What is your best find Antique/Collectible Part 2

Tampa, FL

How's that Jada? Now i can tell you about the best thing i have ever come across...i am a vintage jewelry dealer, had a shop at a local flea mkt. A gentleman came in with a box of vintage jewelry, mostly junk. purses etc. I looked at it and gave him a bid of 200.00 dollars for all...i thought i was being fair, which was important to me, wanted to keep my reputation as an honest dealer. There was a bar shaped brooch, that looked like a nice costume piece...it turned out to be real! (A visiting customer who deals in real told me to have it tested) I had it appraised at $12,000.00 retail!! The man never returned, and i wholesaled it out for $7,000.00. It was spectacular, art deco piece in white gold, with 2 amethyst cabochons, and the rest were diamonds...it was so large and had no designations of any kind on it, it looked like costume! i was thrilled! (so was my husband!) i doubt it will ever happen again...i feel that i made an honest mistake..and didn't cheat the gentleman...i bought new living room furniture with the money! sue

Newport News, VA(Zone 11)

sue,
I would have been in hog heaven! WOW! I only dream of finding something worth that much. I agree that staying honest keeps you in business.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Wow.. That's awesome, Sue!! :-) I love these stories. I don't have any of my own, though. I used to be the manager of a thrift store in Ohio, so I have seen and sold lots and lots of stuff.

Well, there were the letters.. We had a box with hundreds of old letters in them. They were really interesting! They were written to and from a lady in Kentucky in the late 1800s, early 1900s. At first she was away at college, and they were to her family. Later they were to her husband when she or he were away, or back home to her family. :-) There was one letter thanking her uncle - a Supreme Court judge (we had a response, too, on fancy paper with his letterhead) - for the bottle of port that he had sent her for her birthday! One of our regular customers bought the whole box for $15 or something and tracked down the family. They mostly still lived in Kentucky, but one of the sons had moved to Ohio and had died recently and this box had obviously been in his attic. Our customer sent the family the box and they were SO happy!!! He came back and told us about it later, which was just wonderful. We didn't often get to hear the "ends of the story."

Tampa, FL

jada and Marylyn! Wonderful story about the letters!! Here is another one..that i just remembered..i would do estate buyouts. 8 years ago..i bought from a lady in her late 60's and her grown daughter, their garage contents as they were moving. There was costume jewelry, teacups etc...in this batch was a large old pickle jar full of vintage buttons, (which i collect)...when i dumped the jar out on my kitchen table, out rolled a huge older 14 ct. navy ring, with the insignia on a stone etc. (Probably the husband had carelessly tossed it into the button jar years ago) The dad (& husband) had passed away a couple of yrs. ago, they had told me..i immediately called them to tell them i had found his navy ring (it had initials engraved inside with a date)...they started crying as they had been looking everywhere for it . i immediately drove it over to them, and we all had a good cry together!! Mostly in my business i get to hear how hired care-givers, and greedy relatives have all glommed away family heirlooms!! It is a sad fact with the elderly, but that was a nice ending for a change! sue

Newport News, VA(Zone 11)

Sue
How thoughtful of you! Sometimes sentimental items have more value than the few dollars you could sell them for. I know they appreciated it and will always remember you warmly.

A lot of times when I did flea markets, I would give things away because I know it meant more to the person than it ever would to me.

Like one time at a flea market my fiance and I were selling things from his fathers home that had passed away. There was tons of stuff and so we went every weekend to sell it and this elderly lady would come by every weekend and buy from us never spending more than a few dollars. One weekend she came and said I'm just looking today because I have no money till I get my check on the first ( SS). There was some costume jewelry she admired and she told me the stone in one of them was real. I dont remember the name now but it was a light green small gemstone. I picked up the item put it in a bag and gave it to her. She was thrilled. She said she was gonna take the stones and make earrings out of them.

Time passed and she came back one day to proudly show me the earrings she had made with the stones. She was very excited about it and the earrings were very pretty. The pleasure she got out of that was priceless to me and created a memory I would never have had, had I sold that item for a few dollars.

