At the Plymouth auction this week, things felt very garage sale-esque. That’s not to say I didn’t see anything worth buying, there just weren’t any $200 Art Ross pucks or $400 cast iron banks for sale dirt cheap.
This cigar box had some human hair braids in it, which is NOT CREEPY AT ALL. I’m shocked that these weren’t mixed in with some women’s underwear and random drivers’ licenses…you know, because that is how serial killers normally store their HUMAN HAIR BRAIDS.
Speaking of creepy, this container had a tiny alien fetus inside:
It was marked “Area 51” on top and was obviously a souvenir from there. Lemme tell ya, people were going nuts over this alien. I sat in my seat and just watched as each person would pick this up, look at it for a good 10 seconds, and then look frantically around the room for their loved ones. They would then mouth to them, “Did you see this thing?!” It was such a hit. I got a really good kick out of how much everyone was amazed by this. It sold for like $20.
I also cracked up over this gigantic walking stick/staff. It was hardcore Gandalf style. Zach for weeks now has been talking about buying a walking stick because “it’s cool,” even though he doesn’t really walk anywhere. He talked about this nonstop, and I would get really worked up over how embarrassed I would be if he started walking with a walking stick. I was literally begging him not to buy one online. A few days ago, he finally revealed that it was all an elaborate charade just to get my goat. And got my goat he did.
I just realized that there actually was one high priced item at the auction. This turkey platter sold for $300! I was going to bid on it, but when it passed $30, I was like nevermind.
The platter was flow blue and made by Ridgways of England. From what I have read online, it was probably from the 1920s or so. I’m really curious if this was worth the $300 price it sold for, or actually more. I can’t find anything comparable on ebay. Anyway, it is always a shock when things sell for lots of money at the Plymouth auction, so everyone clapped when the platter sold.
I was waiting on an old cast iron mailbox to go up on the block. In the meantime, I bought the following:
A nice giant rug that George and Milo were so kind to model for me. I’m not sure if this rug is Native American or Mexican, but I sure do love it. I got it for $5! It reminds me of the rugs/table runners I bought at auction in Canada.
I also got these Santa sticker things. I say “stickers” because that seems to be the only reasonable purpose for these. Maybe I should say “stamps” because it appears that you lick the back of these and stick them on things. I am planning to frame the whole sheet as is and hang it up at Christmas.
The last thing to note is that Timmy and Joan came to the auction, and they bought a Herman Miller office chair for like $30. Sold new, the chair is over $500. FTW! They were so pumped over this purchase that it kind of made them auction tyrants. They thought they owned the place. When I was being outbid on a cast iron mailbox, they started yelling at me, “KEEP GOING! KEEP BIDDING! WE’LL GIVE YOU THE MONEY! DON’T LOSE.” It was hilarious. I listened to them for a minute and then bowed out of the bidding because it was up to $75…for a mailbox! Insanity. There are tons on ebay for $30-$40.
Two weeks ago, Sarah emailed me a link to a sale that looked pretty crazy. The house was packed and it seemed as though the homeowner had several different collections going on. More importantly though, like I said, it looked packed! I started having flashbacks to Best Sale Ever.
When we arrived at the house, things were indeed packed inside.
The collections here included stuffed animals (Steiff mostly), dolls, fossils, dinosaur-related things, mini decanter bottles, Native American crafts, and porcelain miniatures.
Sarah focused in on the Steiff animals first, and boy were they cute. The prices were probably fair, but higher than we wanted to spend. The guy running the sale told us though that if we bought a lot of stuff, he would give us a great deal.
Steiffs above, and below are some cats riding in a car:
I quickly focused in on all of the Native American items in the house. I found a small collection of birchbark and porcupine quill boxes. Lots of tribes made boxes like these, so I am not sure whom these are from. My hope is that these were originally from Michigan, and possibly Anishinabek.
The one I wanted was almost $50, so I told myself that if I didn’t buy anything else, then I would get it. And I would also see if I could get it for around $35 or $40.
I carried this little guy around for about a minute before I put it back. I don’t really have a good use for him, he’s just cute:
I think the sled might have been Native American made, and then someone just stuck the dog on there.
