Sunday July 31, 2011 | Comments
Hi everyone. This week was brutal - I worked on the new house for 5 out of 7 days. Though I was able to find quite a few goodies at the thrifts on Friday, I just don't have time to list them all out. So I'll just post one group picture of a few of them, and hopefully we'll add the neglected things to next week's post.
You may or may not know the artist behind the fantastic midcentury blue enamel plate in front. I grabbed it the instant I saw it - causing two nearby thrifters to look at me strangely. =) This is by Annemarie Davidson, a well-known enamelist who produced in Sierra Madre up until quite recently (if I'm not mistaken well into the 90s). We find a lot of her stuff since she lived so close by to our area. I usually find round plates or bowls in this pattern - have never come across a freeform style. She also made a host of different enamels with animals on it - while I like them a lot, they aren't worth as much in general. It's the geometric forms that command the higher prices.
The little glass bird (hummingbird?) came from an estate sale - the lady collected a lot of different glass animals, but this was the only one with a "Made in Sweden" sticker. I thought it might be by FM Konstglas (Marcolin) - but it turns out it's made by Reijmyre. I'm not very familiar with the company, but believe they're still producing glass objects.
The curious glass candleholder to the left of the bird has a sticker that says "Walther Design". I think this is a German company and that it was probably designed in the 1960s. I haven't had time to research this further - if anyone knows the designer on it, would appreciate if you could let me know.
The white bisque op-art vase is from Rosenthal's Studio Line. They made a host of different vases like this. I believe this one is designed by Rosemunde Nairac and came in two different sizes (12cm and 18cm). These vases are a great pickup, because they do have value, even though they're often priced very cheaply at thrifts or estates.
Lastly, I found these three Nagel stacking candleholders. To be honest, I didn't think they were special at first glance and they were unmarked. I have to thank the #thriftbreak twitterers for this one (vintagedamage and sllabstudios), because they let me know that these are collectible. I actually had just left the thrift before I got a message about them, so I turned around and went back to grab them!
OK, as I said, we'll try post the remainder of the finds next week. Happy thrifting!
Saturday July 23, 2011 | Comments
Hi everyone. We spent much of our free time this week at the new house, mostly removing carpet and preparing the floors for refinishing. But inbetween the work, we still managed to get out to a few thrifts.
This little pepper shaker caught my eye, and it turns out it's a popular pattern called "Pernille", made by Knabstrup in Denmark. I actually found the salt shaker too, but it had been cracked so it got left behind. They made a whole assortment of different containers and canisters, some of which are quite collectible.
I've been passing on Vera Neumann scarves lately, due to damage and the fact that they don't seem to sell as well for us. Actually, the worst part is that the thrifts near us STAPLE the tags onto the delicate fabrics. This is just idiotic. And not only that, but they use the heavy duty staples, not normal office ones! I still had to pick up this particular Vera scarf, because it had interesting musical instruments on it.
At the same thrift, I found more Vera Neuman - this time one of her patterns on Mikasa bone china. This is a wonderful green plant design called "Lacy Fern" - the coolest thing is that the cups have a partial design on the inside. I also got the creamer, but left the sugar because it had too much damage.
This nice little "Hearts" teapot is an example of a pickup that has no special designer or manufacturer attached to it - but I knew it would be popular in our Etsy outlet. It's not Kaj Franck, but seems like it would go along nicely with those enamel bowls.
I know, I know - you're seeing double here! This yellow Western Electric 500 phone is a twin of the one that appears in nearly all of our product photos. I guess I shouldn't have bought it, especially since the house we're moving to will not have a landline for it to connect to!
But it was so cheap at an estate sale that we visited that I couldn't resist. I had to un-wire it from the house actually - it was wired right into an old school phone jack. I really like to disassemble, clean and repair these type of phones. Many times, they are sold as "broken" when it's a rather easy fix to make it ring again.
This rather weird looking glass cat window hanging was also picked up at that estate. I KNOW I've seen this before, and that it's Scandinavian (Swedish most likely) but I can't seem to place it. Anyone know? I know I've seen it in someone's Flickr stream...
