Would You Buy This or Not? (April 21, 2012)

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on April 22, 2012 0 Comments

I’ve combined two weeks of yard saling into this post, since it’s still April and the season is not in full swing.  Nonetheless, it was hard to narrow it down to 40 photos now.  We’d better get started! 

[A little background for first time visitors to these posts: Janie and I have the yard sale bug bad. We live in one of the best yard sale cities there is - Minneapolis/St. Paul, and we buy almost all our clothing, cookware, electronics, furniture, etc., at a fraction of actual value. We resell to used book stores, retro stores, the scrap yard and people I just happen to know are looking for something in particular. A lot of what we find goes into our own mega-garage-sale we hold every year in Ouray, Colorado on the 4th of July and subsequent weekends. Some things we buy just because they're so fun they have to be in our sale! The true gems we set aside for the opening inventory of our own shop. And, we have one heck of an Ebay-someday box.]

Best of show

Cracked jug

Price – $38; sold.

Crockery with advertising is very sought-after, and I can’t justify the hundreds of dollars it takes to own some.  So, I went with a piece that the collectors won’t accept, but still has lots of decorative appeal.  Also, if collectors might be interested, there’s appeal to quite a crossover of genres – milk, poison, crockery, advertising, poison.

Other things we did or didn’t buy:

Folk-art humpty dumpty doll

Price – $2; sold.———-

It’s different, no?  It’s a little stained, but I think I’ll leave that to the eventual owner (so that person can feel they got a bargain on something they can then improve themselves).  I’m quite puzzled by the cowboy tie in, though my best guess is it was made for a little boy, and he was into cowboys.

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Organizers, paint scrapers and ash tray (among other things)

Price – $1 each; 25 cents each; 15 cents, respectively

My newfound interest in organizers will be the subject of a future post. Briefly, when you buy buckets or boxes of little things, you might as well organize them, with the help of an Excel spreadsheet, I’m going hog wild with it.

The price for the scrapers is just right, because we have a dollar table at our sales, and tools are quick sellers.

Now, the ashtray. It doesn’t say .925 on it anywhere, or sterling, but I didn’t check at the sale. I just paid my 15 cents and got on my way. It does have hallmarks that end “oria”, and it might be Victoria, but I can’t tell for sure. The fact that the handle was attached over part of the hallmark is not a good sign for it being silver, but it’s still an okay thing.

Fatwood fire starter

Price – $3; sold.

Fatwood is found in old pine stumps, and sometimes in the knots of branches. I’ve sold many many pounds in my time, but no longer hunt for it myself. We use this to start campfires (no paper necessary).

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Scrap

Price – $3.95; sold.

This is mostly brass (about 4 lbs) and another half pound of copper. That will bring about $7.50 at the scrap yard. This is not to say I scrap out every piece of metal I find at yard sales. Sometimes, a think is just too nice, such as this below.

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Brass candlesticks with tags still on

Price – $3 for the pair; sold.

Okay, there’s 3 pounds of brass, and while the world is awash in old (but not very old) brass candlesticks, these come with tags that say $29 each. There are tiny dings and very small stains on the base, but nothing noticeable. They are new, and they have that sparkle.

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Vintage Levi’s and Woolrich shirts

Price – $3 for the two; sold.

I got a deal on them because I spent some $40 at his sale.  He did say, “I had some good times in that Woolrich shirt”, and it looks like he outgrew a medium while still in his teens, so I’m guessing it’s from the 70s.

Blue, orange and white poly dress (tags still on)

Price – $2; sold.

I probably would have bought this even if Janie hadn’t.  It dates to the 70s and possibly earlier.  The appeal for me – I’ll be selling it in Colorado, and these are Broncos colors; not close to Broncos colors, but exactly the same shades.  This is a $20 bill at a yard sale, and put in a consignment shop, I think it would go for more.

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Pioneer speakers in the box

Price – $20; sold.

I’m listening to them now.  Paired with the Bose woofer I found next to the dumpster in our building, I now have a far more compact music system than my past mega-speakers.

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Small lanterns

Price – $1 each; sold.

Hey, what are those sitting on, might it be . . .

Yes, an old industrial factory cart

Price – $10; sold.

You can tell by spinning the wheels and getting on top of it that this is something you could put 500 pounds of steel on, and it would glide smoothely across the floor.  It’s not big enough to be a coffee table, though I am thinking about it doubling as a footstool, when I don’t need its oomph.

60s professional model hair dryer

Price – $1; sold.

I pick up the occasional mid-Century electronics item, and this is a nice addition.  She told me she was a hairdresser, and used it up to a few years ago; it worked the last time she plugged it in.  I know it may not be exciting to all (trust me, I’m not exactly excited either) but all the parts are there, and I’ve never seen one of these.

