Metatalktail Hour: Great find! July 14, 2018 5:44 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! This week, veggieboy says: "Inspired by some very old recipes my mom unearthed and by having watched way too much Antiques Roadshow, I’d love to hear about people’s best “finds.” Doesn’t matter whether the value is based on sentiment, money or amusement."

As always, this is a conversation starter, not a conversation limiter, so tell us what's up with you! Avoid politics, and otherwise go nuts!
posted by Eyebrows McGee to MetaFilter-Related at 5:44 PM (105 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I once found this website that let me comment/post about all kinds of subjects/topics. It was quite the bargain.
posted by Fizz at 5:57 PM on July 14, 2018 [44 favorites]


At the end of May, I found myself in an odd, very wood and vintage toy focused antique store in the suburbs. The owner and an employee were there and likely high AF, because they were insistent on wearing sunglasses indoors, and really non-linear in conversation. In addition to the oldskool playskool, atari and pinball cabinets, they had 5, matching, solidly built, but lightly soiled and scraped wooden dining room chairs with some sweet silk, dragonfly patterned cushions. We needed chairs, back at the ranch, and these looked like they could be great, with a little work.
How much? I asked the high AF proprietor. $100 for all 5. (wOoT!) He still refused to take his sunglasses off, so I had to enter numbers on his square app for him.
done and done. Now, after applying Old English scratch cover and steam cleaning the upholstery, I have five great looking, sturdy and comfortable chairs that fit my decor* for $20/chair. I will be sitting smugly from now on.

*decor is a bit of stretch, more like, bird themed living room, bug themed dining room is the extent of my design vision. and wood, always wood
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:24 PM on July 14, 2018 [7 favorites]


Yeah- here is a good find. An ex boyfriend steered me here, though he's a lurker not a member I believe. A year after the boyfriend- I signed up.

My endo surgery is on the 18th. I am very scared.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 6:25 PM on July 14, 2018 [8 favorites]


Found my first copy of 'the art of French cooking" by Julia child for a buck like the week I moved into my new place. Thats sorta rare.

On both accounts.

A memorable find were some old penguin paperbacks near lake Michigan. Benzonia I think.

But the best was a two tumbler iron bank when I was 10. Payed a quarter for it, sold it for two bills.
But the most recent was a small oil painting on the back of a bingo card. It's greenish, swirling but looks great in this frame, like it was meant to pair as both were acquired at the same time and place. Not signed, inquiries were lightly brushed aside. I felt a little ghoulishish if more art was to be seen because three bucks plus two for the frame was eating my art desire nodule. But later the same place had a replica queen Anne 4 drawer Secretariat come in, no key, so I looked in the hidey hole...shhhhshh, I picked the lock and wham, " need a key?" Uped the price 150 for them and I got another swirling picture.

Small Townes.
posted by clavdivs at 6:29 PM on July 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


Back in the 1990s I bought a lot of used CDs. Looking through used CD stores was a big part of what my husband and I did whenever we traveled to a new city. A couple of months after we moved to Kankakee, IL, I found a CD of "Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris" in a cruddy strip mall there. Best unexpected find ever.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:46 PM on July 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


Today I feel like possibly the greatest find of my entire life was at the fabric store last week when I was there for supplies for baptismal gown but saw a Daniel Tiger fabric display, bought some, and today presented my 3-year-old nephew, who would walk into the sun if that tiger told him to, with a fuzzy Daniel Tiger blanket, and he basically spent the next hour and a half cuddled up in his blanket refusing to speak to anyone because he was busy communing with Daniel Tiger.

I don't so much "find" as "devote many hours to research over several days or even months to find the perfect thing" (and I'm pretty excited when people recognize those things as awesome, because I put a lot of work into them!). But I have a few cool finds in the clothing-and-jewelry realm, which are the things I'm willing to casually browse just to see what's there in thrift stores and things. (Usually I am a shopper on a mission.) I have some adorable vintage toddler dresses for Nano McGee, and I've picked up a handful of awesome vintage jewelry pieces over the years (mostly semi-precious or costume jewelry, nothing super-spendy).

Oh, I stumbled across Fanuilh & sequels in a used book shop for a couple of bucks and the entire series turned out to be a total joy!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:46 PM on July 14, 2018 [19 favorites]


Cold Lurkey...pinball, you say? Hmmm... do you happen to remember the titles?