There was TONS of Native American stuff I wanted, and it started to become clear that I would have to find just one favorite item and buy that. I liked these dolls, but most were priced around $60.
And I loved these little kids’ seal fur boots, but they were $25 I think. SPOILER ALERT: I’m pregnant!! So I seriously considered buying these and making my child wear them. Then I started to worry that seal fur might be itchy.
Ok, so what was the one high-priced Native American craft that I settled on buying? This adorable sculpture:
It’s an igloo (obviously) and when you open it up, these little guys are inside cutting up a seal:
It was marked $25, but I got it for $20. I also bought two other things. The first is a cast of a dinosaur egg fossil. I bought it for my friend Jenna who has a dino-loving son. I used to work at a museum that had a similar cast and kids would go wild for it. Imagine a baby dinosaur coming out of this thing!
I also bought this bag of Christmas ornaments. They are little fruits and very adorable. The bag has never been opened, so they are also really clean. $5 for all of them.
All in all, a fun sale. Sarah bought lots of things, so I’ll let her tell you all about it.
Update from Sarah: I was a little worried when we first arrived because things seemed to be priced relatively high. But the seller was willing to negotiate, so that was nice. This sale was especially fun because there was a combo of both cool things to buy and look at, as well as insane things to laugh at.
For example, check out this senior picture of seals:
Or how about a DIY lingerie book?
Speaking of Erin being pregnant (!!!!!), I found this rare photograph of her baby in the womb:
I did find some treasures at this sale. Here is photographic evidence of me obtaining said treasures:
I just recently realized that in almost every picture of me on this blog, I have sunglasses on my head. WTF.
Anyway, there were some cool old books at this sale. I got really excited when I found the first of these two, and then MEGA excited when I found the second:
I also found these amazing travel journals that I will write about another day, because there are some amazing quotes inside:
Here are some other adorable things I purchased:
Look at that little French guy!!! He’s so small and cute! Oui Oui!
I also found some adorable old postcards of cats being naughty. This one is what it looks like every time I arrive on Friday to pick Erin up. I’m always looking for num nums and she never has any for me.
I went back the next day of the sale and bought one of the Steiffs that were left—the Bassett!
I got him for $15 and he sells for about $50 or more, so I’m not sure if I’ll keep him or sell him. The second day of the sale is also when I purchased my very own llama, which I wrote about yesterday.
I also found this very scientific drawing.
When I went back the second day, I was really hoping that this weird thing was still there, but it was gone. :(
I don’t know why I didn’t buy it the first day we were there. It’s a little creature made out of fur and a hoof. I don’t normally like anything made out of animals but this thing was just so weird and different. I’m sure Adam is counting his blessings as he reads this.
We mentioned that our adventures two Fridays ago did not end with our stop at Crocker Blvd. Resale. Rather, we had one more very important stop to make. Gibraltar Trade Center! This Friday happened to be Gibraltar’s “Garage Sale Extravaganza.” And what an extravaganza it was.
We blew past all of the normal vendor booths on our way into the Center (more on those later). We even blew past these inflatable water balls that you climb inside of and roll around in. I momentarily considered forcing Sarah to try these out with me, but then I started getting worried that I would pop my inflatable ball, which would be MEGA embarrassing.
When we got to the garage sale area, we were greeted with tables and tables full of treasures (and garbage).
That lady is SO on to us.
This was a booth where some white people sold Native American goods. Each Dreamcatcher came with a special extra treat:
How much do I have to spend to supersize my “reading” to the non-mini size?
All jokes aside, there were some nice booths here. It felt like a huge estate sale—the good and the bad all in one place. I bought a ticket stub from the opening game at Ford Field and an old Briggs Stadium ticket. I paid a mere $6 total. Sarah bought a lot more than me, so I’ll let her show all of that off.
My only other purchase was some handmade Easter candy. This part gets a little NSFW so heads up people! While looking at the available candy, Sarah noticed a sign that said “Adult Novelty Candy—Ask to See.” Of course we asked to see. And of course we bought some.
That rabbit’s sitting on a barrel and has a giant wigglywob. Zach and I still have not eaten this because it creeps us out so bad. I suggested we break off the wigglywob and then eat it, but this still hasn’t happened.
Eventually, Sarah and I left the Extravaganza and got some ice cream at the upscale dining establishment in the heart of the Center.
