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.

 

Vintage Paint By Number Metalware

Combining two of my favorite things, vintage metalware wastebaskets and vintage paint by numbers, what’s not to love about this 1950s paint by number Tole Craft Wastebasket!

Vintage Tole Craft Paint It Yourself No 17 Oriental Teahouse

Frankly, I had no idea metalware came in DIY crafting sets…

So I searched, finding a vintage promotional Tole Craft “Paint-It-Yourself” Art Metalware piece at Pine Street Art Works:

tole_craft_brochure_small

And I found an ad from 1958, listing all eight of Tole Craft’s metalware craft kits: Hanging Picture Tray, Waste Basket, Desk Basket, Chippendale Hanging Tray, Snack Trays, Magazine Rack, Planter Plate, and Tissue Box. I need all of those! Especially the magazine rack.

Now that I do know about these vintage paint by number metalware kits, I’ve saved eBay searches for vintage “tole craft”, and vintage metal paint by number — and I purchased/bid on a couple of kits. *wink*

But I did find and leave a few of these kits for you too. Like these six metal paint by number trays. It’s not a set of six, but three different pairs of trays; a pair of equestrian or horse trays, a pair of floral pattern trays, and two Scandinavian themed trays.

vintage paint by number metal trays

Along with kits by Tole Craft, look for kits and finished pieces by the Morilla Company, and even Family Circle. You’ll find wall sconces, book ends, and maybe more — if you patiently keep looking!

PS I just got this completed paint by number bookend with a heron as a gift for my bird-loving, antique addicted parents! (Shhhh! Don’t tell them!)

vintage paint by number bookend with heron and birds

Vintage USS Constellation Lighter

I’ve just listed this vintage lighter celebrating the U.S.S. Constellation CVA-64.

The lighter bears the raised emblem adopted when the ship was first commissioned in 1961: a star-spangled blue field; the frigate of 1797 on the left; CVA-64, her aircraft and her guided missile battery, on the right; all encircled in yellow.

This full-sized brushed chrome lighter was made in Japan by Penguin (No. 19531).

[Note: The bottom of this vintage lighter is not brushed, so it is very shiny and difficult to photograph.]

It is often compared to, or considered a knock-of of, the “original” Zippo “Town and Country” lighter. However, it is important for collectors of lighters to note that the Zippo version was not truly a Town & Country lighter. Zippo ended the Town and Country line in 1960; meanwhile, the USS Constellation (CVA-64) was launched October 1960, delivered to the Navy in October 1961, and commissioned at the end of October 1961. While the paint on paint process continued to be used by Zippo, lighters using that process were not part of the real own & Country line.

It’s a great piece in terms of history; and in collecting, it’s a reminder of how wartime knock-offs are often nearly as valuable as the originals. If the knock-off was the lighter held back in the day, it’s the lighter you want today.

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!

 

 

Collectors March To The Beat Of Different Drummers

But, sometimes, those drummers are a matching pair. *wink* A fabulous vintage kitschy pair of planters, a drummer boy and a Majorette girl, illustrate my point!

Image credits: Pigtunia’s Plunder.

Vintage Lucite Tray & Luggage Rack, Forerunner Of The TV Tray

A vintage advertorial announcing “what’s new” to ladies who read Modern Woman magazine (volume 17 number 1, 1948). In this case, “what’s new” was a Lucite tea tray and luggage rack. Since the photo was courtesy of DuPont, I assume it was a DuPont piece.

Tea for two — on a distinctive “Lucite” table, combining an attractive Chippendale-style tray and luggage rack of the crystal-clear plastic. The light-weight tray is easily removed for carrying dishes. The decorative, sturdy luggage rack folds away for convenient storage, and has gold-color tapes across the top, woven in a leaf pattern.

It sure sounds like what we call a TV tray today.

A Tip On Dating Your Vintage Television Set

In the September 22, 1954 issue of People Today magazine (which has some additionally fascinating television history), a clue for those who collect vintage TV sets. According to this snippet from the vintage magazine’s “The Goldmine”,” this bit of news on TV set changes:

Many manufacturers are locating control knobs at the top or high on the side of new models. They found that viewers don’t like bending over to reach low-level knobs.

This may not only help you date your vintage television set, but is also proof of the laziness of Americans — and the need for the ultimate invention of the remote control. *wink*

Vintage Fan Collection Is Really Cool

When I saw this photograph of Wink, the vintage fashion collector and seller, the first thing I thought was, “Wow, vintage fans really blow her skirts up!” The second thing I thought was, “What a ‘cool’ thing to collect!”

