Fave Find: Folk Art Carvings
When we arrived at the sale, I instantly noticed all of these wood carvings. They were ADORABLE. The woman running the sale informed me that the deceased owner of the estate had been quite the woodworker. He made all of these figures and sold them throughout his life.
I was immediately happy that I was going to be able to buy some of these, but also MEGA SAD that the family of this man didn’t want to keep these. I started to stress out that all of these figures would be thrown in the trash when the sale ended.
Unfortunately I couldn’t buy all of these guys because they were kind of pricey! Originally they were $15-20 each! Since it was Sunday, and the last day of the sale, they were all around $5-10.
The first guy I found was this skiing rabbit:
If there are two things I love, they are skiing and rabbits.
Next I found this country singer lady:
Look at that little cowboy hat she is holding! This is truly the greatest thing of all time.
Here is another view:
These carvings make me so happy. They are funny and cute…important characteristics of any fave find.
What’s funny is I was writing this post and dropping it in our queue about the same time that our friend over at Monkeybox Blog was writing this great post about her own folk art collection. I’m glad to see some fellow admiration for the effort that goes into woodcarving. Very cool.
Ok, so last thing. This is too hilarious not to mention. When Zach and I left this sale, we noticed this yard:
And then this crazy guy ACROSS THE STREET AND IN A DITCH:
Penguin on the run!
Ok and for good measure, here is an old photo of me with a real penguin:
What is it?
Erin convinced me to hit up an auction in Tecumseh with her on Wednesday night. This auction wasn’t at the same place we auctioned at in Tecumseh before. However, I had been to this place with my parents earlier in December, I was just a slacker and never wrote about it. Anyway, the auction did not look good in the pictures, but I figured I would humor Erin.
Erin was late, so on the way there we had to hit up Micky D’s because we were starved. When we got there, I was still finishing my filet-o-fish and I thought Erin was going to blow a gasket while waiting for me. She was so eager to get in there.
Can you blame her?
Ok, in all seriousness, this auction was probably the worst thing I’ve ever been to. They were auctioning off stuff that I doubt would sell even at a thrift store or get taken out of a garage sale’s free box. It was crazy. For example, many of the items on this table were marked as being from the dollar store.
Despite these truths, there were two things that I was coveting at this sale. First, these guys, which were not there when I was at this joint with my parents:
I wanted them so bad. But I think they’re now a permanent part of the ambiance there.
Second, I REALLY wanted this battery operated cat.
I thought she would be an excellent white elephant gift. This past year at the holiday potluck Adam and I host, Erin’s husband Zach brought the best white elephant gift: Christmas Cat. He found this gentleman at a flea market and there was a serious war over him during the white elephant exchange.
I am confident that my cat will surpass Christmas Cat as Most Desirable White Elephant Gift. I won her for $2, a serious steal, and when we got her back to my house and Adam put some new batteries in her, let me just say—she blew our minds.
Despite the lack of treasures at this auction, people were pumped to spend between $1 and $5 for loads and loads of garbage. That includes, unfortunately, both Erin and myself. For some reason, I thought it was a good idea to buy two hula hoops.
I also thought it was a good idea to buy a box of Halloween plates without looking at them closely first. They were chipped, made in China, and not even safe for microwaves or dishwashers! We ended up giving them to a man who was buying things to furnish his sister’s home. He told us that she had nothing, so he was trying to help her out. On the ride home, Erin was doing her sob story thing, feeling bad for the woman. But I just finished reading The Glass Castle, so I put it in perspective for her. After all, having someone’s old coffee mugs and chipped Halloween plates is better than nothing. Right? I don’t know. Maybe not.
Anyway, the guy who runs this joint is my favorite guy. At one point, he put a toaster cover on his head because he thought it was a hat. Anyway, the combination of his mic not working half the time and the items all being garbage caused me to have to ask Erin, “What is it?” over and over again.
Erin ended up scoring the only real treasures of the night (besides my cat), and I’ll let her tell you about them.
Update from Erin: Apparently it takes 30 minutes to eat one Filet-O-Fish. I wouldn’t know because I would never eat one. Sarah forgot to mention that she left remnants of this fish burg in my car near the foot heater, and once it got reheated hours after we left the auction, my car smelled like a swamp.
So yes, this auction was pretty junky, but I still had fun. Everything was entertaining. As she mentioned, every time a new item came up for auction, Sarah would instantly say, “What is it?” EVERY TIME. And then I would have to be like, “Oh it’s a stack of wooden bowls but 4 are cracked,” or “It’s a pile of 3 teddy bears that say ‘Mommy’ on them.” Near the end, I just started saying, “It’s garbage,” every time.
