Sunday, December 30, 2007

Things I'm Keeping....

Some recent acquisitions that I am hanging onto for the moment.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Finally, a sale!

Wooden block puzzle in a wood box.

It has been a while.... (or so I hear from people who check in)... and now I can update with some fresh photos. I felt pretty good at today's sale. I love the guy who holds these sales, his stuff is good, the prices are fair, and you can't beat the way he writes his classified ads....

"Weller, McCoy, & Siamese Art
Ranch Mink Coat Looking Smart
Harrison Fisher's Pretty Girl
Old Egg Beater Give it a Whirl
Mexican Sterling it Does Gleam
Rare Decanters from Jim Beam
30's Chrome Cocktail Shaker
60's Glass Briard the Maker
Over 200 Butter Knives
For Your Classy Gourmet Lives
19th C. Japanese Wood Block
Commercial Store Sign & Clock
Beautiful Brooches Very Nice
You Will Want to Go Thru Twice
Fab Flow Blue & Murano Glass
Lilli Ann With Style & Sass
Antique Basket of Woven Oak
James Avery's a Talented Bloke
Butter Pats for Your Collection
Paper Weight, Glass Confection
Velvet Postcards Very Camp
Ceramic Tiger T.V. Lamp
Sleepy Eye He's White & Blue
Arts & Crafts Desk Just for You
Ladies' Hats & Collins Purse
Pickard China Ends This Verse

And this is some of what I found (tomorrow, the stuff I'm tempted to keep for myself!):

Girl Scout Collapsible Metal Cup

Funky Eames Era Wall Light Fixture

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Little More...

Two other recent finds....

Friday, November 23, 2007

Catching Up

It's been hard to continue my eBay/estate sale work now that I have REAL work competing for my time. But today, during this nice long weekend, there was an estate sale just a few blocks (toward the nice side) of my neighborhood. I headed over and stood outside before 9 with all the people who are starting to look familiar to me.

We are all people who would rather be pawing through someone else's moldy old belongings than at any store on "Black Friday". Happily I did no other shopping other than two estate sales. (Don't worry family, you won't get old stuff for Christmas -- unless I think it's perfect for you!)

Poodle Dog Trash Can. It's kind of dingy because it needs a good cleaning. But I'm just not interested in cleaning stuff!

For some reason, I keep finding these Dymo label makers lately.
I found one in its original box today.

Very pretty Ohio Art click gun. Joey has fallen for this big time.

Oh yeah.

OK the best part of the many gift boxes I got today (besides the fact that I can remember receiving gifts in very similar ones when I was a kid...) is the photo to the right. The item is a huge gift bag. I don't know which one of that couple is the receiver, but if I got a huge big package like that and it contained a wooden stool, I would not be a good subject for a Hallmark photo shoot! Plus the stool is about 1/3 the size of that bag....WTF?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Not too many photogenic finds lately. I found a bunch of golf balls at a big old rich person house, so am selling those. I bought some Crane's stationary paper there too.

I got the Coors Hat last weekend when I went to an estate sale with Dad --- why don't you move down Dad? Think of all the fun we'd have EVERY Saturday morning going hunting for goodies!! I also got ET bedsheets at the sale, but surprisingly, they aren't that valuable on eBay... go figure!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

This Week's Goodies...

Vintage Salt and Pepper Shakers

1920s Playbill for "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" at the Selwyn Theatre in Chicago

Crib Mobile that is just like the one I had as a baby!

Vintage Plush Toy named "Worry Wart" with Missouri embroidered on his side. Is that the Missouri state motto?

These are my "sellin' purchases" next post I'll brag on some of the "keepin' purchases" I've made lately.

This weekend's three sales included a nicely packed house in an upscale neighborhood, a faux Estate Sale which made me very mad--(Just putting your classified ad in the Estate Sale section of the paper vs. the Garage Sale section where it belongs will not make you my friend!), and the last sale was out at the lake. It was a Mega-McMansion hanging out over the lake (next door to the Oasis restaurant!). It was a divorce sale, so no vintage stuff, but I got great kids' stuff for pennies on the dollar. Including a Chia Pet for Emma, Keen Sandals, and something I'll post next time that I am keeping!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Here are the good finds from last weekend. This is a nice, funky martini shaker... looks like a bomb just prior to dropping..... either way you get smashed!!! haha

Then, I loved the little children's faces on this vintage straw package.

Reporting on a few prior items:

The vintage hose that I bought for a quarter a package..... I sold the six packages for $55!