Mad props to the head chef here because that ice cream was hella good.
From the looks of this photo, Sarah got beer flavored ice cream. I got Superman. Also, here is a close up of that booth behind her:
Idk which of these is my favorite sticker, but probably any of the ones that include the phrase “Ditch the B*tch.”
Anyway, here are some T-Rex heads mounted on a board so you can fool everyone into thinking that you done shot yourself a dinosaur:
I would like to know the rules on hunting baby T-Rexs though, because, like deer, I don’t think you are supposed to kill the babies.
We searched high and low for the wrestling area before we saw that helpful signage hovering in the sky like the Batman symbol.
This person was selling various “oddities,” which I think is becoming a more mainstream thing to do.
I kind of think the truck decals were scarier…and those inflatable water balls.
Update from Sarah: You know how you know when you have a world class blog? When your co-blogger’s entry makes you laugh so hard you start crying. I don’t know WHAT kind of face that is that I’m making with the ice cream but it is truly great.
Ok, so right when we walked in, I saw this.
As we all know, a wall of books often excites me. But before I could even start browsing, I saw this sign:
Can someone answer this for me?: In what world is the going rate $18 for a used Dean Koontz hardcover from 1989?
Moving on… the next thing that caught my eye was a wall of iPhone covers being sold by a teenaged Juggalo. He ended up selling me one for $5 and it’s super cute!
The only problem with that little bear is that his big squishy body sometimes rubs against the phone and accidentally flips the ringer on. Very convenient for quiet concerts and movie theaters.
Before I go on to what I did buy, let me show you a few more things that I did not buy:
I’m no expert but I believe that is an assault rifle hanging from the ceiling.
Anyway, when we first walked into the garage sale area, I saw a long line of boxes of records, which of course caught my eye. Right away I found Endless Summer and a bunch of ’80s records that seemed really awesome at the time but in retrospect really aren’t that exciting. But the guy who sold them to me was nice and only charged me $5 for 8 records. Whee!
I also scored this cool cast iron trolly for $10.
It looks big here but it’s tiny.
The best thing I found, though, was this adorable sterling charm. It’s got inlaid stone so Erin thinks it could be Zuni. I paid $20 which was totally reasonable to me!
It’s a little bigger than the size of a quarter. I’m not even an owl person… I just think it’s adorable.
Like Erin, I also bought my husband some sexy chocolates, and like Erin and Zach, Adam and I cannot bring ourselves to eat them. One of Adam’s is the absolute worst:
Part of me still can’t believe I bought this.
All in all, though, we had a fabulous day! Things are finally improving!
Holy Grail: Plateau Beaded Bags
Monday night’s episode of Antiques Roadshow opened my eyes to a whole new area of collecting: beaded bags made by the Plateau Indians. These incredible bags are hand sewn, and beaded with tiny, tiny seed beads. The designs are colorful, intricate, and obviously amazing.
Antiques Roadshow had visited the Northwest Museum in Spokane to view some of these bags, and each time they showed a new one, I would literally gasp. I’m not kidding…I discovered later that night that my reaction was so memorable, Zach tweeted about it:
Seriously people, LOOK AT THESE BAGS:
So it turns out that you can actually buy plateau bags on ebay! There are quite a few up right now:
Alas, they are mega expensive, so for now, they will remain a “holy grail.” Some day though, a plateau bag will be mine. SOME DAY.
Last Wednesday, I somehow convinced Erin to go with me to an auction in Windsor, Ontario. If you’re unfamiliar with the area where we live, Windsor is just across the river from Detroit. This wasn’t the first time one of us had dug for treasures internationally, but it was the first time we had gone to an auction in Canada, so we weren’t sure what to expect. Turns out, Canadians don’t like spending a lot of money at auctions, which was awesome for us.
I reminded Erin to write down some directions since you quickly lose cell service once you cross the border. She obeyed.
I’m particularly thankful that she added this extremely important step: “Straight into tunnel.” I think we might have missed it if she hadn’t written it down.
Turns out, Erin gets the heebie jeebies in tunnels. She kept breathing deeply and asking me if I thought there was too much carbon monoxide in the tunnel from cars idling.
