Saturday May 21, 2011 | Comments
Hi everyone. We did manage a few surprise thriftbreaks this week, so we have material for a thrifting post this time around. So, originally, I'd planned to do a whole thrifting series on marked and unmarked vintage and antique items at the thrift, and how this type of knowledge can be of great benefit.
But I don't think we have the time to take that on, what with the new house issues and all - so I'll just talk about our recent marked and unmarked thrift finds.
You might remember that we scored a Sascha Brastoff resin piece earlier that had probably passed undetected because the mark was not recognized. It's surprising, but it happens quite often - which is why the more knowledge you can cram in your brain, the better! This blue resin Sascha Brastoff seal was a little overpriced but I just had to get it. The seller also knew who it was by, which is why the price wasn't that low. I did know that the Brastoff resin animals can be very valuable, though it turns out the seal is more common than the other ones.
For thrifting unmarked glassware, it's difficult to beat Dorothy Thorpe roly polys. We found another set of four the other day. Keep in mind that the silver ones can be cleaned so don't count them out if the silver band looks dirty. However, do pay attention to see if any of the band has come off (and remember the band exists on both interior and exterior) because that can't be fixed.
I picked up these Scandinavian items online awhile back. Recently, I've started to look into "sniping" stuff for the store. I'm not sure if this is a good use of work time (probably not), so I try to think of it as entertainment. The two small floral dishes are Arabia, and while they ARE clearly marked, I don't think a lot of people know that this is from the ARA terracotta line started by Kurt Ekholm. Not tremendously valuable, but still worth it - we've sold one previously.
The painted candle holder girl is actually something I'm very hopeful about. The writing on the bottom says Sweden and the mark appears to be for... Stig Lindberg! I'm a little hesitant to say it's Lindberg yet, because the mark is in ink on unglazed red clay, and this doesn't look that much like other things I've seen from him. Although, the glaze technique IS very similar to a few items by him. And - I was thinking, why in the world would someone fake a signature on a smaller item like this?
Whoa - so these wooden dolls are a little creepy. They were packaged together in a bag, so it was hard to see through it. But I did get a glimpse of a sticker on the foot of the little guy in front - it's Zoo-line from Japan. The Zoo-line stuff is heavily derivative (or outright copies) of the Kay Bojesen and other Danish line of wooden toys. But they still have a good amount of value. Keep in mind that a lot of times these Zoo-line things can appear unmarked, since the sticker may come off... or it may just say "Made in Japan".
So I ended up buying the package, thinking I would toss the scary-hairy dolls. However, after taking them out of the package, I saw that they were actually marked Made in Sweden on the bottom. Haven't been able to find out much about them, but believe them to be vintage. The weird metal earrings seem to be a key to finding out the company that made them - anyone have ideas?
A lot of times, I'll thrift something based entirely on a name - that was the case with the Vera booklet shown above. I think other people might pass it over if they weren't familiar with her scarves and other items. The "color key purse dictionary" (i.e. "bunch of color swatches in a holder") is fully marked as made by Ameritone Paint in the 60s. However, I would've got them even if they weren't marked - because I just figured people would like this sort of thing.
Last up were these two great bird figurines. The glass bird is actually marked with a sticker saying "Robinson's" - so I think a lot of people might pass it thinking it's from the department store. However, I recognized the shape of the glass as by FM Konstglas of Sweden. I'm guessing they were made by that company, and then sold through Robinson's - or something like that. It just looks way too similar.
The little teak bird is completely unmarked. However, I'd remember seeing him on a bunch of different Flickr and Twitter contact's photostreams. I'm not very familiar with his work, but it's likely made by the Danish designer Hans Bolling. I was really happy to score him at an estate sale - and it was only because I was standing in line for nearly 45 minutes to pay that I spotted him on a table of ghastly dolls and knickknacks...
OK, hope you enjoyed this thrift roundup. We'll probably be posting another in 2 weeks or so.
