking of the Fall time (my favorite season) I got this awesome table runner and set of placemats. So cute! I asked the lady the price on this set because the sticker was hard to read. I think she thought I was asking for a deal because she said, “Well, it’s marked $3, but I guess I’ll take $2.” I just gave her the $3 because right before we checked out, another shopper at the sale was relentlessly lowballing this woman. It was awkward and sad.
The gross book that Sarah mentioned I bought was about flea market collectibles. It’s a cool book with helpful tips on common collectibles and antiques. When I use it to buy something valuable, maybe Sarah will be less apt to knock it.
The next sale was a nightmare. Cindy loved it and found great things, but I have no idea how she did it. The house was PACKED, but everything was awful. I hate saying that about someone’s stuff, but really, it was so awful.
Sarah mentioned this, but I’ll reiterate. The problem here was that almost EVERYTHING was a reproduction—and a cheap reproduction at that—but still priced like authentic items. Here are a bunch of cast iron banks and door stops that I got excited about, until I realized they were fake:
The thing about cast iron is that people collect it because it’s cast iron, so when it’s NOT cast iron, well, you get the idea.
And also like Sarah said, this sale had depressing things. Here was one I found:
Besides the sad plates abundance, the sale was also really crowded and hot, so I was happy when Sarah and I left to go get food and come back later for Cindy. At the Greek bake sale I ate a custard pie and a bit of spinach pie. They were good. I also ate a pumpkin bar which was obviously the best.
Update from Sarah: I didn’t knock the book! I said it was dirty, which you cannot deny.
Cash & Cari (sans fox) starring Timmy C.
Disclaimer: I wrote this post like a CRAZY LONG TIME AGO. Long before our tragic break-up with RePurpose sales. I’m posting this because it is interesting, funny, and involves my dad, who is the best person of all time.
After my taxidermy fox purchase on the show, I got a call from one of the producers. He asked what I did with the fox (made mad cash), if I was going to come to future sales (yes), and what types of items I look for at sales (Zuni jewelry, total garbage knick-knacks, and re-sellable odds and ends).
At this point I decided to pitch my dad for a future episode of the show. He’s the total package—a super savvy collector who drives a hard bargain but also wears ankle socks with slip-on loafers. He’s funny, he looks like Santa, he takes iphone lessons at the Apple store, and HE WAS IN THE MOVIE WHIP IT. I could go on and on.
Anyway, my dad DID end up on Cash & Cari. And it turned out to be truly awesome.
I had mentioned to the producer on the phone that my dad collects vintage baseball memorabilia, specifically anything Detroit Tigers. They ended up inviting him to a sale that had a set of seats from the now-defunct Tiger Stadium.
The ensuing interactions between Cash & Cari and my dad were hilariously scripted and kind of awkward. They told him when and where to arrive at the sale and how to “scope out” the Tiger Stadium seats. He made several passes by the seats (on camera) and then was told to wait while a meeting with Cari was orchestrated.
The seats were marked six hundred dollars, which is pretty insane.
So Cari comes over and my adorable dad is all like, “Yeah, these are cool, but I would have to offer you a lower price on them.” He then goes on to explain that Tiger Stadium had a capacity of over 50,000 people and that all of the seats were auctioned off when it closed. That’s a lot of seats. These ain’t no royal thrones. You get the idea…
In addition, my dad already has Tiger Stadium seats. He got them for $275 at the original auction. He’s totally into having some more for his little baseball cave at home, but $600 would break the bank. He offers Cari $200.
From this point on, my dad is forever branded as a “lowballer.” The narrator even says this on the resulting episode.
Timmy-I-tried-to-rip-off-Cari-on-national-television. That’s my dad.
Cari says no to the offer and my dad goes to leave. The producers intervene and tell my dad to come back to the sale the following day. The storyline will be that my dad cannot resist him some stadium seats. He must have them. He will arrive back at the sale and try to lowball Cari again. This time, though, he will be victorious.
So my dad comes back the next day and haggles on-camera again. Cari shows him an iPad with an ebay listing that is selling similar seats for $499. My dad tells her that the seats in THAT listing are special VIP seats that were available in smaller quantities, hence the higher price. (This whole exchange ends up edited out of the episode).
Then, Cari sells my dad the seats for $225. In the episode that aired, the seats were listed as having an original selling price of $400, NOT $600. I think the producers realized that the original price was way-off and tried to correct how that might look. This is good because my dad looked like a little bit less of a lowballer…still a lowballer though. Even the narrator called him a lowballer.