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Powderhorn

Price – $3; sold.

It’s not skrimshaw, or even from long ago, but he did say it belonged to his grandfather, who’s name I foolishly =:[ neglected to ask.  The grandfather died in the 50s . . .

Gem of a splitting maul

Price – $1; sold.

It has, as they say, all the bells and whistles – slot head for extra handle strength and so you can feel in your grip that the bit is coming down absolutely perpendicular to the grain.  Nice, straight, straight handle (also a must for zen-like aim).

This is keeper.  I buy even random maul heads and have several mauls for sale, but with a few carefully-placed wedges, this is perfection.

 

Stainless restaurant ware

Price – $5; sold.

We have a new stainless kitchen going in, with a 3-tub, 102-inch-wide bar sink.  I’ll see which of these fit in before selling any of them.

Brown and tan top-loading file cabinet

Price – $3 sold.

What appeals to me about this is it’s a piece of ephemera.  By that I mean it was the “cheap” version of it’s day back in the 70s, and thus all of these thin steel things you see are dented, scratched and otherwise roached.  This is none of those.  I’ll take off the nasty round plastic casters, and replace them with much older wooden ones.  Then, it will look great in someone’s wood-themed office, like maybe my wood-themed office.

Original painting by Peggy Abbey

Price – $2; sold.

Why did I ever shun estate sales.  No more.  On the back, written in pencil “F. Russ 1960 California Arlene has one also.”

Now anyone could have written 1960 on there, but if it dates from then, it’s way ahead of its time, I think.  While not a great work of art, it is original and well, trippy. I’m framing it.  I’m selling it as the art it is.

Wooden desk painted silver

Price – unknown; no sale.

I liked it, but have no place to use it and can’t afford the space or shipping to sell it.

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So, why am I showing you this?   Well, this is our living space, and Janie is being very patient about it.  While the kitchen is being torn out we have general disarray going on, if not Captain Chaos.   But, see that wooded dining table in the upper right?  I’m going to build a platform that raises it up so it’s a standing height cooking surface. On the bottom, I’ll put casters, so it can be rolled wherever we want it to be at a particular time; problem is I took all our casters to Colorado in March.  Well, as luck would have it, I bought two things this week.

6-foot 4X4s

Price – $1 each; sold.

Heavy-duty casters

Price – $5 for the four; sold.

Now all I need is a sheet of 3/4 inch plywood, and I’m off.  Oh, that thing the 4X4s are sitting on is a nifty 70s kitchen island.  Isn’t it lovely? Not? It will be gone this time next week, replaced by my new contraption. 

Large aluminum restaurant kitchen tray

Price – $3; sold.

Bucket of odds and ends

Price – 50 cents; sold.

I need the tray because I sort the buckets and cans of stuff and transfer it all to organizers.  this tray holds the contents of a coffee can, with room to move.

Bucket of chisels, files and such

Price – $1; sold.

Nice scraper

Price – 25 cents; sold.

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Pottery

Price – $1; sold.

I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a vase or a jug, but it’s certainly craft pottery.  I can’t make out the signature on the bottom, but to the person who cares, it’s enough to determine the maker.

“Crushable” felt hat

Price – $6; sold.

I bought it for myself, but I’m not crazy about how I look in it; can’t get the rim to pop flat, and I’m not, and have no desire to pretend to be, a cowboy.  It’s in brand new shape though, and I can get my money out of it while making someone really happy with their new go-to-meetin’ hat.

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Necklace made of seeds.

Price – $2; sold.

I thought it was cool.

Jewelry moves well.

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And the last item to show you from this week:

Whatever you want it to be

Price – $1; sold.

Someone took the time to weld it but I don’t know what the purpose is.  It could be a pan rack for a kitchen, but it only holds three pans.  I know, it could be for an outdoors kitchen, like at someone’s hunting camp, with the three biggest pans someone could find.

What do you think it is?

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Ron Hall (that’s me). I’m a major gift fundraising researcher and writer of federal grants that bring isolated populations their first access to public radio. I write this weekly yard saling blog “Would You Buy This or Not?”. My tutorial How to Split Wood has 25,000 views and counting. Writing dysfunctional love songs and posting them to Gather also keeps me amused.

Janie is a guide and floor staff at the Minnesota Children’s Museum and Minnesota History Center. She also has become a celebrity of sorts among Twin Cities children aged 2 to 7.

If you’d like to read more, just google “would you buy this or not”. Don’t forget the quotes, and tell Google to ignore what it thinks are duplicate results. You’ll find scores of earlier episodes.

About the Author ()

1) I see a world that is not evil, but glorious. 2) My hope is that other musicians will find the songs I've posted here and want to perform and record them. 3) I'm a fool for yard sales. See a more thorough profile at http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.j

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