Tampa, FL

Great Story Jada, Being kind repays oneself with good memories for years!! sue

Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks for making this thread even more interesting, ladies!

Tampa, FL

Thanks Biv! Here is another story of a different kind about being "in the field" and looking for treaures..Our flea mkt. had indoor permanent shops (like mine) and the outdoor "Gypsy" field, where one could rent a table for a few dollars and get rid of stuff...usually people like Jada and Fiance would set up to get rid of things...needless to say us "oldtimers" & more experienced dealers, would hit the newcomers as soon as they would unpack...some of these dealers were very obnoxious and pushy!! (nasty, if you will!). Well, there were 2 older ladies (i hesitate to use the term) that were the "Queens" of the antique booths...no one would cross them as they have been known to use force and would grab things aggressively out of your hands! To prove myself once, (i was the new "kid" on the block) i held onto an item i wanted and the real nasty one, tried to grab it out of my hand!! I was being "tested" and i knew it. I was scared, believe me, i am not a very big person & i hate confrontation!! She let go and i paid for it and left...thankfully nothing happened to me...after that i guess i earned her respect, and she was always nice to me (go figure?) Well, one morning a mint adorable early 50's child's baby blue phonograph record player, cute teddy bear decals on it, (i remember it vividly) was being unpacked by some young people...the two "Queens" both went after it at the same time!!! Whoohooo, the fists were going pummeling each other...shirts were being yanked, and some mighty fancy words were being used! We all stood there in gleeful shock to see what would happen! Well, the larger one got the record player away from the smaller (meaner one) and paid for it and left! (no one was seriously hurt, these ladies were into their 60's) It was quite exciting..the poor kids that were selling it, looked shell-shocked!! It is an ongoing legend around our flea mkt. which is still going strong! lol! Both people involved are retired thank goodness! I have seen some nasty things in this biz!! sue

Newport News, VA(Zone 11)

Ha!
Great Story! Those were certainly the days, way back before my Fiance and I opened our own store.
I remember setting up a table in the wee hours of the morning to prepare for the long day and having the "experienced oldtimer folk like weeds" come rushing over before we could get the stuff out the truck. What we would do is open the box of leftovers from the week before and set that out for them to crawl over and after they left we would open the "real" boxes of stuff for sale. We always researched our wares before putting them out anyway, anything of real value was not sold out there.
Doing flea markets on the weekends was a lot of fun and and a great hobby and we met a lot of great people. Good thing we werent dependent on it as we both had good jobs, but we learned a lot. Later we opened a store in a mall and hired an "experienced oldtimer" who wasnt making much money to scout for treasures for us and I think he may have been related to those two "Queens" because he was a tiger and brought us great finds.

Those were the days!!!!

Tampa, FL

jada, you guys sound like "oldtimers" to me!!! heehee...good trick!! how about the early, early birds, you would like to KILL, at garage sales...grrrr.....so RUDE!! But, you are right, those were the days!!! i don't have the energy for that much excitement anymore...lol...you are right..many of my good friends made in this biz are still around! i love em'...we all have such good yarns to tell each other....sue

Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

I know what you mean about the queens. DH and I used to have three spaces rented in an antiques mall. Several times the queen dealer showed up with an offer for something we'd just put on display. Whenever I got an offer from her, I always knew I needed to raise the price. I never sold anything to her, and she unwittingly helped me get better prices. :) But I never, ever witnessed any scenes such as you describe. What a show that must have been!

A bad memory comes to mind, however. When my father-in-law died, we had an estate sale. Knowing we needed to keep a watchful eye, we had someone stationed in every room. Nevertheless, an $85 pottery piece was stolen, and we surmised it was taken by one of the dealers who showed up early.

Later in the day, an electric shaver disappeared. About an hour after we noticed it was missing, some idiot showed up (we'd seen him there earlier with a friend) and wanted to know if by chance we had a carrying case for that type of shaver! Talk about stupid!

