Help! I Was Framed – And Did Not Like It


Pick: Well, Grin, nice find! Those old promotional booklets from WESTVACO Printing and Publishing should be popular. Entitled “Westvaco Inspirations for Printers”, they have a lot of neat advertising pictures, ready to frame! The paper is much more solid than magazine “tear sheets”, they are nice quality pages. The pages are marked with the specialty type of paper used, pretty cool! Let’s pull some out and look for frames!

DSC00236Grin: What? Are you crazy? These will be much better as a whole booklet. Lovers of  “Advertising from the Golden Age”, the 1920s and 30s, will be delighted to have these in their collection.

Pick: But check out some of those ads. The artists are top-of-the-line and even the articles, like the one on Will Bradley, is framable! And pictures by Robert Cheveux, Cavarrubias, Will Hollingsworth, Maxfield Parish, these are incredible.

Grin: I just do not have the heart to tear these up. Although, I do agree that the page showing the Erte’ ad for nylon stockings is awesome. I can see it in a period frame, perhaps in a bathroom or on a vanity.

DSC00225Pick: So I am swaying you, huh? That’s hard to believe since you have that stubborn Austrian gene from your dad.

Grin: Stubborn? My dad and I argued all the time over who was most stubborn and I believe I won (meaning HE was more bull-headed.)
In any case, no, I am not convinced.

Pick: Well, if not separated, what will you do with them? Coffee table books have lost popularity (at least since Kramer had his pop-up book.)

Grin: Well, we have a daughter who loves ephemera and her husband is a “font-lover”, so perhaps they’d like to check them out before we decide what to do.

DSC00233Pick: Well, how would it be if you listed just one of them on-line. Maybe you’ll get some information on their value or what type of buyer might be inclined to purchase these.

Grin: That sounds perfect for Etsy. It just might work. For once, we have reached a pleasant compromise. Dad would be proud!

[Editor’s Note: Westvaco, originally the Piedmont Pulp and Paper Company and then The West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, became MeadWestvaco when it merged with The Mead Corporation in January, 2002. You can find the first listing of these Westvaco. publications here!]

The Joy and Tribulation of The Antique Dealer

No Egrets Antiques
No Egrets Antiques

No Egrets Antiques has just completed our third antique show of this new year. Our first was held in West Bend, WI in January. Cold, but the snow kept away and turn-out was very high! As always, the N. L. Promotions’ events are well attended and offer top-quality vendors.

The second was in Wausau, WI on a very cold winter weekend. At this time of year Wausau is snow ski country and the sport is for the hardy outdoor types.  But we were set up inside the D.C. Everett High School and the droves of customers provided our booth with constant action for two full days. They came to buy! This show and our St. Norbert’s Show were put on by AR Promotions and Audre’ and Ray really do things right.

This last endeavor was a flip of what we had expected. Weather was kind to us, but buyers were not. The venue was at St. Norbert Collage in DePere, WI, and the gym was filled with many of the same dealers that were in Wausau.  We were very pleased to see the crowds pour thru on both Saturday and Sunday. But!!  After talking with many of our friendly competing dealers, the consensus was that the visitors left their purses and wallets at home. Still a good show, but not up to our expectations.

And so goes the life of an antique dealer. Wait until our next show. We’ll bring better antiques or maybe lower end items.  Better glass, or depression glass? Probably not, it is not selling up to its potential.  Victorian period? No, we need to bring more Mid Century Modern. Sports items? Always hot. Jewelry always sells so do post cards. Yippee! Post cards and jewelry. And probably some delightful prints and paintings for home decorating This is also a great show for outdoor items for your yard decor and also heavy-metal for your man-cave. That’s what we will bring to our next event.

Our next show will be in Elkhorn, WI, (another N.L. event) and it’s always a super show for both collectors and decorators and sellers, with Inherited Values and No Egrets in booths next to each other – Row two # 216.

See you soon.


On the Trail for Antiques w/ Pick & Grin

On the Trail for Antiques w/ Pick & Grin

The summer selling season was over. This year seemed consumed with flea and antique markets, plus we conducted more estate sales for clients than any other summer. We felt the need to relax.

Pick: How about a week in Florida, it’s warm and beaches are empty.  Our choice is always to go in early fall. It proves to be a great time to go, when summer travelers are back home, children return to school and the arrival of Snow Birds is still a month or more away.

Grin: And the great seafood restaurants will not be crowded. Plus we could drive and shop along the way.

Pick: Do we ever go anywhere without stopping & antique shopping?

Grin: Not since you forced me into marriage, 40 odd years ago.

Pick: Well, yes, It has been 40 odd years. You plan the route down and I’ll make arrangement to rent a condo for the week.


And so I started by digging out the “Travel Guide to Antique Shops & Malls” published by Antique Week, which came with our subscription of their weekly newspaper. Our plan was to take a route we had not traveled “to see what we could see.” I also had their phone app, downloaded to my I-Phone.

Pick: I searched for a rental in Redington Shores, at a complex we already knew from a previous visit. I was set to start looking at “a route less traveled”, at least by us. With the help of a real paper map of the eastern half of the US and the section maps photo copied form the Antique Travel Guide, all laid out on a table, we went about trying to create a list of malls and shops to find the greatest treasure of the century, our Monet Moment.