I haven't come across too many David Stewart for Lions Valley items lately, so was happy to find this little fish planter. Interesting that this item is pre-drilled. We actually own this identical fish already, and that one doesn't have a drilled hole. Since we already have this fish, I think this is going up in the shop.
I usually save the last picture for the "home run" thrift find, but this time we didn't really have one. That's one important thing with thrifting - you just won't see me posting about all the stores we visit where we find absolutely NOTHING. You have to visit a LOT of stores OFTEN in order to find anything...
Still, I was very pleased to pick up these Lisa Larson style Chia Pet planters. Yes, I know they aren't Lisa Larson - even though Ebay sellers often try to sell them as such. The face pattern is remarkably similar, but the body is definitely different. I'm really surprised that the Chia Pet makers copied it so directly. I haven't been able to find out if these are still sold or not, though I think they're from awhile back.
OK - hope you enjoyed this week's thrift roundup!
[Edit: The glass cat has been ID-ed as likely from Bergdala of Sweden. I saw reference to it as a "glass suncatcher" made in the 1970s. Thanks again Vintage Scapes for the ID help!]
Saturday July 16, 2011 | Comments
Hi everyone. How was your thrifting week? We came away with fewer things of interest, considering the number of stores visited. However, it's always nice to be able to get out there. I even ran into a few "in real life" friends who I had no idea liked thrifting. Might try meet up with them on a future thrift run.
One of the great things about thrifting is that in addition to looking for vintage items for the shop, we can also look for everyday things we need around the house. We were in need of a stapler, so I had to grab this older Pilot #402 by the Ace Fastener Co. of Chicago. Nice, simple all-metal construction, and works great! I'm not sure if this would be something for the shop yet - I guess we'll just use it for the meantime.
I've been passing up a lot of LPs designs lately - usually it's due to condition or price. There's a strict "less than $2" mandate in place for the most part - though I keep breaking that rule. This nice Sam Suliman design on a cover for a Tchaikovsky record was the only item that came home with me from a recent estate.
This was a great find from earlier in the week. Rather rare to find these Russel Wright designed Knowles pieces around here. I've never seen them in thrifts, in fact. Actually, I believe these are difficult to find pretty much anywhere - the dinnerware lines weren't very successful. From the RW collector's books, it appears there were manufacturing problems, and the patterns (ours is called Queen Anne's Lace) were too delicate and hard to photograph for catalogs. I'd found a single cup at the thrift first, which was unmarked. But I knew I'd seen the shape somewhere before (I thought it might be Eva Zeisel at first), so I searched around until I found the rest of the cups and saucers. The saucers had the Russel Wright Knowles stamp.
Being on the West Coast, we've encountered Pacific Stoneware quite a few times previously. Not to be confused with Pacific Pottery (as in Pacific Clay Producs), this was Bennett Welsh's Oregon-based company. Their stuff still flies under the radar for the most part - there just isn't a whole lot of value there yet. I still pick up nicer pieces, like this interesting conical windchime. I think it needs the string replaced, but it still has the terra cotta clanger attached on the inside.
M.A. Hadley is similar to Pacific Stoneware in that it often flies under the radar, and its value can vary considerably. Actually, the Louisville, KY company is still producing these distinctive handpainted items today. There are more collectors of Hadley, though, so we keep an eye out for pieces like this egg cup that are inexpensive.
This vibrant Peter Max for Iroquois China butterfly ashtray was a complete surprise. I'd only heard of other people finding his designs - had never seen them in thrifts myself. Peter Max might be better known for his groovy art posters and LP designs - if you see one of his designs, you'll recognize the style right away. This is unfortunately another ashtray, but I relaxed my "no-more-ashtrays" rule for this one.
As usual, I've saved the (potentially) best and most interesting item for last. At the store where I found the Peter Max ashtray, I noticed this vase sitting up on the shelf. I picked it up, and then put it down, because it seemed at first like it could be a modern production.
However, something really nagged me about it... I think fellow pickers may know this feeling. It's like an itch, a hunch, that something very unassuming might be worth quite a bit more. Some of our best items have been discovered in this way.
