Treasures Found in Thrift Stores
Carnival Glass Goblets
Spending wisely was an important part of my childhood and later when setting up a household on a budget. We learned early how to find needed items at thrift stores, flea markets, resale shops and garage sales.
Our reward for digging through dusty piles of junk was finding tools, like-new toys, bicycles and household items like pots, pans, dishes and glasses. Scrubbed clean with a little effort, these things were eagerly put to good use at a fraction of their original cost.
"The time to buy an antique is now."
Something to remember about shopping in resale places: Never expect to find your beloved item if you go back to purchase it later. They're not making any new antiques and many are one of a kind. Once they're sold, they're gone.
Vinyl is Making a ComebackClick thumbnail to view full-size
Long playing vinyl records are making a comeback with vintage items like this Elvis recording bringing high prices.
Coffee ServersClick thumbnail to view full-size
This Flare Ware pattern is from the sixties, made by Hall China, one of the oldest manufacturers of dinnerware in the United States. The electric warmer still works and the pattern nicely matches my modern holiday gold-trimmed dishes.
Finding bargains can be a lot of fun. On one television show, they feature American Pickers who drive across the country seeking "rusty gold and barn fresh treasures." This pastime can become addictive.
Hull Mirror Brown Dinnerware
American made dinnerware is a favorite among collectors. Finding it one piece at a time may be slow, but it's a thrill to find another piece of a treasured collection, bring it home and rescue a piece of history.
This dinnerware from the fifties, known as Hull House 'n Garden Ware, came in a variety of colors like turquoise, green, orange and mirror brown with ivory foam trim. The sets were sturdy enough to use in the oven. Sets included cookie jars, serving platters, mixing bowls, bean pots, mugs, teapots, pitchers, plates and saucers.
This collection was purchased one item at a time over a period of years. It's getting harder to find Hull pieces now as it's no longer being manufactured.
Burgundy Lace Pattern
Auctions Are Fun
Auctions are a good place to learn a little about the history of each item. A good auctioneer will tell a story about each item trying to build interest in the crowd. It's important to arrive early and thoroughly check out the merchandise before the auction begins. It's sold "as is, where is."
Most auction houses allow individuals to register if they want to purchase items even without a tax exemption number. They give bidders a paper placard with an assigned number to be used when bidding.
When the bidding gets intense over any one item one auctioneer often announced, "The buzzards are circling." If two bidders want the same item the price tends to get higher and higher until one bidder stops bidding.
No need to worry if you scratch your nose that you've bought an item. It's not usually mistaken for a bid. For rookie buyers, the auctioneer often asks, "Are you waving at someone or bidding?" You'll know when they yell, "SOLD!".
Many weekends were spent browsing flea markets, garage sales and antique stores and at auctions. After attending the first auction, I was hooked. The excitement of finding and bidding on a treasured item would inspire me to later open a collectibles store in downtown Wylie, Texas.
Where to Shop?
Florida thrift stores are great places to find vintage items since retirees often donate their excess household items when downsizing. Goodwill, Salvation Army, Donation Station, Friends of Strays, and Junior League stores in St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Clearwater yield treasures from dusty attics, barns and storage units.
Antique stores in any town often have a bargain area where slow-moving items are marked down. Guitars, clocks, planters, kitchenware, glasses, patio furniture and more can be found.
Ribbon Candy Patterned Glassware
This patterned glass vase is from the late eighteen hundreds in a pattern called Ribbon Candy. It came from an estate sale where the seller's sage words of advice sent me into a land of discovery about items and their history.
Cobalt Blue Cosmetics
Vintage BooksClick thumbnail to view full-size
Silver ItemsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Telephone from the 1940s
Genuine Oak FurnitureClick thumbnail to view full-size
Researching Item Values
Collector Series books were the source of values before the internet. They listed approximate market values and the history of the pattern. Items can be easily researched on line now. It's easy to find approximate values for items via the latest sales on eBay auctions. Be sure to check the sold prices rather than checking the list or asking price. An item is only worth what the market will bear.
Autumn Leaf Mixing Bowls
Do you enjoy shopping at collectible, antique or thrift stores?
Tupperware from the Seventies
Downtown is Burning
The phone rang around midnight.
"You'd better get down here," my fellow merchant told me. "Downtown is on fire." Several of the business owners gathered on the sidewalk across from our stores. We watched while firefighters battled the blaze. Next door to mine, Hampton cleaners suffered extensive smoke damage. The shop next to them, an uninsured candle shop, burned completely to the ground. The next day there was a second fire across the street causing extensive damage to several more stores. It was deemed that the fire was caused by faulty electrical wiring.
Reconstruction seemed to take forever. With nearly half of the stores on the street closed for repair, business suffered. One year later, my business closed for good. Thankfully, I'd kept my day job.
Still, there's nothing like the feel of walking into an antique store, touching the vintage merchandise and spending the day with those mementos from the past.
Gemini Ranch Collectibles and Furniture
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Peg Cole