The A.W. Travel Guide provides listings of stores by sections of the states, on our chosen route, along with informative advertising for each store in alphabetical order by city. I did find the copies of the section maps I photo copied somewhat difficult to page together, and align to my route, so I used a big folding map to highlight our total route and selected shops we wanted to visit along the way. 

 I must tell you, it is the phone app that was most impressive. Easy to use and free to download,  it conveniently offers a very simple set of screens that allow you to select the radius in miles for your search, up to twenty-five miles distance. All stores registered in that distance are shown, and with a few clicks you will see each stores listing and the distance and direction from present your location.


Select a shop and the address and phone number comes up. That phone number can save you from traveling to a store on their day off or after hours. The next screen is a map of the store location and travel time. Touch the address on screen and a route map comes up. How cool is that? All this to decide whether a detour from your route is in your best interest, or continue on with your original route plan.

From our experience, the shop owners or staff of stores listed in the guide deserved our visits. All were well run shops, clean and well stocked, with staff helpful in finding and showing items we were looking to purchase. They listened to our stories of the hunt and shared their insight on what is selling in their area and the general condition of the antique market. Oh! And we were told where to get the best lunch in town, and the next shop we should not pass up.

Did the guide and phone app prove successful in finding great antiques? Well, our trip home was hastened by the fact that we could only buy stir sticks, nothing else would fit in the back of our van.

As always, good hunting.

Pick & Grin

End of the outdoor selling season

Man Cave Wall Art

I’m Pick, owner of No Egrets Antiques on eBay and seller at shows and markets.  Grin is my husband and merchandise loader and hauler.

Pick: I just finished pricing and wrapping the last batch of antiques for the Elkhorn (WI) Antique Flea Market, and our last outdoor market of the season.

Grin: That leaves me to do the heavy lifting and the struggle to get it all in our vans. I think we need a semi for next year.

Pick: You are always semi-thinking.

Grin: I guess our van is about the right size for the shows we do. It’s just too small when we have a double booth.

Pick: If our winter indoor sales follow the trend we may need a bigger truck for next year. I have been pleased with the increased interest and our sales of antiques at this year’s markets.

Grin: Leaving the collector figurines and plates in storage along with the glassware that sold well in the past has helped. When that market returns, we’ll be prepared for those sales!

Pick: We have been doing very well with primitives and decorative metal antiques.

Grin: You think of every piece of rusty metal as “Man Cave Art.”  Much of that is too heavy to even hang on a wall. And guess who has to load and unload every fifty pound stove or machine part?  Let’s stop calling me the mule.

Pick: Well, I can think of another name for mule, but you don’t like that one either! As far as rusty stuff goes, it’s selling. And the addition to our mix has greatly helped sales. Most of our friends in the business, flea market sellers and antique store owners, all agree the bottom was hit and the climb back to normal is steep but manageable. It reflects what we saw this year and gives hope to an even better year to come.

Grin: Let’s have a toast to a great upcoming season!

Pick: I don’t think it would be wise to give me a “toasting drink” while I am still loading it up!



The New Year for Pick & Grin The collecting Couple

Pick & Grin, The Collecting Couple, Ready For The New Year

Grin: With the holiday season ending, I look forward to peace and quiet for the next few months.

Pick: Good luck with that thought. We have two antique shows booked and we need to start setting aside the goods we want to sell. One is high-end antiques and the other we do well selling advertising items, collectibles and indoor décor.

Grin: They better not be during football playoffs.

Pick: Goooood LUCK WITH THAT THOUGHT TOO!!  Check it out, I have the calendar marked with every weekend filled with speciality collectibles shows for the next few months.

Grin: Indoor shows I hope?

Pick: Yes!! Smarty Pants, Even if the weather has been superior, they will all be indoors, but I might leave you out in the cold.

Most of these shows are annual events and once you attend one you can get on a mailing list for the next one. The speciality shows bring together collectors/dealers with a certain niche.

They include advertising, soda bottles, breweriana, sports collectibles, depression glass, toys, dolls, firearms shows, a Scale Auto, Hobby & Toy show, a Red Wing show and one called a rec-room show dealing with everything Retro 60s.

The advantage to these shows is their limited scope, where a collector can truly see the wide choices of items in their special category. For me, it’s an education, I want to see what interests collectors, what’s hot at the moment and what price things are currently going for. I talk to these dealers to ask about trends and the current condition of their market.

Grin: How did you get such a list and how many will you force me to attend?

Pick: Our newspaper carries advertising for most of these shows in the classified section and our auction paper has ads also. And of course, I check the the net for shows within driving distance. And once I attend that show, I always check for flyers from other promoters left at the entrance door.

Grin: Makes good sense! Let’s look at your list and the calender to see how many shows we can attend,

Pick: That a Boy, now you have the spirit of the New Year!



Pick & Grin Is This Our Last REAL Christmas Tree?

Pick: Did you ever notice that everyone is happy and smiling putting up the tree before the Christmas holiday, humming Christmas carols the whole time, but taking it down is another matter?

Grin: Whatever do you mean dear?

Pick: Well, here I stand on a ladder taking down the ornaments, while you yell out the NFL Playoff Game Schedule from your chair.

Grin: OK, OK, I’ll get to work with you.