The $3 vintage Baseball game sold for $53

The $3 vintage Ouija sold for $20.50 HOWEVER, I underestimated postage to Canada by eleven dollars...ouch! So I just about broke even on that.

I have had to cut back on my estate haunting because I got a new job. I set it up so that if I work really hard Monday through Thursday, I have Friday free for my obsessive shopping. So we'll see....

I do have to report that last weekend, at the second of my two sales, I had another scary experience. I went to a little shack of a house. Thankfully I had told two girlfriends where I was headed so if I had gotten locked in a basement they would have had a hunch where to start looking. Anyway, I wasn't nervous about the house, all houses are potential treasure chests. But when I opened the door on this one, there was a snaggle toothed guy about my age sitting on a stool in the middle of the living room. He had long stringy hair, a baseball cap, and numerous tatoos including one on his neck that I tried not to stare at. I just played it cool and asked about the vintage toys they were selling. Yikes! He was probably on parole and starting a new life in the glamorous field of Estate Sale greeting. Good luck! Snaggletooth!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Part of this Week's Haul.....

On Friday, my first sale was the worst ever. I drove waaaaaay South and got to the little house having the sale. There was no one else shopping there. I was almost afraid to go in. I knocked on the door, and the lady inside opened it. I got hit with a dense thick wall of stale cigarette smell. I went in anyway, to find that it was her house, lived in, and she just wanted to sell her things. No price tags, just make an offer on, her couch for instance, or her plants... I gambled that she wouldn't have any antique toys, asked about that, and used it as my excuse to get the hell out!

Second sale, hopes high. I drove up and there were tons of shoppers. It was the type of sale where everything was priced really low, but there were a few nice surprises. My best find there were 6 packages of vintage Sears Cling-alon Garter stockings. The homerun came when I got home and found they were quite the thing on eBay. Especially since they are size "Statuesque" for people up to 6'2". I think I know my target audience for that.... I also got cool 50s TV trays, and these AWESOME placemats and napkins....

The third house was waaaaay North. Another house of weird little stuff. I entered through the garage this time to find OLD GAMES! I got the 1930s Ouija Board for $3! and the Baseball game for the same price! I got "Game of the States" from the 60s. There were lots of collector dolls, and after coming home, I thought I should drive back up for a better look at the dolls. I ended up taking a gamble on one.... I probably shouldn't have, but I'll write about that tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

And the door opens...

So here's what an estate sale feels like to me....

Sometimes there is a line out front, because the house is little and they are limiting entry. Sometimes there are numbers in a little box before the sale, and so the people in line are arranged in numerical order. Sometimes I get there a little later and I walk just in. The suspense is greater if I have to wait, but so is the frustration. I usually spend the time trying to assess the people in front of me. Are they looking for my stuff? There is usually "The Tool Guy", "The young family looking for sheets", "The old couples who just walked up after their 7am walk around the neighborhood". The ones I worry about look just like me. I know I'll see them inside with my funky stuff. If they have a baby in tow, I usually prevail, because they are half aware of what's going on.

So now I'm next in line, and finally, IN!. First, the smell. Old house, someone else's house. It is funny how many houses in Central Austin feel the same, with similar arrangements. Usually the front living room has the good stuff, china, things in display cases like jewelry, watches, tiny spoons. (If you are a tiny spoon collector, go to estate sales!). Usually the good furniture has all been pulled to the front. I bypass that room.

I generally head to the hall with the bedrooms. I glance inside each and stop at the one most likely to have toys. There is almost always one that has office type stuff, one that has all the linens, and one that has the little knick knack junk and toys (if any). That is my room. I scan high and low, grabbing things I'm going to consider. Looking low is important, because under the tables are some good things.

After that room, I generally look in the other rooms for paper goods like old stationary, Peanuts stickers like my grandmother used to put on our greeting cards, old children's books. I look through tables of vintage table cloths, I look at clocks on the wall, I look at luggage. I look for old Girl Scout stuff. I look for old holiday stuff, especially Halloween. All this time I'm moving pretty quickly.

Then I break into the den, another good spot for me historically. Weird stuff gets into the den, postcard collections, sometimes some cool framed things. I always have the "oh no" memories of past sales. Once I half heartedly flipped through the first few picture frames in a box on the floor. They were mostly old diploma frames, but as soon as I gave up, and a lady flipped through she found the most awesome tiny print, for a dollar or something. It was wonderful. That smartened me up.

