Happy Thanksgiving! Here is an assortment of Turkey Day wares, found at estate sales, auctions, and antique stores. A personal fav in this lot is the Harper’s Bazaar artwork that Zach found on ebay. Such a cool illustration. Also featured are some Johnson Brothers “His Majesty” dishware, an old transferware turkey platter, Johnson Brothers “Game Birds” plates, assorted miniature Indians, a chalkware turkey, a Victorian Thanksgiving postcard, and stuffed plush turkey.
What are you thankful for this year?
The House of One Corpse(s)
Well, Friday started out great—when I stopped at the credit union to get some cash before driving out to Erin’s, a man with a gold tooth told me that I was a “gorgeous woman.” Can’t get much better than that. I also parked behind this person.
Good thing he’s from Ohio and not Michigan because that’s what *I* wanted for my next vanity plate.
Like last week, this week’s sales didn’t look amazing, but there were still a few that we wanted to check out. When I got to Erin’s, she told me that she had spotted a secret/rogue sale near her house, so we stopped there first. All signs pointed to it being fabulous…
…but in the end it was not.
The best part of this sale was that it was being run by a cute little old lady and someone who I assume was her daughter, and they had all of her little old lady goods displayed on these tablecloths:
Next on our agenda was a sale that looked like it had some potential, but again, it ended up being not that fantastic. I honestly didn’t find anything except for a few old brochures/cards. Here is one cool thing that Erin spotted in the basement rubble…it’s a decanter:
We felt a little discouraged after this, but still went to two more sales. The next sale was in Dearborn Heights and was ultra depressing because it obviously was not an old person. I don’t know why but the sales where it’s obviously a foreclosure or huge family accident or something are always most depressing to me. Also depressing was that these people had horrible taste. The first sign:
Everything in this house was cheap and made in China. Also, they had more pillows than any house I’ve ever been inside, but strangely neither of us took a picture of them. Here is one other gross thing Erin did capture, though:
I bought four children’s paperbacks (Ramona the Pest, etc.) for our neighborhood Little Free Library and the woman running the sale charged me $2 for them even though the sign said they were 25 cents each. I asked her about this and she told me that the “really skinny ones” were 25 cents, and the rest of the paperbacks were 50 cents. Man, they were really trying to get any pennies they could.
The last sale of the day ended up being the best. Once again, the sale was listed as being in the Boston Edison district of Detroit, but it was really…not. Still, worth going to! So here’s what the house looked like on the outside:
Like many old houses we’ve been to in Detroit, the first and second floors were in good shape, but as you progressed up or downstairs, it got progressively less inhabitable. The people who lived at this house, I believe were a professor and a social worker, from what I gathered after asking some of the estate sale company employees. They had a lot of really nice stuff, and then a lot of areas that you could tell they just hadn’t even gone in for decades.
Here is a room of books that made me happy:
Erin was very impressed with the carved wood throughout the house:
While Erin was exploring the third floor of the house…
…I was exploring the basement.
When I first got down there, I noticed that it looked pretty hazardous, but I couldn’t help myself… I had to go inspect some of the rooms that were back there. Right away, I noticed a milk crate that was full of family photographs and scrapbooks, and many of them were extremely old. As I tore through some of the surrounding piles of junk, I found more and more and just kept piling them on. I was so excited because of the sheer quantity. One of the rooms that was behind the area pictured above was an old darkroom that nobody had touched in many, many years. Here is a picture that Erin snapped of me, demonstrating where I so badly wanted to get:
Back behind all of that rubble, I could see about four or five paper boxes filled with old paperwork and who knows what else?!
There was just no way for me to get over to those boxes when there was that much debris in the way… For the rest of the day, I kept thinking about what might have been inside those boxes. So disappointing!
Anyway, when I got upstairs with my enormous stack of photographs, I was ready for some sad news. A lot of the stuff in the house was priced fairly high (despite those photos, they owned many nice things), and since there was so much stuff in my crate, I expected the worst. But the guy sort of gave it a cursory glance and told me $20! I was so excited, I wanted to do a dance.
So I spent my Friday night looking through someone else’s family history. I’ll write more about what I found in those boxes some other day because there were some REALLY cool photographs, but I’ll leave you with the most horrifying find:
I got a serious wave of heebie jeebies when I found this—it was wrapped up inside old tissue/butcher paper so it was a real surprise. The good news for me is that people collect these things, so if you’re into that sort of thing, bid away!