Pick: Thanks, hon. By the way, do you think this should be our last year with a real tree? All of our friends have the artificial trees with lights and ornaments still on from last year. They simply pull it out of the attic, tweak the lights and add a few ornament that might have fallen off. And they are done! We, on the other hand, have box after box of ornaments and strings of lights that need to be taken out and arranged on the tree.

Grin: Well, then there is the shopping for the tree. We have come a long way toward doing a better job of that. When the girls were young, we’d go a week before Christmas in the cold, snow and windy weather. There was one year we all sat in the car and simply yelled to the tree attendant – Yes, that’s the one! And he loaded it onto the top of the car. Not until we got home did we notice how crooked it was and how one side was virtually bald! At least we now go earlier and try to choose a dry, not-so-cold day!

Pick: Ah, that does bring back memories of our ‘lesser trees.’ Remember the year we had to wire it to the window sill so it would not tip over. I think that was the year my brother teased us mercilessly about it!

Grin: I also remember your brother’s delight when we put the tree out front. Remember, it was actually just the trunk and four or five branches remaining from our wreath project. We set it out by the door with two ornaments on it – sort of like Charlie Brown’s little tree! He howled over that one!

Pick: Well, you must admit, this was the finest, fullest tree we’ve ever found. Everyone who viewed it exclaimed about it being so lovely and ’round.’

Grin: Are you sure they weren’t talking about me after all the holiday treats – ha!

Pick: Very funny. But back to the tree. It does smell good in the house. I recall a friend’s son in law running over to her artificial tree and exclaiming “Gee, it smells like dust!” I don’t think I want that experience.

Grin: I agree with the great pine scent, but that comes from the millions of needles! Check out the extra scent-makers on our floor. They will make a long trail out onto the porch, down the sidewalk, down the driveway and to the curb where it will rest for a week or so until the city picks it up. We’ll be vacuuming needles until at least Easter!

Pick: Well, both of our daughters still get the real thing. They are creating fun memories (and laughs) with their kids when they get a ‘loser tree.’

Grin: But think how nice it would be to just go up to the attic and drag the completed tree down, lights, ornaments and all. No boxes!

Pick: Well, that’s not true, I would still pack up the ‘special ornaments’, and tree-top angel (that’s my mother’s) just to keep them secure.

Grin: So let me get this straight. You still like the smell of the tree, we would not gain any room in the attic because a tree takes up a lot of space and there’d still be lots of boxfuls of ornaments, plus you like the memories of a real tree, right?

Pick: Well, once again you have convinced me that a real tree is the way to go. We don’t have to make a decision right now, we can wait until next year, about a week before Christmas.

Grin: Well, here we go again. Let’s get back to work, only 11 more boxes to pack up!


Pick & Grin – Christmas Memories – Time to Tear Down the Tree

Pick: I suppose it is time. Time to take down the tree, put all the ornaments in their boxes, until next year. We are the only ones in our ‘group’ who have a live tree. When the kids were small, we’d work on putting it up for a few days. You’d do the lights, the girls would put the ‘unbreakables’ near the bottom and I’d do the top part.

Grin: I remember a few of the early years when our trees were SO crooked that we’d have to wire them to the window hardware. Otherwise, they’d tip over. We got numerous comments , none of them good.

Pick: We have talked about getting an artificial tree, but then you mentioned the ‘limited space’ in our attic. And I truly love the smell of a real tree. A friend has an artificial one and her son-in-law always walks up to it, takes a good sniff and retorts “Ahh, the smell of dust!” I don’t want that from my son-in-laws. (Not that either would be so crass – ha!)

Grin: And then there is the concern of the ornaments. The ones from your grandmother, for example. If you left them on the tree, you would worry until next year if one would be broken when moved around. So, since we have to take it all down and wrap them, we’ll keep the live tree. But is there any way we can eliminate some of those ornaments?

Pick: Each time I pack and unpack I have fond memories. I remember putting that exact angel on our tree-top at home. She has withstood the test of time. And the bird with the tail-feathers, why, that was my grandmother’s and there is precious little from her.

Grin: That is understandable – you’ll always want to keep that one. But what about these poorly-painted ceramic ornaments.? They are a bit tacky on your classy tree. And we have so many to pack away.

Pick: But don’t you remember these? We made them with the kids when they were about 8 or 9 years old! They are very special to me.

Grin: OK then, but these plastic ones can go. They are out of date and very cheap too!

Pick: Now wait a minute – those are the bottom-of-the-tree ornaments. Nicholas, our youngest grandson can still come over and touch things. You know how I want to be a ‘fun grandma.’ And then if our Westie knocks one off when he strolls past, who cares? You need the lesser ones near the bottom.

Grin: Sounds like you have rationale for every one on this tree. But then, I am not surprised. It is the same with your year-round decorations. Everything has a special memory, or makes you smile to recall where you found it or who gave it to you. Someday, the house will just sink slowly into the ground.

Pick: You exaggerate – there is still room in the basement for a few things and the attic has a bit of room.

Grin: Dear, if you started collecting toothpicks, we’d be in trouble. But let’s get back to the tree.

Pick: It will look so darn empty in this room when it is gone. Can you put up an Easter Tree?

Mortuary Blood Jars and Other Collectibles To Die For.

Pick & Grin from Antiquips brings you bizarre finds.

