It isn't just the discovery of a great thrifted find that makes me love what I do but it's also the research behind every item. My childhood friend Ginger and I used to be private detectives. Anything just a tiny bit odd became a mystery for us to solve. Trixie of course was my greatest inspiration for mystery but early on I found that I had a skill for finding things. If my dad lost something he'd describe the item and have me go look for it. Nine times out of ten I brought the item to him. I loved finding what was lost, spotting what was missing and looking for clues for the tiny mysteries of life. Thrifting is very similar. As sappy as it sounds sometimes I feel like a thrift sleuth or a thrift detective. Sure you can find something amazing at a garage sale or thrift store but until you discover the story behind it you might as well just have a simple figurine that you purchased for $30 and not the Meissen Figurine that you could sell for $600.
My mother is too sick to fly but very much wants to see my brother and family who have recently moved to Virginia. They were planning to take a camper there but again she was just too sick. Their latest thought is taking the train across the states. They need a private car with a restroom. I've decided to start a travel fund for them by selling items that they don't want any more.
I learned everything of course from my parents. They are the thrifters that influenced me by taking me to thrift stores, hitting garage sales and appreciating antiques. Their house is filled with old items that my parents purchased for next to nothing. My dad and I went around the house this week while my mother slept and we'd fill a box with items I could possibly sell. Later in the afternoon I'd sit down with my laptop and research the items. I'd share what I found on each item with my parents and the approximate value. They would decide if I should take the item home with me to sell. My dad started to looking forward to this every day.
With some of the items, I just couldn't uncover the mystery. This is a bronze combination lock. Somehow my dad still has the original combination to it. Apparently this has been in my family for over a 100 years. It doesn't have any markings but it is very unique which I hope might attract lock collectors.
This is a belt buckle marked Holt Newman. It's also marked Sterling and 10K gold. I didn't find much on this artist but the precious metals alone should be enough to sell the belt. Does anyone know much about Holt Newman?
My dad is hoping that this is valuable. I didn't find much information on it but I knew going in that it was quite rare. My father spoke to someone in a museum of trains (possibly this one) and the curator told him that he had only ever seen just one of these before. It's a brochure for the Overland Limited that was only left in the train cars of very important people such as a VIP politician.
It's a stunning book full of photographs and text about the train ride on the Union Pacific Railroad. I could only had time to barely begin to research most of these items so I still have quite a bit of work to do when I return home.
It was such an honor that my father wanted me to research these items for him. I actually found more information on the items not pictures but they mostly had a value between $10-$50. I'm hoping that these items above will turn out to be valuable for him so that they can take their train ride to Virginia.
As friends and family discover that you are a thrifter either hobby or professional, you'll find people asking you more and more questions about the value of items. Some will ask if you will sell something for them. Others simply have a curiosity about an item. Some will drop boxes off at your house and tell you to do whatever you want with them.
We leave Aberdeen and head to Bainbridge Island tonight. We shall do some errands, visit friends and camp for a night before leaving the state tomorrow. I'm going to thrift on the island for a couple hours first thing tomorrow morning to see my old "dealer" friends before hitting the road toward home.