Shadyside estate sale, October 22, 2017

October 22, 2017

Old house in Shadyside that had been almost completely modernized inside. The owner was there - apparently she was downsizing. She'd apparently lived in central Europe (Prague?) for a while, and had bought many of the things on her travels. She was really funny. This house contained a truly impressive collection of beautiful antiques and vintage objects, and I enjoyed looking at everything very much. Sometimes taking photographs is enough for me. I don't want all of this stuff! I just like looking at it.

  • $5 - Haveland covered dish
  • $10 - Hand-painted rice bowl. Very small and delicate, a real work of art.
  • $10 - French coin purse in silk. Hand-embroidered flowers in silk thread and gold thread, and beads.
  • $3 - Herend Hungary hand-painted miniature urn, hand-painted design of flowers and Chinese(?) men dancing.
  • $2 - White porcelain toothpick holder with the same butterfly design as a small ginger jar I bought when I was out with Jan a few years ago.
  • $15 - Chinese Foo Guard Dog/Lion (chimera?) in brass and lapis lazuli.

Carnegie estate sale, October 21, 2017

Detail. Carnegie estate sale, October 21, 2017NOTE: Large images to show more details.

October 21, 2017

Yet another gorgeous day. There were two sales side-by-side on Main St. in Carnegie, and both of them were full of beautiful and interesting things. The first one contained the contents of several estates, and was wonderful and overwhelming. From Carnegie I drove to Mt. Lebanon, where a sale was being held on Bower Hill Rd, which is a very busy street without any parking. So people had to park across the street in the church parking lot. The Mt. Lebanon police department set up a crosswalk with a police officer, a vehicle with flashing lights, and traffic cones set up to force traffic to slow down, which I really appreciated. Thanks, Officer!

  • $6 - Dragonfly mirror compact in beautiful heavy enamel. By Monet jewelry company?
  • $5 - Letter opener in brass and ivory, with the Buddha on the handle. On the back is stamped: "Made in Siam".
  • $30 all - Hand-blown glass Christmas ornaments. There were boxes and boxes and boxes of them in the basement, organized by color. I gave a very large irridescent white ornament to a woman who admired it in my box, and I kept the one with the stripes.

Original kitchen in a house in Carrick, October 1 2017

October 1, 2017

It was a another gorgeous day and I went to a couple more estate sales just to get out of the house. I didn't buy a thing, but I especially enjoyed seeing the intact, original kitchin in this house in Carrick very much! When I walked into the kitchen, several people were standing around admiring the workmanship in the cabinets and the original stove, and wondering where the refrigerator was. I said, "Oh, the ice box? Probably out on the back porch." They laughed and said I was probably right. I think there was a frig in the basement...

Russian beaded tapestry portrait detail, September 30 2017

September 30, 2017

It was a gorgeous day and I had a lot of run driving around to several estate sales. I'm getting pickier as I fill up my available space, and my purchases are getting smaller and smaller but they still make me happy. The one sale where I bought anything had apparently been the home of Russians, and was filled with beautiful and unusual things. I didn't buy a lot, but I love what I bought.

  • $1 - Pink quartz and copper bracelet
  • $1 - Hand-painted English bone porcelain ashtray by Royal Crown Derby ("Olde Avesbury" design)
  • $8 - Needlepoint portrait with beaded detailing. This is an exquisite piece of fine needlework. The face and hand are done in petit point tapestry, with subtle details achieved by using different colors of thread.

Budweiser neon sign from Golden Treasures in Braddock, September 24 2017

September 24, 2017

Golden Treasures in Braddock is one of my favorite estate and consignment shops, and sometimes they're open on Sundays. My Dad worked at Anheuser Busch in St. Louis MO for most of his career, and I grew up with the Budweiser logo. I also love neon signs. So I swooned when I saw this. And of course, who doesn't need more irridescent glass bead jewelry? Plus, everything was half-off!

