APRIL'S-ATTIC-TREASURESI am the Thrift Store Queen in my small realm of the world and I am sure there are other Queens of the Treasure or Trash trade out in their own realms digging through dusty boxes that have been stored in attics, garages, or cellars for the past 40 or 50 years!!! I assume you are wearing your royal duds, as do I, when we pursue our treasure troving!! Here are a few tips of the thrift store, flea market, and garage sale business that I have literally "dug up" over the years.....
1). Research every collector's book, price guide, and website that you can get your hands on!!! It doesn't matter if you casually pick up a Roseville vase and think it is pretty, but not your style, and put it back on the shelf (even though it is marked $5.00), IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT ROSEVILLE MEANS TO THE SERIOUS COLLECTOR!! If I had a $1.00 for every piece of wonderful porcelain or pottery that I put back on that stinkin' shelf, I wouldn't have to be bothering myself with menial tasks such as making a living and get back to all my royal duties.
2). Carefully turn over everything and look for a mark!!! Nine times out of ten there will be a sticker that reads: Made In China, or Japan, or Timbuktu. However, that 10th time might produce a Royal Crown Derby cup and saucer or a 19th century perfume bottle with its original stopper. Yes, you will be looked over suspiciously by every other shopper and every single employee, but remind yourself that you are THE QUEEN and you are on a royal mission. Besides, I don't think I've ever met any one who saw me crawling on the floor to look in that last box of trinkets at any of my Official Royal Engagement Ceremonies or even at the local Wal-Mart, for that matter.
3). Check out the Condition!!! (i.e.) Does it have an enormous crack down the middle??!! You might very well be holding a Weller vase, but it will not bring you the fame and fortune you deserve unless it is in mint condition or pretty darn close. There are a lot of fancy words used to describe disfigured objects made of ceramic and porcelain, such as cracking, crazing, glaze-crackling and even flea-bitten, but I have decided to simplify all the mumbo-jumbo down to three little words: IS IT BROKE??!! And if it is, ask yourself how broke is it? Is it a rare mold from a company that went out of business in the early 20th century or is it simply a depression era vase that can be found in better condition at the thrift store down the street. Again, I stress to do your research BEFORE you go a'shoppin'.
4). List every detail in your item's description!! Including each tiny bite that flea took out of your antique vase. This will help you in two obvious ways: 1). You will attract buyers who appreciate the time and effort you put into describing each of your items, including any flaws and 2). You will actually begin learning what to look for when you are buying items for re-sale on your eBay site. Knowing what the true pristine condition and original look of your item is supposed to be comes easier when you know what the fake, reproduction, or homemade repair jobs look like.
And last but surely not least, 5). Try not to break your treasures on your return trip back to the palace!!! This has, fortunately, only happened to me once and it taught me a valuable lesson....Pick up the kids from school, buy the groceries, and retrieve the family dog from the vet, AFTER you have safely stowed your treasures away at home!!!
This Thrift Store Queen must be signing off for now, royal duties are pressing, or maybe I have several of my husband's dress shirts to press. Either way, I hope you find this article helpful and Happy Shopping!! Oh, and if you see me climbing on the top shelf of the local Goodwill store come on by and say "Hello", it may even be time for high tea!!