Part of the joy in collecting or selling antiques and collectibles is the people you meet. Sharing the stories of the hunt, the success in finding a super item at a great price or selling one for a king’s ransom. Mistakes are forgotten, and the next great find is only a matter of time.

“What do you collect?”, can start an hour of conversation.  So it is when we stop at a consignment shop called DJ’s Antique’s in Greenfield, Wisconsin and engage in a bit of chit-chat with Don the owner and Trisha, whose claim to fame is properly displaying the latest “must haves”. Her own passion in collecting is rather unusual, funeral or death related items. Now any old collector/seller has something in that category or at least Pick had some large ornate casket handles, a casket plate and some cabinet photos of funerals.

Pick: I purchased the handles in the last century to be used as a towel bar, but!!!

Grin: I know that “but”, I just never got around to getting them up.

Pick: That better be the only thing you don’t get up.

Grin: I know!!

Pick: I decided to offer that stuff to Trisha for her collection. That’s why your recent purchase of blood jars came as a surprise. I couldn’t tell if you were a serious bidder when the pair of red amber mortuary bleeding jars came up for auction at our last visit to Bailey’s Honor Auctions held in Wisconsin.

Grin: I had looked at them during preview when auctioneer Carol Miller was explaining that they came from an estate and were called “mortuary bleeding jars.” Their cone shape, and old rusty wire hangers drew my attention. I spotted the pair and considered the shape to be unusual even without the provenance. The color was also unique. They first appeared amber, but holding them up, the color looked redder. The only markings are on the rim and it reads “Klip Kup, Patn. Applied For.”  And on the flattened bottom end, it has the initials MP.

Pick: I can’t find one single item or any reference to these two glass containers on line or in books.

Grin: Nor can I. But when the bidding was still within reason and the other bidder dropped out I was the owner of two used blood bowls.

We had discussed our strategy before the auction trying to curb our enthusiasm for only the most unusual items to fill our antique mall case and on-line stores. Now what could be more interesting than mortuary jars?

Pick: The Jaguar Hearse used in the movie Harold & Maude.

Grin: You’ve got me there.


Grin: I decided to clean out some desk drawers and filing cabinets. Trash collection is tomorrow and I can’t seem to close some of my drawers anymore.

Pick: You never could keep your drawers closed.

Grin: I resemble that remark, and blame you for my condition. But to the point, I have trashed some stuff I know should have gone to recycle years ago, mostly paper receipts, bills, catalogs and correspondence. Lots of old price lists, that makes me cringe when I think of the great stuff I should have bought at those prices.

Pick: Was that back when you were making two bucks an hour, and all the fries you could eat?

Grin: OK!! Ruin a dream, but you were the one that married me for my money.

Pick: I married you because your mother promised to pay off your bar tab.

Grin: And your father offered me fifty bucks and a tank of gas if I wanted to escape.

Pick: So, what’s the problem, do you need help carrying your junk to the curb?

Grin: What I really need is a sanity check, I have found stuff. Things that have accumulated into what can only be described as unexpected collections. And since you are an expert on collections, I need your advice on whether to toss them out, or save them with the intent of someday offering them for sale.

Pick: Well, if they’re your collections, some items are probably antique already.

Grin: I should have taken the fifty bucks.

Pick: So let’s see what can be tossed or saved.

The collection of business cards, mostly industrial companies from the upper mid west, lots of big name companies, many manufacturers now gone or moved.

Our old expired credit cards.

Plastic and heavy paper faux credit cards pasted on letters telling me my credit was so good I needed another card.

Pick: Goes to show, you can fool some of the banks all the time and all of the banks some of the time.

Rubber stampers, mostly shipping room types, some are address or date stamps.

Old industrial catalogs, some dating back to the 1920s.

Connection cables from computers and electronic devices.

Pick: Well, let’s analyze each to see their potential for a future sale, with the understanding you’re going to toss out the useless collections. First, your collection of fake credit cards, that’s an easy toss. You have so many the same and all from big companies, the collection will never be sellable in your lifetime. I’ll bet these were send out by the billions.

On the expired credit cards, I just don’t like having our name out there on old cards. This one is a tough decision as I have sold old credit cards before, but like the fake ones, none of yours are from old, out of business companies like Gimbels Department Store, a bank or an oil company thats no longer in business. Those would be worth hanging on to.

As for old electrical cables, why not save one of each style and recycle any duplication of the ones that are from old technology.

The rubber stampers, ink and pads are strictly useable, none are old enough to call collectable but still useable.  Keep any that can be used for our antique business and sell or donate the rest.  I would think with the stamping craze still strong, some might be sellable, like the fragile or first class stamps.

I have been surprised at the number of ephemera collectors we have encountered, look at our recent sales on Ebay, especially luggage labels, industrial catalogs, industrial employee magazines and bus passes. I would suggest any of those items are worth saving, as long as they’re older than 1980..

Grin: That’s pretty new. I have socks older than that.

Pick: 1980 is thirty years ago. That’s not the only thing in your drawers that’s old.



Our last article mentioned our frustration trying to find good antique shops while on the Carolinas’ coastal area. We drove down to Charleston, SC from North Carolina for sightseeing with our traveling companions with no time left that day for antique shopping. Our first break came in finding the Cottage Antiques in North Myrtle Beach and with the owner Malinda’s directions to other shops, we filled our day with antique shopping and suitcases with collectibles and antiques.