The thing I missed in a garage once was an old pencil box like I used to use in elementary school. So now I'm heading generally toward the kitchen and garage end of the house. Now I'm looking for mid-century Tupperware, serving dishes, Nambe!, clocks on the wall. I'm on a mission for covered baking dishes, aluminum ones which have a lid that slides on and off. I'm going to give one to a friend when I find one. (Hi JH!)

Then I'm in the garage. Often this is a place for old toys, but since "Old Tool Guys" and "Fishing Lure Guys" hole up here, I'm safer to let this place sit until the end. I've found great toys in the garage, but often they are dirty and more beat up. For erector sets, that's not so much of a problem. I also look here for camping stuff. Old pots for my Girl Scout troop. Camp stoves.

Then depending on the time, I stroll back through again. Generally I've seen it all the first time. I take whatever I've found to the check out person. There are several estate sale companies who run sales in my part of town frequently. So I half know the crew running the sale. I look at what my competitors picked out. I lust for the things I missed the first time through that they got, but that doesn't really happen much.

Then I get to the car and try for another sale.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Yikes! I might have lost my mojo!

The Disney puzzle didn't sell, the Halloween cat didn't sell, the New Year's claker didn't sell.

The American Girl.... oh yeah. Bought for $45, sold for $61. Not huge (even to offset the other three) but did make me feel somewhat vindicated.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Three Sales so far this weekend....

I'll call these last two weeks my "Educated Guess Weekend Sales". While nothing has struck me as a sure thing, I feel comfortable spending money on items that I predict I won't lose any money on....

This is a German Bisque Googlie eye doll (or so I know now that I've looked it up on eBay!)

Vintage Tupperware "Hourglass" Mini Salt and Pepper with Caddy

Surprise of the week.
Ever since the Sunlamp, I've taken an extra look at any old lightbulbs at estate sales
I bought this for the cool lady on the package, what a surprise to come home and find on eBay, a thriving market in old flash bulbs, bars and cubes for old cameras.
50 cents

Abaca Grainware

1982 Shirley Temple Dolls
I had assumed they were older... hope I get my money back on these scary faced dolls!
$15 for three

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I'm back!

I'm back to 100% positive on my eBay feedback rating!!!!! Woopie!!!!

I remember reading a funny story in the Onion about someone grieving over losing their perfect feedback rating. But it wasn't all satire for me, it was too close to home. Then, last month, the unspeakable happened to me. I stepped on some toes and earned my first strike. I had listed the Barbie box after watching some other auctions close. I thought I had a Barbie box worth $60, so I listed with a Buy It Now of $58. It sold instantly.

Buyer paid, then I noticed my box was a bit more special/rare/etc. than I'd previously noticed. So I asked the buyer to let me relist. He was mad, but agreed, and demanded his money back instantly. I paid him back (plus extra) and then he dropped the bomb. NEGATIVE FEEDBACK.

What could I do? I deserved it, but still....

Anyway, I took my lumps, and admitted in my feedback profile that I did mess up and deserved the negative. Resold the box for $265. Was happy that I sold my integrity for such a princely sum... and then started begging the first guy to reconsider and withdraw his feedback.

About a week ago, I'd given up all hope. Then today, in my inbox, the message I was looking for. An invitation to mutually withdraw feedback. EBay Nirvana. So now I'm perfect again. Sort of lame when you think about it, to care so much. But I do.

The end.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The day I got the American Girl dolls....

One day, during the summer, I believe, I went to an estate sale.

My idea of a perfect sale is one held at the home of some little pack rat lady who had children during the 50s, 60s or 70s. I always hope that the little pack rat lady taught her kids to take good care of their obscure toys and perhaps store them in their original packaging. If that mother collected, but never used, funky fabric, table cloths, and other linens I am happy.

Just walking into a junky old house, and smelling the dusty, slightly moldy smell and seeing pile up on pile of accumulated decades of merchandise makes me tingle all over.

So the moment I walked into this particular sale, I was sure I would hate it. I could tell the lady of the house was only about 5 years older than I was. It was a divorce/moving sale. I wandered around looking at the overpriced souvenirs from Mexico, the surly teenager selling her clothes in her room for one dollar less than she paid at Abercrombie and Fitch. But then I walked upstairs. There were the sisters' toys spread around the room in piles. And lo and behold there were four American Girl dolls lying on the floor.