Newport News, VA(Zone 11)

Bivbiv

ROTFLMAO !
At least he didnt ask you if you were interested in buying a really nice shaver! LOL

Tampa, FL

Biv biv, unfortunately i do think there are more dishonest dealers than good ones...I would have been so ticked that he had the nerve to return..grrrr...(jada, you naughty girl! lol!) One of the reasons i went out of owning a shop was the theft...with the advent of ebay...all the good things that weren't locked up were lifted! And i know it was some of my regular so-called dealer/friends! Never could catch them....made me so paranoid i hated that!

Newport News, VA(Zone 11)

Sorry,
I didnt mean to be rude. It just struck me as funny that this guy had the nerve (cahoonas) to do that. It sounded like a sitcom with someone missing a few screws!

I do sympathize because we had theft too, of course, (You open a store, you gonna get theives no way around it). My worse experience was when the mall dealers posted sales and sold our stuff at discount without our permission. How dare they? That is theft also.

Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

Jada, most malls here have a policy that allows a 10% discount without having to clear it with the vendor. (Vendors have to agree to this policy, of course; and most do.) If a potential buyer offers a lower price, then the mall employee must call the vendor for an O.K. on selling at more than 10% below the tagged price. It's strange that mall mgmt. would sell at a discount without your approval, since that takes money out of their pocket, too.

Ijamsville, MD(Zone 6b)

I have a cool find. In May critterologist (Jill) came over to help me go through boxes for a yard sale. We found a couple of really old books I had inherited from my dad in 1993 and never unpacked. Well one of them is 'Knave of Hearts' by Maxwell Parrish 1925. Now I just need to find a dealer to buy it from me. Any advice?

-Kim

Tampa, FL

Kim, try to do a search on ebay looking under books or Maxwell Parrish...or try "googling" the name...i am not really knowledgeable on books, that is a vast amount of collectibles. Also if is a first edition it will make quite a difference in price? Wish i could be of more help! Anyone have any ideas to help Kim? sue

Ijamsville, MD(Zone 6b)

It is the first edition. I am thinking I could find a few antique book dealers in DC and shop it around?

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

You can find relative value on books at www.alibris.com. It IS only relative - what book dealers are selling the book for. You can't tell if people are actually buying it at that price, though. Here is a link to your book: http://www.alibris.com/search/search.cfm?chunk=25&mtype=&wtit=Knave%20of%20Hearts&qwork=3569906


The last price on the list makes MY heart skip.. And it's a first edition, too. But, like I said, just because the dealer thinks the book is worth that much doesn't mean anyone is buying it. It sounds like it is worth finding someone to ask, though!

Tampa, FL

Wowzers!! Bluekat, hope you get a great price...neat link marylyn!! Let us know what happens!! sue

Ijamsville, MD(Zone 6b)

Thanks for the links Marylyn! Now why would someone price something @ such an odd amount? $10,329.43 Something tells me my book will sell for a little less than that! LOL

Medford, NJ

My best find ever - $5.00 - Not sure what it is worth, but I know it is more than that!
Full size end table lamp, 24" tall, didn't come with the shade, of course, and it has to be rewired (I don't trust old cords)....but there isn't a crack or a flaw on it and it even has it's fineal (sp?) !!!

Best part is that I have always wanted one!

Thumbnail by Bhavana34
Tampa, FL

Good find Bhavana!! it is a very trendy lamp right now, in the shabby chic, cottage etc. venue!! And to find one with out chips is something...as they can be rather prone to cracking and chunks off the corners...it is white marble, or alabaster, sometimes both were used...some had "made in Italy" tags on them....40's, 50's 60's?? i would put a price tag of 95.00 or more, especially a 24 in. tall one...usually you only see the petite ones...you sure matched the shade to it beautifully!! A timeless, elegant lamp.