Sunday May 8, 2011 | Comments
Hi everyone. I couldn't come up with an interesting thrifting theme for this week. So, I'm just going to say Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there, and here is what we found recently while thrifting:
This Friday, I managed to squeeze two estate sales into the usual thrifting run. Didn't come away with very much, but these funny looking Vikings with canoe was an easy pickup. I actually found another similar wood figurine... but I put it down to look at something else. When I turned back, it was gone. I'm not sure if that was sneaky fellow seller who took it, or an estate gremlin, or...
I picked up these nice mugs with the Country Village pattern on them from Nasco at the thrift. We'd found the canisters in this pattern previously. The little Roselane owl to the side almost didn't come home from the thrift due to quite a bit of wear - and one of his plastic eyes is also a little blurry. Perhaps we'll bill him as a "senior owl" or something...
I keep finding Ken Edwards items at the thrift every so often, and when they're reasonable they often come home with us. The design on this one seems rather unusual for a KE piece - it almost has an Asian sort of influence to the bird and tree design.
This was the only other item I found at the estate sale - a small Edward Winter enamel dish. These enamels often fly under the radar - sometimes because the sig isn't recognized and also because the range in prices varies considerably - anywhere from $10 to $1000. I'd really like to pick up a book on modern enamels, or perhaps an art catalogue if there isn't a book.
We haven't picked up too much Pyrex recently - it's just really difficult to ship the larger items. However, I wasn't about to let this Blue Foulard pyrex beverage server get away. How do we know this is called Foulard? Well, we already have a full set in the original box, as seen on our collector site Pyrex Love.
Last up are a pair of unknown vases. I really need to stop buying so many of these unknowns... but what keeps me picking them up is the fact that every so often, I find something really rare of valuable. These vases? Probably not. They might fall into the other 90% of the unknown vases we find - someone's pottery project. =)
They're still really nice - the stoneware one is signed clearly with "Takekoshi Koshi". It has a midcentury vibe going for it, or at least I'm trying to convince myself it is. The other one has a really nice matte blue/black glaze and is signed with:
Anyone recognize it? I'm stumped, but I often find that when I really can't figure it out it's because I've been looking at it for too long. And usually, someone else comes along and IDs it right away, LOL. I thought it could be "Coulyon", "Coulawn", "Couleson" or "Coulevon".
OK - hope you enjoyed this quick round up. See you all next week!
Tuesday May 3, 2011 | Comments
Hi everyone. Instead of the usual Tuesday Tips, I thought I'd just quickly share some news. For the most part, I try to keep our personal lives out of the blog. However, I think it may affect A La Modern, our thrifting activities and how much time we can devote to posts.
We just closed escrow on the house today - I'd been waiting to say anything about it because we wanted to be sure.
It's a little bit of a complicated situation, but in essence - we've purchased my late grandmother's house. I realize that for a lot of folks, moving is not such a big deal. However, I've only ever lived in two houses my entire life (not counting college dorms/apartments). We've accumulated a ton of stuff over the last decade+ at our current house, so it's not going to be a quick move. And hence - I'm thinking that we're going to need to devote less time to the shop, at least in the near future. Such is the benefit of working for yourself as a vintage reseller. =)
Grandma's house was built in the 50s, but it's not the midcentury modern marvel that some of you might think we would opt for. It's definitely not perfect. However, it's a fairly nice house with a decent view - and we felt like it was an opportunity that was difficult to pass up. (I had some other pics of some interesting pieces of vintage decor, but I don't have the time to put them all up right now.)
Also, I think some of you may know this, but this is going to be our SECOND house. And when I say second house - I mean that we are nearly done paying off our current house. AND we're going to keep it and rent it out. AND we're not yet 40 years old...
I don't usually toot my horn too much - but we're pretty proud of that accomplishment. I don't know of too many of others our age in that situation. And if I may get up on a platform for a bit... the road to paying off our current house has not been completely smooth. We went through some rougher times (some really rough times when I was laid off from a tech job), and it was difficult when everyone and their mom was refinancing, borrowing like crazy and living the good life. Well - you all know how THAT went down...