The lady of the house was not conducting the sale, her best friend was. Unfortunately for the homeowner, her best friend had never bought an American Girl doll. I asked friend how much she wanted for the dolls. She said, "name a price". So I said ten bucks, thinking it was per doll. She said yes, that I could have THEM for ten bucks. So I scooped them up and made to leave. And I found that my wallet was plum empty. I asked if I could rush to the cash machine about a quarter mile away. The friend said sure, and that if I was lucky the homeowner would be at the house by the time I got back.

I have never driven more quickly to an ATM machine in my life. I got the cash, drove back like a demon, and bought those dolls. Four dolls for ten bucks. And I left as quickly as possible.

I went back later (two times) to get armfulls of clothes and furniture. And later I sold those dolls, beds, dresses, costumes, desks and related goodies on eBay. And that made the rotten divorce/moving sale my best estate sale ever.

But I still like the old lady houses better.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

What I bought there....

OK, so I'm going to bias this site's photos toward my successes, I'll intersperse a few of the un-winning purchases in text.

At Warrenton, like I told you on that post, I had my guard up. Although it felt like I was a really successful wheeler dealer (was that part of their plan??) when I got home and checked on eBay I found I was taken for a ride on some of my purchases. At one table I got a cool table cloth with cowboys on it. I asked if it was vintage, and the lady said she honestly didn't know. Well it isn't. But I got it for $11 so no biggie.

Then there was the couple who sold me a vintage Disney puzzle and Halloween cat mask. Those items certainly got my attention with their bright colors. I bargained for a while and got them together for $30. I think the mask MAY sell for $7 on eBay. The puzzle, who knows, because I don't see anything similar listed. So, that might be this week's .......ITEM OF SUSPENSE! It is listed right now and I'll tell you how it goes. After the ash tray I'm a sucker for Disney stuff.

NOTE: Items of suspense are just a step away from FIND OF THE WEEK, so I'm pulling for this little puzzle.

I bought a great Santa decoration for myself like the one Dad had as a kid. I already have one that matches his, but this is a bigger version and even Dad had never seen one before. I'm keeping it.

I bought a 1941 Girl Scout book for $3, worth $2 on eBay.

I bought an American Girl doll. In the past the American Girl Estate Sale was my shining estate sale moment and at some point I'll record that whole chain of events on this website. Needless to say, along with Disney and Barbie, I can't ignore the American Girls, "they been very very good to me."

Friday, September 28, 2007

What I saw at Warrenton

Yes, I agree, this doll was kind of creepy.

Today was it. The grandaddy of all Estate Sales ... kind of. The Preview Weekend at Warrenton.

I wound up heading there by myself when my friend couldn't make the trip. Except for the one and a half hour, out and back, being kind of lonely, it was actually fine shopping by myself. I lingered or sped up as I wanted. I had time to circle back around and check things out. I could wheel and deal knowing I'd never see anyone there again.

I was blown away by the sheer size of this event. I was attending the Preview Weekend, the real sale is next weekend in the towns of Round Top, Warrenton, Fayetteville and two or three other little spots on the map. Today, I was only in Warrenton. I parked the car and spent 6 hours wandering from booth to booth. In those 6 hours I made it approximately 1/4 mile down one side of the road and I'll estimate I entered 100 booths. As far as I could see in front and behind me were more booths. Across the street, more booths. And in the four other small towns, and roads in between, and the mini storage place I passed on the highway getting there were more sales. And people had planned their yard and garage sales for this weekend. It is positively immense.

There seemed to be a heirarchy of booths. At the bottom were the people out in the sun, with a table, selling Happy Meal toys from 6 months ago, and "collectables" from the 90s. One step up were the outdoor sellers with tents and tables and funky junk... I often felt like these guys had good things but weren't too aware of the value (made me happy!). Then the quality of the booth increased as did the goods inside as you added plywood floor, extra fans for the customers, location within a larger tent, location within a building like a dance hall, and so on. Until at the top of the food chain were the dealers of fine antiques and china who operated in one of the meeting halls with power and little food bars inside their buildings.

I was able to find a few things to buy (I'll post those pix tomorrow). But I had the nagging sense that all these vendors know about eBay, so I proceeded with caution. On the drive home, I came to a profound realization. At a typical Estate Sale, the guy running the sale is given his inventory and may or many not be an expert about the values of the items. At a huge outdoor Antiques Show, the person manning the booth not only paid for each of the items in the booth at one time, but also may be working within their specialty and therefore they DO know more than I do about the real value of their goodies. Not always, mind you, there are so many, many objects for sale. But for the most part, someone like me, looking for a great deal to flip on eBay is going to have a harder time. If you are just shopping to please yourself, it's another story.

