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Hunt treasure in dumpsters, thrift stores
Wisconsin Dells Events ^ | 10-25-05 | Kay Lapp James

Posted on 10/25/2005 6:37:45 PM PDT by SJackson

Before I could write my column this week, I had to take an hour off to watch "Antiques Roadshow" on PBS, locally WHA. It feeds my fantasy of finding or buying an item and have it turn out to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The show always has a few people who either bought an item at a yard sale for a dollar or two or found it. For example, Monday's show featured a man who went dumpster diving and found a rare print by John Turnbull of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It was worth $700 to $800. That's not a bad find.

A woman on the show had something even more valuable: a Cartier cigarette case worth thousands. It had been given to her mother, who owned a restaurant. The mother took it from a hungry man in exchange for three breakfasts. The woman had kept it in a box under her bed along with other items her mother had taken in exchange for food when people couldn't pay for meals. When she got home, she planned to check through the box to see what else she could find. I certainly would and would seek a good appraiser too.

My favorite antiques story comes from the British edition of "Antiques Roadshow." A woman who was the supervisor for a dumpsite in Britain collected jewelry she found over the years in the garbage. Her collection was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it had come from garbage.

I'm left with the question of how it got in the garbage. Did someone cleaning house mistake real gems for fake ones and because she didn't like the style throw it in the garbage? Alternatively, did the piece fall into the garbage by mistake and was not missed for so long no one had any idea to where it disappeared? Or, maybe someone with a lot of money got mad at whomever gave her the jewelry and threw it away to flout him.

I think the show has spurred me to haunting thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales. I keep hoping that an item that catches my eye and is cheap will really be worth a fortune or at least much more than I paid. I don't know if this has ever happened, although I have bought plenty from such places. I never take any of my finds to antiques dealers or appraisers. I guess I am not optimistic enough that I will be that fortunate.

If I really wanted antiques, I should go to antique stores and shows. However, they scare me. I'm afraid my knowledge of antiques is too limited, and I would end up either paying more than something is worth, or I would buy a reproduction rather than a real antique.

I should go to some of the reputable dealers in the area, but I really don't have the money to buy antiques. My pocketbook squeezes me into the used market.

Anything we buy for our homes may someday become an antique -- provided not many people keep that particular style. For example, our parents and grandparents bought dinnerware in a style now known as Depression glass. It was cheap and colorful with many intricate patterns. You could buy it at the dime store in the 20s, 30s and 40s for next to nothing.

Many people probably donated it to thrift stores or sold it at yard sales when they got tired of it or their children didn't want it. Perhaps it even went out with the garbage, because nobody thought it was worth much.

Today, Depression glass is highly valued and collected by many people who will pay a hundred times what a piece sold for originally.

My plan is to find nice pieces of anything that might become an antique and hold on to them for years until they become valuable. Of course, I'm still limited by money and by space -- no house is ever big enough if you become a collector and you never have enough money.

If I could just find one item and take it to "Antiques Roadshow" maybe, I'd make some money. I believe my chances are probably as good as buying a lottery ticket and a lot more fun.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: antiques; collectibles; dumpsterdiving; hobby; lucky; shopping
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1 posted on 10/25/2005 6:37:46 PM PDT by SJackson
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To: ButThreeLeftsDo; Iowa Granny; Ladysmith; Diana in Wisconsin; JLO; sergeantdave; damncat; ...
If you'd like to be on or off this new (maybe) Upper Midwest (WI, IA, MN, MI, and anyone else) list, largely rural and outdoors issues, please FR mail me. And ping me is you see articles of interest.

A little off topic, I admit.

2 posted on 10/25/2005 6:38:16 PM PDT by SJackson (God isn`t dead. We just can`t talk to Him in the classroom anymore, R Reagan.)
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To: DumpsterDiver


3 posted on 10/25/2005 6:39:57 PM PDT by Bradís Gramma (FR1....Varoooooom, Varooooooom!!!)
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To: SJackson

If you find any Microsoft stock certificates issued around 1985, give me a call!

4 posted on 10/25/2005 6:45:05 PM PDT by operation clinton cleanup
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To: SJackson

I frequent the ebay vintage clothing board. There are many ladies who make a living from shopping in Salvation Army and Goodwill stores, yard sales and estate sales. They research the stuff and sell them on ebay.

The board is educational and explains different eras, patterns, etc. of vintage clothes.

There is one woman who sells 70's and 80's junk clothes, but has fantastic stylists and photos. She caters to teenyboppers with lots of cash. Mamastonevintage is the envy of ebay vintage sellers.

5 posted on 10/25/2005 7:07:15 PM PDT by japaneseghost
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To: japaneseghost
Oh, wow, you mean hip-hugger bell-bottoms and tube tops are coming back??????!!!! FAR OUT, MAN! My first girlfriend wore that stuff ... and ... uh ... FAR OUT, MAN!
6 posted on 10/25/2005 7:15:57 PM PDT by manwiththehands
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To: SJackson; Brad's Gramma; japaneseghost; DumpsterDiver; manwiththehands
The writer has a point ~ I know because back when I was selling on eBay it worked for me most of the time!

