This appears to be a wall panel that was cut into 2″ X 3 1/2″ rectangles and then pieced back together inside a frame.  The whole thing weighs about 12 pounds and has the look of something looted from a temple.  However, is it real?  I’m having a hard time determining that because some of the cut marks don’t look like they go all the way through and makes me think they were just put there for the appearance.  On the other hand, there could well be a real seam and the tiles fitted together so well the seams cannot be seen, only the surface cuts.  It’s a lovely piece just the same and for the price I got it, I may at least break even on the re-sale or make a little profit.  Here is the centerpiece Buddha.

There is no question that this Mayan mask is real.  It’s very heavy and the stone clearly shows wear that can only be natural.  I had sold this on eBay but probably would’ve been better off taking it to a museum.

So, is it legal?  As long as the items you buy in the U.S. and resell in the U.S. including ivory, you should be alright.  It seems confusing but this article in the National Geographic explained how that works.  I don’t like to feel I’m supporting looters in the antiques trade but they are hard to avoid and much is unknown after the item’s been sold to a collector put on the market.  However, it goes to show they are out there and we shouldn’t be afraid to take something to a museum even without proof of where it was purchased.  Hanging onto receipts helps, though yard sales don’t provide receipts,  estate sales do. Photos help and a passport can provide a record of your travels.  Estate sales agents don’t always have the answers or know if something is real or fake or looted.  Most of them are very good, but as with all of us, knowledge comes with experience,  lots of reading and research.  There’s no real school for this, it’s a self taught degree.  A course in art history wouldn’t hurt.


IMG_0415.jpgYard sale season has begun and the finds are endless!  Today is the beginning with the Apple Valley sales and next week is the most popular Bryn Mawr sales.  Food trucks, canoe raffle, nearby coffee shops with bathrooms and all!  The calendars are still incomplete but here’s a list I’ve started: May 6- Bryn Mawr, Tangle Town, Summit Hill; May 12/13 Plymouth Ferndale North, Harrison Hills; May 20-Little Canada, Burnsville, Linden Hills, Como Park. Carag, E. Harriet, Kingfield, Seward; June 3-Armatage, Andover.IMG_0090.jpgThat curious word “regionality”  means just what it sounds like.  I thought I was the one who made it up but when I checked online I found that it is a new word and somebody else had beat me to it.   Every region has it’s own personality and tastes but with the chain store/franchise boom, now globalization and the movement of people these tastes may shift somewhat.  However, every region still preserves something, we have out beaches, forests, lakes, rivers, prairies, mountains, and always the weather that define every region unique.  People dress themselves to adapt to these various regions and things they collect over time and use to decorate their homes also reflect the region they live in.  A great way to learn the personality of a city is to explore the gardens people create on their front and back yards or even on their windowsills.  There’s no better opportunity to explore these gardens than going to an annual neighborhood yard sale.

The New Year is a Rooster

I am on hand to herald in the day, and to announce its exit. I thrive by clockwork and precision. In my unending quest for perfection all things will be restored to their rightful place. This littl…

Source: The New Year is a Rooster

The New Year is a Rooster


I am on hand to herald in the day,

and to announce its exit.

I thrive by clockwork and precision.

In my unending quest for perfection

all things will be restored to their rightful place.


This little ceramic holder and measuring spoon set could once be found in a Dime Store.  My mother remembers the Dime Stores well, and I do too.  There was one in Dinkytown where I grew up. Items of all sorts of convenience and household decoration could be found and very low prices.  Today we have the Dollar Store.  Dime Store items can still be found at a sale, though very few people probably remember the Dime Stores of yesteryear.


Don’t let this image scare you.  Kovels’ listed 8 types of collectors in the February issue of their newsletter:

Memorabilia collectors usually want things they remember from their childhood years.

“Squirrels” describe the people who search for the best sources and buy a variety of stuff for later.  They may become serious collectors and maybe eventually later they become dealers and prune their collections.

“In the genes” are the collectors who buy for special collections for display and usually inherit their collecting habits from their parents or other family members.

“Historians”  stay focused on time and period

Decorators style their homes from magazines and the homes of famous people.  They search for less expensive look a-likes or the real thing when they’re lucky.

“Social Climbers”  search for family heirlooms.