Does that look scary to you? I didn’t think so.
Once we convinced the border agent that we weren’t drug smugglers, we were on our way. When we arrived at the auction, it immediately seemed different than other auctions. Then I realized this was because the auctioneer had a Canadian accent and kept saying DOLEars, instead of dollars.
Here are some pics of the offerings:
Cool table with a built-in ashtray on top that you can’t see.
Erin was obsessed with that hideous chair. I have no idea why or how.
Action shot of me investigating stuff on the stage.
So I really don’t know what this place was, but there was a stage at the front of the room with this rickety old rail-less set of steps leading up to it. The auction started at one side of the room…
…and all of the stuff was on tables along the outer edges of the room. As it progressed, they finally got to the front where the stage was, and Erin was obsessed with watching the employees have to carry these trays of breakable items down that rickety old staircase. It was actually pretty insane.
There’s an example. The woman is holding a tray of breakable figurines that she brought down from that stage behind her. Every time someone had to walk around with one of these trays, it was was like watching a person balance a crystal vase on their head. You were basically wincing the whole time, hoping they didn’t drop the tray.
Here are some pictures of some other items that were up for grabs:
A vibrator. Look how pumped he is to be displaying that thing!
Ok in all seriousness, we both came away with some cool stuff. One of the first things I noticed that I wanted was this vintage wall hanging of a boy eating corn on the cob. I thought it would look adorable in my kitchen.
Of course, I left with this little dude in my possession. It has a little hook on it where we could hang keys, so it’s also useful! And Adam likes it! Double win.
This auction lasted forever because there was so much stuff, and the auctioneer milked every last dollar out of people. He started getting annoyed that people wouldn’t bid high, but it’s sort of like, if you immediately let on that you’re willing to sell things low, why would we bid high?!
Anyway, I also ended up with an old, pretty minty copy of Abbey Road. I thought it might be worth a lot but it’s not a first pressing. If you ever stumble across a copy of Abbey Road that is in good shape and the back cover looks like this, grab it.
The two things of note on this are the “misaligned apple” and the lack of “Her Majesty” listed on the sleeve. Some also claim that first pressings are missing “Her Majesty” on the record sticker. Mine doesn’t have these things, but it’s a really nice copy of the record and I only paid $10 for it so I’m happy.
I also purchased a box of records and one of the best covers was this:
I’m a little ashamed of the quantity of stuff I came home with. A lot of it was stuff that came in lots and I only wanted one thing out of the bunch. Oh well, the rest can go in the garage sale.
Overall, I had a blast at this auction. It was really good people watching and I got some cool stuff. A few of the items I’m going to save for future posts because I love them so much.
Hopefully Erin will update you all about the fight she got in with the auctioneer over a pair of dirty moccasins.
Update from Erin: That tunnel is so scary because it is under water…a whole giant lake of water. One day that tunnel will collapse because you shouldn’t build tunnels underwater. You shouldn’t even build tunnels through mountains. In fact, everyone everywhere: STOP BUILDING TUNNELS.
When we walked into the auction I was excited that there was so much stuff. I instantly fell in love with some old tapestries that were described as “Egyptian.” I don’t know if this is true, but I ended up with them. I paid $15 each, which is pricey, but I knew there wasn’t much else in the auction I would end up buying.
Look at that cute little frowny person!
The next tapestry had a fish design. It’s pink, but I still like it.
I appreciate these because 2 years ago I took a weaving class and it was so hard. I made a tapestry that was about 5 inches wide and 3 inches tall and it took about a month to finish. Oy.
I was laughing so hard at the workers carrying huge trays of breakable items because it reminded me of Food Network Challenge. If you aren’t familiar with the show, then this joke is lost on you. Basically, on that show, people spend about 8 hours making huge elaborate cakes, and one is chosen as the best. However, before the cakes can be judged, they have to be carried to the judging table. The whole thing is unnecessary, but the precariousness of it all creates some mega drama. Here’s a clip:
So anyway, a while into the auction, Sarah and I were super thirsty. The problem was that neither of us had Canadian money to buy drinks (we planned to pay for our purchases on our debit cards). The snack bar didn’t take debit card, so I decided to go cash out all my purchases, and while doing so, have the cashier tack on the cost of 2 drinks to my total. She did this, and then handed me the following:
I looked at her confused. What the hell is 2 pop? And why is it on this paper? Of course, this was my token of sorts to go collect my beverages. Very funny. Also funny is that “2 Pop” was Sarah’s rap name in high school.