In the end, I went back to buy it... it wasn't dirt cheap, and it seemed to have a bit of damage on the handle. But what I figured was that I'd already scored the Peter Max piece at such a cheap price that I could use it to offset the cost of this one if it wasn't valuable. And after looking at it again, it definitely didn't seem to be a cheaper, new production from overseas. It had the "finger rings" on inside and out, and didn't seem to have any cast or mold lines.
When I got home, I immediately went to look through some of the California Pottery books that we have. I felt like I'd seen the shape before - I was thinking Bauer, Pacific, Gladding or maybe even Panama Pottery.
Well - I discovered almost immediately that this vase looked a whole lot like a Matt Carlton Rebekah vase for Bauer. In that case, it would certainly be a great find - I've seen Rebekah vases selling for $1500-2000...
However. I've got more than a few reservations about this vase. For one - I know that Matt Carlton pieces are absolutely NOT common. You just don't walk into a thrift store and find a piece of Carlton Bauer sitting on the shelf. And I know that because they aren't marked, (as far as I know) that it's easy to misattribute pieces. The temptation is there - everyone WANTS to find something valuable at the thrift.
Also, even though the shape is VERY similar to a 10 inch Rebekah vase, and the base is unglazed and unmarked, similar to items that he was known for... I know that quite a few companies (and not only California ones) produced this shape.
The vase also has a slight "tilt" to the shape. Carlton was a master potter - and it didn't seem like he would make a mistake like that. Hard to see in the photo, but one side is definitely a bit higher than the other.
Perhaps most concerning to me is the glaze. As far as I know, this multi-color yellow brown and green drip glaze doesn't look at all like something Bauer was known for. I do know they used polychrome treatment in the early days, but this one doesn't look anything like it. I think they also used multicolor glazes at times, but I'm not really familiar with those - I think a lot of those might've also been test pieces.
In any case - this vase is still a bit of a mystery. If you might know more about these type of vases, I'd appreciate if you could leave a comment. At this point, I've very much on the fence about whether this is authentic (we're familiar enough with Bauer and actually run the Potteries of California website, but can't claim to be experts). But it was a fun find either way, and definitely made the usual thrifting run interesting.
Saturday July 9, 2011 | Comments
Hi everyone. I decided to take a break from working on the house at the end of this week. Truthfully, I was suffering from a bit of "All Work and No Play" syndrome, so I just needed to go thrifting. A modest number of finds came home with me, though I must've left more than double this number at the thrifts for others to find.
Descoware enamel cast iron cookware is fairly common at a few of the thrifts we visit. But I often pass because most thrifts have caught on and put high price tags (think $15 and up!) on them. Actually, the bigger reason we pass is because of the condition - invariably chipped or cracked. I can deal with carbon deposits, but enamel loss cannot be fixed.
So I was happy to find these two Descoware pieces in such great shape! The small covered pot has almost no damage. I actually grabbed that one right out of the thrift clerk's "to-shelve" cart. Ususally, I refrain from doing that - but no one else was around. The frying pan is in pretty good shape too, with just some wear to the bottom. We haven't decided yet if we might keep either of them.
I hesitated on this Bennington Potters tray at first because it was so big, but we had some matching bowls in the shop so I picked it up. I heard that this color was called "Black on Slate" and has been discontinued. We're uncertain if this shape was a Yusuke Aida design or if it was by David Gil, or someone else. Bennington lines were often collaborations, so sometimes it's difficult to tell.
This wondeful tall Kokeshi doll was a surprise at the Goodwill. Most of the time we see kokeshi dolls, they're from estate sales or flea markets. We may keep this one since Linda has a collection of them, but we aren't sure yet. Funny, the cherry blossom design seems very similar to another one we found a little while ago.
I've been trying to learn more about different types of glass this past year, but I still have a lot of trouble with ID-ing unmarked mystery glass. From what I hear, this is sort of common for other thrifters who don't specialize in glass. I thought these two fantastic "ice sculpture" style glass pieces might be Kosta Boda, but haven't been able to pin them down exactly. They're both similar to some of the Ann (or perhaps Goran) Warff pieces. Pretty cool looking either way.
