Treasures of A Time Gone By

1920’s Spectacles

As I sit and sort through last weekend’s finds I am feeling so nostalgic. Every box I open makes me hold my breath. What treasure will be under this cardboard flap? What will I learn about this woman who’s things I now own.

She was a teacher for over 50 years and her students not only loved her but kept in touch for many years after they left her classroom. She loved old silk hankies. She was never married and had no children but she loved her family and her friends. She loved calligraphy and old milk glass. She valued a dollar and had a keen eye for collectibles. When she passed away at the age of 102 she left a houseful of items that she cherished and had saved all of her life…items that no one around seemed to want.

I reach for a new mystery item out of the next box. The first thing my hand finds is an old magazine and immediately my heart begins to pound. What is it?? How old is it?? It is an edition of National Geographic from December of 1941. Think for a moment about what happened on that month in that year.

Looking through the magazine and pausing not only for each article but each and every ad I can see how times have changed so quickly. Life is truly different now. As I continue to browse I come across an advertisement for Hawaii. It talks about what an amazing place Hawaii is to visit. That ad came out days before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

How would that make you feel? To hold that issue of National Geographic and see how the world has changed? To know that this amazing woman (who wasn’t a magazine collector) had protected and saved this edition of National Geographic because of what she saw happen in the world around her at that time.

It makes me warm. It fills my heart with a sense of responsibility to this woman I have never met. I want to pass on her treasures to others who will treasure them. I want to keep her things and therefore her memory alive by helping them live on.

Yes, I will make a profit and yes, I will sell most of these things to people I don’t know and will never meet but I know what they inspire in me. I know the feeling of awe and excitement that it gives me to hold these items that have survived thru the decades. I also know that there are people on the other end of my shipping labels that will feel the same way about them.

When they pull the 100 year old piece of china out of the box that reminds them of their grandma, when they flip thru the pages of an 80 year old magazine, when they run their fingertips along the edge of a photograph that shows images of WWI soldiers coming home from war, or when they breathe in the scent of an old book, they will appreciate and understand the same things that I do.

Maybe they will hold their kids a little tighter as they think of passing it onto them. Maybe they will pick up the phone and call their mother or grandmother and tell them that they love them. Maybe they will just smile, sip a glass of wine and appreciate the beauty of what they are holding. Whatever they do I am thankful that the history lives on.

Aside

Fantastic Finds!!

Can you say shopping spree?

It has been a wild and wacky week of insane auctions! My brother, J, and I drove about an hour and a half to an auction on Friday night. We arrived home from that auction at 1:00am. By the time we had unpacked and rolled into bed it was 3:00am. The next morning we were up at 5:30am to do it all over again! We drove another hour and a half to a different auction, spent the day there and then made it home around 2pm. Monday morning I woke up with the I-don’t-want-to-clean blues…so I was off again to yet another auction!

All that auctioning means that I filled my truck 3 times with crazy awesome deals and some seriously unique picks! I thought I would just take a few moments to post up a few pics of these treasures to let you drool over. 😉

If you see something you can’t live without send me a message and let’s make a deal! Keep an eye on my facebook page too. (www.facebook.com/AnnasTreasureTrove) This is only a tiny fraction of the beautiful items I now have in my inventory so keep an eye out for new additions there!

 

Plethora Of Possibilities

Best. Auction. Ever.

 

Let me start by saying that I love Pennsylvania! As far as auctioning goes, it is the Holy Grail. Every weekend there are approximately 100 auctions within 50 miles of me. I spend my week pouring over the listings trying to find the perfect auction that will provide a mix of fantastic hidden treasures, easily movable goods that everyone wants or needs and deals that will make me dance all the way home.

In the past few weeks it has been quite a challenge to narrow down the options because of the plethora of fantastic auctions going on in my area. While pondering the potentials I decided that it may be a good idea to pass on my process of deciding which auctions will be worth my time.

Let’s start with the 3 basic types of auctions as I see it.

1.)    Auctions for the collectors. These auctions are easy to spot because of the pictures that are listed with them. The pictures are professional looking. Each item is pictured by itself, looking fabulous. The signatures on the artwork are listed, the background is lovely, the items all look like they just came out of a museum and in the description they actually list the types, names, brands, etc. of the items they have for sale.

Bring your monocle and your pipe. This is gonna be a fun one!

 

As a rule I stay away from these auctions. They are GREAT auctions and if you are a collector looking for a certain piece or if you are buying something specifically for your home.  They will generally be in nice buildings with comfy seating and good lighting. The deals are good but just not what I’m looking for.

