Editor’s Note: This article from Antique Trader subscriber Sandy Erdman is a sample of the type of story submitted for the Favorite Finds contest. We are accepting submissions for the 7th Annual Favorite Finds contest through Sept. 30, 2015. Learn more about this contest >>>
By Sandy Erdman
Springtime is always the perfect time of the year when we start to get that cabin fever and start watching the papers for local garage and flea market sales. In our area, we have the 100-mile garage sales, in the Mississippi Valley area from Winona, Minnesota, up the Mississippi River over to Pepin, Wisconsin, and back down to Winona. Lots of wonderful treasures await folks if they have the time.
So with coffee in hand and my 88-year-old mother in the SUV, we headed out. Not knowing exactly
what everyone may have, I knew there is usually some really good deals on vintage tablecloths, napkins, tea cups, dishware and aprons that I like. I told my mother to keep her eyes open for some little garden items that she may like, too, and even yard furniture since they are hot items for the porch. So, she turns to me and says, “What porch? All I got is a so-called cement entry way.”
We stopped at pretty much every sale along our journey, including antique shops where prices were fairly good, but vary widely. But, good deals were soon to be had. The shops were full of pretty items, I loved the lacy cloths under the silver. And some items were very hard to walk by but my mother agreed that I have my share of dishes. What! This is what I am looking for and more…
I found a pair of watercolor artworks for less than $200 for both and they were huge. I came close but my practical mother says, “Where are you going to put them and for Pete’s sake, this is a garage sale.” The practical side won.
Still looking for my dishware, a precious set of children’s dishes was available for around $50 at this antique shop, but I was at a 100-mile garage sale looking for bargains. I didn’t buy it.
Heading back into Winona, we wandered over to the Salvation Army store, probably a mile away from my house. There they were: my dishes. I was so excited I couldn’t even find the price tag, and then there it was: $7.99 for all the pieces. What?! I picked them up and put them in the cart, and rolled around the store while my mother found a birdhouse and flower pots. As I walked around the store, some ladies came up to the cart and said how beautiful the pieces were. I knew then that I had to have them. I knew what I had and it felt like a sin, a steal, and I wasn’t going to tell a soul what these were really worth.
My steal was a set of 30 pieces of Liberty Blue that can sell for $325, and at replacements.com, I found at $406. Of course, they were antique and vintage pieces in good condition, not completely perfect because they are old and used. But the patina blue and the history of age is why I loved them. Of course, the bargain wasn’t bad either. They now sit proudly in my china cabinet and will come out just for an outside summer luncheons with my mother and friends.