Update from Erin: I loved that first sale! Sure, they had like 2 things for sale, but how can you beat free cookies and coffee? There was even a cute grandma who followed us around and tried to sell us things. I found a Waechtersbach teapot for $3!!
$3 is a SERIOUS steal. This pot on ebay is worth about 25-30 dollars. If you don’t remember, my mother-in-law got me hooked on this dishware when she gifted me some a few years ago. Every Christmas, she buys me a few more pieces. I even found a bunch of this set at “Best Sale Ever” so my collection is getting pretty huge.
Sarah also found this trivet for me to buy. It was something ridiculous like 10 cents. Zach and I vacationed in Cape Cod for our honeymoon and have the biggest crush on Nantucket.
The second sale had a lot to look at for sure, but I only bought a couple old Disney plates to sell. And for the record, I liked that decanter Sarah mentioned earlier because it looked like an awesome 80s computer. But then it was all political and I backed off it. Still cute though!
And also for the record, that Corvette at the third sale was a baller ass ride. I thought I made a superb joke about it just needing a new windshield (the windshield was a large decal sticker with bubbling from age, but this made the windshield look cracked). Sarah didn’t seem to laugh.
And alas, the final sale. I had a blast at this one. The house was COOL. The furniture and decor reminded me of our own house, only more upscale.
Well, except for the random Taz poster. People sure do love them some Taz. Are there any anthropological or cultural studies on the love of Taz? I’d totally read that shit.
At this sale, I bought some bubble wrap, a tablecloth, and a cast iron still bank that looks exactly like George. I splurged on this for $20, which was fine because I had barely purchased anything the whole day.
It looks just like him! I can’t believe it. This little buddy doesn’t eat mail and dig up the lawn though…or pee on the bed.
Money Maker: Antique Metal Molds
Like I mentioned, I’ve known for awhile that antique chocolate molds are collectible, but that’s about all I knew. So here’s what I discovered after buying a bunch of them…
First off, not all old molds are for chocolate. A few of the molds I bought were pewter, and actually meant for ice cream. Fancy rich people in the Victorian era used to have their ice cream molded into festive shapes for parties. Each guest would be served an adorable mini ice cream, all dolled up to look like Santa or a President or even other foods (vegetables mainly). Here is one of the ice cream molds I bought:
The outside of the mold said “E & Co.” which I soon found out meant Eppelsheimer Company, one of the earliest mold manufacturers. This was a good thing, because signed molds are generally more valuable. This Santa dated to 1890!
The chocolate molds I bought were thinner and not made of pewter. Most of them were 2-piece molds. One of the most interesting I found was this tiny Pope mold:
I almost didn’t buy this mold because of the rust on it, but one of the men running the sale mentioned that he had never seen a Pope mold before. I bought it for $5, which turned out to be TOTALLY worth it. This little guy is made by Joh. Fohn, which is apparently pretty rare because I can hardly find anything about that company online. I do know that it is German and pretty darn old.
I had a lot of people asking me questions about the Joh. Fohn mold and whether its sides matched up well. Turns out that this is super important in mold collecting. Molds should close up snugly and all edges should align, otherwise the value decreases drastically.
Another tip in mold collecting is that the larger and heavier a mold is, the more valuable. I found this out with my most favorite mold from this sale. It is a super large Santa that weighs 3 pounds!
The heavy hinge, along with clamps that kept the mold shut tight, made this piece the most collectible. It didn’t even have a maker’s mark, but its size and girth were enough. It also helped that the mold had such impressive detail inside. Reading about molds online made me realize that the more detail, the more desirable.
I bought this mold for $30, which made me nervous at the time. It ended up selling for $177! I could not be more thrilled, obviously. Here’s how all of the mold auctions went:
OK, so before one of you tries breaking into my house and stealing all of the cash I made on these, just know that the proceeds were used to buy George the otterhound.
I also used some of it to get my very first tattoo, a rabbit on my right forearm, which I may or may not be disowned by my parents for.
That’s it in progress. Also, I was totally THAT PERSON who wore a rabbit shirt while getting a rabbit tattoo. UGH.