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Flea-Like Symptoms

by Richie

Auction!

I love antique auctions. And flea markets, yard sales, rummage sales, and thrift stores. Every so often I get the bug to look for old stuff – you could say I’ve got flea-like symptoms.

 

 

Looking for antiques is like a treasure hunt. I’ve found a few big scores, along with a lot of white elephants. But I’ve had enough successful sales to keep me on the hunt. I don’t keep my auction finds – everything I buy goes up for sale. I’m looking for odd items of the vintage variety that have some resale value.

 

I specialize in “smalls” – little items that can be shipped easily. Bought a steamer trunk once… big mistake! When it sold I had to ship it via Greyhound Bus because it was oversized. It was wrapped in $45 worth of cardboard and bubble wrap, and after paying Greyhound, the whole transaction netted me only $10. Learned my lesson there!

Old Telegraph Key – Good Sale!

 

Huge Steamer Trunk – Bad Sale!

 

I used to have a booth at Peddlers Mall, actually two of them, but they never were very profitable. Now I stick to online sales, like eBay and Etsy.

 

Once in a while I will keep a flea market find. When I cleaned up this old lamp it looked so good in the living room that I kept it.

 

There’s lots of folks that buy stuff at auction and then shove it all in a barn or storage unit, never to be seen again. I’m going to guess it’s the thrill of fighting over an auction bid that drives them to collect so much junk. The act of buying becomes more important than the fact of owning.

 

My mom was a garage sale master. She collected craft supplies and had many projects planned. But at age 90 she ran out of time to get all those projects finished. Which left us with a basement full of stuff to clean out. Regrettably, most of it ended up in a dumpster.

 

Last month, after cleaning out another corner of Mom’s basement, I discovered a trove of 1960’s Barbie doll houses. Most were my toys, some were my cousin’s, and mom had stored them all those years.

 

I spent a week playing Barbie – assembling all the furniture and arranging doll houses for photographs.

 

Everything went up for sale online and a couple of items have already sold.

 

The lesson here is that there is value to saving stuff – but only if they are things of value. Keeping things just because you “might need it one day” is probably not the best legacy to leave.

 

So get cracking and clean out that basement. And if you get the auction bug, or develop flea-like symptoms, call me – I’ll go with ya!

(My Etsy shop – Booth88 )

 

8 comments

Birgit K Stubblefield November 20, 2021 - 12:50 pm

Oh, wow, those Barbie dollhouses!!! I used to go flea’ing a lot. Mainly when we lived in Upstate New York. There are a few cool pieces scattered inside my home, and a few more tucked away in the basement. I’ll be honest, some of those things will have to live there until I decide what to do with it. Love your Etsy store 🙂

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Richie November 20, 2021 - 2:07 pm

Thanks, Birgit!

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Denise Furnish November 19, 2021 - 6:26 pm

Well, Richie, you know Guy and I have fleas too… now trying to figure out what to do with them.

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Richie November 19, 2021 - 6:47 pm

Oh my, yes, you do! A veritable Flea Museum! Worthy of Sotheby’s 👍

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Beth Daniels November 19, 2021 - 3:39 pm

Love the typewriter but I think your best find was the telegraph key!

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Richie November 19, 2021 - 4:16 pm

That was an 1876 telegraph key and sold to the Nevada Supreme Court. Super find!

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Deb Reese November 19, 2021 - 12:55 pm

Love seeing these finds- very cool!
I remember that Barbie Fashion shop. I have two Aunts only 4 and 8 years older than me; I believe one of them had it. We girls used to love playing with their Barbies. My own are long, long gone, as are Sara’s; the only children’s toys we’ve saved are favorite books,

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Richie November 19, 2021 - 1:06 pm

That Fashion Shop was huge! Took up the whole living room floor. It just sold to a serious collector who has a Barbie Instagram channel, so it will live on forever 👍

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