  • $50 - Budweiser neon sign
  • $2 - Large stainless steel mixing bowl (not shown)
  • $2 - 1 Quart Revere saucepan with a heavy bottom, unused (not shown)
  • $8 - Glass necklace (with matching earrings not shown)

Pittsburgh Watercolors by Robert Bowden, from estate sale on September 23, 2017

September 23, 2017

I only went to one sale, which was located in a big house in Point Breeze, the neighborhood that borders Squirrel Hill to the east. The owner had been involved in the arts, and the house was full of books. As a reader and a former librarian, I tend to collect books like pound puppies, and have to be careful not to overdo it. But I found several real treasures, including the big "Georgia O'Keefe" book, and "Fifty from the Trail", which is a rare, beautiful book of cowboy recipes published by Marlboro.

The sale was crowded and the books were very heavy, and at one point I walked off and left behind a glass ashtray, which I'd set down while looking at something else. Another lady picked up the ashtray when I'd left the room, but when I returned she gave it back to me, even though I said it wasn't necessary - fair's fair and I'd lost my chance. But she was a civilized human being and insisted, which I really appreciated. I hope a better treasure came her way to make up for it.

  • $32 - Eight books
  • $4 - Murano ashtray in pale citrine (because obviously I don't have enough glass, right?)

Observatory Hill in Pittsburgh, September 16, 2017

September 16, 2017

Observatory Hill is up north, across the Allegheny R. It's an interesting neighborhood I've only been through a couple of times. It was a beautiful day and I had fun driving around and looking at the houses (check out the gargoyles in front of the house that was across the street!). The house was filled with antiques and beautiful things, including a stunning collection of costume jewelry, and I picked up some unusual pieces.

  • $45 - Victorian brooch with amethyst
  • $10 - Aquamarine vintage pin
  • $18 - Wedgewoood porcelain pin
  • $45 - Blue crystal Juliana brooch by Delizza & Elster. (When I saw it I realized that I already had one by the same company: the green one I call my Godzilla brooch that I bought last winter at Golden Treasures in Braddock for about $5.)
  • $10 - Victorian bracelet with hand-made Murano glass beads

Fans and carnival glass from Golden Treasures in Braddock PA September 9, 2017

September 9, 2017

Total Google Maps fail trying to get to an estate sale in Port Vue, high above the Youghiougheny River, across from McKeesport. Maps literally took me to a cliff. Fortunately a couple of guys gave me directions and I found where I was going. And after all that, there was nothing at the sale to buy, so I went Golden Treasures in Braddock, PA, which is one of my favorite places to shop.

  • $7 - Hand-painted floral fan. Paper with cutouts and rhinestones on a linen backing.
  • $5 - Sandalwood, I assume from India. Look at all the little sequins!
  • $5 - Pale, pale blue carnival glass with blue irridescence: swoon!

Estate Sale finds in Pittsburgh on August 12, 2017

August 12, 2017

Mt. Lebanon, after Noon and everything was half off

  • $16 - Pins!
  • $7 - Murano glass bead necklace
  • $6 - Blue enamel locket

Pittsburgh estate sale finds on August 6, 2017

August 6, 2017

All of these things came from the same house, which was located out in Thornburg. It was a Sunday, and the second day of a two-day sale, and everything was half off. The house was still PACKED, even though it was the second day. The basement was filled with floor-to-ceiling shelves with thousands of candle holders, all organized by color.

  • $6 - Cameo music box. The top flips open and the inside is lined in powder blue velvet.
  • $0.50 - "The Book of Indians", by Holling C. Holling (not shown)
  • $3 - Grand piano box
  • $7 - Art Deco compact by Volupté in almost perfect condition; a real find!
  • $0.50 - Miniature bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume. This bottle represents one of the greatest product designs of the 20th century.
  • $6 - (not shown) Starfish candleholder, 2 William Sonoma seashell mugs, and a hurricane-style candle holder covered in litht blue irridescent mosaic and seashells. V. pretty.