Except these plates. I didn’t buy them (for fear they would be a TTFYHO), but they sure are cute.
I was also entertained because the the auctioneer kept inventing words. At one point he auctioned off some ceramic Christmas Village knick-knacks and described them as being from many different “scenaries.” He also kept calling VHS tapes V-S-H, which is an honest mistake, but still funny. And, he kept lying! Sarah got suckered into buying some “cast iron spurs” for $10. The auctioneer even clanged them together while suggesting they were heavy and solid. When Sarah won the spurs, they weighed about the same as a paper clip (not cast iron). Luckily, they let her return them.
I won a few cool things, perhaps the only cool things at the auction. First up were these old antique skeleton keys.
I’ll probably put them on ebay, although they would look really nice hanging on the wall, or in a cabinet, especially if I found one of those big old key rings for them.
I also bought this polar bear sculpture because it looks like Murano glass. Even if it isn’t Murano, art glass in general is popular. The fact that this sculpture is animal related definitely doesn’t hurt either. This guy is also really heavy, which I think is a plus to collectors.
I hear that in real life polar bears are mega ferocious. In fact, I think my sister told me about some guy at a zoo who got eaten by one after he climbed in the exhibit to snuggle it.
P.S. Sarah thought those Blues Brothers would fit in my little 4 door sedan. Thankfully they weren’t auctioned off this night. Look at how huge those things are compared to the doors below! I can’t imagine trying to move them, let alone “just sit them in my back seat” like Sarah suggested.
Slept through Christmas
You guys! I LITERALLY slept through Christmas. In the days leading up to it, I was feeling more and more ill, and sure enough, I was so sick on Christmas morning that I slept the whole day and day after. UGH. This was the ultimate in sadness. Not only did I miss the magic of Christmas day, I missed a blog post all about my cool Christmas finds from the year! So here it is now, deal with it.
One of the largest and most-Christmasy items we found this year was a giant wood Santa Claus. Timmy had been on the lookout for one and when Sarah and I found this for a mere $20, we had to buy it.
Here it is back then:
And here it is now… (Don’t worry everyone, my dad bolted it to the house so that no one would steal it.)
And here are some more favorite Christmas finds:
That ceramic wreath stayed lit for like a day before the bulbs inside burned out. But it is still cool!
Christmas Garfield and a wooden Santa that kicks its arms and legs when you pull that string.
That cardinal cookie jar and plate were only $5, and I remember thinking at the time that that was a HUGE steal. When I got home though, I realized there was a big crack in the back of the cookie jar. I sealed it up nice with some glue, and you can’t even tell! That dog stocking for George was actually found on ebay, and it cracks me up every time I look at it. The holly on the bottom looks like gravestone art or something and the text is super weird.
This roly poly tin is perhaps my favorite Christmas treasure. Zach found it at the Midland flea market. He had been talking for weeks beforehand about wanting one of these tins, but they were kind of pricey on ebay. And then sure enough, he found one clean as a whistle and for only $8. These old tins were made by the American Tobacco Company and come in all sorts of characters.
And here is our dining room on Christmas Eve, before I got the Plague. I finally got to use all of the Waechtersbach Christmas tree plates I got at “Best Sale Ever.” My mother-in-law, who got me started on collecting these plates, could not believe how many pieces of the set I now had. Finding all of the set at one estate sale was an incredible score.
You can’t see them in this photo, but I had all of the serving platters and bowls in this set too, as well as a whole tea set! Very exciting!
Merry belated Christmas!
DO NOT TOUCH
We are a little behind on our updates. What can we say—the holiday season is upon us!
Two Fridays ago, Erin and I started off our afternoon by hitting up the sale where we found Beefy. As mentioned, this was the home of a party store owner. It only took about three steps into the house for you to realize that this was the case:
There was a major liquor theme going on.
We didn’t spend much time there.
Next up was a sale that had some cool stuff, but it was pretty overpriced. I don’t remember a lot about it—maybe Erin does. I bought a vintage travel Scrabble kit for $4 that I sold for $45 the next day. Whoop!
After this, we went to a sale in Warren that was advertised as having lots of antiques. I was a little leery of going to this sale because the pictures didn’t look that great, but Erin was obsessed. Turns out this sale was in a condo, and also turns out that this sale was just a glorified indoor garage sale. As soon as I stepped foot in the house, I felt creeped out. The guy wasn’t very old—maybe 40—and he seemed to be clearing out the contents of an antique booth, from what I gathered (everything had booth stickers on it). I bought another stereoscope and a printing drawer. It was impossible to take pictures because it was a cramped area and the guy was right there.