 

2.)    Auctions that are “weekly” auctions. These auctions are social events. The people that go generally go every week. They are held in an auction house and are generally consignment auctions meaning that several people bring in a load of things to sell. Honestly, these auctions are just fun. You never know who you will meet or what you will see. The goods range from groceries to antiques and everything in between. I have found some awesome deals at auctions like these but it’s rarely a guaranteed score. The best way to tell if this auction is something that will give you a variety of good deal choices is to read the description and look at the pictures.

Old lady just stole my 1950’s Hooker Boots!!
~kidding~

I really like making these types of auctions into family events. They normally have a decent concession stand set up that has a variety of deliciously disgusting food, decent seating and families can go, grab a snack for the kiddos and just sit and watch the auction. If they have deals, awesome! If not, you still had a fun night out with the fam.

You can identify these auctions in one simple way. If they say “bring the family!” or “Come on out for a great time!” or anything about how wonderful their concession stand is you have one that falls in this category.

As a side note, I found an auction house here that does this type of auction but they only do it once a month. They have some of the best furniture I’ve ever seen. It is a never miss for me. If you find one like that, hang on tight! It takes serious work for an auctioneer to put together an auction as big and as awesome as this one is every single month! It’s worth going to see what you can find!

3.)    Estate sales. This is my bread and butter! I love estate sales. Although there are many different types of estate auctions, you can generally tell by the pictures and the descriptions what types of items will be there.  Are you looking for antiques? Household goods? Furniture? Check out the pics and see what they have! Generally each person has their own style. You will, over time, be able to look at a few pictures of the estate and be able to tell what type of other items you may be able to find in their home.

Estate sale treasures?

Deciding on which auction is the winner may be an instant decision. Sometimes I see ONE item that I must go visit the auction for. Sometimes it takes me days. I go thru the pictures, read the description, map quest the auction to see how long it will take me to get there, and then I factor all of these things in and make my decision.

In summary, what are you looking for? Do you want the family experience or the best deal? Do you want old, hidden antiques or the “good stuff”? Use your gut! Let the pictures tell the story. Normally auctioneers want to bring in the largest crowd possible so they try to put up key pictures that will help bring people in. Do those pictures tell a story that you find interesting? If so, you have a winner!

Questions? Toss them on comments! I would love to hear what you have to say!

Good luck and happy hunting!

Make your choice…

 

Blame The Lipstick

Image

At auctions it’s rare to walk in and see people who are “fancy.” This isn’t necessarily because “fancy” people don’t go to auctions. Auctions are a dirty business. Generally the stuff you’re looking at, digging through, and dragging home is old and in many cases, dirty. On any given day it could also be sweltering, freezing or raining. There was even one auction that I went to in rural PA that had tractors on standby to drag cars out of the mud at the end. True story.

That being said, one of the things I’m trying to change about myself is my image. I have made sort of a vow to myself to dress up a bit when I go out even if “out” means an auction. I had no idea the effect that this simple change would have on my last auction.

As I walked in the door wearing my new vintage style outfit, hair done up in victory rolls with pin curls in the back and red lipstick on, I felt the eyes. Those eyes…You know, the ones that make you wonder if you should grin or run? I decided to grin and go with it. I did my normal auction rounds to inspect all the goodies that would soon be mine. (side note: Ladies, I don’t care how AWESOME the outfit is. Comfy shoes are a must. Yes, heels make your legs look amazing. Don’t care.)

The auction started and I had procured my favorite spot right next to the ring man (The dude who lifts and shows off all the merchandise.) He was an older, fairly innocent looking man. As I was following him around I quickly noticed the quiet comments he was whispering under his breath with each item that the auctioneer called. They were dirty comments…very dirty…and very creative.  I’m not the sort to get offended easily so I just smiled to myself and ignored it. That is to say that I ignored it until one of his more “interesting” comments made me burst into laughter. He realized he had an audience at that point and the comments got louder. He put on quite a show and by the end of the night had most of the people within hearing range cracking up.

The auction was getting toward the end and I was out of my allotted money so I paid for my items and was getting ready to leave. I had purchased a very large, very heavy prayer box and was looking for someone to help me schlep it to my truck. The ring man was on break and happened to be standing beside the checkout counter. I asked him if he would mind helping me out. This is how that went:

He smiled.

He stood there.

I repeated the question.

He smiled again and said, “Sure, for your phone number.”

I laughed and told him I was married.

He responded, “How about a kiss?”

I must have looked surprised because he howled with laughter.

I looked at him with an upraised eyebrow and said, “You realize that I’m not up for auction, right? I’ll just carry it out myself.”

