Tag Archives: antiques

Sensory overload and a naked man.

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We found a very, how shall I say? ….unique antique store last week.

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It was an old Victorian house with elaborate overgrown gardens and more stuff than I have ever seen crammed into one place at one time.

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Yes, even more than my husband has in our basement. And trust me, that’s saying something.

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It was a veritable jam packed maze with room after room of … stuff.

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Advertised as an antique store, it was also filled with arts, crafts and assorted holiday decorations.

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I’m hoping the hand was for Halloween.

I really am.

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We had a long conversation with the owner who astoundingly told us it only took him 10 years to fill the place. Honestly? It could take a person that long just to go through it.

He also reiterated what my husband heard at the flea market. No one is buying. Anything. Lots of dealers are calling it quits.

Proof positive there is such a thing as too much stuff.

We discovered he lives upstairs and he told us that area is just as heavily populated with his personal collections. The mind boggles.

As we were leaving my husband said that made sense because he thought he saw a naked man on the balcony when we walked in.

Whaaat!

How do you not lead with that observation?

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Antiquing… and lunatic asylum fencing.

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My vinyl collection is calling for a few more vintage whisky/beer crates so I twisted the husband’s arm and we spent a day antiquing. (You know that’s a lie. He was probably warming up the car while I was still in the shower)

On the way we had lunch at a little farm to table cafe housed in what used to be the Home for the Feeble Minded. It was uninspiring, so no photos. But the grounds at what is now Pinelands Farm are impressive.

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As is their endless mile of fencing.

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Our first stop was a store in a barn. And a beautiful barn it was.

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On the grounds of the owner’s home, it was a lovely place to shop.

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I like our man cave, but found myself knee deep in vintage barn envy at this two hundred year old gem.

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Two full floors of treasure but no wooden crates.

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I was tempted to come home with the Special Scintillator…

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If for no other reason than the name. But the husband vetoed that purchase.

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Onward…

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Flea market miracle – the results.

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My husband came home hot, tired and grumpy after his 14 hour long adventure at Todd’s Farm flea market in Massachusetts. (Why did he feel the need to travel two and half hours out of state to divest himself of treasure? Because we’d been there years ago and it was an impressive array of antiques with lots of wealthy buyers.) He had visions of selling everything for big bucks and coming home with an empty truck.

This did not happen, much to his… and most certainly my… chagrin.

From the start, the crowd was small. And those who were shopping didn’t seem to be buying.

Anything.

From anyone. The husband was set up next to a veteran antique dealer who agreed it was a horrible day. Interestingly enough, he also said it was a horrible week, month and year.

Wouldn’t you know it? Just when my crap collecting spouse finally decides to get rid of some crap… the crap market bottoms out. He spoke to a dozen dealers as well as a large cross section of pickers making the rounds and they all said the same thing. The secondary antique market in New England is sick, dying, and pretty much dead.

Don’t get me wrong, hubby managed to sell probably a quarter of what he took… but he didn’t get anywhere near the prices he asked, and was surprised that it was all the low end items that sold. The nice, unique pieces returned home with him.

As did the beast. That 200 lb monstrosity of a scale I had to help him move… again.

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And damn it, now it’s right alongside my car in the garage.

Husband was disappointed, but not quite ready to give up. He plans to try again at a flea market closer to home which is probably a good thing…. because since I refused to let all the crap back in the house, the table he set up to store it in front of the Harley is making parking in the garage a bit tight.

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He did surprise me with one item though.

The wicker love seat his sister left in our barn 12 years ago. She didn’t want it and told him to get rid of it over a decade ago.

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He finally did.

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Shopping for a gift in the basement.

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We love our local. It’s not a fancy place just a small rustic pub where, like Cheers… everyone really does know your name. The business is owned by two men… one cook, one bartender and I’m sure it would come as no surprise to either that their decor leaves a bit to be desired. The building is old, built at the turn of the century and the pub room is entirely wood. The few decorative items displayed are vintage Maine… an old sled, some snowshoes etc. A year ago I framed a collection of antique postcards of the town as a gift. Since then my husband has been sputtering about donating something as well. So…

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We went shopping. In the basement. I avoid this part of our house like the plague due to the mess, the clutter and the absolute lack of organization. Truth be told I start twitching after even limited exposure… but I endured, for the pub’s sake.