The secretive collector looks for ways to hide money from tax collectors and ex-spouses by investing in antiques and such that can be sold later.

Then then there’s the unfortunate hoarder who just can’t part with anything.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about hoarders lately because I have thoughts of going into the business of cleaning out houses.  It can be extremely expensive to clean out a hoarder house and often the workers wear hazmat suits to do so when there’s one that is really messy.  I used to believe that to deal with a hoarder is to get them out of the house for a period of time while a crew went in to clean it out.  I’ve learned that can be the worst thing to do to a hoarder.  They are very attached to their stuff and just taking it away like that would be like ripping their  hearts out.  It’s very delicate work and takes a long time.  If done the way I used to believe, the hoarder just hoards all over again.

The Collyer brothers of New York were the first to be acknowledged as hoarders.  They were wealthy lawyers and lived in the Bronx family mansion during the 1940’s.  Andy Warhol was known to be a hoarder and Sothby’s auction house made millions on his collections.  A film was made of Jackie Kennedy’s cousins. “Grey Gardens”  who lived in a mansion in the elite East Hampton and were eventually raided by the health department.  These three famous hoarders were all from wealthy families.

Another myth about hoarders is that they came from survivors of the Great Depression and learned to save everything.  Again not true.  Hoarders are often from the wealthy and have somehow become disconnected with people and became connected to things.  Out of the 3 hoarders mentioned above, Andy’s collections was the only one that profited.  I used to believe that people kept all that stuff because they thought they had a gold mine in their homes but after the tens of thousands of dollars it takes to clean out a hoarder house there really is no profit.  About $2000 worth of stuff that could be sold was found in the Collyer brother’s home.

So, if you have any fears of becoming a hoarder maybe you’re not  beyond a bit of self-help.  It’s good to enjoy what life offers while still alive and that includes collections as well as just having nice things you like.  However, sometimes it’s good to prune your attachments and pass them onto another custodian to enjoy.  Lately I have sold a number of my favorite things with that thought in mind and have gained a bit of money to buy more.  The World Wide Web offers lots of opportunities to become hobby buyers and sellers so the joy of going to Estate Sales and Yard Sales can continue well throughout our lives.



Dreams left behind in Boxes

As the sun begins to set on our lives . . . “In a melody that rings Like the tunes we used to play, And our dreams are playing yet!” One of the most common items found in Estate Sales a…

Source: Dreams left behind in Boxes

Dreams left behind in Boxes

IMG_0099.jpgAs the sun begins to set on our lives . . .

“In a melody that rings

Like the tunes we used to play,

And our dreams are playing yet!”

One of the most common items found in Estate Sales are lovely things that have never been used and are still in the boxes they were bought in.  They are things the living don’t have the heart to part with or may have forgotten in a back closet as part of a dream that never quite made it off the back burner.

More common are the ‘good’ sets of silverware or china, reserved for company that rarely if ever arrives.  Those sets are usually found in their original boxes put away for the day they can be proudly displayed.

IMG_0241.jpgWhatever happened to those dreams of the person who made all those purchases and never quite fulfilled them in their lifetime will never be known, but new dreams are now being passed on to the living through the estate sale and repurposed by the ones who buy them at discount.  The items of these dreams may go into a collection and preserved for future generations to gaze at or worn and used by their new owners.

IMG_0576.jpg I too am guilty of boxed dreams and sometimes I find I need to downsize them.  I donated many new items I had bought over time at the sales and packed away in my own closet and gifted more to people I know will use them and appreciate them.  That may not be the reason I bought them at the time but it was still a success.  Everything and everybody has their destiny.

In the end, it’s the joy of living that counted.


A Passing Hail Let us rest ourselves a bit! Worry? -wave your hand to it- Kiss your finger-tips, and smile It farewell a little while Weary of the weary way We  have come from Yesterday, Let us fre…



A Passing Hail

Let us rest ourselves a bit!

Worry? -wave your hand to it-

Kiss your finger-tips, and smile

It farewell a little while

Weary of the weary way

We  have come from Yesterday,

Let us fret us not, instead,

Of the weary way ahead.

