Weekend Finds: A Bang and a Fizzle

My shopping plans for this past weekend looked strong at the outset—freestyle garage saling, bookended with major events. Indeed it started with a bang as I took a half day from work to hit an early fundraiser sale on Thursday. Tammy had been hyping the sale since last year and I knew if I missed it I’d regret it. As I arrived, I was surprised to find not only one building full, but two outdoor tents! I immediately began texting Tammy and Angela reports from the scene. After about a 40 minute wait, the doors opened.


In all honesty, it wasn’t the most amazing sale, but the prices were crazy low and that made up for the lack of any major score. My best find was this set of Taylor, Smith and Taylor dinnerware for $10. Save for a few missing saucers and dessert plates, it’s a full service for eight.

Cathay_Closeup The wild atomic pattern is called Cathay. I love that it has bowls and serving pieces—both of which are difficult to find in any pattern.

ServingwareI also scored a rabble of serving pieces, priced anywhere from ten cents to two bucks each. Not that I entertain much with molten cheeses, but the rosewood fondue fork holder is just plain cool. The stainless steel candle holders and serving set are all German made and still have their original labels. The amethyst art glass is Italian and also bears its label. To round things out, we head up north to Denmark from which the teak serving tray and spin-painted tile hale.

Neocraft_ButterflyOne of the coolest pieces was this aluminum Neocraft candy dish in the form of two butterflies. A bit fancy, sure, but it has a certain deco vibe that I’m digging.

StrongBut potentially the best find is this painted tile trivet. I picked it up and thought the graphics were fun but the cork is really worn. But…wait, does that say Strong? As in Harris Strong? Possbily. I haven’t been able to confirm this, but it’s definitely possible. Either way, it’s fun.

Elgin_ClosedAs I finished up in the housewares, I looked down nearly all the way to the floor and found this little red curiosity. It’s so shiny and brand new looking I assumed it was brand new and almost didn’t open it. I’m glad I ignored my gut reaction.

ElginInside I found this awesome little Elgin folding travel alarm clock. It’s absolutely mint in its little real leather case. It’s made for a woman, but it’s so cool I really don’t care. I’m keeping it. But to balance it out, I also grabbed its more masculine Telechron counterpart.


Air GuideThe only thing I love as much as clocks are vintage barometers. Pretty much anything with a dial, actually. So naturally I was thrilled to find this $2 Airguide thermometer/hygrometer/barometer with a brass bezel and real walnut case. Vintage barometers never seem to work, but in my house of non-functioning clocks, it should fit right in.

ToysMy last finds at this great sale were for my inner child. These vintage toys are everything modern mainstream toys aren’t—sophisticated, beautiful and not made of plastic. The Playskool shape sorter is missing a few, if not most, of its blocks but I know my shapes pretty well so I should be OK.

SpellerThe graphics on the 1940s speller are fantastic. The moveable wooden letters appeal to the typographer in me.

After finding so much fun stuff on a Thursday morning, my expectations for the rest of the weekend may have been set too high. After that initial bang, things really started to fizzle hard.

ChairsMy first stop Friday yielded these two striped velour side chairs. I thought these would actually make great dining chairs for someone with an eclectic yet formal dining room. Unfortunately I bought them without giving them the whiff test first and when the sun hit them in my car, I knew I had just purchased two musty problems. The sweet little marble topped end table was a much more exciting find at a new thrift store’s grand opening. Those circles go all the way around, it’s a classy one.

Lil_GreenSometimes the thrifting universe throws you a bone. This time it came in the form of a $4 Bissell Green Machine at another sale—perfect for tackling those musty chairs. As it turns out, the odor was only skin deep and the chairs cleaned up perfectly. Plus now I’m armed for next time.

Pennant_GroupI did manage to find a few other fun smalls. The appliquéd pennant, beanie and wool stadium blanket all have a vintage sporting feel that I love. They’re graphic and textural and just feel rich. The fan was my favorite find.

FanI found this at the first sale on Friday. It’s small, only about 12 inches tall and very thin. In fact, these are commonly referred to as pancake fans because they are so thin. I immediately fell in love with this fan’s art deco style and unique two bladed propeller, not to mention the odd combination of materials—a solid bakelite body and lightweight aluminum cage and blades. It does work, but the cord was new and not appropriate for the age, so I cut it off. I’ll either replace it with a cloth-wrapped cord or I may just leave it off for display purposes.


ThermosesThese thermoses are a bit of a spoiler because I bought them for Tammy, but I just couldn’t wait to share them. The big Thermos is the best. Having never been used, it still bears its original paper label.

MatchboxMy last score Friday was this collection of vintage Matchbox antique model cars. I used to play with the same ones at my grandmother’s house, they had belonged to my uncle. They’re about twice the size of a normal matchbox car with much greater detail. They’re a little dinged up, but for $1 each, they’ll look nice on the shelf.

Matchbox_CloseI had hoped Saturday would be a great day. I headed out early for a 26-mile-long sale along a stretch of historic highway. I had heard great things about the sale in previous years and decided to see for myself this year. So I got up early and drove 45 minutes only to find the first town only had about four sales and all were terrible. Fine. On to the next sale.

LightolierAt least I found this Gerald Thurston for Lightolier plastic lamp for just $2. This story is actually a great tip for sale goers. I entered this sale with three other people who have similar interests and all three of them ran right by this lamp as they rushed toward the back of the room. Sometimes the low hanging fruit is the most easily missed by shoppers in a hurry. It’s always a good idea to check out the tables near the door. The shade on this is a little brittle, but I have another one from a damaged lamp so there’s a happy ending.

UmanoffMy only other find on the highway sale was this Arthur Umanoff for Raymor bar stool. It was a desperate buy. Not that it isn’t thoroughly cool, it’s just that nobody really wants only one bar stool. I had to buy something to justify the miles.

PaintingAfter driving all the way back, I decided to hit the thrift store grand opening I mentioned earlier. Among the other finds I’ve already shared, I found this little oil painting for $3.99. It’s not a grand find, but I really do love it and it sweetened the ending of a less-than-fruitful and really long day of shopping.

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  1. Jacob
    Posted June 7, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Permalink


    I’ve got 2 saucers and a bowl of the atomic pattern dinnerware you found. I want to get rid of them! If you want them let me know and I’ll get them to you sometime. They’re free btw


    • Austin
      Posted June 9, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      I’ll take you up on that, Jacob! I’m actually missing 2 saucers from the set.

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