At one point, Erin was crouching down looking at some stuff on the floor and a little white cat came out of nowhere. This cat looked like a true crypt keeper—I would have guessed it to be about 16 years old. Erin asked the guy how old the cat was and he said she was two. I gave Erin some whammy signals and we booked it.
Erin has a habit of feeling bad for people really easily, often for odd reasons. For example, we will see an older man eating lunch by himself, and she will almost start crying because she has decided that he must be very lonely and sad. Maybe he just wants to eat alone! Anyway, she felt bad for the weirdo running an “estate sale” out of his home with a crypt keeper cat, and decided to be a Good Samaritan to him. The sign indicating where to go to find the sale was blown over and wouldn’t stand up, so on our way out, Erin fixed it.
Next on our agenda was another house that Erin was pumped to go to, because it supposedly had Limoges boxes. When we got there, the guy told her that the family had decided to take all of the Limoges stuff out of the sale. Likely story, buddy! All I found at this sale was an old zodiac needlepoint. I tried to resell it pretty high, but after Christmas I’ll try again for less:
Pretty cute if you’re into ’60s/’70s kitsch.
Finally, we ended the tour with a sale that looked a little more high-end based on the pictures. It was, sort of, but the people running the sale also were a little big for their britches. This is what I mean by that:
What do you think this is? A museum?
They also obviously thought that Erin and I were hoodlums. I’m used to people thinking I’m young, but when people start associating that with me being a trouble-maker, I get super annoyed! I’m 34, people! And I want to give you my money! Anyway, the women running this sale kept following us around asking if we needed help. No, I don’t need help. I need you to back off! Still, I found some cool stuff at this sale—mainly to keep. My favorite find was this beautiful handmade quilt. My mom and dad helped me identify it as a “star of Bethlehem” design. It’s lovely, and I think it was a steal for $35!
I also got a bunch of cool (newer) hardcover children’s books that were in great shape, and some other stuff that I’m forgetting. All in all, a worthwhile stop, despite the employee annoyance factor!
Update from Erin: At the first sale, I bought some vintage blow up Santas that I had planned to put up immediately on ebay and sell in time for Christmas. I never got around to it, so these guys are now sitting in a bin waiting for next summer’s garage sale. I hope at that time I’ll make my $2 back.
I should note here too that these guys were partially blown up at the sale, and I proceeded then and there to blow them up the rest of the way. Sarah commented how I was going to get a crazy disease, and as it turns out, I suspiciously ended up with a cold soon thereafter. I should know better not to put my mouth on strange things after the time I put a child’s Mr. Potato Head mouth in my mouth (to pretend it was my smile) and ended up with near deadly norovirus.
I have no recollection of the second sale, except for this photo I snapped:
I felt bad for the guy at the condo sale because he mentioned that no one seemed to be coming to the sale. The google map directions were really confusing, and when I saw that his sign was ALSO knocked over, I felt extra bad. I fixed that sign so good though. It wasn’t going anywhere.
At the next sale I was horrified by that Aquarius cross stitch that Sarah bought and pictured above. I think she spent $10 on it, and I bet the people running the sale had their own $10 wager going on whether anyone was going to buy that crazy thing at all.
I still hadn’t bought anything since my blow up Santas, and that trend continued through the last sale. Sarah was right about the women working there. When I went to look at this Mickey Mouse Seiko watch, as soon as I touched it, one of the women said, “OH! THAT’S $140 DOLLARS!” Um, cool. I have $140 to my name, maybe I will buy it. Maybe not. Now stop following me around.
Sarah forgot the best part of the day, which was our ride home. Traffic was INSANE because it was rush hour and we were somewhere around West Bloomfield (extra traffic-y in general). I saw this storefront though that I assumed was a cool holiday boutique, sure to be filled with great Christmas gifts for our loved ones. I begged Sarah to navigate through the lanes of traffic so we could stop. She agreed because there was a nearby Starbucks, and she said she would buy us some coffee with a gift card she had.
But then the “holiday bazaar” turned out to be a weird rich person grocery store. After this realization, we chuckled, but then realized that we were blocked into our parking space by a long line of cars trying to navigate the nearby road traffic and the tiny parking lot. Sarah got increasingly irritated by our entrapment and decided that in fact she would NOT buy our Starbucks with her gift card. Instead, I had to pay for it. It was a cruel punishment.
