Maryland is a wonderful place for lovers of old things. The first semi warm weekend here yard sale signs went up at every intersection, flea markets set up in the freshly mowed fields and seasonal antique shops opened their doors to tourists and locals alike.
Being a seasoned antiquer, I’m rather familiar with pricing on most vintage glass. I can now spot a Fire King, Pyrex or Glasbake piece tables away. It’s funny, I can’t read a menu at a restaurant without glasses but I can spot a vintage bowl half a block away. Strange how that happens.
In New England, prices can be rather high for vintage glass. Heck, prices are high for most antiques up there. Sure, there are deals to be had. I’ve gotten a fair share of them myself, but for the most part anything vintage in good shape goes for a pretty penny. Unless you find it at a yard sale. That’s always a sweetheart deal.
I went to several auctions in Massachusetts but quit after awhile because dealers know what the values are and because of that they can drive up prices. Auctions just weren’t a value for me and what I was looking for.
Now here I am in Maryland and it’s a wildly different story. I’ve been cruising around the antiques shops for kicks and I’m floored that stuff is so much more affordable here. Granted, I’m not looking for expensive stuff like 1800’s furniture which is a good thing because good grief is that stuff expensive, but the smaller stuff like vintage glass and other small wares are pretty darn cheap.
Not that I’m looking to add to my collection. I’m not. What I am looking for are items to decorate my home. Nothing big. Just some interesting pieces to decorate the shelves and tables. I’m looking for a Pinterest worthy home at Goodwill pricing. It can be done with patience and a bit of legwork.
Legwork that led me this past weekend to the Chesapeake Auction House. The auction is held weekly with special auctions throughout the month. This particular auction was an antiques auction which made me hesitate a little because I figured the prices would be exorbitant. The web preview which showcased all the items to be auctioned listed some rather lovely stuff which I expected to soar sky high in pricing.
But as the auction progressed, I kept elbowing The Colonel in the ribs every time something went absurdly lower than I expected it to. Deals were being scored left and right.
At one point a gorgeous 40’s mahogany queen sized sleigh bedroom set complete with two nightstands and dresser went up with no opening bid. And once the bidding did start, The Colonel nudged me and said the set would look lovely in the currently empty guest bedroom. Before I had the chance to process that thought, the gavel banged and the winning bidder walked up to claim their $85 dollar steal of the day.
Let that sink in a moment. $85 for an entire mahogany bedroom suite in gorgeous condition. Valuable lesson learned. Always listen to The Colonel.
Not that I didn’t get deals of my own. Up above you can see my Underwood typewriter. As a person who spends a good chunk of her time typing, I thought this would be a gorgeous piece for my office. It needs some love and care, but once I clean her up I think she’ll be rather lovely.
There were four sets of china up for auction, three Lenox and one Noritake. And let me tell you, no one was feeling the china love. The first two Lenox sets were twelve setting lots complete with serving dishes. The first set was gorgeous but rather busy looking with a floral border. Not exactly my style but when it went for $165 complete, I was kicking myself for watching it go at that price.
It could’ve been resold for SO much more. I’m pretty certain that a dealer already has that set on display in some antique shop just waiting for the killer profit their sure to get.
I didn’t pay much attention to the second set because I was busy inspecting a dresser, but when the third set of Lenox went up for auction, I walked over to the table out of morbid curiosity. A setting for eight complete with coffee service, bonus vase and all with the stickers still attached.
And when the bidding started at $50 for the whole shebang with only one bidder, I was not going to let that get away. I figured I’d buy it and flip it on eBay if I got it for a steal. Which I did. I was the high bidder at $75. I still can’t believe it. Brand new, minty condition, in a style I adore for $75. Lord have mercy.
As The Colonel was helping me carry it into the house, he asked me if I was indeed going to sell it. While that was my plan, I couldn’t help but set it up on my table to see how it might look. That couldn’t hurt anything, right?
That coffee service is rather lovely, don’t you think? And the platinum edge is just so very sophisticated. The perfect china for the holidays and any special occasion, don’t you think? I bet you know where this is going….
Yup. Right into my cabinet. Sure, I could make some money selling the set, but how much more enjoyable it will be to actually use it!
Never would I have guessed I’d find something this lovely at an auction for that price. And that’s just some of the bargains at the auction this weekend. I’m fairly certain more auctions are in my future.
How about you? Do you attend auctions? What’s the best deal you’ve ever scored?