yard sale, sept. 18.

In terms of yard sales, this weekend has been the tale of two estate sales. 

I went to an estate sale on Friday, which is unusual.  It’s unusual that they have them on Fridays, and it’s unusual that I do any sort of saling on that day, too.  After all, I’m a working girl.  It started at 8, so I figured I would show up around then and have half an hour or so to shop before heading off to earn the money that allows me to shop so frivolously at the homes of others.

When I showed up at 8:15, there was a line outside.  I was worried that I had misread the start time, and that it really didn’t kick off until 9.  But no.  They were just letting people in a few at a time, because the house was so incredibly full of expensive and breakable things.  On hearing this, I rolled my eyes a little bit at what seemed like excessive caution.  However, while I was waiting, I heard a great crash from inside, as some poor sap bought over a hundred bucks worth of broken things.  I finally got inside, walked around carefully, but quickly, and then left without buying a thing.  True, I was hurrying so I wouldn’t be late for work, but also, I just don’t need any expensive breakables.  I really only like the cheap ones.  I am sure I could have gotten a great deal on some china, but if I bothered to spend $30 or more on a plate, I’d be afraid to ever use it.

The sale did have a lot of beautiful clocks.  The deceased was apparently a collector.  Apparently, that sale was only half of the stuff.  One of the people running the sale said they had a whole POD to go through yet.  I’ll probably go to that sale, too, just because that’s what I do.

Today, I went to another sale.  The house was in a very nice neighborhood on the golf course, so the people were probably just as rich as the ones who owned all the breakables.  But I liked this sale much, much more.  I wasn’t afraid to touch everything, which was good.  It was not as well organized, so shoppers had to dig through piles of stuff.  It’s a difference of preference, of course.  I’d rather dig and find treasures for cheap than have all the treasures arranged nicely and priced high.

The garage looked like any old regular garage.  It was dusty, disorganized, IMG_20100919_160951and chock full of crap.  It coulda been your garage.  The only difference is that everything was for sale.  I wasn’t sure I would find anything among the jars of nails and cleaning products, but off in a corner were these two crates.   

One says Sealtest and the other Borden.  They are old steel milk crates, very heavy, slightly rusty, and covered in cobwebs and leaves.  I paid a dollar apiece and felt like I was probably stealing them.  They are magnificent.  This is why I love shopping at yard sales.  Anyone can have a crate.  But I have an indestructible crate that is also a piece of American history for less than you would pay for a crappy plastic one.  Booyah!

IMG_20100919_160919You all know that I have a thing for lamps and bakeware, but did you know that I also collect maps?  I found a wonderful one today.  It’s a French map of the lower Mississippi River region as it was mapped by the explorer Hennepin in 1687 (more history about this map here).  I love these old maps.  Aside from the beautiful illustrations they include in the margins, it’s neat to see familiar landmasses divided in unfamiliar ways.  Most of the land is labeled as “La Louisiane.”  There are also big areas marked with Indian tribe names, and several notations that I cannot read, seeing as how they are in French.  It’s about 21” by 19” and with a nice wooden frame.  Five smackeroos and well worth it.

Here’s a close-up of one of the illustrations.  Wouldn’t that old Rand McNally atlas be much more interesting if it had nice drawings inside?IMG_20100919_160933

Josh told me he wanted a pizza stone.  Now he has one.  This one even comes with crayon marks.  I’m notIMG_20100919_161102 sure how that will affect the taste of the pizza.  Maybe that’s the secret to a perfect crust – traces of nontoxic green wax on the bottom.

Finally, something that I’ve been wanting for a while.IMG_20100919_161034

This is a drawer from a letterpress box, which was used to hold letters for movable type.  I’ve seen bunches of these at estate sales and high-end flea markets, but they were always a little pricey.  At $10, this was still a bit spendy for me, though it’s still the cheapest I’ve ever seen one.  It’s also the first one I’ve seen that still has the drawer handle on it.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with it.  Frankly, I could hang it up as is and it would look smashing.  Obviously, those compartments are ready-made to hold something, but what?  Maybe it’s high time I started collecting thimbles.


Here are a couple of pictures from the disorganized estate sale.  Old papasan chair.  I’ve never seen one in this style, only the newish ones that have the wicker bases.  This one had a cast iron stand and a strong 70s vibe (or maybe that was the orange shag carpet in the room). 


A neat thing about estate sales is figuring out what the person did.  This guy was in the military, probably Air Force based on all the pictures of jets.  I also found a package containing a certificate for a Legion of Merit, which was pretty freaking cool.  I assume the actual medal was saved by the family.  Later in life, he was in real estate, as I figured out from this microfiche machine, which also came with a box of real estate records on slides.

I wonder if someone could figure out my job from my estate sale.  Other than the Intel chip jigsaw puzzles, I’m not sure I’m giving it away.

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