The last great moment of the day was me asking this teenage boy where he got his shirt because I was obsessed with it. I didn’t realize Sarah snapped a pic of this moment.
Before responding, the boy looked at me like I was the mommy-est mom mom ever. Sarah and I laughed about this the whole ride home, and used different hilarious voices to reenact the moment over and over. ”OHHH…HALLO I LUVVV YOUR SHIRT, WHERE IN THE WORLD DID YOU EVER FIND ITTT?”
UPDATE FROM SARAH: SLANDER! I did NOT buy that needlepoint for $10!!! I bought it for $1!!!!
Oh Holly Night
Last weekend, my family ventured up to Holly, MI for their annual Dickens’ Christmas festival. The festival has become a tradition each year to kick off the holiday season, and it does a good job. There are literally chestnuts roasting on an open fire in Holly. And Scrooge roams the street being all scroogey.
The whole gang was here, and our plan of attack was to load up on hot chocolate and then hit all of the numerous Holly antique stores. My sister Lindsay (chugging her cocoa above) is a fellow ebay guru, and has been raking in the cash lately selling old GI Joe and Star Wars toys. Lindsay’s husband Mike, and our mom Joan, went to a gun store down the road to “browse.” And you all know Zach and Timmy, they chose antiques over weapons.
The antique stores in Holly are super old-timey/general store looking. So the atmosphere is just as good, if not better, than the actual treasures. They are also huge, so at the end of the day, we had antique-shopped for about 5 hours.
Most of the items in Holly are high-end, and also pretty rare. The first store we went into is known for being haunted, and was featured on Paranormal Witness (never heard of it). They didn’t have any ghosts for sale here, but they did have a lot of other neat things:
This is me making a phone call to the ghost in the store, asking if he/she has scared anyone lately.
This store is also known for a vampire hunting kit they’ve had since I was like 8 and going to Holly. They’ve been trying to sell it for $15,000.
Zach contends that this kit is TOTALLY FAKE. And he is probably right. You know who loves this kit so much though? Steampunks. Holly needs a Steampunk hunting kit because it was being overrun this day. I don’t really understand Steampunk, so if someone can enlighten me about the connection between them and Charles Dickens and Holly, MI and vampires, that would be so great.
I didn’t buy anything at this first store, but our second stop was very fruitful. I found a Skookum doll for $35! I’ve wanted one of these for a long time, but they are usually expensive. This guy has some slight paint wear on his face, but no big deal at all.
This doll was in a locked case with some others, and the store owner pulled the doll out for me. I then explained that there is a doll quota in my household and that I would need to hunt down my husband for approval on this purchase. He said that was fine, so I walked away with the doll. Now, this place was HUGE and super crowded, so it took me an eternity to find Zach. By the time I made it back to the register to buy the doll, the store owner was convinced I had stolen it. He let out a huge sigh of relief and exclaimed, “There you are!” He then tried to sell me a million other dolls.
Zach found a cool book at this store, which we also bought:
I should also mention that I accidentally rummaged through a bunch of garbage at this sale. Literally garbage. This is the SECOND TIME I have done this while treasure hunting. I thought this was a basket of little ziplocked knick-knacks, but it was really trash from a nearby snack stand with coffee and cookies.
Also, there is totally a half-eaten banana hanging out in there.
We next visited a store that was mostly selling old fossils and Egyptian artifacts. Zach was so excited about a case of old Egyptian ceramics, and then he saw a sign that said “Display Only, Not for Sale.” I thought he was going to cry.
We did find an old lead Santa riding on a sled, which we bought and have paired with our lead skiing Santa and lead skiing buddies.
Man, those little guys bring me such deep joy. I have probably never seen anything cuter than those recreational Santas.
The last store we visited was more of a creepy antique museum. It was really dark, and nothing had price tags on it. I had never been in this store because it is off the main drag, and the outside looks like a building that is permanently closed for business.
That wreath was probably put up like 6 years ago. And all of the windows had the shades and blinds drawn. Anyway, they were open for business. Well, kind of. When we walked in, an old woman “greeted” us with a frown, looked us up and down and said, “Go ahead and browse.” Browse? We must have looked like a bunch of Aladdins walking into the palace.
It was really dark in there, obviously.
Here is Zach touching something, which was probably against the rules.
Interestingly, in the middle of this place, was a weird little opening into a cave. Not a real cave, but a manmade fake cave. So bizarre, and also the best.
It had a bunch of dioramas inside….inexplicably.
