Estate Sale Treasures

I enjoy going to estate sales not just to search for vintage treasures but also to see the insides of beautiful old houses (or not, as the case may be) and to peek inside the remnants of someone’s life. I like the treasure hunting aspect of estate sales though I refuse to compete with the hard core regulars (pickers?) who would trample over and shove their own mothers to grab something.

It’s interesting to imagine what a person was like while alive, and you can glean some of their history through their things. I wonder if they were travelers, collectors, hoarders (sad), athletes, connoisseurs of fine art or objects, avid readers, old or young, artsy/craftsy? I do feel sad when the person was obviously young or when there is no one who wants the family photographs.

Yesterday I went to an estate sale in our neighborhood and found some interesting little treasures in a box full of jewelry. Part of the fun is trying to figure out when a certain piece of jewelry was created.

I found these pressed metal shoe clips that were made to look like more expensive hand-crafted steel cut shoe clips with the rivets individually attached; I’m not sure about the date. I would guess from 1880 – 1930.

This pendant looks like it was made in the Art Nouveau era but it could be a Revival piece from as late as the 1960s. It’s definitely costume jewelry. The little gold finding to hold the pendant looks new. The stone is purple givré glass with a touch of green in it.

This fun little charm bracelet was stuffed in a plastic bag and very tarnished. It’s not marked sterling but maybe it’s silver plated. The charms include a passenger ship, a book titled Sam’s Almanac, a bell, a steamer trunk (or hope chest?) and an odd charm that looks vaguely like a microphone or theater sign. The clasp is very simple without a spring mechanism so I’m guessing it’s from the 1920s or ’30s.

At a different estate sale a few weeks ago, I got to see the inside of an old Portland family’s home in the Goose Hollow area. The furniture and glassware was delightful to look at, and the artwork was interesting. I found this green glass bowl with a silver-plated holder, which is marked Bancroft Redfield &Rice. The company was only in business from 1856 to 1863, so this is an antique. There was a matching one but it was really bent and one of the ram’s heads was broken, so I left it behind.

Do you find estate sales morbid or interesting? What’s the neatest thing you’ve ever found?


2 thoughts on “Estate Sale Treasures

  1. I think they’re fascinating but I’ve never been to one on the west coast. So much more time to accumulate on the east coast.
    Are we going to have to do an intervention for your jewelry addiction?

    • I went to one with my mom in Palm Beach – now THAT was an amazing sale! It was a former New Yorker who’d moved south.

      Ah, but these were very inexpensive jewels. I spent $3.50 total! I’ll agree to an intervention if the book demon in my life gets one, too. How many books does one person need?? (Cookbooks don’t count -they’re practical items.)

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