I got my 2 pop and joined Sarah back at our seats. Now, this part is important: Because I cashed out, I no longer had a bidder number. That was ok because I didn’t plan to buy anything else, that is, until some great old moccasins went up on the auction block. I had obviously overlooked them. I didn’t take a photo, but the moccasins were similar to these I found online:
The auctioneer started at a price of $30 for these moccasins, but no one bid. He then went down to $20, and still no one was bidding. At that point, I chirped out a, “$10???” asking him if he would sell them for $10 since no one was bidding. Now let me say, that ALL NIGHT LONG people were doing this sort of thing. The auctioneer would be stuck at $10 with no bids, and someone would yell out, “$5?” and he would accept their offer. He even went as low as $3 on many items.
In my case though, he looked at me, ignored me, and then continued to repeat, “$20? $20? $20?” Still no bids. I scrambled to get Sarah’s bidder number from her, and then I raised it and said, “I’ll take them for $20.” I said it like this because he was looking away from me, and I was trying to get his attention. When he heard me, he set the moccasins back on the table and then snapped at me, “TOO LATE.”
I was so angry. This was super rude and idiotic. All night long this auctioneer was milking extra dollars out of people. One person would be bidding at $5 for something and he would incessantly repeat “$6? $6? $6?” This drew out the auction process too long, and the crowd was getting annoyed. The auctioneer was apparently also annoyed, considering how he reacted to me.
I approached the auctioneer after the auction was over. I first said to him that I was very sorry if I offended him by offering $10 for the moccasins, but that I did so because other people were making offers all night. He claimed that he didn’t even hear my offer, which is strange because later in our conversation he referenced me making this exact offer. Whatever. I asked if I could buy the moccasins and he said no (of course) and I explained that it was sad how spiteful he was acting. He told me that the moccasins are “worth WAY more than $20” and I reminded him that that was HIS price he tried to auction them for.
It was clear our conversation was going nowhere, and I knew from the get-go that he was not going to sell me those moccasins now, or ever. I let him know one more time that it was sad how an item that would be cherished by someone was now going to sit unsold, and that I’ve never seen someone make it so hard for me to give them money.
He said that he will auction these moccasins again in the future if I want them, but I don’t know if I will go back. Actually, who am I kidding? I will probably go back. GIMME THEM MOCS.
Fave Find: Inuit Art Print
So I’ve never hidden the fact that I LOVE me some Native American art and artifacts, as long as they are authentic and not stolen Indian designs made in China. In particular, I really like Inuit art. I’m no expert, but a lot of it seems to present everyday, mundane life in more meaningful and whimsical ways. And a lot of it has animals in it, particularly whales and narwhals (always cool).
Until recently, my closest attempt at owning Inuit art was this book I bought on ebay. It was essentially a catalog of Inuit art that I would never actually own.
I considered at one point cutting out and framing the photos in this book, which would probably end up being sad and embarrassing. Is that some original Inuit art on your wall?! No? You cut it out of a book? That’s sad. Go buy yourself some Inuit art.
Around the time Sarah and I started getting into auctions, I discovered that there are live auctions online! This seems obvious, but was actually a huge epiphany for me. And sure enough, there was an online auction scheduled out of Vancouver featuring ALL Inuit art. I was thrilled.
I figured this would be my chance to buy a piece more affordably. Pieces on ebay always sold for high prices or were listed expensively to begin with. Maybe I could catch a deal in this live bidding.
The items up for auction were all great. There were sculptures, fabric art pieces, prints, and more.
I zeroed in right away on the piece below:
It’s called Fox Traps and Anxious Hunters by Jamasie Teevee. It’s a lithograph (#22/50) from 1976. I entered a pre-bid of $150 and went to bed (the sale was happening on Pacific Time and it was getting late). Sure enough, when I woke up the next morning, I had an email saying I was the high bidder, and the bidding ended at $120! SO AWESOME.