My sister was the only one who actually found something to buy here. It was an old paper magazine from the 1920s or so, and was advertising a circus. She bought it because it featured some guy on the cover who designed all of the exhibits at the Detroit Zoo (she is the penguin keeper there). It was a whopping $6. She was thrilled.
The sales last Friday didn’t look all that spectacular, but we still decided to venture out. The first sale that we went to was actually the sale in Redford that Erin hit with her sister and dad the day before. It was packed with stuff and they were discounting, so I wanted to check it out.
Right away I saw all those dolls, but even though they were discounting, they were still pretty overpriced. I found this mug but then decided that I really didn’t need it (you’re welcome, Adam) since it was grungy and I don’t smoke:
Still, I love the idea of a person in the ’70s taking a coffee/cig break and then going back to work upon seeing that message at the bottom of the mug.
The basement of this sale was a Christmas wonderland:
But nothing was all that fabulous.
In the end, I came out of the sale with a few cool things, including a really old bakelite View-Master (probably a 1950s version) and a stack of reels. If you’re interested in things like that, I’m selling them online. I already sold the Las Vegas and Mexico reels. I also found a bunch of Dakin Dream Pets that were reissued. Each of these cost me 75 cents and Organ bought one already! I’m selling the others together in a lot. Aren’t they cute?
I found some other cool stuff at this sale, including a C3PO charm from 1977 that I thought was rare but actually isn’t that rare, and then this pin, which is amazing:
Apparently people are willing to spend up to $30 on these wizard pins.
Here is one thing I did not purchase at this sale:
And here is one thing Erin wanted to purchase for a White Elephant gift, but I talked her out of it (it was priced too high!):
(Worth noting: In my folder of images right now, this image is named “Mythic Creature.”)
Erin had an extreme tragedy happen at this sale, but I’ll let her tell that story.
We only went to one other sale, and it was a major disappointment. Let me show you why:
1. People getting pervy with Barbies.
2. Weird babies with nylon heads.
3. Bed covered in cheap stuffed animals and blankets.
4. Garden sculpture of 1950s Bart Simpson.
I found a stack of black and white pictures at this sale, including some weird ones of a paraplegic.
Erin and I went back and forth about possibly going to an auction that was in Stockbridge that night. We decided against it and I was going to meet my mom and her friend there instead. My mom called me when she got there to warn me that it was in the middle of nowhere and you had to drive on lots of dark, dirt roads to get there. Doesn’t sound like my idea of fun on a Friday night, so I passed. In retrospect, I should have gone because my mom found a lot of cool stuff and nobody was willing to bid over $7 for any of it! She got me a box of very cool old cards and I’ll post about those in the future.
Update from Erin: I was so excited to be back at the Redford sale, because there were a few things I saw the previous day and hoped would be discounted. I immediately grabbed this huge stack of handmade pottery dinnerware and serving pieces. The set was originally marked $40, but this day it was 50% off, AND the woman running the sale said she would give me another $5 off because I didn’t want the mugs in the set. If you can’t do math, that’s a total of $15 for a whole bunch of awesome ceramic plates. I was walking around the rest of the sale fantasizing about what I could make and serve on them at the holidays.
The rest of the house was insanely picked over and I only ended up finding this ceramic Cornucopia in the garage.
I bought those adorable glass pumpkins on ebay specifically for the purpose you see here. So fun.
Ok, so the checkout for this sale was set-up in the driveway outside. Sarah and I head out there, and just as we do, there is a giant gust of wind followed by a HUGE crash. Like people always say in traumatic events, everything happened so fast. I was looking around confused at what exactly HAD happened. Clearly a bunch of breakable stuff had just broke.
As I am thinking about how bad this sucks for the people running the sale, I hear Sarah say, “OH ERINNNNN!” in a really distressed and pitiful way. It took me a second, but I realized that she was saying this because IT WAS MY HANDMADE POTTERY DISHES THAT HAD JUST CRASHED TO THE GROUND. The woman running the sale had taken them from me while I was shopping, and set them out on a stepstool/ladder thing near the checkout. When the wind blew, the ladder fell over, and so did my beautiful plates.
This is just a small portion of the damage. Sarah contends that I proceeded to stand over the crash site wide-eyed with sadness for the next few minutes. At some point, she told me to back off because clearly I looked like a crazy person. I was obviously suffering from some serious PTSD.
I will never forget those plates. Never.
