Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How I lost my (Auction) virginity, or What Goes Around comes Around.

OK, now that I've got you all excited, let me tell you a story.

Back when I was 5 or 6, my parents went for 2 weeks to London. For some reason (this is very much out-of-character for my mom, but hey, it was the 70s) my parents hired a nanny to watch my brother and I while they were gone. The woman they hired ("Mrs. T") apparently came very well-recommended from some other parents in the neighborhood, and they must have felt comfortable leaving us with someone they had never really met before.

I don't remember very much about her, except that she had a blue 1974 Nova, was in her 50s, and impressed me as being fairly strict. We did not like her. So much so, that one day after kindergarten, I went home with another boy from my class because I didn't want to go back to Mrs. T. I stayed for lunch and played for a while (I guess I assured the other mom that it was OK for me to do this- remember, again, this was the 70s) until a police officer knocked at the door and brought me back to a very anxious Mrs. T.

I guess I kind of scared the hell out of Mrs. T; maybe that experience with me began to lead her down a dark path to becoming a hoarder...

...Fast forward about 30 years, to last week, when the fabulous MaryDeluxe asked if I wanted to accompany her to an estate auction in my old home town.

"A True Hoarder's House!" went the auction listing, with vintage clothing, jewelry, Lionel trains, ephemera, and 400 box lots. Looking at the photos, I thought yes, this may be a great time to lose my auction virginity and go to one. Plus, something about that neighborhood was very familiar.

I couldn't tell exactly from the map which house was the hoarder house, but I had a feeling I was about to step back 30 years in time and pay another visit to Mrs. T.

Sure enough, bright and early Saturday morning, there I was, standing once again in Mrs. T's driveway. But this time it was filled with a giant dumpster, hundreds of boxes and years of dust, mildew and mouse poop. Well, I said, "Mrs. T, I'm back! And this time I am here to buy your stuff...." and I proceeded to do just that.

It was a very productive auction for the both of us. Since I was an auction newbie, I probably overspent and overbought little bit, but there was so much good stuff I couldn't help myself. (See, it's a short road to becoming a hoarder!) And since we both have Etsy stores and a booth at an antique store, we needed the merch.

Besides, with stuff like this- and you all know how hard it is to get good vintage clothing for a good price anymore- we were almost obligated to buy Mrs. T's old clothes!

Check out my part of the haul- MaryDeluxe got a bunch of great stuff too- 14 dresses from the 1930s-80s (mostly 50s), plus two skirts, a skirt/top set and a 2 piece playsuit set. And a beautiful Persian lamb coat with a mink collar- for $5. I think I spent about $175 on all of it. It's hard to tell from these pics, as I have them out on the clothesline, but the clothes are all in great shape- shocking, really, considering the condition of the rest of the place. If you see anything you like, email me ( for a pre-sale deal or just wait for them to appear in the shop.

I also scored some Pyrex in the box lots- a yellow and green primary mixing bowl, plus a pink fridgie- the black Rooster dish was a thrift find later the same day.

This is the rest of the stuff from my box lots- all freshly scrubbed! 

I have about half a set of Steubenville Fairlane (including the butter dish and some platters) there, some misc glassware and a bunch of chalkware Madonna and Child images. I got a MCM vinyl stool for $1 that also came with a gigantic vanity mirror. I don't know what I will do with that yet, but if anyone needs one...

There's still a whole box of bird figurines in the garage I have to go through, but there are some really neat pieces in there amongst all the junk. Some of it will be donated back to a local thrift store, but I will certainly make my money back- I don't think I spent more than $15 total on the box lots. (I spent the remainder of my $ on some items for my son's Lionel train set- another really good deal, as it has so far kept video games out of our house.)

So for my first auction, I think it was a great, if somewhat bizarre, experience. What goes around definitely does come around.


  1. Wow, that really goes with my post about stories attached to vintage you buy. You know exactly who owned your newly acquired items. Great post.

  2. That's a really great a weird and just a little bit creepy way. How does it feel to know that poor Mrs. T's experience with you warped her permanently? LOL

  3. Great post! Very strange that you ended up at her auction. Yes, a bit creepy, but you did amazingly well!

  4. What fun! Steubenville "Fairlane" are our 'everyday' dishes at the Casablanca! I think I have about 30 dinner plates (15 from Grandma Jordan's set and 15 from the Flea market) Apparently "Fairlane" is starting to get popular in these parts... I border line argued with an antique shop lady who had 3 plates and wanted $3 a plate (after I had JUST bought 15 plates for $3.00 at the flea market.) She tried to tell me that there was a diffrent set of cups that go to the set, and that i'd be foolish not to but her plates as that pattern "is very popular right now"...I ended up walking out of the shop because she was being rude. Oh well Looks like you bid/won on some fabulous stuff!

  5. I'm glad you had such a good time!!! Mrs. T had great clothes, I'm glad she at least took care of them. I'll keep my eyes peeled for more auctions.

  6. Looks like you got a good haul! I'm very impressed with the dress selection, and now I know where to look for all of this stuff :-)