(Riley Songs O’Cheer)


It is always a good time to start searching and collecting gold.  Today treasure hunters move through estate sales, yard sales, flea markets, thrift shops, and anything and everything of the sort.  Laws have made the old fashioned digging for treasure hunts nearly obsolete, legally.  Diving to wrecks under the sea also has it’s legal limits and often prohibitive costs.  However, what you find in an old house is not limited.  Salvagers have become the new treasure hunters of the day, people who clean out homes for the banks and real estate companies and even estate sale agents who clean and organize the sales.  Treasure hunting has always been hard work and requires extensive travel.  However, the easiest way is to treasure hunt and still enjoy the comforts of home is to cruise the sales.


It can sometimes be work but it’s also fun to go out poking though a sale.  I quite enjoy walking though the mansions and beautiful homes of our grand country looking for a treasure I can use in my own home and sell for a few bucks more in eBay.  Of course, knowing you stuff is very helpful but if you don’t know your stuff you learn along the way.  Everybody has their trials and errors.  Cruising the sales are usually the least expensive way to learn your lessons and with everything on the internet these days and mobile technology, many mistakes can be avoided.  If you get fooled anyway, well, look at it this way, “You Win Some, You Lose Some.”


Don’t let what you think is a bad sale put you off.  Agents are all different, some set their prices too high, and some price it to go.  People don’t always know if what they have is real or paste or what the price should be. Agents are not  experts in everything and if one doesn’t want to talk to you when you do know something and flat out refuse to come down in price, don’t fret, just walk away.  From their point of view they think you’re just trying to low-ball them.  They get people everyday trying to squeeze a deal and who’ll tell them anything to get it. You can always make an offer and if they still say no, you can come back at the end of the day to ask one more time. Remember though, there is always another day and another sale.  S0,dig through those piles of jewelry in clumps on the tables, you never know what has been passed up as junk.  And most of all, don’t give up because sometimes if it is too good to be true, look again, it just might be!


9465378.jpgThis chair is probably more comfortable than it’s original, probably cane, seat and back.  The repair was done using a simple technique known as Macrame.  The Victorians used Macrame for numerous everyday uses including curtains and shades for windows, room dividers, bedspreads, and tablecloths.  Patterns were often the creation of the weaver, but patterns in books or online can be found and modified if one wants something more unique.

IMG_0569During the 1970’s Macrame was popular for hanging plants.  There were some elaborate designs then too.  Could the days of hanging gardens be making a comeback?  As the Mobile generations living in lofts and sleek apartments without yards, hanging plants add an attractive warmth to the cityscape view windows.

I remember the collections of painted Mexican pots that sat on the ledges of windows, balconies and walls in Southern California during the 1970’s.  The pots were decorated with lovely scenes of desert landscapes, animals and the daily lives of people.  These pots are hard to find now and few have managed to make it through the decades.  I see one or two on eBay sometimes and even bought one once, but the damp Minnesota weather ruined the painting even though I did keep it indoors.  This reminds me that some things are regional.  What works in one place doesn’t always work in another, but then again, travel is never anything to regret.



IMG_0560.jpgThe 2016 June issue of National Geographic features a story about the Antiquities Trade.  It is a reminder of the ancient treasure that may still be found in the common flea markets, yards sales, auctions and estate sales.  It is also a reminder that even reputable auction houses and museums are not immune to the trade in looted artifacts, some even fakes. Often we don’t know we have a treasure and sometimes even the experts can’t tell.

Israel Armenian pottery 048This Mayan mask was found in a yard sale and bought very cheap and then resold on eBay at a profit.  The eBay buyer may have made a profit too if they sold it to a museum or high paying collector.  Who knows?  IMG_0562.jpgI have seen replicas of this replicated ancient oil burning lamp in museums.  This was bought at an estate sale.  Lost treasure can still be found: a scrap dealer in 2014 had bought a rare Faberge Egg that turned out to be one of the missing eight imperial eggs in a midwest flea market.  That sold for millions!  There was a couple out walking their dog one day when the dog dug up a couple of canisters of gold coins that had been buried under a tree.

When treasure is looted there is a part of the human story that is lost in the loss of it’s provenance.  However, some will argue that the object was a rescue from an unstable country, such as during the time of war or the deliberate destruction by the terrorist group ISIS in 2015 during their systematic cultural degradations.

“Collectors, like museums, safeguard the cultural property of humankind, which source countries often fail to protect.”  (NG June 2016)


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