Medford, NJ

yes, I was excited to find it, as you don't see them at all anymore outside of nicer stores or antique shops. This was at a $10 a table outdoor junk/flea market, a younger girl, looked as if she was getting rid of grandmas stuff - when I asked the price, she shrugged her shoulders and said "5 dollars?" like she didn't even care. I took it and ran, she offered to hold on to it for me while I continued to shop and I said no thanks. I was glad to carry it around for the rest of the day. At least 5 or 6 other people and dealers asked me where I got it and were shocked at the price.

The shade is silk, it cost around $40, I got it on the same day. I also have the "lamp kit" for rewiring, which I am going to do soon.

PS - it has Made In Italy stamped on the bottom, looks like felt had been glued onto the bottom as well, but it has worn off....no big deal I suppose to buy a piece and re-felt it.

This message was edited Jul 5, 2007 4:13 PM

Ijamsville, MD(Zone 6b)

Cool lamp Bhavana! Looks awful heavy for you to have carried it around for too long.

I have emailed a dealer in PA who sells Parrish so hopefully I will get a real value and possibly an eventual sale. I will keep you updated. There are a LOT of them for sale @ Abebooks.com

-Kim

Fredericton N B, Canada(Zone 4a)

My granny apt. is furnished with some of my collection. My space is limited

Thumbnail by agedgardener
Tampa, FL

agedgardener! I love your "art wall", it came out great, and you paired up your antiques so nicely!! I love the pic in the middle..looks like a meeting or party? With all the figures in various shades of color? i got a good chuckle out of your reading material.."Say yes to old age", like we have a choice? lol...wellll...there IS a choice...but i am not ready for that at this moment...heh..heh...enjoyed your photo! sue

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

The best find I've ever found is a small table that I have, about 20 inches square, that I paid $5.00 for at a garage sale. It was dark - almost black, and was beat up a little from being the family's telephone table, and it has a small drawer in the front. Anyways, I took it to my local "antique restorer guy" (Bob), who I have had restore several antiques for me over the years. When he took the table out of my truck, he looked it over real good and then asked, "Glenda, where did you get this table?" I told him, "At a garage sale." He asked, "May I ask how much you paid for it?" I said, "Sure. $5.00." He said, "I have a friend coming by here tomorrow. He's an antique appraiser from the Bloomfield Hills area and I'm going to have him take a look at this table. I might be wrong, but I don't think so, I think this is a Civil War period piece - made about 1860! And if I am right, this little $5.00 table is worth about $400.00 to 450.00!" He proceeded to show me how the dovetail joints were all hand carved - every one was just a little different from the others. And how the lathed legs were hand done. I hadn't noticed either before he pointed them out to me. I told him that if he was right, and this was indeed a Civil War period piece, to let his friend decide what is the best way to restore this table. I would leave it up to him. .....A couple days later, I got a phone call from Bob, and YES it is a Civil War period piece, made out of solid Cherry!! Bob said that Cherry wood, over the years, continues to get darker and darker, and that's why 145 years later, it was black. The antique appraiser told Bob to just strip the old finish off and clear coat it, which Bob did. It now glows are warm, rich, reddish brown. More red than brown though.

My little $5.00 garage sale, formerly beat up telephone table, now sets next to the bed in our guest room, and is BEAUTIFUL!! ....The people who I bought it from, probably never knew what a special piece they had.

:) Glenda
.....I LOVE antiques!!

Tampa, FL

Great story Glenda, It was nice to give this beautiful piece a home, most people would have sold it, to think the table sat in someone's home while the Civil War was going on! I am sure it had Northern inclinations! I could be wrong but, i don't think Cherry Wood grows in the south! lol....sue

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Au Contraire... Cherry does grow in the South, just not as far south as FL (unless you count Barbados Cherry which is merely a fruiting shrub). The firewood I just had delivered has a lot of cherry wood in it, and cherry floors are popular here and in NC, don't know about other places in the south.

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

Thanks, it is a special piece.