The next sale, like Sarah said, was gross and sad and weird. And even though Sarah and I love buying us some dolls lately, we passed on all of these:
These dolls were the kind that they sell on QVC in the middle of the day. The kind of dolls that have elaborate personal histories and personalities. The kind of dolls that kill people for fun but no one ever catches because, “Hey I’m just a doll! I can’t kill nobody!”
I did buy one thing at this sale, which is this amazing Mexican lawn ornament. I saw things similar to this when I was in San Antonio last month, but I couldn’t fit them on the plane home. This guy was also featured in my Halloween post the other day, but I’m going to be keeping him out all year long.
Gotta get down on Friday
Sarah showed up to my house mega early on Friday because there was a sale in Trenton that looked BALLER. It was packed to the brim, possibly past the brim. And everything looked collectible and old.
This sale was run by our now favorite company, which will remain nameless. They always have great full houses and are always willing to be fair about pricing. I used to be kind of intimidated of these ladies, but turns out you just have to ask nicely and they will work with you on price.
When we showed up to the sale, there was a line. Sarah and I are super impatient and generally try to avoid estate sale lines at all costs. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes, Sarah suggested we leave and come back later, but I insisted we had already come too far.
Here we are waiting for our turn to enter:
Our hair in this pic looks like we are those Garbage Pail Kids.
We finally got in the sale and it was indeed packed full, of both people and stuff. There was so much to look at! I immediately grabbed this old bisque Arranbee doll. I recognized it as a “Dream Baby” doll because in the past I had unwittingly bought one in a lot of doll parts and sold it for quite a bit.
I have this doll up on ebay now, but I am secretly bummed about it. I kind of want to keep it! I’m not sure what my attachment is to this doll, but I think it has something to do with how TRULY ADORABLE it looks when you take off that gross dress:
Look at that weird little body. It makes the doll look like a dumb little idiot, which I find kind of endearing.
I can’t remember what else I bought at this sale, except for a little plastic King Kong from the 50s or 60s. I also got some turkey salt and pepper shakers which I had to throw away because I washed them and all the paint came off :(
The next sale was in Troy and took place in a basement. This person was certainly a collector, and everything was sorted neatly among their various interests. There was a lot of Shirley Temple stuff, and a lot of glassware.
At this sale I got a Ted Williams baseball bat (sold in Sears stores in the 1950s) and this little metal Santa. He is skiing! I got this guy for Zach because it combines two of his favorite things: old metal soldiers and Christmas.
Look! Zach already had some fellow skiers for Santa to join up with.
I think Sarah hated this sale because they were selling Garfield pins for $1 each and she wanted a million of them. They refused to give her any sort of discount even though pins are universally a 25 cent item.
The last sale was in Warren and it was weird. Everything upstairs was newer ceramic and looked very Hallmark-y. The basement though had a bunch of old dolls. Clearly, as of late, Sarah and I are on a doll kick. We weren’t the only ones though…down in the basement there was this lady walking around talking to each and every doll she picked up. She would grab one and say, “Oh hello! You look very friendly. Looks like someone liked you very much! Oh look at you poor thing, you have no hair!” and on and on…
This lady was also some sort of self-defined doll expert because anytime I would go remotely near a doll she would interrupt me and say, “OH I didn’t see that one. Let me see that” and then she would tell me all about it. This was helpful in some ways, but it also seemed very clear that she might be making everything up. At one point, she grabbed a broken doll and said, “Oh my, this poor doll was in the war and was injured.” And then she picked up a doll that someone had painted black and said, “And you are black now! Someone wanted you to be black! But you aren’t supposed to be black!” I almost died.
Here she is, dollin’ it up:
This will be me in about 20 years, I guarantee it.
I bought two dolls at this sale, each for $5. One has the coolest eyes of all time and is a Bye-Lo Baby, which are apparently collectible.
Update from Sarah: The first sale was so incredible—I knew as soon as I stepped foot in the house that I was going to find some extreme treasures. There were bags and bags of Victorian (and later) postcards at the front desk, and I immediately started looking through those and found a stack that I wanted. It was so crowded at this sale that I got pretty irritated with people pretty quickly. If you were looking at items on the floor, people would crowd you so much that eventually their butt would be right in your face. Not a recipe for a fun time.
Anyway, the house was a tri-level and on every floor and in every room, there were tons of office boxes (the sort with handles and lids) filled with various items. When I went into the bottom floor, I spotted a box with a few random things inside, but when I moved some of it aside, I found a huge stack of 1930s/1940s greeting cards! Here’s an up-close picture of some of the best ones:
They’re up on eBay now, if you happen to be interested in that sort of thing.