[Edit: The bowl has been ID-ed as a Finnish Vessel 6-inch crown bowl from Viking Glass. Thanks Sputnik Housewares and Vintage Scapes!]
Lastly, I scored these four Federal "Prestige" old-fashioned glasses designed by Eva Zeisel. These aren't the smaller "Lo-Ball" style glasses - they're actually much bigger. I almost passed on these because I couldn't figure out why they were so big. (For some reason, I'd never found standard Lo-Ball glasses.) It turns out these are the harder-to-find Old-Fashioned glasses.
As I've said before, glass isn't my strong suit. But I've slowly learned to recognize the Prestige items. We found (and sold) the juice glasses earlier. The key on these pieces seems to be the extremely heavy bottom, which looks and feels like a doorknob. I go by that first, and then look at the shape. If you make a mistake... well, it's part of the learning process. I've goofed many times myself.
See you all next week!
Sunday July 3, 2011 | Comments
Hi everyone. We were so busy at the new house this week that we didn't get to go thrifting at all. However, we still have some finds to report from last week. On that thrifting run, I actually took along my "good luck charm" ... my mom! It could be coincidence but I often come across quite a few goodies while out at the thrifts with her.
This unusual Freeman McFarlin flowerpot has a weird yellow "lava"-like glaze. It almost looks West German, or perhaps like a Jaru piece. Missing the sticker, but I recognized it easily from the "Anthony" script name on the bottom (Maynard Anthony Freeman was one of the founders). I often pass up FMcF because the items seem more on the 70s "gaudy" side to me.
This Naaman penguin found its way into the basket even though I didn't know what it was at the time. It had a modern look to it, and mom agreed it looked nice. Took me quite awhile to find out who it was by - Naaman is a ceramics company from Israel that's still producing today.
This large haul of Heller plastic by Vignelli came from a combination of different thrifts. Mom was not as impressed with these plastic dinnerware pieces, until I explained that they were collectibles. I was most happy about finding the larger platters which are harder to come by.
I picked up this pottery bottle or vase because I liked the green glaze... I'm not sure about which company it's from, but it reminds me of one of the California potteries. Has a strange little circle indentation on the front, like a label was supposed to go there. It has some weird glaze issues too, so we might keep it. Unmarked except for a raised number "103" - anyone have ideas?
Mom was also surprised that these Taylor & Ng mugs were collectible, since they looked fairly new. I haven't come across these before - the design is called "Dairy Dearies". They're a little newer than some of the other Taylor & Ng pieces we come across, likely late 80s.
At the same thrift, I couldn't believe this Cathrineholm plate was still sitting there. Mom said she also noticed this plate before I did, though she wasn't certain about it. It's also not the more popular "Lotus" pattern, but I'll pretty much grab any Cathrineholm as long as it's reasonable.
I only found one of these Eva Zeisel designed juice glasses. This "Prestige" line was made for Federal Glass. Though unmarked, you can often identify them by the extremely heavy "doorknob" bottom. This is only the second time I've come across them, and I believe this "un-swirled" variety is harder to find. I only wish I found more - Mom looked through all the shelves twice to check, but no luck.
This is only the second time I've come home with any Blenko. For some reason, it seems hard to thrift this type of glass at stores near us - but it could also be that I'm not looking for it or just not recognizing it. This water bottle was easily identified though, because it still had a sticker.
I saved our best find for last. I was distracted and checking something on my iPhone, when I looked down and these Glidden Pottery fish items were just sitting on the bottom shelf. I think I actually exclaimed "Holy Sh@#%^" out loud! We so rarely find Glidden out in the wild, and I recognized the pattern immediately from seeing it in an antique store.
My mom actually liked Glidden dishes so much that she almost didn't want me to put them up in the shop. And we actually haven't yet, because they aren't worth quite as much as I thought they might be.
OK, hopefully we'll be able to get out for more thrifting next week. Hope you've had good luck finding things too!