Now and then, when I'm looking at my table, I wonder about the person who made it, and the reason he made it. Was he just a furniture maker, or was it for someone special, maybe part of a daughter's dowry, or a wedding gift for his soon-to-be bride? I even wonder how close my table was to the fighting? Did the sound of gunfire ring through the room it was setting in? If so, was the house it was in destroyed or spared? My great grandfather told my father stories about when he was a young boy - during the Civil War. Stories about the soldiers, north and south, coming through (in Eastern Kentucky) and taking livestock and house wares - whatever they needed or wanted. .....Makes the imagination run wild with the possibilities. There were no names, dates, etc., engraved on the bottom of the table.

I love Early American and Civil War history and all the pieces we have left from those eras........

Tampa, FL

Well, thank you Darius!! i didn't know that fact? My neighbor has cherry wood floors, and kitchen cabinets...but they are from Home Depot, so i assume it was all shipped like so many things are down here to Fla. I wonder in Barbados Cherry is large enough to make furniture from? I think i will google that, you have my curiosity now?

How romantic Glenda! Looks like the table was fortunate to be in the home of the absolutely right person! You should ask the people at the home of the garage sale, you found the table at, where they got the table? But, then they would be upset to have let something that nice go?! Better not!!! lol....sue

Lewisburg, KY(Zone 6a)

Glenda, a very nice find and very descriptive writing! I love antiquing. I left a little early from the KY RU to hit the antique shops at Cadiz. I enjoyed that quaint little town and the time I had to just look and relax. I didn't buy one thing but I had a great time browsing.
Teresa in KY

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

Picked up a Schoenhut doll one day for $50. Knew nothing about dolls. The guy selling it was pretty aggressive on the price. Took a chance and later found it listed in a book for $700. Turned it for $400.

Of course, I was then a doll expert. Bought 3 more. All fakes. Lost $150 on them.

The neatest find I ever saw was at a swap meet in Nevada. I was selling there and all morning I saw customers walk by with huge ostrich plumes and showgirl hats. Later I spoke with the couple who were selling them. They told me they couldn't believe their luck. They were in financial difficulty, heard about an blind auction at a storage facility. Without being able to see inside, they bought a locker for $75. They were having trouble making their mortage and that money was a huge chunk of change for them. But that one day, they sold over $1,400 worth of costumes out of it.

Lewisburg, KY(Zone 6a)

Wow, that would be a blessing. Nice stories.

I was looking for a piece of Jewel Tea for my Mom's birthday. I went to a ladie's house that was selling some. She priced the entire set for $200.00. It even had a breakfast tray. I didn't have the extra cash with 4 small children at the time but after talking to my friends decided maybe I could list it Ebay and give Mom the piece she needed. She had sold it :(

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

bluecat, darius would know where to sell that book.
I volunteered in our local archives for 6 years before it merged with the new library last year. The old archives was very disordered and not indexed very well at all. We spent the last 2 years at our former location boxing and indexing the collection which is still an on-going project. Anyway, in the old site, I was moving around some tables and under one table, sitting in a box was an old dark round leather-bound thingy. I got it out and it was papers rolled up in a rough piece of leather, very crudely sewed together. It ended up being surveyor's field notes beginning in the late 1700s and continuing until about 1830. When I tried to read the pages, I found they were very brittle and I couldn't really see much of them without damaging them. So I called our State Historic Preservation Office. A restoration expert carried the surveyor's notes to Raleigh where they "relaxed" the pages, photographed them and sent them off to be treated and rebound but saved the original old leather. They also included a nicely bound copy. This cost hundreds of dollars to get done. The budget for the Historic Preservation commission is only $2,000 a year so this was a big investment. But it has paid off - 3 universities have borrowed the bound copy so far.
My most precious old things that were sent to me by my sister when my mother died was a full set of Desert Rose dinnerware. My grandmother had bought it during WWII when she had a boarding house and was asked by the government to house some WACs. I bought a few replacement pieces on eBay. I am really proud of those pieces and some old costume jewelry I got too. I will never understand why my sister wasn't interested in keeping anything for herself, but I am grateful.

