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

Thursday, September 20, 2007

$24 Disneyland Ashtray -Sold for $106!

This is another item I have high hopes for. It is listed right now on eBay. It looked pretty old at the sale, but was expensive (to me) $24! I thought about passing it up, but actually went back to the sale to get it. Turns out, the manufacturer of this item made the first round of ceramic plates and goodies when Disneyland opened. This is possibly from the first season. I'll keep you posted on how it turns out.

I got this from the same house as the Barbie Box. Those people certainly knew how to pick winners - first year Barbie, first year Disneyland. I'd like to let that little old person pick some stocks for us.

I'll post an item a day from this and other sales, then report how they turned out for me on eBay.

I'm thinking my little hobby would really benefit from a laptop computer. I could take a good look at the goodies at a sale, run to the car, hopefully find a wi-fi connection, comparison shop on eBay and then buy the item if it makes sense. However, that would take the fun and gambling addiction right out of it... I think that adrenaline high is what fuels me.....!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Find of the week!

I came across this at an estate sale. Price? $9.99. I thought it was just an old Barbie item, (always promising) but was especially drawn to the cool graphic. At $9.99, I thought perhaps the guy running the sale had checked it out on eBay and knew its value. But I bought it anyway. Well, I came home to find out that 1959 was the year on the box and THE FIRST YEAR FOR BARBIE!! I started watching other auctions and this box seemed to go for $70ish. Then I noticed mine had Barbie tm instead of Barbie r. Mine was from the first part of the first year, and my box has a sticker that says "brunette" on it. Brunette dolls were sold once for every three blonde dolls. It's on auction now.

I did have a mishap on eBay with listing this the first time. (and deservedly earned my first negative feedback....) but that's another story.