Best find: my sister found a vintage Dawn doll for a couple of bucks at a garage sale last year, just in time to be my Christmas gift. I haven’t gotten one of these for Christmas since first or second grade. When I opened her package, it got suddenly very dusty. *snif*
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 6:53 PM on July 14, 2018


I recently found a bread stall, run by Wiccans, at a local event. Their bread ... wasn't that great, with the exception of an almost cake-like bread which contained cherries and hazlenuts and was spectacular. So I bought that. The amusing aspect was that their stall was opposite one run by Druids, and these particular chapters or groups or whatever of Wiccans and Druids did not get on at all. Various curses (literally) and incantations and insults ("You can't even light a bonfire at Midsummer!" was a particularly good put-down) were continually hurled in both directions across the village green. Eventually the Druids sold all their stock first, and with a parting shot of "You didn't forsee your crap sales this afternoon in your Tarot reading, did you, losers?" and with robes flowing and staffs being waved, they squeezed into their Prius and departed.

+ + + + +

But apart from that it has been a quiet few days; which, in this heat, has been preferable. There has been little cake, even fewer incident of note, and no vicars with let's just say unusual equine-centric hobbies and move on from that shall we?

Therefore, I've been planning the latter half of the summer. Things I am looking forward to possibly, or probably, attending include (in addition to the usual Druid and Anglican and cake-oriented events):

* The Sutton Bonington show (Ye Olde Village with Ye Olde Website Using Ye Olde Frames), where you can toss off your sheaf and milk a cow. No, seriously, that was not innuendo.
* Open Garden weekend in the village of Belton, where I have previously enjoyed splendid cake. There will be a hog roast.
* PieFest (unless I have suffered some mortal affliction I will definitely be at this). There will be pies.
* Various events in the village of Costock. There will be cake.
* A cream tea, and possibly an afternoon tea, at Beaumanor Hall. There will be nibbles.
* Wysall Food Fair. There will be cake.
* The annual Long Whatton show, which is a bit more traditional than some of the other local village shows. There will be tug of war.
* The Wymeswold Village Show, where amongst the 60 classes are 15 for baking, including the guest recipe of Orange Vasilopita Cake. There will be a fuckton of cake.
* The Long Clawson Vale of Belvoir Conker Championships. There will be conker fragments in peoples eyes.
* The Bramley Festival to celebrate the origins of the Bramley Apple in Southwell. There will be a lovely pair of large apples.
* The Summer Show (Facebook) in the village of Hoton, which I may enter as the publicity entices with:

'Who will win the best cake ... most delicious jam ... hugest Sunflower ... most gorgeous flower ... heaviest potatoes and the ooh er missus category amongst others?'

So, I guess there will be innuendo after all, this late summer.
posted by Wordshore at 6:57 PM on July 14, 2018 [45 favorites]


This poster that I rescued from the trash at the hospital.

So hey good news! I was offered a job on Friday doing office things for a small business. I start Monday, so I'm trying to spend as much time as I can doing quiet things at home so I'll be ready to learn a whole bunch of new stuff next week.
posted by janepanic at 6:58 PM on July 14, 2018 [18 favorites]


Daily Alice—OMG!!!! My parents had that Jacques Brel album (yes—the album)when I was a kid and I remember listening to it over and over again on our huge cabinet-style stereo and making up dances to some of the songs. I’m pretty sure I didn’t totally get what I was listening to, but I absolutely LOVED that album.
“Go ask the maid if she heard what I said, tell her to put the BEST sheets on the bed...”
posted by bookmammal at 6:58 PM on July 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


I have this book but I don't understand the prices.
posted by fleacircus at 7:01 PM on July 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


Awesome thrift/rummage finds: a vintage Griswold frying pan; a Coach backpack purse; a set of wooden farm animals; a hand-painted Gorbachev-Yeltsin-Breshnev-Stalin-Lenin matryoshka.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:02 PM on July 14, 2018 [6 favorites]


I found a 1952 Elna Supermatic in mint condition with a bunch of discs and its convertible case. The guy I bought it from tuned it up and sold it to me for $100. I don't use it often, but I adore it.

I also found an amazing wool cardigan with a hideous leather cat appliqued to the back, a multitude of ribbons, and the word CAT in large gold letters (I guess in case you weren't sure what you were looking at). Unfortunately a classmate swiped it from me.
posted by Stonkle at 7:06 PM on July 14, 2018 [8 favorites]


I yard sale frequently as I am always looking for Hallowe'en props or things I can use as Hallowe'en props or building materials for Hallowe'en props.

