Friday, June 21, 2013

Fire King Finds

As many of you know, I am really into collecting Pyrex these days. But you may not know that I love other types of milk glass as well, especially Fire King. I've actually been collecting Fire King longer than Pyrex, and while Pyrex has taken off in the collecting world of late, Fire King has been more of a steady presence. I don't know exactly why; perhaps it's because Fire King made more "sets" of dishes and items in the same pattern. It encourages those of us who like it to seek out all the pieces of a particular line, rather than to just acquire different patterns of the same item (Pyrex mixing bowls).

And while the mania for Pyrex has resulted in scarcity and high prices in the thrifts, lately I've been able to find some nice Fire King pieces. But, like my Pyrex hoard, I have to limit myself to only certain patterns and items, or I will never have room for it all. Mainly, I collect the hand painted "Peach Blossom" line (pink flowers), jadeite, the Kimberly line (diamond-textured and ombre-colored) and any and all mugs I can find.

The bowls on the left are plain red and the bowl and mug on the right are Kimberly. I happened on a yard sale the other week while I was out on a run and saw the Kimberly bowl. I never ran so fast back home to get my money! The yellow and green mug I have had for a while. I would love to have more, but I am not about to pay online prices for them, so will have to wait for the odd yard sale bargain.

Speaking of mugs, I found these awesome gas station promo mugs. I think it was Amoco that advertised a "tiger in your tank"? Anyway, they are my new favorite coffee mugs, and were only 50 cents each.

I have found a lot of Fire King at rummage sales- something about it must have appealed to church ladies. I found this Wheat pattern tea set recently- 8 saucers, 7 cups (whoops- will have to find a replacement sometime!) two condiment bowls and a cream and sugar set for $4. I have a soft spot for this pattern, because I inherited a matching casserole from my grandmother, but I don't think I have space to keep it. It may go over to my booth... or it may not... ;)

This bowl was hard to photograph, but it is molded in a basketweave pattern. I understand that these were included with a certain brand of cottage cheese as a grocery store giveaway. It was only 25 cents!

This is probably one of my better recent rummage sale finds. This is another one of Fire King's hand painted lines (called "Gay Fad", after the name of the art studio that did the painting) which feature painted fruit. I have found that there are different combinations of fruit out there and these happen to be peach and grapes. Some others have pears and cherries, and oranges and lemons. 

Those of you who collect Pyrex will be interested to know that Fire King also produced refrigerator dishes and made some really neat ones. The peach blossom set that I currently covet is actually two small round dishes on top of a larger oval. These are more traditionally shaped. 

I found the large dish with lid ($2!) on one table and then spied the two smaller dishes way across the room (50 cents each). I turned the place upside down but could not find the lids. Oh well, the hunt goes on!

Friday, June 7, 2013

What I'm Buying Now (more Secrets of the Hunt!)

Hi Gang- it's been a while, I know. With the school year winding down things have been kind of hectic, so this post has been a long time coming. I have tried to get together most of my recent finds and post about them, just so you know I'm still here! ;)

I'm sure I don't have to tell most of you that buying vintage is a game that is constantly changing. I won't chime in with the general consensus and cry about "how hard 'vintage' is to find in a thrift store anymore." Truth is, I feel like if you really know what you're doing, you can walk into any thrift and 95% of the time, find something worth buying. That said, what we consider to be "good" merchandise needs to constantly adapt to the trends. 

I have been buying vintage clothing for over 15 years and yes, at one time it was easier to find early stuff (1950s and before) and it was cheaper. But as a reseller, my market has changed as well, and there is more of a market for 1960s-80s vintage. And the prices for the earlier stuff have gone through the roof, so even if it is more expensive to buy, it is even more profitable to sell.

I do find early vintage on occaission. In the last few months I have found at least 3 nice 1930s/1940s dresses, but only because I took the time to look through the whole store. This little black number is a perfect example. The store employees had put it in with the regular merchandise (not in the special "vintage" section- and almost all the stores I go to have these sections anymore). Since it is black, it is a classic style and difficult to date unless you can spot the cold rayon and flip the hem over and look at the construction. That beautiful taped seam was a dead give-away for an early 1940s date. I paid $6.50 for it and originally planned to resell it, but, lucky me, it fits me perfectly, so it's a keeper for now!

So, the early stuff is out there, just sometimes hidden in plain sight. But this next dress is an example of the type of things I buy now, and things that also sell well. It's an amazing 60s/70s maxi dress. Dig that amazing print! And the faux wrap style! (What I don't dig is the reek of smoke attached to it- it's now at the cleaners- someone must have partied hard in this one.) So when I set the price for this one I need to take into account what I paid, plus the drycleaning bill, which means I'm already into this for close to $20. But I think it's an amazing dress and I'm sure someone else will think so too.

Pair that with the bowling bag purse I have at the top and you'd have yourself a pretty sweet psychedelic outfit. That bag is something that a lot of people would pass up, especially because it wasn't cheap (in thrift store world) at $8. But I know I can triple my money on that or better, so long as it's in great condition (which it is, thankfully). 

And condition is key. I have a hard time passing things up that are really cool, even if the condition isn't great. But I'm finding out that if I have to put a disclaimer in the listing (like "small hole" or "discolored spot") that item won't sell unless the price is really good. So it's probably not worth my time, and I need to walk away. (But it's still so hard, and I'm not always successful- more on that in a moment!)

I liked these two prints, and any time you find things in pairs (like art or lamps), that's a good thing. They're "big eye" prints from the 1960s which have that really kawaii look. They're fairly large (about 24" tall) so may go to my booth instead of the Etsy shop. But they'd probably sell better on Etsy...

I've been buying lots of planters lately- they're so useful. This fat lava flower pot is not marked, but I'm almost certain that it is German. I love German ceramics, so this is for my personal collection. I also am a sucker for orange, so it was a no-brainer at $3.50.

And you knew I couldn't do a post without Pyrex, now could you? The two Autumn Harvest bowls (402 and 403) on the left are my first of that pattern and it's one I have always liked. They're not mint condition, but are pretty good (not DWD!) and for $7.50 for both, not a bad deal. I will put them away for now and bring them out come fall.

The Spring Blossom 402 on the right is one of those "condition is everything" mistakes. Although, it's hard for me to call it a "mistake" because it is Pyrex, and a mixing bowl which I will use... Anyway, it was cheap (like $2) but really dirty. I knew I could get the dirt off, but it has been through the dishwasher and has a big chip on the bottom which I didn't see until I got it home. Oh well, I definitely can't resell it, but I can use it. Funny how almost all of the daily use Pyrex I have is Spring Blossom, a pattern which I don't "collect" but seem to buy with regularity. Oh well, it's still better than regular glass and way more fun!