Beaumont, TX(Zone 8b)

I've just found both of these threads and love reading the stories of everyone's finds.

I'm a treasure hunter and have been for years. I spent a little while selling treasures on ebay. I found some really cool things for next to nothing did quite well selling them.

One thing I found was a pop up book of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in excellent condition. I paid 50 cents for it in a garage sale and sold it for $82. I sold many nice books on both Amazon and Alibris, learning about the value of books. I've always loved to read so really loved hunting for special books. At one time I had an inventory of about 3500 books in my house for sale.

When my oldest daughter was in her teens, she had a wonderful collection of harlequin type masks. Most of them came from Goodwill and garage sales. I'm a cheap gal and never spent over $5 on any of them. After she got married, she decided to sell her collection. She and I had just started selling on ebay at that time. She's of the mind that all auctions should start at 99 cents. I think a bit differently, but she'd been doing ebay longer than I had, so I went with her idea. After all, it was hers to sell. As soon as the auction went up, I received an email from a lady that said the mask we had was from a line of masks that were no longer being produced. She gave us all kinds of information and showed us some photos of her own collection, which was very extensive. I took about 10 photos of the mask, including the signature inside of it. The lady said I was welcome to include any of the information she'd given me. When I re-wrote the ad, there was quite a few people watching it. The mask ended up selling for over a hundred dollars. Jennifer was tickled pink.


Well I just looked for the photos and can't find them on the computer. I wonder what happened to the pictures. Hmmmm

Janet

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

The costume jewelry I had turned out to have 3 real pieces. A pair of jade earrings surrounded on the bottom with tiny diamonds, a real gold maple leaf pin with a real pearl on it to represent a dewdrop, and a wonderful little spider pin. He is gold and his body is an elongated pearl. I am looking at the big brooches again, but think they are paste because of the way they are mounted without an opening in the bottom of setting to let light through. I believe all "paste" has foil backing on the stones. Am I right about this?

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

woodspirit11...Some but not all "paste" does have a foil backing. But most doesn't. It is clear. Other "paste" has elements in the melt which produce color. Some "paste" has, produced by vapor deposition, a thin layer of metallic oxides on the back. That produces several colors including silver, bermuda blue, aurola borealis, vitrial medium (a red/green very popular in the 1930s) vitrail light (lavender) and heliotrope. In the case of AB (aurola borealis) you can almost see right through the backing. BB (Bermuda blue) has a thicker layer and no light enters the stone from the back, all is reflected out.

"Paste" is glass with a high lead content. Swarovski is the leading manufacturer. No one today or 100 years ago made stones as fine. The company produces everything from chandelier parts, to rhinestones, pendents, beads and animal figurines. Swarovski makes the same foil backs today it did in the 1920s (I used to deal in Swarovski products and sold stones to other dealers with older pieces missing a stone). Not everything, not nearly everything, Swarovski had made is being made. Colors and cuts come, go and return.

You can spot Swarovski by the brilliance of the stone and the sharpness of the facets. They are cut, not pressed as is the case with nearly all German, Czech and Italian glass or "paste". If you have a piece of costume jewelry from the 20s, 30s or 40s, Swarovski stones are a mark of quality. Doesn't always mean the piece is worth more, rarity factors in. Lalique, for instance, used his own "paste" which had a much lower lead content than Swarovski. Its not as bright and clean looking but commands premium prices.

Because of the lead content (>30%) Swarovski and other paste stones are very soft. I haven't seen much, if any, older stuff without some scratches on it. So that is a good indication you are looking at paste and not, for instance, a CZ or white topaz,

The original rhinestones were quartz with a foil backing. They haven't been around for a long time. A similiar technique however is being used in some jewelry from Nepal and elswhere. A purple piece of not foil but paper will be put behind an amethyst set in a bracelet to enhance the color.

This message was edited Nov 21, 2007 1:51 PM

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