The Lucy figure on the right I picked up at Rare Bird Antique mall after a particularly fruitless run at estate sales weekend before last, but I thought she looked so pretty side by side with these tiki mugs that I had to take her picture. The mugs were at the second phase sale that Eartha and Rae also went to (missed 'em by *that* much!), and I couldn't believe they were still there an hour into the sale. Collectible tiki mugs are a rare breed indeed in the wild!
There's actually a whole website, Oooga Mooga, a sister site to my beloved Critiki, which tracks prices and collections of Tiki mugs by Westwood and other midcentury manufacturers. I'm one of the club now! These are the only four variations in the set, but I have another two of third one from the left, and the green guy and the brown one on the left also have twins. You should have seen Sus and I walking around the sale with our hands completely full of china, yet still trying to look at things. You put something down at a sale, and it's likely to get snatched! I don't even trust leaving things at the "sold" table because fellow pickers can be sneaky about (supposedly) not realizing stuff is already spoken for.
On Saturday morning, my dad was out of commission as my usual estate sale companion, but I screwed my courage up to the sticking point and drove out to the flea market at the Tennessee Fairgrounds for the first time in, oh, ten years. ALONE! It was brave moment for this compulsively chatty collectibles consumer. I was worried there wouldn't be "enough old stuff" to whet my buying appetite...um, wrong?! While there were barrels of detergent at bargain basement prices and knock off purses and all the sorts of things that usually come to mind in flea marketing, there was a TON of junk-booths and stalls. And most were set up in groups, so you could meander a whole livestock shed full of antiques. I spent three whole hours walking around, looking at stuff, trying to decide how to initiate the bargaining process and what my be-the-buyer game plan was.
It was a sticky position because while I'm more than comfortable dickering at yard sales and estate sales (within reason, and never rudely), flea market bargaining is different. For one, NONE of the prices are really firm, so you feel like you're "expected" to try and get them to go lower on the marked price, but then you also don't want to insult them by naming a number that waaaaay under the marked price (and, in most cases, probably waaaaay closer to the actual value of the objet de kitsch than the stated price). But then when they quote you a dollar less than the price when asked "Would you take any less for this Twiggy Wig Carrier?", you can't help but get a little discouraged. One guy, when I asked the price of a large shoebox full of WWII love letters (!!!!!!!!), maybe two hundred of them, said he couldn't take less than a thousand dollars. A THOUSAND DOLLARS?! He must've been high. I understand auctioning something like that on ebay and finding a collector who wants them bad enough to sink a grand into that piece of history, but what about the mildly sunburned gal with a financial pain threshold of about $100? In another stall, a lace evening dress from the fifties' was "extremely rare" and "$300". I was so disappointed in getting wacky price quotes that I almost didn't ask about the dresses in the pictures above and below. When I grouped the floral thirties dress and the yellow, Joan Crawford-y dress together with beady eyes and muttered "How much would you want for two of these?", I almost flipped my lid when the lady in a sun visor, whose booth was mostly angel figurines and ammo boxes, said seven dollars apiece. THAT'S NINETY NINE CENTS CHEAPER THAN GOODWILL. You coulda knocked me over with a feather. GOD BLESS YOU, SUN VISOR LADY.
These two cameras are different, you see. One was made in Germany by the Voss company in the 1950's, and the other was made by Fisher Price in the mid sixties'. The Diax camera I picked up at a yard sale on the way back from the flea market, on the way to an estate sale that was pretty terribly underwhelming...I almost didn't ask for price because it was about to rain and I wanted to get back to the car and I'd PROMISED myself not to buy any more cameras, as the shelf on which my sixty-something examples strong collection is housed is AT. CAPACITY. However! I decided based on how heavy it was I should probably grab it if it was less than $10, and indeed, the woman holding the sale only wanted $5 for it. I just looked it up on ebay to give you an idea of where it was from, who made it, etc, AND IT'S A FREAKING FOUR HUNDRED DOLLAR CAMERA. Camera nuts, will you look at these listings and see if I'm hallucinating from lack of sleep? I would have thought it would have to have been used by Fritz Lang or something to be worth more than fifty. But again, shows what I know. The Fisher Price camera comes with little ViewMaster style plastic reels that show storybook scenes. At the time, I thought at $8, it was the better of the two deals. Diax, you're growing on me, you swank and expensive thing you! It also came with a light meter that I was too lazy to take a picture of, but which I will be revisiting as soon as I get home.
This Porky the Pig doll is from 1963, and boasts a cap, gloves, vest, coat, and bowtie...but no pants! I couldn't find any examples of it online to see if he originally came with them, but here's more for my vintage children's toy trunk. The little men on the pedestal are those kind that go limp and the joints when you press the bottom part, but the cool thing is, being boxers, they just look like they're punching each other out. We love it!
Do you ever start looking for something or get an idea of something you would want and it just comes to you? Here's a whole picture full of examples of that phenomenon in my case. You've got an ID bracelet (blank! Just waiting to have my name engraved on it!), a good luck charm bracelet from the fifties', three scottie dog pins, and a spider pin. The ID bracelet and the pups were fifty cents each, the spider pin three dollars, and the charm bracelet a whopping $8. I had been looking for EACH OF THESE THINGS when I found them this last Saturday! It was like kismet. The funniest thing about the charm bracelet to me is the devil horns and the mustard seed in a little capsule. Could you die?
Last but not least, last night Bab and I discovered a drinking game on Huffington Post that is, truly, the funniest thing ever. I drew two mustaches on a piece of paper, cut each out, and taped them to about where you would figure a person's face would be during a close up. Object? Drink every time they line up. For teetotalers, it's also totally acceptable to score points, drink club soda...because nothing should keep you from the hilarity that is rooting for the little paper mustaches to line up with the tv person's face...it's just priceless. Check out these stills from Project Runway:
|Gunnar, you scamp!|
|Melissa is shocked to be part of these depraved goings-on|
Did you find anything neat this weekend? How have you faired in flea markets past-- any tips for the novice on-the-spot haggler? Do you know what a Diax camera is actually worth? Let's talk!
Have a good Tuesday, and I'll see you tomorrow!