The best, though, was when I got upstairs—there was one room that was just FILLED with office boxes overstuffed with ephemera. I noticed right away that many of the boxes had greeting cards—and they were 1940s through 1960s era, for the most part, which is my most ultimate jam. I just started gathering them and shoving them in one box that was already overflowing with cards. The woman who owns the company running this sale knows us and knows that I collect cards, so she said, “I’m gonna make a judgement call—$50 for the whole box.” I was prepared to pay way more than that, so I was thrilled and agreed. She said, “Good. I figured you wouldn’t bitch.”
Anyway, I’m going to have to do a separate entry about these cards because they ended up being SO AWESOME. This sale takes the cake in terms of the best huge amount of GOOD greeting cards I’ve come home with. Can you tell I’m excited? I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture of them before I sorted them, but here is a picture of some of them, post-sort:
I bought lots of other stuff at this sale, but nothing quite as good as this lot.
Erin actually forgot about one other sale we hit up downriver—I actually forgot too, until I saw this picture:
That sale was full of garbage. End of story.
The rest of the day was sort of uneventful in comparison to the first sale. I didn’t find anything crazy awesome, but I did buy a lot of buttons (Peanuts, mainly, NOT Garfield), even though that lady was a jerk about the prices. At the last sale, I bought some records and three-headed doll, after Erin and the crazy doll lady convinced me that it was a good buy. I forgot to take a picture of mine but it’s identical to this, except without any hair or clothes. The faces it makes are pretty amazing—especially the crying face:
The crazy doll lady told me it was “in the doll books” and worth something like $500. I asked her why she didn’t buy it then, and she said it was because she didn’t realize it had three faces when she first saw it. That one above sold for $35 on eBay, which is good, but obviously she was full of sh*t.
Avon Party, Lawn Ornament Graveyard, Grey Gardens Part II
Just in case you were worried, Erin and I are once again officially BFFs and made up after our Jerry Springer style argument in her driveway last week. We started our adventure in Warren at a sale run by the same woman who ran the sale from last week that I speculated was actually held at her house. Erin had some mad love for that lady when leaving the sale last week but the tables turned this time around. Erin has a habit of fluctuating between feelings of love and hate toward the people who run these sales, while I’m usually more ambivalent (except for my favorite guy ever—the guy who tried to hook us up hard at the Best Sale Ever.)
Anyway, this sale was the worst but we did find some funny things. This is the best of the bunch:
If you’re struggling to determine what those are, they’re two handmade refrigerator magnets. The one on the left is a pig that says (in little alphabet noodles glued on), “Porky are you eating again?” The one on the right is a cow that says, “Holy cow are you eating again?” I had to buy the cow.
Basically, everything at this sale was either made by Avon or found at the dollar store. I’m not into either of these things, so I was sad.
Here are some items that I passed on:
I can’t even remember what I bought at this sale, besides a little pile of letters that I thought were affair letters, judging by the first few lines of one of them. I haven’t read them in their entirety but Erin read some of them aloud to me in the car and it turns out they’re really depressing letters from a sister to her brother about having cancer. That’s what I get for being nosy! Also insane: I had a tiny stack of cards and the lady told me it was $5. I am talking like, three cards. In this stack was an old brochure about Cedar Point that I wanted to buy for a friend’s kids. She told me, “that brochure alone is worth $3!” Really, lady? ON WHAT PLANET? You should be thanking me for getting rid of the crap that nobody wants! I told her to forget the brochure and I’d give her $2 and she told me she had to recalculate the cost because she was giving me a “bundle deal”… WTF?!
Next stop was a sale in Mt. Clemens. This sale contained a ton of antique furniture, but most of it was in really bad condition. I got a box of really old wrapping paper that was in great shape, and a vintage little girl’s pea coat. Erin got a box that had visible bird poop in it. I wanted this thing until I saw the made in China sticker. I ONLY BUY AMERICAN.
Just kidding. I just didn’t realize it was a reproduction at first. I still don’t know what it was supposed to be, but it reminded me of a card catalog (but real card catalogs have labels on the drawers.)
The next sale we hit up seemed promising but ended up not being that great either. But it was really weird and time-warp-y and there were the most lawn ornaments I’ve seen in a while. It was also worth going to because the house was arranged really weirdly (it seemed like over half of it was a screened-in porch) and there were lots of funny things to see:
Again, what is UP with these depressing statues? We see them basically at every sale now.
Classy lady, classy car.
Private parts statue.
