Sunday August 26, 2012 | Comments
Hi everyone. We've seen a bit of a lull in our thrift finds, although it's partly due to us being extremely picky in what we bring home. We still have a large amount of unlisted inventory in the garage, so it's not affecting us at all to bring home nothing from the thrifts - it just doesn't feel good! But if we get to the point (hopefully someday!) where the inventory thins a bit, we're going to reconsider bringing more stuff home.
This Stoneage Modern planter pot from Zanesville will probably be used in the backyard. These pots look great, and they're still often fairly inexpensive at estate and garage sales. We feel they've been overlooked by the usual crowd, sometimes because they're just not ID-ed. There's usually only a four digit number on the bottom, or the letters "ZSC". The sale had a few more of these pots, but I only got this one because the others were damaged.
I was really happy to come across this unusual Sascha Brastoff leaf plate at a small thrift. It's not too unusual for his type of designs, but I still haven't figured out the pattern. It may not be a regular pattern at all, because what's even more unusual about this plate is that it has Brastoff's full signature on the back. It's generally accepted that any piece marked with "S.Brastoff" or the gold rooster stamp was NOT actually worked on by Brastoff himself. Only pieces that have his full signature were worked on by Brastoff himself. I still have to do some research on this plate, as I'm uncertain just what kind of premium that adds to pieces.
I think this modern looking bird dish may have been intended for use as a soap tray. It's made by Vohann of California and was designed by Charles Chaney. Vohann was noted for producing bathroom houseware items, starting in the 1950s all the way up until the 1990s. We've got this one currently up on Ebay.
Saved the best for last. At the same estate where I found the ZSC, I lucked into this orange Cathrineholm coffee/tea pot! I had to make another special trip to the post office to deliver a rush-order. I very nearly didn't visit the sale, since it was already near noon. But it was on the way so I stopped by. Hard to believe this was still sitting there. Yes, the condition of the inside renders it unusable except for display (but we're keeping it anyhow). And yes, there were no markings. But the sale had been on since 8am... I couldn't believe no one had recognized it! Hope this gives hope to everyone out there that it's still possible to find Cathrineholm in the wild.
Sunday August 19, 2012 | Comments
Hi everyone. Let's get right to the finds:
Came across this great smaller David Stewart cat planter at the flea market earlier in the month. I was actually surprised it was so small - we have several of the larger "possible DS" cat planters. More and more, I've been thinking those large ones aren't by his Lions Valley company (or perhaps someone took the mold and re-made them). They're usually ink-stamped as made in Mexico, sometimes in Spanish. I'm not sure if I've seen one of his trademark gold stickers on those either - if you happen to see it, please let me know! What I wouldn't do to see a full DS catalog one day...
In the past, I'd passed up Gainey Ceramics pots because we just had too many. However, lately I've been picking them up to put into the shop and on Ebay. They do decently with the midcentury mod crowd - we see quite a bit of them, since they were (and currently are) in Southern California.
These Kokeshi sisters were a breath of fresh air after having been majorly skunked on a recent thrift trip. They actually had more of them, but I only got these because the others were newer ones made in China. These are currently in our Etsy shop.
I've found this particular Jaru Art Products shape of vase three or four times already. Jaru is extremely unpredictable - people go nuts over certain shapes and pieces, while completely ignoring others. This one is somewhere in the middle. It's currently up on our Ebay store.
I've forgotten if I already posted this DeSimone vase before. This one's already been shipped to its new home. We've had surprising luck finding Giovanni DeSimone pieces in the strangest places - garage sales especially. If you think this looks a little like Picasso, well, it's probably because he knew and studied with the master.
Pyrex doesn't come home with us as often nowadays. In fact, we're trying to get rid of a lot of our pieces to make room in the garage. And we're still trying to figure out how to update/maintain our Pyrex Love website. But in the meantime, we still pick up promos like this Black Rooster utility dish with cradle, especially if we don't already have them.
Lastly - I was surprised to find this nice blue Krenit enamel bowl. The green one to the side is the only other large Krenit bowl we've ever found. That one wasn't marked, but our new blue one has the Krenit Denmark stamp on the bottom. I was a bit shocked it was sitting there in the thrift, because of the clear marking. Just goes to show you never know what you'll find.
Wednesday August 8, 2012 | Comments
I've been thinking about this post for long, long time. There - I can hear the "Uh-Oh" light clicking on in your brain. So I'll head you off at the pass - the site isn't going away. It's going to change, however. Its shape is going to change.
I did a lot of thinking about how to go about explaining this. And I decided, I'll try keep the post short (that is, short for my standards.)
So, here it is. Our main shop is going to undergo some changes. It may close, we might gradually draw down the listings, or it might stay open in some form or another.
But the bottom line is: We just cannot compete with the vintage sales we get on other venues.
I've long moved away from being angry or annoyed with this. Suffice to say, we can sell much more on Etsy or Ebay than we can on this hand-built-from-scratch online store.