The last note from the day was that it was really toasty out there. I think we made it to the mid-90s. It was HOT HOT H-O-T. Especially, I found, in the 200 degree honey buckets.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Twice a year, here in Central Texas, there is a huge wonderful antique show. I had heard it called Marburger or Round Top after the main store and town name. A friend went last year and raved about it. Then I started reading about it in my magazines. It is one of those big shows that stretch along the highways linking these little dinky towns between Austin and Houston.

Well tomorrow I'll know the score because I'll be there! Even though all my buddies have declined an invitation to tag along, I'm going. I'm taking a camera and hope to post a full report of what I see.

I'm leaving as soon as the kids are sent off to school and return in time for the big school picnic tomorrow evening. Neighbors are taking the kids in the afternoon, and hopefully I'll find some treasures for eBay. We'll see.....

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Win some--Break even on some....

Just so you know, not all my great ideas pan out. I bought this cool little suitcase at a sale for $1. I just loved it, and thought it would be just the kind of bohemian hip purse that college kids would carry around.

I've listed it three times and nothing. No bids. Nada.

This was basically a break even, since I only spent a dollar to purchase and about a dollar to list.
Later I will even share things I have lost money on. I've got plenty of those too.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I got this cool postcard at the house where I got the Disney Ashtray and Barbie Box. I had heard of Nemo in Slumberland, but was not an expert about whether the estate sale price was high or not. I just wanted to own it for a while, I guess. The coolest part was that the card was printed in 1907 and David pointed out it was 100 years old. Unused, good shape and a century old.

It sold well, but I can't quite get the bidder to pay up....hmmm..


Barbie Box sold for $265!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend Report

OK, so I know I should pace myself, perhaps post an item a day. I've got a backlog of Estate Sale photos stretching back a couple of years. But I can't help but put up FOUR new photos this evening.

First, my sale report. Went to four sales on Friday. None were inspiring. Two sales on Saturday were a bust as well. I had five hours of Girl Scout training Saturday (CPR certified again!) so that really limited my browsing.

This GE SUNLAMP has been what I consider the FIND OF THE WEEK for my estate sale forays this weekend. I was in a house that looked promising but had absolutely nothing. I considered some Cabbage Patch Dolls, but didn't think they were quite old enough to pay for, looked at tools for Dad. Did get a little label maker with tape cartridges for the kids ($1.00) and they L-O-V-E it. But just when I was about to give up, I came across a box of lightbulbs in a laundry room and found this. One dollar for this awesome graphic, and then when I looked at it closely at home I found this bit:
Tell me that mom tanning her toddler isn't worth the whole trip to that house! Because of the package, this item earns a FIND OF THE WEEK award. It is listed on eBay and I'll tell you in a week how it goes.

The first and sadly, best, sale was way over in East Austin. A little old house, carpet ripped out. Sale is in the front living room and on a table on the porch. Very small scale. The stuff in the living room was on three card tables, and piled around the perimeter of the room. Junky stuff and I'm about to leave, but then I see these two girdle tubes. One is boring, but the other, Wowie! Look at that lady leaping around because her girdle is so comfortable. I guess I had the wrong idea about wearing tight constrictive undergarments in steamy, hot Austin. Apparently, it's fun! Cost for these two, 50 cents. I found some other little do-dads that I got for no more than 50 cents... but you'll have to wait to see them.

Because of the dancing girl, this item earns a FIND OF THE WEEK designation.

Saturday, September 22, 2007 find. ever.

The Disney Ashtray has come full circle. It is my favorite estate sale find, not because it turned out to be more valuable than I thought, but because it came with the best. story. ever.

I've been writing to the buyer and he promised me a great story, today I got this:

Dear baby-go-go,

That item and others were made in California by Eleanor Welborn. Her studio was in Northern California. When Disneyland first opened the stores were leased, not owned by Disney. He only controlled the Main Gate and the rides. He had a rule that the stores could not usuallly compete with the same merchandise. That way people stayed longer and more items were purchased. My parents were leasees from Feb 1956 to november 1959. they sold the Welborn dishes and ashtrays, exclusivly. They were sold under the Disney license for about one year. Then Disney licensed in Japan. When they left, Mom, who thought that D-land was just a passing fad, did not keep anything. I decided to use eBay to put a set of plates and ashtrays together as a family momento. The shop was called Show Business. It was in Town Square (and is now part of the exit path for people leaving the Mr. Lincoln attraction. Sorry I must stop here. I am running out of characters. Thanks for finding this. Bill