…and… a ladyman with very large penis under her skirt.
I found a few good things at this sale. First, a real deal garden gnome. I have a handful of lawn ornaments and he will be a good addition. I also got a couple of cute things to sell. Here is one of them:
Yes, that is a kitten wearing a yellow beret and blue glasses.
It’s past my bedtime, so I’ll let Erin update you on the Grey Gardens Man sale.
Update from Erin: I was disappointed with the seller lady at the first sale because she was being outrageous with her pricing. Last week she gave me all sorts of deals, even when I didn’t ask for them. Yet this time, she tried charging me $1 each for a stack of old dirty Christmas magnets. The magnets were handmade out of felt and had some sequins glued on them. They were cute obviously, but as a general rule, ANY magnet in the world should be 25 cents. $1 each? You’re out of your mind.
The second sale was great. Sarah thought the furniture was all gross, but she was wrong. It was like the movie Aladdin, you had to be willing to see the diamond in the rough here. I bought an old cabinet for my new porcelain pieces.
After some windex and Lysol, it looks amazing:
As for the “box with visible bird poop” that Sarah mentioned, this was actually an old DRAWER, that I planned to turn into a shelf. It wasn’t really covered in bird poop, it had drops of old paint on it. It did however have some mouse poop on it.
All you gotta do is hose that shit off, sand it, and stain it…WHICH I DID.
Look! Room for more porcelain!
The next sale was awful, despite having a million cute sheep lawn ornaments.
They were selling things like this:
Watch, that doll is probably like CRAZY VALUABLE.
Ok, this entry is getting so long. You all need to email us if these jumbo posts are annoying, and we can try condensing…
The last house was in Detroit and was a crazy mansion. Rooms up on rooms up on rooms.
Things started out promising, but the further you went in the house, everything got weird and abandoned.
Look at those walls and the ceiling. They needed me to get up in there and hang some bird poop shelves and fill them with porcelain.
Oh wait, looks like someone already was moved in:
OK, one more Grey Gardens-esque pic…
I bought an old, giant Mae West poster at this sale for $3. That’s it I think. I didn’t buy this poster which some perv had drawn all over:
Hard to Resist: Diaper Bear, Hopeful XMAS Signage, and MORE!
Time again for one of my truly favorite entries—items that we found REALLY hard not to buy. Sort of.
First up, this adorable bear with a not so adorable hygiene problem. Not sure how much bear diapers cost, but if they are anything like baby diapers, then I don’t want to know.
Next up…this sign:
A little presumptuous, no? Shouldn’t it say something like, “Santa, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP HERE!” If I was Santa and I saw this sign, I’d be like, “Yeah right suckers. This year I DON’T STOP HERE. Y’all got punked.”
And then I would get that diaper bear to pee on the sign.
Ok, one more…
Money Maker: Rudolph the Rubber Face Reindeer
Sarah and I stopped at a random estate sale in Midland, MI on our way home from Traverse City a couple weeks ago. It was nothing to write home, or blog, about. For example, here is an empty Spode box they were trying to sell for $1.
It kind of looks like there is something inside, but that is the plastic packaging. Trust me, I checked.
What I also found for $1, and decided to buy, was a rubber face plush Rudolph. I’m not entirely sure why I grabbed it, but I think because it was old, and because so far I had found no other treasures.
He is kind of cute, but kind of looks like he might kill you while you sleep. For $1 though, he was worth a shot.
So it turns out that Rudolph man sold for FIFTY DOLLARS on ebay. I couldn’t believe it when he got 1 bid, let alone enough bids to get him to fifty bucks (ha, bucks…no pun intended).
I did some research on old rubber face toys from the 1950s and 60s, and it turns out that they are quite collectible! Some of the most well-known of these toys were by Rushton Toy Co. Here are some examples from a fellow treasure hunter’s blog:
What I also found out in my research is that Sarah actually owns a Rushton Toy Co. Santa Claus, and she doesn’t even know it! She got him at a sale recently (maybe even the same one I got my Rudolph at).
I think she will be happy to know that he is most likely a money maker too!
Update from Sarah: WHOA. Erin is the best. That is totally my bro! Actually two that are identical to him sold for the higher end of that range up there, so I’m gonna keep my fingers crossed! Double win because it could actually also be featured on Things That Freak Your Husband Out. So Adam will be thrilled if it is no longer hanging out on our kitchen table.
Strange coincidence: I also discovered The Rushton Toy Co. today—I was browsing eBay to try to figure out why Erin’s reindeer sold for so much. Check out THIS one.