In a response to our article, Clyde from Charleston wrote to explain our great loss by not antiquing in his area. His website is dedicated to the wonderful experience of exploring the shops nearby. We wrote to ask for an interview and here is our correspondence.

Clyde’s inspiration for developing a website dedicated to Charleston’s antique shops was simply a lifelong passion for antiques, his knowledge of shops in the area and the great people involved in the antique business. He decided to become his own web designer, and learn the tricks of design from the bottom up. Clyde is at that point where he has designed for others as well. He also writes for on the topic of antique shopping in Charleston. All the the time and energy needed to publish his website on Charleston’s shops, is his own. From the time it takes to visit each place and photograph the antiques, to rewriting with the latest info, Clyde does it all.

Pick: “When did you start collecting?”

Clyde: “When I was 12, My great aunt took me antiques shopping.”

Grin: “ What’s your major collection?”

Clyde: “I collect mostly furniture. I like old book cases that I can restore and sell.”

Pick: “Where do you find your items?”

Clyde: “ Antique shops, newspaper ads, yard sales, thrift stores, antique shows and garbage piles.”

Grin: Well that sure runs the gambit. Can we come along to your next visit to our favorite, the garbage pile?”

Pick: “Leave me out.”

Grin: “Are there items you wish you had bought, but passed up?

Clyde: “That is a long list. The odd thing about antique shows, if you do not buy it, you can’t go back to get it. It’s just gone.”

Pick: And if you do buy it, odds are you’ll see a cheaper, better example next week.

Grin: Any words of wisdom for our readers?

Clyde: “You often have to have the time and resources to do the research to be sure the item is what you believe it to be.”

Pick: Thanks Clyde for visiting with us. And readers if you have suggestions on great shoppes in your area for antiques, crafts or collectibles, add a reply so others can share your good fortune in hunting while traveling on the road.

Pick & Grin On Vacation

Pick & Grin On Vacation

While it’s great to be back, vacations are a time to relax and enjoy some good times with good friends and see new sights. Our recent trip to North Carolina, included a visit into Charleston, South Carolina and a grand tour of many of the city’s historic sites, with the magnificent architecture of very early America.

None of our vacation trips are ever complete without antique shopping and we planned to spend one full day in the Myrtle Beach area and several mornings on the coastline around our vacation condo in Calabash, NC. Our routine before leaving is a check on the net for antique shops in the area of our vacation, then call to confirm hours of operation. This is to insure we are not headed to some place on the one day of the week they are closed.

With disappointment, the North Carolina coastal area and the South Carolina border where we were staying proved to be completely devoid of antiques, even if the word “Antique” is on their signage. Since our adventures had brought us to the Myrtle Beach area in the past, we knew fitting a day trip into our week was a necessity.

Vintage Druggist Pill Crusher from Cottage Antiques

Heading south on Hwy. 17 we spotted an open sign at Cottage Antiques at 1315-C Highway 17 North in North Myrtle Beach,

Phone (843) 249-7563.  Looking like a small storefront shop, our first surprise was the depth and width of the physical layout and the scope of the antiques inside. Pick was immediately drawn to the jewelry displays and quickly secured several pieces for her collection. We found lots to buy and a great deal of things to admire, but when you’re flying instead of on a driving vacation, size matters. Several sad irons caught my attention and we were intrigued with a soap bottle in red glass, but left them there for your next visit. Melinda runs the shop and knows her antiques and gave us some hints on other places to visit after she saw the type of items we were interested in purchasing.

Weblos Scout Badges From Fox & Hounds

Passing several more shops further down on Hwy. 17 that Melinda mentioned but felt they normally didn’t have the type of stock that would interest us, we went to one more location on her short list, and it turned out to be worth the jaunt to the Fox & Hounds Antique Mall at 160A Rodeo Drive, Myrtle Beach (843) 236-1027, off Hwy. 501.  They had lots of small items we could fit in a suitcase for the trip home located in front cases as we walked in. Next time we’ll drive when we vacation to that area and will empty the whole place, including great items in most booths that just would not fit into our suitcases.

We mention these two with the hope you will have as good a shopping experience as we found.If you have an exceptional antique store in your area, and feel our readers should hear about them, give us a reply back. We will continue to feature places we stop at that may interest you in your search for vintage and antique items.

Just a note!!

Our ideal shop or mall is one that meets these guidelines:

The owner / dealers have a well-stocked selection of antiques and vintage items and keep out reproductions and new items. The best places have age limits on the items sold. The store aisles, booths and cases are clean and free of clutter, items are nicely displayed, identified, priced and conditions are noted.

A clear consistent sale or discount policy is in place.

I also like to converse with people that are collectors, and understand our passion in searching for antiques. A helpful staff or owner can make the experience doubly enjoyable.

Cufflinks From Cottage Antiques


Antique Brass Sad Iron

Hello again, Grin here, Pick is out shopping in one of those bedroom communities where the old stores that once housed the local butcher, baker and bookie, now are home to the crafts crowd, crepes kitchen and bobbles and bangles boutique.  So I’m left to ponder what’s new in our antique world.

Wait, is “new in our antique world” an oxy moron?  Or am I just dumb.

It appears we have turned the corner and sales are up this year over last, and that gives us greater reason to be hunting for antiques and collectibles.  Even our success rate at finding items at garage sales has been better.