You may think it was foolish to even try it. But we've had a good experience with our main shop. However, listing items in it has become akin to taking rare jewels and hiding them away in your bedroom drawer.
It comes down to promotion. I don't want to discourage folks - you can definitely do your "own" shop. But you need to have the mindset and personality to promote it and CONTINUE to promote it day and night. I just do not have the personality or means to do that. And I don't want people trying to tell me I can "change". Anyone can probably "become a plumber". It's easy. But would you WANT to? Everyone's different. It's not my game.
We'll continue to blog and update our thrift store finds here. I'm still trying to figure out how to convert the whole shop without destroying our search traffic, perhaps to a more informational site. Because we do still get significant traffic to our individual items, and I don't want to lose that. I'm not stupid, yo.
We'll be listing new items mostly in our Etsy outlet and our new Ebay Store.
One benefit of listing on Ebay, is that we can pretty much list anything. Look for hair curlers and women's underwear in our store soon. I'm actually semi-serious about that.
In summary: I really like selling vintage items. It's a near perfect job for me. But since it's a business, we absolutely need to sell things consistently. Having our own shop was WAY cooler than other folks who just used ebay, etsy or some other venue. I toot my horn. But cool does not pay the bills. It was cooler and more admirable, but it couldn't bring in enough eyes in without having to do all the promotional stuff I mentioned. We're not going to do the promotional stuff. I refuse, captain my captain. So we're going to have to sell on venues that have those eyes "built-in". Otherwise, we can't do this anymore. And I still want to do this.
Sunday August 5, 2012 | Comments
Hi everyone. I'm really behind with the thrift find posts currently. Actually, I'd uploaded some pics from three weeks ago so i'll run that (even though a lot of you may have already seen them on twitter). But first, I wanted to lead off with a really great find from this week:
Yes, that's Cathrineholm Lotus enamel! I couldn't believe it, since this stuff is way too popular nowadays to hope to find at the thrift. Or so I thought! The last time we found Lotus at the thrift was... June of 2010! It was just luck - the employees had just brought out a cart and were putting stuff away. The usual "pickers" (these folks stay at the thrift from 9 to 4 EVERY DAY) had not clustered around the cart for some reason. So I was able to take the green casserole out of the hands of the lady putting them on the shelf. I looked in the cart and saw the red one buried under some cheap glass. I nearly broke everything digging it out... the employee was sort of amused.
Interesting that these smaller casseroles are not marked on bottom, not even on the underside of the lid handle. So maybe there's still hope for coming across them.
I grabbed this Shenango "Well of the Sea" small plate without hesitation, because I knew it's a popular pattern with collectors. It was hidden between a load of crappy Gibson plates. Pretty much all the nice plates I've picked have been stuffed between Gibson or Pfaltzgraff plates...
I don't know too much about Dutch ceramics, but I could tell from the feel of this bowl that it was well-made studio pottery. Turns out it's from Zaalberg, probably from the 1960s or so. I'm always keeping an open mind on pottery from other countries - and Holland is high on the list (along with Israel and Mexico) to learn about. In this biz, it's really dangerous to confine your knowledge to only one or two areas for too long.
This is the first time I've found this shape for Bauer Pottery Hi-Fire. It's a number 213 in Monterey Blue. I've mentioned before that the Fred/Jim Johnson studio pieces for Bauer are a good thing to keep an eye out for in thrift stores - mainly because they're never marked. And they don't teach this stuff in school. You also have to go by general feel, the clay type, the glaze color and other things. But once you get a feel for a few of them, it's super handy knowledge to have. And just for the record, I've been fooled more than once on them - you just have to make sure you're not overpaying to avoid getting burned.
Three tips: 1. The bottom on these vases is often "carved out" or indented, and it's usually glazed (as opposed to the Carlton stuff) 2. There's a finite amount of colors you'll usually find Hi-Fire in.. check the Chipman book or online to see. Any wacky colors, usually they're out 3. The best way to learn how to ID these is to handle them. One way is to check your local antique store for ID-ed Bauer Hi-Fire (and ask to see it, if behind glass).
I'd already posted this mystery handmade vase from Arizona on Twitter and Flickr. But in case anyone who reads the blog has ideas, I'm still curious on who the maker might be. It has a great shape and feel, and there's a sig... but I just can't figure it out. It looks a little like "B Hunt" though.
Picked up this great Rorstrand Sweden cup and saucer in the "Red Casino" pattern. I'm not certain, but have seen it attributed to Gunnar Nylund from the 1960s. It also came in a couple of different colors.
Last up, I posted these plates as part of a #thriftbreak quiz awhile back. I couldn't believe who the maker was on them, because it doesn't look like anything I've seen. These are Dorothy Thorpe plates! Looks like a mountain scene from Japan (Mt. Fuji?) Curiously, these have a "Japan" sticker on back in addition to the Dorothy Thorpe California stamp in gold. Not sure, but the guess was that they were manufactured in Japan and then handpainted over here in the U.S.