This weekend I decided to hit a highway sale. While I love tag sales, auctions, estate sales and even normal garage sales, I’m always on the fence about highway sales. They are usually held each year at the same time in the same towns along the same stretch of highway—and often you’ll find the same people having the same sales they have every year. But there’s always that chance someone new is going to open up their garage door so I took the bait and hit the road. I didn’t do too bad.
Sure I would have liked to have found something amazing, but when you get up early and make a trek, just putting anything in the car feels good. It just wouldn’t be a weekend if I didn’t bring home some ceramics, multiple lamps and at least one enormous picture. Check, check and check. But a few finds did have some star power.
This Bassett end table is a good example. It’s actually much larger than it looks in this photo. It was the first find of the day and I hoped it would start a trend. It does need some refinishing. I don’t know what the previous owner did to it (and I have a hunch that they didn’t know what they were doing either) but it needs a top coat of some sort. It feels like they just stripped and stained the top. Yikes. But it won’t be any trick bringing it back to life and it has such a great shape.
This little footstool is far from being a star, but it was only $5 and when I picked it up I could tell there were layers of fabric on it—the original vinyl is somewhere underneath. For that price it’s kind of like a box of Cracker Jacks: it’s worth it just to see what the toy inside is. And if the vinyl is a nightmare, I’ve got plenty of fabric remnants stocked up to make this something great.
I found this clock at a sale touted as “the largest antiques sale in town.” Which really means “we have a barn full of dirty antiques that we open up from time to time.” But there were still gems to be had and this Jefferson Magic Hour clock is one of them. It operates by rotating a glass plate which drives the hands, making the works seemingly invisible, or “magic.” The case is plated in 24 karat gold to give it a little glitz. Magic Hour clocks were in continuous production from 1949 until the factory closed in 1991, but the luminescent paint on the numbers and hands means this example was made prior to 1965.
At the same sale I made this dirty little friend. It’s filthier than it looks in the picture. Why did I buy it? It’s cool, that’s why. The Chrome-Ever fan is actually made of solid aluminum so it may get dirty but, unlike other fans, it won’t rust. The back is my favorite part.
But I’ll admit, I probably wouldn’t have bought it if I didn’t already own a larger version and knew how it would clean up. Believe it or not, mine was in the same shape when I bought it several years ago, but look at it now.
Between larger towns, I decided to stop in a very small, very unlikely town. Despite their enthusiastic sign on the highway, I only found two sales—one of which I refused to even slow the car for. Fearing the worst, I was pleasantly surprised at the second sale.
My final purchase at this sale was the most intriguing. The price tag actually said, “What is this?” I still don’t know what it is. The tag says “House of Vision, Inc.” so I can assume it has to do with vision testing, but that’s all I know and research hasn’t yielded any clearer ideas either. Any thoughts? It was $5 worth of fun for the conversation alone.
Moving down the road, I stumbled upon another “biggest antique sale in town.” Not impressed. But among the near retail stickers, I did happen to find this sweet cardboard and wood suitcase for just $10. It’s in great shape, but I’ll probably replace the disintegrating paper lining inside. I’m thinking more vintage Christmas storage.
One of the tips I’ve picked up from Tammy, Snag’s resident Pyrex guru, is that black patterns are special, usually promotional pieces that were only produced for a very limited amount of time. I’m sure she’ll be able to tell us exactly what year this divided dish came out. All I know is when I see it in good shape, I pick it up.
My last find of the day was this chair. It’s pretty awesome, but it does need to have the arms refinished. Interestingly, I found this at the same sale I hit at the tail end of last year’s highway sale and remember thinking to myself at the time, “This sale looks like it was awesome, next year I’m coming here first.” Sigh. This year I’ve made a note for myself so history will not, once again, repeat itself.