Our recent travels have taken us to several shops that are new to us, in areas remote to our home.  An estate sale in one of the better neighborhoods produced some great finds and a shop in Northern Illinois can keep the lights on and pay the rent from all the items we carted out to the van on our last excursion.  I suppose our sightseeing along the Mississippi river was more of a buying trip than it was watching for eagles, but that’s the nature of all our travels.

In case you have not guessed from past posts, Wifey (Pick) has been selling antiques so long, some items she sells now were purchased

1960s Paper Towel Holder Hand Painted

new but now qualify as near antiques.  Her “on-line” business is about eleven years old and requires lots of stock replenishing.  Flea markets in the summer months are for purging items not sold on the net or too inexpensive to justify the time and energy to list.   It also works better for selling larger items such as furniture. And flea market selling is lots of fun and provides interaction with customers and fellow sellers that just doesn’t occur with on-line sales.

Now back to the subject of buying.  How can she find items to sell and make a profit, especially at antique stores and malls?  Well, it’s more work than you would believe.  Experience is the main ingredient, knowing what is collectible, at what price.  Then the searching begins, at all and every place that sells antiques and selected collectibles.  With magnifying glass and magnet in hand, a GPS in the car, it’s off to explore.  The American Pickers are amateurs with limited focus on old metal compared to Pick’s picks.

Sealed Deck of Playing Cards with Tax Stamp

Just look at the items from recent jaunts, and you’ll understand the broad range of what her customers are looking to collect.  Finding these treasures, means looking for the one item another seller or collector has no interest in and greatly undervalues.  The best example? Well, let’s take decks of playing cards, a hot collectible just now. Found everywhere, many decks were giveaway advertising from the local feed store to major airlines.  I have seen recent prices range from $3.00 to $15.00 per pack in the same antique mall.  And what is hot with collectors?  Right now it’s the cute little kitten, lovely lily, a tax stamp still attached to a sealed deck, or the styling on and Ace of Spades.  Just don’t place your bet on an airline that flew the world, they must have given out a billion decks to bored boarded passengers.

OH!! NO!! Pick is back from her excursion to latte land, with no new, old things purchased.  WOW, how sad.

More from the Antiquips: Bringing Things Home

Pick: That was such a fun auction we went to the other night! Lots of variety, friendly crowd, and it moved along quickly too. My favorite thing was the treasure we got, almost a piece of your family heritage!

Grin: I started my inspection of the items going up for auction at the far end of the hall, and had found several pieces that were of interest. When I finally got to the second last table, there were the three items from the old Gridley Dairy that my grandfather had worked at during the (first) Great Depression.

Pick: You showed me the paper sign, amber-colored milk bottle and the mini-milk can and I could tell you were excited by them. You turned the can around to show the company’s name and location and even the date of “1935.” I asked if your grandpa would have worked there then and you exclaimed “Yes.”

Grin: Over the years, I have bought a couple of bottles with Gridley on them and some paper advertising in the form of recipe books. Nothing expensive, nor rare or too exciting. They are in our Depression-era farm and advertising collection, resting on our antique oak ice box.

Pick: This was a large auction and had numerous items for sale. But we were relieved to see those items brought up front early for bidding. The paper sign was first and I asked if I should bid for it.

Grin: When bidding started, I contemplated trying to get the sign, but the price soon escalated past what I considered to be reasonable. Paper is pretty delicate and not easily displayed when not framed.

Pick: When the runner held up the can and the bottle, I was “at the ready” to bid, asking you how high I should go. They were offering “choice of the two”, meaning we could get one or the other for the bid-price. The bidding was pretty active with three of us in early, then down to two. Our price came and went and I still bid a few more times, but alas, we realized we could not get the can. But to our surprise, the bidder took the bottle and they re-opened bidding. We got it for half what our top bid would have been.

Grin: Part of my interest in this milk can was its size. It can easily be displayed inside the house and not stuck in the garden or on the driveway where some of our other milk cans have been placed. I am not sure what the contents of this can might have been but have a suspicion that it was used In a commercial setting. It have been used to deliver heavy-cream to a bakery or restaurant.

Pick: Well, you know how we love to send things back home! That is the ultimate recycling. We have shipped collectibles back to their original owners quite a few times and that just tickles us. Remember the Ruby Farms thermometer?

Grin: That one went back to the granddaughter of the original owner. And how often do we send advertising items found on our travels back to the city of their origination? Many times!

These are going to collectors that have an interest in preserving part of their town’s history.

Pick: Another thing we sold that brought fond memories to a buyer was the calendar from the dairy near Madison, Wisconsin. The winner kindly shared with us that he had worked that very farm in the 1960s, alongside his favorite cousin.

Grin: Didn’t you just tell me about another treasure that you sent back home?

Pick: Oh, you mean the ashtray. It was from the Golden Zither Restaurant in Milwaukee. The winner was so happy to get it. He got engaged to his wife in that very restaurant many years back. They are close to their 40th anniversary and he is planning to give it to her as part of their gift. Oh, how romantic!

Grin: We’ll have to share other ‘recyling’ stories down the road. I just read about a nearby auction…

Lost and Found – Regrets While Antiquing

Another Blog from Anti-quips – the Collecting Couple

Pick: Have you ever looked back and said “boy, I wish I had bought that!”