We remained conservative and stuck to our guns when everyone said we should do it differently. I'll admit that we were pretty lucky at having purchased our house when both the price and interest rate was "reasonable". However, we could've easily went in any number of other directions at the time.
I won't keep going on and on. But what I want to say to everyone, is this: Follow your own path. I think this applies not only to buying houses - but life in general, jobs, goals, family, etc. I mean, you shouldn't be completely foolhardy. Listen to advice, but keep your own vision in mind and when opportunity arises...
I'm going to be the first to say that I sometimes fall victim to inactivity, or I'll end up going with the "popular" view. I also think that sometimes we're a bit too conservative with finances - but it's just the way we are. That's why this move is going to be such a big deal for us. It's going to be tough (especially until we completely pay off the current house), and we'll have to juggle the finances quite a bit and save more, but we're really looking forward to it.
I'm heading over to work on the new house right now - we'll probably keep up the posting on the blog at least once a week. But if you don't hear from us - well, you know what we're working on! =)
Sunday May 1, 2011 | Comments
Hi everyone. I guess folks have been hitting thrifts, flea markets, estate sales and garage sales in full force for several weeks (months?) now. Spring Thrifting! I have to confess that it's as a big deal where we are, because the weather is mild year round. There is no "estate and garage sale season" and thriftruns in the dead of winter are pretty commonplace - though it also means the competition has an easier time in the snow-less streets.
But we do get caught up in the excitement at the arrival of Spring, as far as thrifting goes. And I sort of feel that brighter colored items seem to turn up more often. Despite hitting less stores this week, we did have a few finds:
We picked up this tea service from Ohashi for it's cheerful orange and red decoration. Interesting, the pattern reminds me of the popular Arabia of Finland "Pomona" fruit decorations. Haven't been able to find much about the company or the pattern, which is called "Color Fantasy", though we guess it's probably from the early 70s.
This fabulous, mid-century footed egg vase fits in nicely with the "spring-thrifting" theme, though it probably would've been cooler if we found it on Easter! It was made by the California designer Sascha Brastoff in the 50s-60s and the line was called Abstract Originals. Several different decoration treatments comprise this line, though they all have a similar feel. The combo of gold leaf and faux-crazed glazing is pretty typical of a lot of his pieces.
I have to confess I've forgotten if we had already posted these Rosenthal-Netter boxes up before. But anyhow the apple green glaze is definitely a good fit for spring. These are Italian and I believe were originally intended as cigarette storage boxes, though I can think of a lot of other uses for them at the table.
This German op-art style vase is a little imposing, and even seems a little, er, "erotic" in construction. Made by the company Tirschenreuth who at the time was already part of the Hutschenreuther group. Actually, before I picked it up to look at the base, I'd thought it might be a Gunvor Olin-Gronqvist vase for Arabia item, as I've purchased those before. I haven't been able to find too much about the vase, though I've seen several other Tirschenreuth vases with the same white bisque treatment.
These freeform dishes from Tamac Pottery of Oklahoma have a color scheme that reminds me of avocados. Actually, "Avocado" appears to be the name of the pattern, so I wasn't too far off. Really difficult to find pottery from this company, unless you happen to live in the Oklahoma / Texas area. I've only ever come across one other piece at a thrift or flea market. I think I got a little too "Spring-happy" when I bought these, since I ended up breaking another Tamac piece (a bread butter plate) before I even got home. Butterfingers...
Lastly, a nice green Italian vase and another Dala horse item found their way into my cart at the thrift. I've no idea who the vase is by, though it looks well made and I like the decoration which almost looks like a graphed waveform. It has a "B1007" marking, but I don't think it's Bitossi. The Dala horse napkin holder is Swedish, by Hemslojd & Snickerier - I used to pass this type of item up all the time, until I discovered they seem to do well on Etsy.
OK - hope you enjoyed this "Spring Thrifting" roundup. I'm going to skip the usual Tuesday Tips post installment this week, but might put a blog post up on something a little different.