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The husband was all for giving them random junk but I said no. It had to be something Maine… or at least bar related.

This is what I chose:

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A nice pair of vintage wooden skis.

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And an antique wooden whisky crate. Perfect… right?

Wrong.

As I was cleaning the cobwebs and wiping off years of accumulated dust, the husband looked up the items online. Wooden skis in good shape can fetch a premium price in Maine as summer people like to decorate their vacation homes and cabins, so when he found a similar pair listed for $550? He changed his mind about letting them go. The crate? $55-70 … so it went in his I may sell this at a flea market pile.

Sorry local pub, no gifts for you today.

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It’s really happening!

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The miracle I’ve dreamed of for nigh on two decades has finally happened. My husband, crap hoarder extraordinaire…is going to sell some of his junk treasure at a flea market.

Be still my heart.

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Pieces were chosen, collected and researched for current market value.

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Okay, that last part was all me. But I hope to recoup some of the tens of thousands of dollars he’s probably spent on this stuff over the years and don’t trust him not to give it away.

John Maddock English chamber pot circa 1870? Lidless, but still deserving of a $70 price tag. Hey, if nothing else… it will make a great planter.

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And I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see the last of this beast.

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Circa 1903, it weighs an utter ton and yours truly has dragged it from the truck to the cellar to the garage to the second floor of the barn and back down to the truck…. hopefully for the last time.

Yay!

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Old doorknob, hammered aluminum tray and non working Xmas lights from the 50’s?

Bye bye!

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A truck packed with things I hope to never see again is a beautiful sight.

But I almost forgot the best part!!!

I didn’t have to get up at 1:00am, to leave at 2:00am, to drive two and a half hours out of state to help him unpack, set up, sit in the baking sun and heat for 8 hours, pack up whatever he didn’t sell and drive two and a half hours back home. I didn’t! Because he had a friend who actually wanted to.

Life is good my friends. Very, very good.

Of course I’m a supportive wife and filled a cooler full of sandwiches, fruit, cold drinks…

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And a big bowl of freshly made broccoli salad.

It’s got a pound of bacon in it… what’s not to love?

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Ka-Ching!

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The husband and I were on our way home from the grocery store the other day when he spotted an antique store he’d never been in. I wondered how that was even possible, but hey… it happens.

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When we walked in, I turned right and he turned left. It wasn’t long before I heard him haggling with the owner so I hightailed it over before things got serious.

Old cash registers. Fancy ones I grant you….

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But with a price tag of $2,500? I gave the husband the evil eye.

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And with a $4,500 price tag on this one?

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I was positively pulling him out of the store.

It was fabulous. But not that fabulous.

😳

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Because when it’s my husband’s birthday…

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You know there’s only one answer to the question, “ what do you want to do to celebrate?”

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Antiquing of course.

This time around it was the semi famous, at least in Maine… Elmers Barn. A ramshackle place that looks small from the front but feels like it’s 10 football fields deep once you’re inside.

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In other words, husband heaven.

And because technically it was a barn at one time….

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This lovely fellow greeted us upon arrival.

My husband turned 75 that day and to be honest, for the last few years he’s been feeling his age. The combination of a global plague, retirement, health issues, multiple deaths of friends and family, and the general weariness of aches and pains that are more prevalent when you spend considerable time on this side of the dirt have finally caught up to him. This winter the twinkle in his eye has faded and there’s not much spring in his step. Once the weather turns and he’s able to soak up some sun and fresh air I’m sure he’ll perk back up… but for now all I could offer was a day sifting and sorting through piles of useless crap untold treasure and a promise he could buy whatever he wanted without nary an eye roll from me.

Oh, the sacrifices I make for love.

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This was one of the first things we saw when we walked in and I fervently hoped he wouldn’t want to buy it. Dolls in general creep me out, but dolls with dead eyes who look ready to consume your soul in one easy gulp?

No. Thank. You.

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Needless to say we spent hours in this store and saw our share of strange things. Vintage snow sled with training wheels?

Check!

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Taxidermy with stylish chapeaux?

Check!

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I lost the husband in the aptly named ‘tool room’ for a long period of time, but surprisingly after spending half the day in a creaky old barn that promised 3 floors of odd and unusual…. there were very few items that could be described as either. Quite disappointing, that.

And though I fully expected to strain my eyes in a valiant attempt to stop them rolling… my beloved only made one small five dollar purchase that day.

