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.