My two best finds included a bakelite bracelet I found at the local Goodwill Store which I bought for $1.00 which, when I put it on eBay, sold for over $300.00 and an old framed print by a famous artist I found in a small thrift store that I paid $25.00 for and sold on eBay for over $800.00!

7 posted on 10/25/2005 7:20:53 PM PDT by Zacs Mom (Proud wife of a Marine! ... and purveyor of "rampant, unedited dialogue")
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To: SJackson

The thing the person described is an actual job -- those people are called "pickers" in the antique business. They mostly have a fair knowledge of a lot of different fields, furniture, glass jewelry, and a good eye. They travel across country or regions snooping in garage sales and thrift stores for un-discovered gems. When they find one, they sell it to a dealer who then launches it into the antiques pipeline.

8 posted on 10/25/2005 7:21:02 PM PDT by durasell
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To: SJackson

Hasn't "Antiques Road Show" been busted for inflating values and trying to help hoodwink insurance companies?

9 posted on 10/25/2005 7:22:11 PM PDT by SeriousSassy (I know manure when I step in it!)
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To: Zacs Mom

I started with 'rescuing' pottery and glass...

now I seem to pick up 'everything'....sigh....

10 posted on 10/25/2005 7:27:50 PM PDT by bitt (THE PRESIDENT: "Ask the pollsters. My job is to lead and to solve problems. ")
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To: Zacs Mom; SJackson

I bought the Cosmopolitan edition of the first Male nude, Burt Reynolds, as I knew someday it would be worth alot. Unfortunately one of my kids got ahold of it and it disappeared. :-(

11 posted on 10/25/2005 7:33:05 PM PDT by Spunky ("Everyone has a freedom of choice, but not of consequences.")
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To: manwiththehands

Dang, you must be really old! :o)

12 posted on 10/25/2005 7:33:12 PM PDT by derllak
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To: SJackson
Please add me to your ping list. I was (time currently doesn't permit) an avid eBayer for a couple of years. And I do want to go back to it.

What you called Depression Glass I actually sold. Mine was actually sold as Westmoreland Glass (McKee, Jeanette, Westmoreland) companies that produced glass dishes and giftware in the early to mid 20th century. It was made in abudance locally...first rule of eBaying, sell something you can easily find yourself.

13 posted on 10/25/2005 7:35:16 PM PDT by PennsylvaniaMom (Shiny things distract me :))
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To: SeriousSassy

I thought it was undervaluing and buying the goods.

Maybe google will help us.

14 posted on 10/25/2005 7:36:25 PM PDT by razorback-bert
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To: SeriousSassy

One famous segment involved a rather nondescript sword brought onto the show in 1997. The owner claimed to have used it, in his youth, to slice watermelons. Appraiser George Juno excitedly declared the sword a remarkable Civil War find worth $35,000, and instructed the bewildered owner to handle it in the future only while wearing white gloves. This was classic “Roadshow” -- an unassuming piece of rust, brought in by an owner who figured “What the hell; guess I’ll see if this is worth anything,” turns out to be a portable Brinks truck.

Trouble is, that quintessential segment was faked. The Boston Herald recently investigated; turns out, the appraiser had orchestrated the entire appraisal. This wasn’t Joe Q. Public stumbling onto an attic goldmine; this was a scheme by a businessman to cook up some free publicity for himself.

15 posted on 10/25/2005 7:38:43 PM PDT by razorback-bert
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To: derllak

I'm not THAT old. Did you ever watch "That 70's Show"? :) I was one of the kids ... :o)

16 posted on 10/25/2005 7:40:10 PM PDT by manwiththehands
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To: SJackson

Found a metal tape measure "H.B. Maynard Co." with case all metal too. It's a hard-to-find item.

17 posted on 10/25/2005 7:41:42 PM PDT by MeneMeneTekelUpharsin (Freedom is the freedom to discipline yourself so others don't have to do it for you.)
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To: SeriousSassy

This is not the first time that ethics questions have dogged the pair. In June 1999 Pritchard and the AOPA were found liable in federal civil court of defrauding George Pickett V over artifacts of his ancestor, the famous general who made the futile charge at Gettysburg, artifacts that Pritchard purchased for $87,500 and were later sold for over $850,000.

18 posted on 10/25/2005 7:42:13 PM PDT by razorback-bert
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To: razorback-bert

Yes. Google records a number of problems with Antiques Roadshow. Which doesn't mean it's not fun to watch, hehe.

As a flea market vendor, I was shocked at the attitude of some other vendors who never missed ROADSHOW so they could exploit items evn remotely similar to anything on the show. Naive me!

19 posted on 10/25/2005 7:42:41 PM PDT by SeriousSassy (I know manure when I step in it!)
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To: SJackson; DumpsterDiver

Pinging ya DD...;-)

20 posted on 10/25/2005 7:46:11 PM PDT by azhenfud (He who always is looking up seldom finds others' lost change.)
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