Jamasie Teevee died in 1985, and all of his prints I’ve found for sale are listed for upwards of $400. I feel like I got a really great deal, and a really amazing piece of art. I’ll cherish it for a long time to come! Now I just have to find me a narwhal sculpture like the one above…
P.S. LOOK HOW CUTE THAT WALRUS IS.
Update from Sarah: Oh my gosh! I heard the story of the Inuit art print but have never seen it or a picture of it until now. It is so stinkin’ cute. I’m actually really jealous of this.
“You need to relax”
On Sunday, Zach found some nearby sales that looked interesting, so we rushed out to visit them. The first sale was in a condo, which is often disappointing because the smaller space typically means less treasures. However, this condo was pretty full and had lots and lots to look at.
I was immediately excited to see a Zuni fetish necklace, which I have blogged about wanting before. They had a price tag of $50 on it, but since it was the last day, the woman said she could do $25. It was immediately clear that the woman had no idea what this necklace was, because as I looked at it, she said, “Yeah, such a strange little piece, huh?” I told her that it sure was, and that I was interested in it, but for $20.
Of course I bought it, and of course I was thrilled. There was actually a lot of Native American pieces in this sale, but some of it was more common touristy type stuff. In what I shall call a true miracle, I was reunited with this guy, who I had seen at “best sale ever” and stupidly did not buy:
He cost me $1, which is probably THE BEST $1 I have ever spent.
So Zach and I headed onward to the next sale, which was run by the lady who once made me wait in line holding a 30 pound box while she talked on the phone with her friend. Despite that whole debacle, I have come to like this lady (Linda), as she is generally pleasant and has fair pricing. When she doesn’t have fair pricing, she will say frankly, “Fine, then what do you want to pay for it?” and then you tell her and she says ok.
So as soon as we walk in, it is clear that Linda is being bowled over by some mega bargain hunters. Everything at the sale is already 50% off, but these ladies wanted even more, and possibly, they wanted blood. The bickering was overwhelming and awkward, and Zach and I shuffled out of the way of the conflict.
We head in the basement, and there is another fight down there! Let me break this down…when you go to a sale and the seller says they will give you a discounted price on a whole pile of stuff, that price is therefore only applicable if you agree to go ahead and buy that whole pile of stuff.
You cannot do the following: Get a price on a whole BIG pile of stuff (let’s say that price is $15) and then ask the seller, well how much is just this one pan in the pile? When the seller says, well that pan is marked $10, you cannot then say, “Well fine, I’ll just buy all the rest of this stuff for $5 then.”
I hope that all made sense. The bottom line is that there was a man in the basement YELLING over pricing at one of the women running the sale (not Linda, who was busy being slaughtered upstairs). When this lady walked away from him, he followed her and continued the charade upstairs. He engages Linda in his rampage and every time she tells him a price that he doesn’t like, he throws the item down on top of a jewelry display they have at checkout.
At some point, he knocks over a piece of dishware and Zach decides to step in. Of all the things to say to an angry man, I think Zach chose wisely. He simply looked at the man and said, “YOU NEED TO RELAX.” Truer words have never been spoken, except for what Zach said next, which was “AND YOU NEED TO PICK THINGS UP WHEN YOU DROP THEM.” Yes, right on. I married a smart man.
The grump ignored Zach and things escalated when we ran into him outside as we were leaving. Zach called him “a rude person” and a “f#cker”, which I support as a harsh but fair assessment. The man walked away, but looked back at Zach one more time before we got in our car. Zach then proceeded to do the most terrifying point and stare maneuver, which I have forced him to recreate here and now for this blog entry:
That man was surely shaking in his boots. Or flip flops. For all I know, that jackass was wearing flip flops.
This was probably the worst I’ve seen people at a sale, except for THAT ONE TIME when Sarah and I were in the eye of the storm. I just don’t get the logic here. Throwing a fit will definitely NOT make someone lower the price for you. You gotta be nice!
Alright, anyway, I bought one thing at this sale, which is a fabric applique art piece known as “mola.” It is made by the Kuna Indians in South America. It is hanging in our bedroom now and cost me $30, a super discounted price that Linda gave me FOR BEING NICE WHEN ASKING FOR A DEAL.