Here is my dad in his purchased seats, throwing an American flag baseball in the air. I wish he was wearing a hat made out of apple pie.
Update from Sarah: If you watch this episode, you can see the $600 price tag at one point.
If at first you don’t succeed…
Since Friday was sort of a bust, Sarah and I decided to wake up bright and early to hit more sales on Saturday. Actually, that is only half-true. I wokeup bright and early thinking that Sarah did too, and that she was picking me up at 10am as promised. We got rolling around 11:30. ANYWAY…
The sales were awful. We rolled up to the first house and instantly panicked. It was the SAME HOUSE as the one where our Cash & Cari blowout went down. We were so confused at first, thinking that maybe we were just delusional. Sure enough though, this was the same house. Another estate sale company had been brought in to try and sell more of the items that were left after the first sale.
I felt like I had PTSD the whole time I was at this sale. I got nervous stomach as soon as we walked it. It was hilarious and absurd. In the end, I didn’t find any treasures. In fact, I only found sad things…like the following:
I also found a bunch of old wedding photos, dirtied and shoved under a bunch of boxes, as well as a crumpled marriage license. Such a bummer finding those types of things.
Since I mentioned it, I’ll say that Sarah and I did find disguises should we ever have to attend another RePurpose sale. We picked these up at a garage sale Saturday for 50 cents. The man who sold them to us was super drunk and kept calling us “ladies,” as well as constantly apologizing to us for every move he made around the garage.
We saw a rummage sale sign after visiting this garage sale, and despite Sarah’s objections, we stopped.
The sale was in the clubhouse of some neighborhood development, and all clothes and shoes were $5 per bag. I was excited about this, but I could tell that Sarah was less than enthused. She busied herself with the book table while I dug through the clothes.
I ended up with some surprisingly nice scores…Ralph Lauren corduroys, a Pendleton blazer (that Sarah found and kindly gave to me), some unworn Mossimo shoes in my size, and two Banana Republic sweaters. I also found this old pair of Nikes that may turn out to be quite lucrative. They are from the 80s and similar pairs sell for anywhere between 80-100 dollars. I already have one bid on them and have had 3 people message me asking for more details. Very exciting!
Update from Sarah: Ask Erin how late she is to my house any time she has to be at it.
ANYWAY…When we were walking down the street from our car to the first sale, I said, “Something about this walk reminds me of the last Cash & Cari sale.” We hadn’t even gotten to the house yet! Damn, I’ve got a good memory. Anyway, it wasn’t another company that came in to sell the rest of the stuff there—it was family. I only know this because I overheard the main woman running the sale telling a buyer that these large pictures in the house were her ancestors. I think the owner of the house was the woman’s aunt. ANYWAY… somehow I ended up spending almost $40 at this sale but I’m too lazy to take pictures of what I spent it on. I do know that I purchased a Beavis and Butthead book.
Erin left out a horrible sale between the first and the neighborhood rummage sale. It was horrible, and was sort of the “third strike” for me with this particular company. Who shall remain nameless because they’re not on TV. Anyway, the guy who runs these sales is crazy and overprices literal junk. There wasn’t a single thing in this home worth purchasing. Also, he had a “Cash for Gold” sign outside the house. Where he was supposed to be SELLING things. Not buying them. But the worst part was that the house had a hot tub in the basement which is about the grossest thing ever. I’d rather find guano in a barn than a hot tub in a basement. At least I learned officially that from now on even if pictures look ok, this dude’s sales aren’t worth going to.
At the rummage sale, I found a huge stack of ’80s ARTnews magazines for $2. I actually don’t think they’ll sell but they’ll be cool to go through. One of them featured Cindy Sherman so why not? Also, while I was walking around with them in my arms, one of the women running the sale came up to me and said, “What books did you find?” I showed her and she said, “Oh I think I know what house these came from. The woman was a wonderful artist. She’s in heaven now.” I’d like to know how she confirmed this information.
Erin left out the best part of the day, which was going to Pastries by Ellen, which, if you’re ever in Sylvan Lake before 4 p.m., you should hit up. They had macarons and I asked for a lemon one even though they were $2 each, which is simply outrageous. But to my delight, when I opened the box I discovered that the guy at the pastry counter had given me THREE: a lemon, a strawberry and a chocolate. Dude ruled.
Sorry for the lack of pictures of the delicious treats. Eating them was top priority.
