Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Everyone's a Picker

Last week I read a news story about a man who purchased a particularly ugly bowl/cup in an op shop for $4 and then sold it at auction for over $75,000. Turns out, it was a 17th Century Chinese 'libation cup' carved from rhinoceros horn. A rare find indeed, but I get the feeling this guy knew exactly what he was looking at.
It's been a long while since I've been op shopping for no other reason than they've all been picked over. Not to mention that they've cottoned on to how much more they can make on vintage and designer pieces. It's a fair call, the proceeds go to charity after all, but this attitude appears to be creeping into the last refuge of bargain hunters everywhere - garage sales and swap meets.
The last swap meet we went to was the annual Broadford Swap Meet back in April and what a change it was from last year. Practically every stall holder had what they believed to be a 'rare piece' and they were charging accordingly; it sure took the fun out of it. Personally, I blame TV shows like American Pickers, Auction Hunters and the like. Before they came along, people didn't even know they had 'rusty gold'.
With the swap meet prices being well out of my budget, I had to content myself with seeking out some of the more fun stuff on offer.
Phones, phones everywhere...
Something for the car restorer
Who knew the 'Three Men in a Boat' author wrote another book?
Fabulous sewing machine oil cans
Oh, what I wouldn't give to see this baby in action!
The Police Siren Door-Stop Burglar Alarm would make for the perfect prank.
And finally, Thrilling Ranch Stories - Romantic stories of the West (c.1940s). If the front cover is to be believed, it looks like a great read. As you can imagine, I was sorely tempted by this one.
I do hope this weekend's Vintage Clearance Centre sale lives up to it's advertised bargains, I'm in the market for a new coat.
- Tamara



  1. I wish I could make that sale - Its No Buy July for me *sob*

    Its disappointing to see the prices of junk skyrocket. It takes all the fun out of it when professional buyers have already got to everything before you even get a look-in. Its no longer as accessible for the intrepid hunter
    I'm hoping this fad for old things passes us by so those that actually like this stuff and dont care for making a profit can go back to enjoying it

    1. No Buy July? Esz, you are a much stronger woman than I. The clearance sale was quite good, though limited in the early eras.

  2. Ack I totally agree with you - everyone is seeming to equate old = rare = valuable, and prices are getting a bit crazy now :(.
    Etsy all the way.

    I still love Savers in Brunswick, picked a 1940's navy faux-fur swing coat there last year for $30! It's always our first stop after picking up the hire car from the Airport...
    Hopefully we'll find another vintage-trove on our way to Camperdown soon :)


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