The Vintage Etsy Society team members have the best vintage shops on Etsy! We share our passion for vintage, and enjoying sharing stories of our favorite vintage finds. Here are our stories about our favorite yard sale treasure.
Sometimes, great buys are serendipitous. When that happens – it’s the best!
One day a couple of years ago, I was on my way home from somewhere and saw a Garage Sale Today sign and turned in, even though I knew I needed to shove on to cook dinner. Driving up to the sale and walking up the driveway, I eyed a box with a bit of what looked like pink feathers. Always curious (and aren’t we all who do this kind of thing), I went straight to it and found what I thought was a Barbie doll. Not so! There she was – in full evening lounging dress, complete with a sweet, pink boa. When something catches my eye, I usually buy it and worry about what it is later. I paid $15.00 for her and thought to myself, “You’re nuts!” Turns out I wasn’t. Upon closer examination, I realized she is a composite doll and has “France” embossed on her back. Whoa!
After doing my usual online research and checking with a good pal who deals in dolls, I found out she is from France and was probably used as a 1920s advertising display. Makes sense, because she is perched on a platform. So, I listed her for sale and renewed, renewed, renewed the listing. Last week she sold, and I have to say I am more than sorry she’s gone, but she brought a nice $220. Not a bad profit, yes?
TIP: Always search for the unique item and go with your gut. If you love it, someone else will, too. It may take a while, but it’s all part of the game.
Living in a rural area, I don’t get to shop many yard or garage sales – homes are just too many miles apart and there aren’t many of these kinds of sales in our area because of this. But, one day my youngest son and I were on our way home from a flea market. We saw a garage sale sign and made the quick right turn into the driveway. I’m SO glad we did!
I started talking to the guy who was running the sale and was commenting on the things I was excited to have found (for our shop). I had a pile of things that I kept adding to, and since we were the only ones there shopping, we kept talking to the guy. Once I finished adding to my pile and was about to pay for my bounty, the guy said jokingly that he had a couch inside the house he was selling and a large chalkboard in the basement if I was interested in them, too. The couch, no. But the chalkboard! Oh yeah baby! I LOVE real slate chalkboards! I asked if we could see the chalkboard, hoping it wasn’t just a painted wood board, but instead the “real deal” and he sent his son into the house with us. That chalkboard was HEAVY and huge! And I wasn’t going to leave there without it! We had to get another of the guys sons to help my son and I carry that slate chalkboard out of the basement and then I had to figure out a way to get it into my truck (remember, we were on our way home from a flea market – so the truck was already quite full). I paid just $10 for that chalkboard (that is a steal!) and it now sits in our great room where we change the message on it every season. Maybe some day we’ll actually hang it on the wall, but for now, I like it propped against the wall just like it is.
TIP: When shopping yard sales, ALWAYS ask the seller if they have something you might be looking for – you never know what might be hiding in their basement! For more tips, I wrote an article on my blog called “10 Tips for Shopping Yard Sales” – hope you find it helpful!
This cute fountain was not, strictly speaking, a yard sale find – it was a trash find.
Before moving to TN, I lived in a city and would go out each night and search the neighbors’ trash piles. I found many items which I’ve since sold, particularly picket fence sections, but this fountain stayed with me.
My husband and I put it in the van, brought it home, and cleaned it up. It had been used as a planter. He used the air compressor to blow off the peeling paint (pink) and painted the bowl green to coordinate with our new house.
This find was one of my first in the mid ’80s just after I got married.
I have found many things that I treasure a lot over the years but this item has followed me to a few houses and has served many purposes – umbrella stand, plant stand and currently holds speakers. I’m not sure what it’s original purpose was but it was sold off by an artist who was moving and couldn’t take all of his heavy “art” with him. I paid $5! Is it worth a lot more than that now? Probably not to anyone but me!
Our favorite yard sale finds took place in the same city in Brittany France, where multiple individuals were selling all along the street. We had been amazed while discovering all these treasures. (Just some treasures are shown on picture).
Our tips about shopping garage / yard sales: First, get up early in the morning to meet vendors, drink a coffee or two with them (I always bring my thermos flask). Get to know and listen to vendors histories, we have so much to learn from… some histories are so touching moments sometimes…and personnaly I can’t even think to negotiate price of objects. But Hubby can! Anyway, he is the main picker and his face looks like a nice “teddy bear”! that may Help I guess 😉
Ok… Enjoy your day!
My husband and I stumbled across this mirror at a yard sale in a teeny town in South Dakota in the late ‘70’s. The local antique dealer had hidden it under a pile of linens for us so that we could have the first chance at it. He knew the owner had acquired it in the ‘20’s but said he couldn’t sell it in his shop because of the figures that were wood burned on it.
My husband, who was an American History teacher, assured him we appreciated the original meaning of the swastika symbol (good luck, well-being or prosperity based on the country or culture using it) and we happily added it to our own collection, where it remains to this day.
TIP: Cultivate the local dealers in an area where there are lots of yard or estate sales. Let them act as your advance scouts. You never know when it will pay off.
My favorite thing ever to find at yard sales would be old quilts. Oh the stories they could tell. I love the softness of the frayed edges and the muted colors of feed sacks that were once used to make clothing for children and when they wore out the clothes, the fabric would then be used for making quilts.
These photos are from Pinterest but it is my desire to display the quilts I have tucked away in this manner. As a matter of fact, I have one of these barrister bookcases in my office and thanks to this team blog idea, I now know why I bought it at a garage sale too!! Funny how that works!
We were seeking a Grandfather Clock to add to our clock collection, and had lost a few at auctions to higher bidders. This clock was sitting in the driveway when I pulled up. Oh my!
I inspected it, not knowing much about them and immediately called my husband. It was missing a weight, which my husband knew he could order. We purchased the clock for a song, ordered the weight and it has worked perfect for the last 5 years. We couldn’t be more pleased.