Beauty Salon and Cash & Cari Letdown
So, the first house we went to on Friday was in Dearborn, and even though we didn’t find extreme treasures, we found something amazing: A crazy 1960s beauty salon in the basement that was stuck in time! Here’s Erin gettin’ her hair did:
On the right, you’ll notice the reception desk, and then the hair washing station.
Here is Carmen’s 1955 Diploma from the Virginia Farrell Beauty School… (diplomas are one of the saddest things we see at sales… diaries being the worst.)
Here are a few more shots of the entire salon:
I was the first one into the basement, and I could hear Erin at the top of the stairs gabbing away with a stranger, so I was like, “Erin! Get down here!” She told me she immediately thought that I found an extreme treasure that she was missing out on. When she realized what it was, she decided that an old beauty salon was an even better treasure.
We both found a couple of things and started checking out. Erin bought an antique baby scale (?!), a meat grinder, a Christmas coffee mug, and a box of Bakelite sockets. The woman running the sale was skeptical of Erin’s purchases, and said something like, “you have an interesting selection of items here.” When she found the Bakelite sockets, I think she started catching on to Erin trying to make some mad cash. So Erin said, “No… we just like to find weird things at sales. We have a blog!”
Anyway, this conversation went on and on, and Erin started holding up a line of people, which made her start sweating. The woman wrote down the name of our blog (WHAT WAS ERIN THINKING?!) and Erin told her that we could sponsor her sales with a banner. WHAT. THE. HELL. When we got outside, I told her that she should always be thinking of a good reason to want something valuable to tell sellers when they ask. A reason besides reselling it. Like making an art project out of it.
I bought an ugly table cloth and a creepy old doll. In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t bought either of these things. The one thing I will say is that Erin chatting these people up made them give us deals and start opening up to us, so I’ll give her that.
The house after this was the Grey Gardens house, and then we had to make a decision. There were two sales left on our list—one was closer, but ended sooner, and we were starving. The other was all the way in Utica, but it was open until 5. We decided on the Utica sale so that we could eat before.
The Utica sale was another Cash & Cari sale. It looked sort of interesting, but nowadays their sales are always incredibly overpriced, so I was skeptical. We arrived and there were a crapload of people in the house, which immediately made me want to die. Also, the stuff in the house was abundant, but all gross and tacky. This person had a weird assortment of collections. It was like he/she decided to collect EVERY thing that they had a single item of. Shot glass collection? Check. Barbie Collection?
Beer tap collection?
Lava lamp collection?
Check. You can’t get much worse than a lava lamp collection.
Also, the prices on all of this garbage were insane. I don’t understand what’s happened—less than a year ago, her sales had stuff that was totally reasonably priced. I can’t believe anyone was buying anything. For example, there was a “Canadian Barbie” that I picked up because I have a friend who is Canadian, and I was like, “That might be cute…” But no… It was marked $75!!! That thing sells on eBay for between 25 and 50 bucks. WTF?! Cari is gettin’ a little too big for her britches. Also, one of her employees was in the Barbie room showing another employee a video of the largest blackhead ever being popped. I realize this is something I would do, but still—real professional, ladies.
At this point, I wanted nothing more than to warp home. Instead, we had to drive for an hour in rush hour traffic.
If you know me, you know that chili fries are my favorite food. Erin was back on the east side of town on Saturday, so I made her pick up five more bags of them. Adam and I keep eating them, exclaiming, “they taste JUST LIKE chili fries!”
Update from Erin: Ok, I did buy an old baby scale. But how is this not adorable? I am going to try and sell it, and if that doesn’t work, it is a cute thing to have in a nursery.
Sarah kept pointing out that this scale is all dirty, which is true. Obviously, though, she has never heard of a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
Let me also say that I do indeed have a hard time being put on the spot by people, be it at estate sale or the gas station. Sarah knows that I always get roped into long conversations with strangers, which is probably why the Jehovah’s Witnesses know my name and visit every other day. Bottom line: I am too polite. So yeah, I did say we would be willing to sponsor an estate sale with some sort of banner. But why not? I have never had a giant banner for anything before.
And I need to point out that this cavorting did lead to some good discounts for us. I got these old welding glasses for free at the sale. And they already have 2 bids on ebay. (Steampunks will buy anything labeled “steampunk”.)
I also got this adorable thing for Zach because he actually wears tie pins and cuff links.
I don’t know why you would want to mix ashes will all of your valuables, but maybe it is an old-timey thing.
The last thing I will say about this sale is that I was OBSESSED with this old metal tray table. It was part of the beauty salon stuff. The industrial look of it was just really neat. In the end, I had no place to put it in our house, so it got left behind.