Old Estate Sale Posts

Click on the link to open the PDF file with the original articles I wrote about going to estate sales with Jan, which are dated from 8/11/2011 - 3/9/2013: Old Estate Sale Posts

Jan and Mary's Estate Sale Rules

Jan and I spent a lot of Saturday mornings running around to estate sales all over the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Over time we developed a basic set of rules based on experience, to help make sure we didn't waste time or money. Here are a few:

  1. Buy things that make you happy.
    This became our first rule once we decided that we were not interested in turning our Saturday morning entertainment into work by becoming online traders, buying and reselling on ebay or etsy, or even our own online store or brick-and-mortar shop.
  2. Don't buy so much you need a storage locker.
    I'm not sure if this is so much a rule as a promise I made to my husband, to never have to rent a locker like Peg Bundy did in Married with Children. I did buy a lot of old junk during the first few years, and ended up having to pay Christian Smutz, of Smutz Brothers in Pittsburgh to come with his team and haul it all away. I'm much pickier now.
  3. Work out your route on Google Earth or Maps or something before you head out.
    We used phone navigation to help us find places, but we always carried a printout with addresses and either a sketch map of streets or a Google Earth screenshot for backup. Pittsburgh is a difficult city to get around in, and we saved ourselves from getting lost, or from being directed to drive off of cliffs by the phone navigation more than once.
  4. When approaching the sale, don't park until you've positively identified the location.
    I don't know how many times we parked at the end of a long line of cars, only to get up to the sale and discover that there were parking spots much closer from the departure of the early-arrivers.
  5. Don't bother to show up for the opening. Seriously.
    There's always a line of people waiting to get in, and some estate sale companies will only allow a certain number of people inside at a time so it can become a long wait. We would usually start hitting the sales about a half-hour or an hour after they'd started, in order to avoid having to wait in line to get in, and again in line to pay and get out. Unless there is something in the sale listing that you are specifically interested in, or you are doing this professionally and need to have a first crack at the house contents before everyone else, or you just want to be the first inside to have a chance at the best stuff, it's not worth the stress.
  6. Learn how to quickly scan the contents in a packed, crowded room, before you start moving around.
  7. When you see something you like, pick it up before someone else does.
  8. If you're not sure you want it or not, hold onto it.
    The fact that you've picked it up is a flag to others that it's an item worth looking at, and if you set it down, someone else may pick it up.
  9. Be polite and mind your manners.
    Estate sales are almost always held to sell things that belonged to someone who has recently died. Anyone at a sale should be respectful of the fact that you're in someone's home handling their things, even if they've moved on to a better place. Many houses are essentially archaeological sites, with things still lying exactly where their owners left them the last time they set them down.
    There are often relatives present at estate sales, and you could be inflicting an incredible amount unintentional pain on them by being greedy or careless as you handle things that belonged to their loved ones.
    Many sales have security cameras set up to discourage theft. I don't even want to think about what kind of bad karma you'd generate for yourself by shoplifting from an estate sale, but it happens all the time.
  10. Live with the things you buy.
    If you don't then what's the point? You're just filling your closets with junk for your estate sale. Obviously, if I buy something old or fragile, I'm going to take care of it. In many ways estate saling is an exercise in conservation, saving unusual things for future generations. Otherwise, I derive great pleasure from filling my day-to-day with beautiful things.
    For example, I keep the garlic cloves in the spice cabinet in a Limoges porcelain bowl; coffee filters are kept in another. Our house is filled with original works of art, and many objects that exhibit a high degree of craftsmanship.
    I collect hand-sewn vintage gloves. Some of them are very delicate, but the others I use. I wear them as driving gloves, especially on long road trips to protect my fingertips and cuticles, and for protection against germs in gas stations and public places. I wear my vintage white cotton gloves when I go hiking in the desert backcountry in Arches National Park in the heat and light of mid-summer, to protect my hands from the sun and my walking stick. With my Panama hat, umbrella, and protective veil, I look like I'm on my way to a garden party out in the middle of nowhere - but I also have no age spots on my hands.


© 2017