And then, nearly out of puns (“She has created her own ‘Fan Club!'”), I realized I wanted to be a bit more serious and talk to her about her collection of vintage fans.

Wink, describe your fan collection. What do you look for in a fan? Is there a time period, manufacturer, size, color or other specific thing you look for?

My “fan club” consists of seven electric fans of varying vintage. I’m a graphic designer by trade, so I tend to notice the brand badges in addition to the industrial design of the fan.

For collecting purposes, I don’t pay much attention to the brand, or color, or period… I just go for whatever catches my eye. That being said, I’ve been a fan of the “atomic future” shapes of the 1950s for about as long as I can remember, and I suspect that most of my fans date to that general time frame.

Do the fans have to work? Do you repair them? If so, do you do it yourself, or pay a professional? (Or, option three, make a spouse do it lol)

Six of the fans work, although the oscillating fan no longer oscillates. One that had been a catalog stylist’s prop and was gifted to me has a cut cord, and I’ve never bothered to splice a new plug on. I could, though! If the motor is blown, though, that’s beyond my own skill set. I might pass it off to a mechanically-inclined friend and bat my eyelashes, but it’s really not important to me that one isn’t working.

When buying, though, I’ll do a function test on-site if it’s possible. Which is kind of funny, really, because I never use any of them for their intended purpose!

Aside from your personal budget, do you pay attention to the monetary or book value of fans?

None whatsoever.

I buy what I like, and the most I’ve spent is $20 so I decided that was my personal, if random, limit. I could easily go higher, and I know that I’ve been very lucky both with my own finds and with the friends who have given me a few as gifts.

When my collection was younger and smaller I tried looking up the value of what I then had, but it was a cursory search and really. I just buy them because they look cool. It’s not an investment thing, like clocks or rugs would be.

What made you become a fan of fans — decide to collect fans?

I bought my first fan for $1 at a garage sale. (Well, the seller was asking 75¢ and tried to give me 25¢ change but I told her to keep it.) That was a blue Coronado, and I bought it because I loved the shape.

Then I bought a second at an antiques mall, and my third (the non-oscillating one) at a flea market. That was when I came up with, “Two is a coincidence. Three is a collection.” Talk about a rationalization!

How many fans are in your collection?

A mere seven, but they take up space!

How do you display your fan collection?

I used to have them up on wall-mounted shelves in the living room, but a few years ago I bought an “entertainment center” that has six cubbies which are perfect for displaying items approximately fan-sized. The seventh fan sits on top of the TV. If/when I get more, there’s a shelf that’s supposed to go along the top which can hold perhaps five or six similarly-sized fans.

Fans are larger and their shape makes them less efficiently organized than say books or some other collectible… Does their size limit your collection?

Most definitely. I had to set an artificially low budget for myself so that I won’t obsess over searching for them, or my house would fill up. They’re definitely out there if you’re looking!

Instead, I made an Etsy treasury of electric fans for other people, and tried for a while to replace listings as they sold. As the treasury got older, it wasn’t getting new views so I stopped updating it. I can’t bear to take it down, though, so perhaps it’s time to refresh it!

Do fans have many fans? lol In other words, when you are at auctions, flea markets, do you find yourself competing with many other collectors for the fans?

There do seem to be a few collectors out there, but since I go for looks/price and not book value, I don’t know if we’re hunting for the same things. Shipping expenses will often blow my budget out of the water, so I tend to look locally. I’ve never had anyone try to pry a fan out of my hands at the antiques mall! LOL!

How do people react to your collection of vintage fans?

The fans are clearly on display in my living room, which is the first room in the house. People who know me are used to seeing them (the collection started somewhere around 10 years ago), but new friends notice them right away and usually let out with a “Oooh, I like your fans!” They’re like sculptures for the common man!

Do you collect brochures, advertisements, packaging etc., or just the fans themselves?

Just the fans, although I wouldn’t be opposed to buying printed ephemera if the price was right and it had some display value.

Do you collect anything that you’d consider related to fans — other small appliances or some such?

I’m a clutterbug. Is that a word? It is now. I collect, actively or passively, a lot of things. Fans are the only electric appliances, though!

Given your youthful appearance, I gather the fans are much older than you are and so they do not carry a sense of real life nostalgia for you… Is there anything you’d like to say about your affection for their “atomic” appeal?

