Friday, July 15, 2011

Always Doing Research

The July Brimfield Antique Show is said to be the smallest of the three.  But if you have a bad back and no access to one of those battery powered things from the Scooter Store, it's still a big show.  As it was on my way home from Mom's house where I'm cleaning and organizing for a sale, I thought I'd stop and look around.  I found a great parking lot with trees located about the center of the show and just started randomly checking out booths.  I was struck by how it all just looked like a bigger version of Mom's house.  Now I can find out what all that swag is worth.

The first booth had vintage crocheted doilies, handmade aprons, hand towels, and table cloths.  I found boxes and bags of the same type of items at Mom's.  Doilies started at $2, most were $3, and the biggest ones were $12.  Aprons were $5 a piece, tablecloths $8-$10. And all prices were negotiable.  How sad that items women spent hours creating were going so cheaply.  Other booths with similar items had similar prices.

Several booths had a variety of old kitchen gadgets, dishes, and bowls.  Just like the ones I found at Mom's.  The prices were actually less than what I would pay for similar new items.  Those old fashioned meat grinders from my childhood were $12. Yup, I have one of those too.

I brought pictures with me of a few things and showed toy dealers a picture of my "Screwball" game.  No one had a clue what it was worth.  Online I found one for $105 and another selling for $20.  Cabbage Patch kids don't sell at all but my Ginny Doll might be worth a few dollars with the clothes and wardrobe I have.

The old Singer sewing machine might get $40-$60.  An enamel top table from the 50's that I thought was worth hundreds will bring less than $100.

Old novels published in the 1940s by Somerset Maugham & Thomas Costain are going for $3.  No one cares about print books anymore.

I have a set of china from about 1920.  Unfortunately the glaze is crazed but it has 22k gold trim.  In Brimfield I found dishes in perfect condition with a fancier gold trim selling for $5 each.

I wasn't even looking for the best piece of information I got. I found a booth with old service weapons and lots of survival knives.  I unearthed one in Mom's cellar. The expert there told me that it was issued to service men in WWII and not Japanese as I had thought.  He told me to look for a number on the blade.  Well, it's too rusty.   But in examining the knife again when I got home I noticed, scratched but faded in the dried out leather sheath, what looked like "LST 113?".  After some googling I found out that Dad was on LST1139 in the Pacific and was present when the Japanese surrendered.  Dad never talked about his stint in the Navy so I had no idea.

Like the artisans I talk to at craft shows, these antique and vintage dealers are having a bad year.  Nothing is selling for what it's worth but it still costs $1000 for a spot in Brimfield.  I noticed some people buying, mostly large pieces of furniture that they probably got at a price they could finally afford.   Estate jewelry, household items, hardware, etc. had little traffic and I couldn't count the number of 1/2 price and sale signs I saw.


  1. So sad, isn't it. :-( All of those vintage, well loved and card for items...going for next to nothing. I guess I'll hold onto my 'stuff' then.

  2. Yeah, it's a tough call. My brother & I will also have a house to sell when all this is done. Do we wait for a better market? Will there BE a better market?