He paused for a beat and said, “OK, OK! How about an ass grab?”

Really?

I mean… REALLY?

“So let me get this straight. If I grab your ass you will carry that giant, heavy box to my truck?”

He nods.

“Turn around. Let me see what you’re working with.”

He turns around.

I haul off and smack his ass so hard that he squeals like a girl.

The whole auction comes to a halt.

Everyone turns to look for the source of the squeal.

The auctioneer, who is up high enough to see the whole thing pauses in surprise and says, “Well that’s something I don’t see every day.” and continues on with the auction.

I blush from my toes to my nose.

Ring Man smiles broadly and says, “I’m gonna dream about you tonight.” And with a wink, picks up the now not-so-holy prayer box and walks out the door.

I run.

I think next time I’ll go for a tamer shade of red.

Image

1950’s Pipe Holder and Humidor

http://www.etsy.com/listing/98178373/beautifully-preserved-1950s-pipe-and

Vintage Cameo Pendant

http://www.etsy.com/listing/98173596/vintage-cameo-pendant

Miniature Greenhouses

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

These are so cute! They are full of so many beautiful miniature pieces. There are over 65 different types of pots and hanging baskets. There are dozens of miniature animals and even a mini Santa Clause! This set also comes with the original box and tools used to build it. Both of the greenhouses are in good shape except for one of the panes of glass is cracked. Look these beautiful sets up! They normally sell for $150+ for just the greenhouses alone! I’m asking $200 for both greenhouses and everything else mentioned. There are over 150 pieces in the set. Make me an offer! 🙂

The Diva Chair

I found this fantastic chair at an auction last Saturday. It is so fabulous that I want to redecorate just to keep it so someone buy it! Fast!

$150

 

How it all began…

Have you ever walked into a store, a bar, another person’s house, or some other interesting place and thought, “Yep. I could die happy right here.”? This was my experience the first time I walked into an auction. There was some dude yelling far too fast to understand. There were random other dudes making strange gestures at that man and causing him to yell at an even faster rate. There were crazy people with long beards, grimy hands, and cheeks stuffed with chaws the size of NY (I’m not just referring to men), and there was “junk” everywhere. I love “junk.”

Somehow, in the insanity of that moment, I thought, “Yep. This is for me.” I loved it like I love bacon, cheese fries. Which is to say I loved it a lot. I approached a little old lady who was standing guard like a pitbull over a stack of old, moldy National Geographic magazines. She glared at me and began to look through the stack loudly proclaiming how gross and disgusting they were while I tried to ask her what I needed to do to get a number so that I could bid. Finally realizing that I wasn’t there to steal her stash of mold she warmed up and explained the process pointing at a table in the corner.

I procured my number and began my addiction. At that auction I bought:

A huge box of coffee mugs and Pepsi glasses for $1. I sold a Betty Boop mug from that stash for $18 and a vintage Santa Claus mug for $6.

An old and rather disgusting set of dishes for $0.50. They cleaned up nicely.

A hide-a-bed couch for $5. It weighed as much as my car and was uglier than Lurch on a bad day but still had plastic covering it, was in awesome shape and it was only $5!!

An old steamer trunk from the 1920’s for $50. This was, by far, the best find! It was locked when we bought it and when opened it revealed a treasure trove of antique items including several baby dolls, a teddy bear, a lace table cloth, children’s costumes, books, and jewelry.

I recount this experience because it was my first. It was the beginning of what has become a fun, exciting and sometimes lucrative hobby. I left that auction filthy from digging through the junk, exhausted from wrestling the car disguised as a couch out of their house, and with a cheshire cat style grin on my face. I also want to say that this was in the days before reality TV. I know, GASP, I am that old…sad but true. The appearance of shows like Storage Wars, American Pickers, Auction Hunters, etc, has changed the face of auctions. On one hand I’m totally thrilled about this. Auctioneers were a dying breed. Auctions, for the most part, were fairly sparsely attended and the people there were generally 50+. Now, there is new blood coming in. Auctions
have found a new voice and a new audience which is truly awesome. On the other hand tho….finding a deal has become far more difficult! The days of something valuable going for practically nothing because no one knew what it was are almost gone. It’s a real fight and a real adventure to find the best
auctions and the best pieces to bring home.

Challenge accepted! This website will be dedicated to my auction addiction. I want to chronicle my adventures thru auction land and show off some of my amazing finds as well as list my pieces and what they sell for. I would love to hear your questions, comments, advice, and even criticism on what I buy.  I am a researcher of all things interesting and old so if you find a piece and want to know what it is, toss it in the mix! Let’s see what we can find together!