Grin: You’d run out of ink in the cartridge before I could print out that list.

P: Oh, really, that many? Give me an example.

G: How about that hotel ice bucket we saw in Chicago. It was silver with the name of the upscale establishment on it. Sure it was way too expensive, but we both really liked it and it sure would impress the guests.

P: Oh, yes, I remember it well. I also recall a Roseville vase that we passed on. It seemed too costly at the time so we drove off, then talked about it and circled the block. When we pulled up in front of the house, we saw a lady carrying it to her car. What were we thinking?

G: I can’t seem to forget a solid brass telescope we saw at a flea market. It was tagged $25, just lying on a table. I have no excuse for not buying that one!

P: Well, I can top that one. How about the guy at the flea market in Kentucky? He had a table filled with jewelry, said it was his late wife’s and he needed to sell it all. I picked through it and found a lapis azuli necklace (which I still have), but we were anxious to view more of the sale and I just moved on. There could have been a treasure trove there, but we were inexperienced and did not spend enough time checking it out. DUH!

G: Well, we have learned better since then. We now know that it is OK to stay put at one booth at the flea market if there is potential. If there are items of interest, we should stick around for as long as it takes. You never know what the next vendor will offer, it could be a lot less quality and the booth you’re at may just be the best game in town.

P: We have left estate sales that had treasures too – we should have known better, but when you are new to the business, you are anxious to “get on to the next.”

G: As long as we are “self-bashing”, I guess we should talk about the things that we should not have bought too.

P: OK, but first let me admit to the biggest faux pas of our history together. The famous “passing of the wrought iron railing.”

G: Oh, dear, I have mentioned that one for over 10 years and hate to let our readers know about it, but since you brought it up. There it sat, in the basement of the crinky antique store in northern Wisconsin. A long, ornate railing, made of wrought iron and (we were told) formerly in a local bank lobby. It was a railing from around the teller’s windows. We stood by it a long time, and I was deciding if it would fit in the van, you were deciding if we had enough money set aside for this “high-level” purchase. The end result is that you told me to step away from the railing, it was not going to happen. We talked about it in the van and you won. Well, actually, we both lost. We returned there about 4 months later and, of course, it was long gone. Since then, we have seen other, less fancy railings, in smaller sizes, with fewer sections, selling for many times the cost of that one. But I am quick to forgive.

P: If that is the case, how come every time we are in a shop or mall, you mention it to anyone who will listen?

G: Well, now that the secret has gone world-wide on the “web”, I will drop it from my spiel.

P: Now, back to your idea of discussing items we should NOT have purchase. Of course, I personally never made that mistake, but several of your buys come to mind. For example, how about the bunch of bottles you bought. They are still gathering dust in the basement. I believe you are responsible for those.

G: Well, maybe you should ‘fess up’ to the purchasing of numerous framed art prints. They are too large to ship if sold on the Internet, and awkward to carry to the flea markets. They take up a lot of space. But on a lighter note, you do get to change the décor in our home regularly.

P: Yes, I just shop in the basement boutique!

G: Another item that we have WAAAYY to much of is the restaurant ware. For a while it was hot and we’d pick up every piece we could find. While there are still collectors out there, we have nearly cornered the market and soon they’ll have to come to us for examples.

P: But, dear, we never paid much for any of it, and many pieces came in box-lots at auctions. We are getting older and our income has become less ‘expendable.’ We may just be serving guests peanut butter and jelly sandwiches off these restaurant plates some day.

G: Or maybe we could find a sharp-shooter who wants to use them for target practice.

P: Some of those heavy-duty Shenango plates are so tough it would take a 44 magnum!

G: In our defense, many items were bought before we became well-informed, or the market trends did an about face. You’ll note that on the TV antique shows, they often state “If you had sold this 10 years ago, it would have brought $5,000, but today, the market has changed and you’d be lucky to get $500.” That’s not our fault.

P: I hate to admit it, but you are right. We have learned from our mistakes and rarely make the same ones. Having said that, let’s head out, rummage season is starting and I saw a few green signs yesterday.

G: OK, but let’s only buy things that will make us rich.

P: Yes, dear. The kids will like that some day when they view the basement and there are only money-makers down there.

Grinin’s Tip To Collectors:   When we started to refurbish our home with antiques, from door knobs to stained glass windows, i always had a clip board in the car with every possible size and item I would need. I also have pictures of antique drawer hardware with the clipboard so I can someday match what i need. If you have a space that needs filling on a wall or shelf, have the size with you where ever you go.

I have seen other collectors with record collections, post cards and bus pass collectors pull out their lists to confirm what they have or need.

TV or not TV-That is the Question

Pick-Let’s talk some more about the antique recycling in our home.

Grin-Does that mean you are finally going to clean out your clothes closet?

P-No, silly. I mean our “decorating recycling”, things we have saved from a dumpster or land fill by fixing it up and putting it to a good use. How about discussing our latest find-our Big Screen TV?

G-Well, that was your idea and it’s no wonder you want to tell everyone about it.

P-Well, as far as that goes, you have some bragging rights too. You negotiated the price and got us a super-deal. And you made the improvements! It sure is fun to tell our friends and family about our new TV set.  They know we’ve just recently replaced our black and white set with a color TV. So, they are astounded when we make the announcement.  Remember when our son-in-law asked if it was a “flat screen” and we responded with “it’s actually convex.” The look on his face.