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An antique wooden tap for the man cave.

Color me surprised.

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The treasure, or useless crap depending on your point of view.

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After a verrrrry long day at the antique mall from Hell my husband came home with relatively little in the way of treasure.

I was all for buying an antique wall phone to hang in the man cave and a vintage steamer trunk to use as a coffee table, but no. He wanted none of that.

His final purchases?

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An old wooden egg crate. Do we have egg laying chickens? No.

Moving on…

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The seven pieces of ephemera it took him two and a half hours to find.

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Did we need this classically decorated snake oil salesman’s card that claims to cure cholera?

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I think not, but we own it anyway.

Since my barn phone and steamer trunk were vetoed, I only came home with a handful of vinyl.

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Though one of my selections has a specific purpose.

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My husband went to Woodstock. The largest, greatest rock and roll event in history… he was there on day one.

For about half an hour. He walked around, didn’t like what he saw, and left. (If I had known this before we got married, it would have been a deal breaker.)

So because he turned his back on that once in a lifetime experience …. and kept me in that often cold and dark chicken barn antique mall all damned day…. I bought the original Woodstock album and will force him to listen to it. Over and over again, while I slaughter him in Scrabble.

It only seems fair.

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Antique store oddities part two.

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Onward… through the never ending stalls of useless crap timeless treasure we went.

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Box of 1950’s risqué playing cards?

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Check! There were two.

Vintage hi fi speakers?

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Check! Two as well.

Absurd 6 legged patriotic corner table?

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Yup. That was there as well.

Because I don’t spend nearly as much time examining the junk unique items on sale as the husband, I’m always far ahead of him in the store. So when I see an area I think might be trouble?

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Like an entire room of rust…

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I try to steer him clear. But this time he surprised me and passed by the tool stall of horrors with nary a glance. We were halfway through the store by this time and I was lulled into a false sense of security that we would exit before dark.

And then….

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He found a pile. Actually he found pile upon piles of ephemera. For the uninitiated pickers among us, an explanation.

Ephemera –
items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones, that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity.

There were boxes stacked on boxes, files stuffed in drawers and a floor to ceiling shelf full of ABSOLUTELY nothing worth a damn. But this didn’t deter my husband, oh no. The more he looked and found nothing? The more he was sure there was something. He just knew an undiscovered copy of the constitution or Abraham Lincoln’s handwritten will was waiting to be unearthed .

I walked the entire mall three times, sat down and blogged for half an hour, chatted with other customers and read two old Life magazines. He still wasn’t done.

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I found old shoes that made my bunion hurt just looking at them.

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And World War II German mountain trooper boots I wouldn’t want to hike the Alps in…. but still, the husband wasn’t through.

After 2 hours and 38 minutes…. ( That’s how long he stood there sorting and sifting through stinky brittle old scraps of paper. Yes. I timed it. ) I pulled him away and gave him an ultimatum. He could finish browsing the store before it closed or I was taking the car and leaving him there.

Since it was a 65 mile walk home? He deserted his giant pile of vintage grocery store lists and life insurance policies and resumed browsing.

To be continued….

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The wall of death and other antique store oddities.

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In an effort to amuse my recently retired husband, I took him to the largest antique in Maine. Five full floors of crap no one needs treasure housed in an old chicken barn. Okay, there was no heat in parts of it and the lights went out twice… but my spouse will tell you that’s part of the charm.

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To say this place went on forever was an understatement. Knowing I was going to lose the spouse over the course of the afternoon I made sure he had his cell phone fully charged and within reach. Many a “I’m standing in front of the walrus tusk, next to the embalmer’s table” calls were made that day.

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When you antique shop with my husband? It’s an all day affair. Each and every ludicrous piece of crap treasure must be thoroughly examined.

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And I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say this is where ugly lamps go to die.

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Good grief. That one looks like it has a tumor.

And since this is a northern Maine antique mall?

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There was the required Wall of Death.

Not being a hunter, these displays always make me cringe. Mounting trophy heads is barbaric as far as I’m concerned. I’m sure this poor fellow agrees…

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Taxidermy.

When it goes wrong? It goes really wrong.

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The juxtaposition of this World War II gas mask with the jauntily hatted little cherub defies rational explanation, but proves you never know what will be around the next corner.

To be continued….

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