Why, thank you! Yes, I imagine all of the fans are older than I am. However, I grew up in a family of thrifty folks who typically didn’t throw away or replace anything that was still useful, so this is the kind of fan that my grandmother or great aunt would have had in their houses.

My dad had an industrial-strength window fan in his home office that was probably similar in style, although I don’t quite remember its looks as much as I remember its ability to wreak havoc with his paperwork if we accidentally shut his office door! As a family, we spent many weekends watching ’50s sci-fi and film noir flicks on the television, so I’m sure I grew accustomed to this style in that way as well.

Then again, I’m still grumpy that the Dodgers moved to L.A., even though Ebbets Field was torn down before I was ever born! It’s difficult to explain some of the things I’m sentimental about.

Isn’t that true for some many of us.

You can keep up with Wink at her blog, Shoes and Pie, and become a “fan” of her Etsy store at FaceBook.

Photographs of Wink with her Fan Club taken by Candy Apple Photography. (Caution: Candy Apple Photography website plays music — so don’t try to sneak in at work, unless you’ve got your sound off!)

Vintage Figural 8-Ball Lighter

I’m a sucker for kitsch, so when I spotted this plastic 8-ball on a green stand, I had to pick it up. The top lifts off, showing a lighter inside it, making it a rockin’ display piece for the rec room or bar, even if you don’t have a pool table or don’t collect tobacciana; so I put it up for sale in my case at the Moorhead Antique Mall.

These vintage 8-ball lighters can be refilled; the flints and wicks likely are replaceable too.

This this one has “Don’t Get Behind Me!” stamped onto the green base.

Others are clearly more commercial, with promotional tag lines advertising companies and products.

This one has a faux marble base with “Keep Out From Behind With Wabeno Bottling Works, Beer and Soda, Phone Wabeno 55 — Clarence G. Adams” printed on it.

This one has printing on both sides of the base: “You’ll never be behind the 8-Ball when you buy your advertising” on one side, “1929 20th Business Anniversary 1949 Representing” on the other.

(Given that the printed text is so poorly positioned right under the plastic pool ball and nearly nonsensical, I suspect it’s a vintage display piece or salesman’s tool for selling the printed novelty items.)

None of these vintage 8-ball lighters seem to have maker marks or marks for where they were made; the rumor is they were made in Japan.

But in any case, they are cool!

Additional Image Credits:

Wabena Bottling Words (Wabena, Wisconsin) lighter photo via Whatnot Collectibles.

Vintage 8-ball lighter with printing on both sides of the base from Gathered Goods and Curiosities.

Nostalgia Calling: Cute Vintage Pay Phone Bank

There’s lots to love about this vintage pay phone ceramic bank I spotted at a local thrift store.

To add money to the piggy bank, you drop the coins in the slot at the top — just like you did with those pay phones. This particular bank was missing the presumably rubber stopper sealing the hole in the bottom for coin retrieval, signaling that someone had spent their pennies earned.

This vintage ceramic bank is a real conversation piece. First, in terms of true style of old telephones. There’s a rotary dial to really confuse kids — other people’s kids; ours have been educated in the ways of earlier technology. Heck, with the popularity of cell phones some kids don’t even know what a “pay phone” is.

But what I love most about it is the coin return detail and the memories it brrrr-rings. Had that been how one actually retrieved their coins from the bank, I probably would have bought it because I have fond memories of checking the coin returns of public pay phones.

My sister and I would race to see who could check the coin return first — or, if there was a bank of pay phones, who could get the most money. My sister was far more determined (greedy?) than I, and she often pocketed the most winnings.

She did win the all-time best story about pay phones too. One time, she stuck her greedy fingers into a coin return and came out with some partially eaten and/or melted candy. (We dared not dwell on all the possibilities too long.)

That moment in “Eeeiiww” nostalgia now makes me wish I had bought this vintage bank. I could have set it out in my home; it’s mere existence a prompt to tell that story over and over again… Or maybe even mailed it to her, eagerly awaiting her phone call to discuss pay phones and other gross childhood memories.

If this bank is still at the thrift shop on my next visit, I think I’ll have to get it.

PS I wasn’t sure which room in the house to categorize this under… As a kid, my bank was always in my bedroom — but then, when you’re a kid everything goes in your bedroom. I suppose this piggy bank probably more suited mom, who likely kept it in the kitchen or wherever the telephone was. Maybe she even used it to threaten charging her teenage daughters for each phone call they had. Hey, moms had to get that “rainy day” money from somewhere.