G-So why don’t we tell the readers the whole story. It was your off-the-cuff comment while exploring an antique mall that prompted our purchase.

P-Oh, I remember walking into the booth and seeing the old Crosley cabinet – it was in great shape except no knobs or “guts” and I said you know what would look great in that 10” opening, a digital picture frame. You just left and went to the counter to have them contact the dealer, hopefully for a better price. I was not even aware that you were doing that, thinking you were not too thrilled with the concept.

G-The dealer accepted the offer and when we got it home, the work began.

P-Getting the right digital frame was the easy part, but I was a bit concerned about the hardware, especially the little light I recalled from TV’s of my youth.

G-I knew I had knobs for a TV or radio cabinet downstairs. I do keep all of that stuff.

P-And you think I never throw anything out, right!

G-Even with all the junk I have, I could not locate a rotary on/off switch with a long enough neck to fit through the wood of this cabinet.

P-Now, come on. What about your box in the electrical section that reads “rotary switches-long necked.”

G-Very funny, that box was empty. Finally, at the third store I found a switch. It was the type of store that has even more useless things than I have.  I also found a lens that fit into the hole for the indicator light.  You should remember that it took such a long time for the tubes to warm up and the indicator light let you know it was turned on.

P-That’s WAAAAY before my time, but I do know that you have a built-in indicator that tells me when you are warmed up.  I do remember mom sending me in to start it up before the Friday Night Fights came on.

G-Was that any time when your rowdy family got together?

P-You are such a hoot!

G-Our last step was downloading pictures of family and friends and then we were set to turn it on.

P-It worked great but something was missing. To make it look authentic, we needed a 1950s TV lamp.

G-And no TV from that time frame would work without an antenna. We city dwellers would use rabbit ears that could be adjusted to pick up BOTH TV stations.

P-Will we also need aluminum foil for the top of the ears? I think you still have a ball of foil from the “war drive.”

G-What war was that, One or Two? Back to our project. We easily found several TV lamps from that time period and the antenna was spotted at an estate sale.

P-It’s now complete, even have a doily that your mom made to finish it off. And when our son-in-law, the one with the mega-screen saw it, he laughed out loud, but I think I saw a bit of “screen-is-envy” there.

G-You have always been so classy. You are a work in progress too, but good fun. It’s always great to work on projects with you.

P-Back Atcha!

Tip for IV’s Collectors: Unlike regular retail establishments, most antique stores and malls have a level for discounting the price. Be sure to ask at the counter when shopping what is the stores discount policy.  If an item is very expensive, you just might be able to negotiate by asking the mall personnel to contact the dealer. They often comply if you have an offer you’re willing to pay.

Introducing Pickin & Grinin, The Collecting Couple

Antiquips Pickin & Grinin

Pick: This is going to be our first article for Inherited Values so let’s show off some of our unusual collectibles.

Grin: How about your hand mirrors? You are always bragging to anyone that will listen, just how great you think they are and how well you display them.

Pick: Oh, I’d like to but I’d have to polish them all before we let a whole group of people in to see the collection.

Grin: Well, what’s your idea then? Or are you just Picking on me because it was my idea?

Pick: Why don’t we start with the smallest room in the house and show readers what can be packed into a tiny area with a little imagination.

Grin: Are you referring to your jewelry box? You sure know how to pack that thing full.

Pick: Boy we’re real smart today. No I’m talking about the powder room at the back entrance, the one that started out with a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling with a pull chain for decoration. Let’s show off our antique finds in that room first. I think we managed to accent the room nicely with some unusual pieces in a space of seven foot by four feet. Plus we did our “green piece” by recycling some items.

Grin: Five feet, it’s no longer than five feet.

Pick: Well, whatever, the important thing is we get to display the oddities within. But just to keep my reputation intact, how about a quick measure to see who is right. I say it’s about seven feet by 3-1/2” feet. What is your best guess?

Grin: I think five feet, maybe by 4-1/2 feet.

Pick: What was the measurement?? Oh, guess you were closest. Now, let’s change the subject. How about we start with the egret, the old screen door decoration. You know, the one I dragged home from an auction and had to listen to your questions like “Now, WHERE can we put that old thing?”

Grin: In this instance, you were right. It fits in flush, right over the toilet, a pun intended!

Pick: Well, if you’re giving me credit, I must say, your cold air return register was a perfect fit. It’s a radio speaker grill from a Pontiac Straight 8, probably from the early 1950s. And it squeezed right into the space.

Grin: I also recall where we got the old tin sheets that we needed when I dropped the ceiling to update the electricity to enable a wall switch. We had to purchase the full lot of sheets, but only needed a few and sold off the rest at a flea market. Then you found that marvelous iridescent chandelier at a local antique store. You discovered it just in time, too, because we had not decided on the color to paint the room and the green shade enlightened us.

Pick: Dear, you are funny today – you should be “pun-ished.” And you kept your promise to let me have some stained glasswindows in the house. That was something you committed to when we left our other house that had so many! And you did a super job finding the black and white tiles that are so “1930s”, it really completed the look we wanted.

Grin: Well, let’s continue in another area in our next blog. There’s hardly room for two of us in this room!