The other day I was at the mall and set up in the middle was this random woman with tables full of vintage jewelry. I didn’t know that the mall let people essentially set up a yard sale inside, but she had nice stuff so I was down with it. Everything was kind of thrown in boxes and all mixed up, but like I said, most of it was pretty nice. If you stepped within 5 feet of the tables, the woman alerted you that she was making SUPER CRAZY GOOD DEALS, DISCOUNTS ON EVERYTHING, ETC.
I found this vintage Navajo storyteller ring made by F.T. Henry. I was pretty surprised to see it! She had $22 on it, but I got it for $10 due to the super deals happening. You can tell that the ring is handmade because it’s not a perfect circle, and the carving is kind of crude.
Here is a cool article on storyteller jewelry. Basically, the style is folk art created by Pueblo Indians to represent their culture. The carved and inlayed scenes can be really detailed and ornate.
Definitely a cool piece!
Punched Tin & Teto the Clown
Pretty much every Sunday Zach and I go out to breakfast at a place called Thomas’, mostly because I am addicted to their pancakes. Last week, after breakfast, we decided to stop at a random estate sale nearby. It was advertised as being 50% off everything, so it was definitely worth a look.
The house was completely full of random treasures, without any real rhyme or reason. These people collected a little bit of everything, which was great!
I know Sarah will look at the above photo and ask why I didn’t buy her that little German ornament guy in the middle. She collects these, but I forget their names. I didn’t buy this one because he was broken.
Most of the items in the house were unfamiliar to me, and I didn’t have the best reception on my phone to look things up. Because of the discount pricing though, I took a chance on a few items. The first was this old puppet, made by Hazelle’s. I found out later he was called Teto the Clown.
I also found this cool punched tin box. I don’t know how old it is, but regardless, it’s interesting and pretty. I decided to try selling it, but knew I was happy to keep it if it got no bids.
Zach had the best find by far. A piece of Native American pottery by artist Sally Garcia. Neither of us knew of her when he found this piece, but after doing some research, it turns out she is rather well-known. She is credited “as the first pioneer of hand etchings on ceramic pottery.” Her large pieces sell for hundreds and even thousands of dollars. The piece Zach bought is pretty tiny, and had its original price sticker on it marked $84. He ended up paying $15 for it.
We both love this piece so much and will probably keep it forever. Definitely a fave find, so kudos to Zach for eyeing it!
Update from Sarah: I’ve never met another person so addicted to mediocre pancakes. Why didn’t you buy those HO cars?
Holy Grail: Zuni Fetish Necklace
So Sarah and I are up in the Traverse City area this week on vacation, and besides eating deep fried Oreos, we are also busy treasure hunting. We’ve found many blog-worthy things up here, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I saw a “holy grail” item in person today that I will be thinking about for a long time…
While in Leland, MI we saw this tiny store called Tampico. It turned out to be my dream come true, which Sarah was certainly thrilled by. She finally left me at the store to go venture elsewhere because I had basically set up residence.
The store was mostly Zuni jewelry which I am obsessed with, as well as Mexican old pawn pieces and newer Michigan fossil jewelry. I was chatting with the owner about Zuni earrings when he mentioned a super rare Zuni fetishes necklace he had in the back.
I had seen Zuni fetishes before, and was actually looking at some in this store. I had never seen a fetishes necklace in person though. Ok, so before we get into that…
Zuni fetishes are little carved animals (out of fossils, mother of pearl, corals, rocks, etc.) that represent guardian animals and important tribal icons. They are cool and adorable. The necklace this man had was owned by an important member of the Zuni community, and it was made from fetishes collected for years by her family. He bought it out of her estate for an undisclosed amount, although I saw a price tag on it that said $980.
I obviously cannot afford this necklace so it will remain a holy grail for now. However, while in the back of the store looking at this, the owner mentioned some other Zuni jewelry he purchased out of this estate. He had yet to sort and price it, but agreed to show me anyway. I instantly fell in love with some handmade sterling and turquoise earrings. He offered them to me for $70, which is a steal. I’ve seen smaller and less impressive Zuni earrings for about $125.
Here they are:
They’re larger size, about 2 inches long each. And they look very cool on. After I bought them, I kept telling Sarah that I was “happy as a clam.” They really made my day!