During my high school years I spent every summer weekend traversing my hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas in search of yard and garage sales. Garage sale shopping is a competitive sport in Fayetteville; as estate sales are rare (we have estate auctions) and there’s a limited supply of vintage due to the small population. I often woke up at 6 to be at my first sale 15 minutes before they opened. Yes, sales start at 7AM in Fayetteville, unlike Chicago where they start as late as 11 or noon! After 2 hours of driving the perimeter of my town in search of treasure I’d hit Rick’s Bakery for a delicious sausage roll, glazed doughnut and coffee. Then I’d usually go back to bed!
Whenever I’m back home on a visit during the summer I continue the tradition– which I did two weekends ago with my mom. The best stop of the day was a rare estate sale that hadn’t been advertised online or in the paper, we just saw a handmade sign on the freeway promising a ‘garage sale’ with no address, times or date. When we pulled up to the rambling house there were two men outside who gestured for us to come in– while I’m a veteran of estate sales (I’ve been to hundreds in Chicago), I was a bit apprehensive as the whole affair seemed so informal. It turned out to be safe, however, albeit definitely a dirty ‘digger’ sale. My mom was a trooper as she had never been to an estate sale before. Since it was a private sale there wasn’t any signage in the house and many of the items did not have price tags. We also did quite a bit of digging in the basement and through closets.
The painting of the Indian (?) man was my ultimate prize from the estate sale, I found him in a dingy box of prints in the basement. His price? $2! I’ve come to adore these slightly kitsch Midcentury portraits but they command high prices in Chicago. He is by far the most unusual portrait of this genre that I’ve come across, look at that mustache! While this type of portrait was usually done by a hobbyist/amateur this one appears ‘legit’, there is a stamp from an L.A. gallery on the back of it, need to do some research to find out about the company.
Another find was this little ceramic honey pot in the shape of a bee– I think he’s from the 1960s? I have 2 similar smaller honey pots already in my kitchen. It’s clever how the honey stick doubles as his stinger.
Unfortunately I came across only one of these heavy ship bookends, it will still be happy on my bookcase though– since I started collecting Nautical items for my bathroom I can’t help picking up ship/sea creature themed goodies while out antiquing.
My mom’s largest collection is her vintage salt & pepper shakers– she has HUNDREDS of them. At the estate sale she found six more pairs to add to her collection. They were sad and filthy in a drawer but a majority of them were still in good shape. They’re likely from the 1940s or 1950s. She paid only $10 for all of them.
This 1970s granny square crocheted blanket also caught my mom’s eye. It was in the far corner of a bedroom closet and she had to clamber over several obstacles to get to it– her work was rewarded as the blanket was only $3.
Our first stop of the day was actually a charity rummage sale in the next town over that proclaimed it would have goods donated from FIFTY families. We arrived 15 minutes early while the volunteers were still putting out boxes. While I try to be polite and wait until the actual start time, a few dealers were already circling the merchandise so I had to get out of the car and start shamelessly digging through the boxes. There was mainly newer items and it looked more like 5-10 families had donated, NOT 50.
We did manage to find a few treasures though including the 1970s owl salt & pepper shakers, a dainty hand embroidered bird picture and a contemporary Russel Wright pitcher. I was especially excited by the pitcher as I’ve always wanted some Wright dishware but it’s usually too expensive– when new this pitcher sold for $90! I got mine for $2, whee. Glad the dealers overlooked it!
After a quick breakfast at Rick’s Bakery (another tradition continues) we hit a few thrift stores. Unfortunately I walked out of the new Potters Thrift empty handed (it looks like Monkeybox
scored all the vintage goods– she actually went to the store on the same day but a few hours later, what a weird coincidence). We then headed to my favorite tiny thrift store that always yields vintage items. Unfortunately their pricing has gotten out of control– their prices used to be 25 or 50 cents and often the lady at the register would just give you a bargain price for a pile of items. Sadly those days are gone. Now vintage necklaces are on average $9 and anything else deemed ‘old’ has been marked way up. Oh well, still found a few affordable bits including the three sets of plastic bangle bracelets above (I fancy the green marbled set is Bakelite… haven’t tested it).
There was also a small collection of souvenir plates for sale (another one of my weaknesses) and I picked this one out as one of the little vignettes features the “Esther Williams swimming pool.” I read Esther Williams’ biography a couple of years ago and it’s my favorite of the old movie star biographies.
I encouraged my mom to buy this amazing blueberry pie plate– I’ve come across a few of the pie plates sans cover so was excited to see how fun and colorful this one was, it looks like a cartoon. It’s made in Japan and is probably from the 1970s.
Look it even includes a recipe for blueberry pie inside, how handy! We also went to a new Goodwill thrift in a neighboring town but again it felt picked over. It seems like a LOT more people are thrift shopping in the region now, maybe there are more etsy/ebay sellers in this economy? I blame the influx of antiques themed TV shows for people’s sudden awareness of thrift stores, ah well.
What did you find last week?