One estate sale, I found an entire room, floor to ceiling every wall of bookshelves filled with vintage knitting and crochet patterns. I was there late and the estate sale company basically said fill your car for $30. I did and then gave them out to all of my Stitch n' Bitch folks. It was amazing.

Second amazing find was also at a yard sale. Tons of catalogs and magazines in boxes in the garage, I was flipping through them for something fun and kitschy and found a KISS comic book "printed in the band's blood". It had been advertised as the band actually mixed their blood into the printing ink. Sold that on ebay for way more than the 50 cents I paid for it. I'm sure there are a dozen other things, but those are probably my favorite two, so far.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:49 PM on July 14, 2018 [14 favorites]


I find lots of cool, valuable things. Mostly vinyl records. The best part of doing it is that the majority of people who sell me ultra-rare things have no idea they're rare. Seeing their faces light up when I pay them is amazing.

I remember once getting a call from this guy who said his father passed away and left him and his two brothers a crate of records and they don't know what to do with them -- would I take a look and maybe buy them?

The kids came in with the records. I'd guess they were about 18, 20, and 23 years old. I took a quick flip through the crate and determined it would take me about an hour to go through them. Did they maybe want to grab lunch and come back? They did, and as they left, one of them joked, "Let's go to McDonald's and spend our inheritance."

There was probably abut 65 records in the box, mostly very obscure soul records from the 70s. When they came back I told them I was done and did they want to guess what the records were worth. One said $15 and another said something like, "Nah, records are back. $60."

I then paid them $3700 cash which was half their retail value (which is what I pay for all records I sell). They were absolutely stunned and it was great to see that, though they were obviously a poor family, their father had actually left them something of value. They weren't gonna get rich, but considering they were expecting a couple meals and probablly ended up with a few month's rent was pretty cool.

Another time a guy who -- I won't say he was homeless, but he was definitely down and out -- he comes in with some records. He heard 90s records were "worth something" and he saw some at the Goodwill so he bought them. There was REM Automatic for the People, Tom Petty She's the One, and Guns N Roses Live, among other things. Together those three records are worth about $750 Canadian.

Dude gave me a hug and thanked me a dozen times before leaving. He came to me a few times after that with more stuff he bought at Goodwill and Valu Village but never again hit quite that jackpot.

The weirdest one I had was a woman who knew absolutely nothing about records but had ridiculously obscure stuff. I remember there were sealed copies of Conrad Benjamin and a few other Canadian obscurities. At the time the Benjamin LP was worth a few hundred. I paid her, she was stunned, and a few hours later she comes back with more sealed copies of the same records. Up until that point I'd been selling records in Toronto for 12 years and had only ever seen one copy of the Benjamin and here she seemed to have a supply. When I asked her what was up, she told me they were her brother's records and he was in jail and she needed bail money to get him out. I asked if he knew she was selling them and she said she didn't even think he remembered they were down in the basement. She came back four more times and then a couple weeks later came in with her brother and introduced him and he thanked me. I asked him how come he had so many Conrad Benjamin records and he said he used to work with Benjamin at IBM and apparently he used to guilt-trip his co-workers into buying his records. He says he remembers paying $5 for them. Today that record sells for $600 to $700. A cracked one sold last year for over $200. Terrible, valuable record.
posted by dobbs at 7:49 PM on July 14, 2018 [61 favorites]


Was at the Brimfield Flea Market in Massachusetts and picked up a Hudson Bay Point Blanket for $30 and never-worn original Doc Martens from the 1980s in my size for $25.
posted by KazamaSmokers at 8:11 PM on July 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


I bought a ~1960 Graflex Super Graphic press camera for less than $400 on eBay which is ok price but when I got it this week, I was shocked at how pristine it was. This thing is sixty years old and looks brand new and almost unused.
posted by octothorpe at 8:33 PM on July 14, 2018 [6 favorites]


In the second half of the 19th century, there was a jeweler in Rochelle, IL named Otto Wettstein who sold various freethought themed items, including this spoon bearing the likeness of Robert Ingersoll, the Great Agnostic.

Some years ago, I set up an alert on eBay for Wettstein's name, not seriously expecting to find anything—at least not at a price I was willing to pay as confirmed by one of his pins coming up with a starting bid several hundred dollars. But then one day, I got an email for a small lot of souvenir spoons someone was clearing out of a relative's cabinet for a bargain price, and among them was the Ingersoll spoon, which now sits in a shadow box on my desk.

The lot also came with a spoon I turned to AskMe to identify.
posted by audi alteram partem at 8:46 PM on July 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


I've just been having a sale today of all my vinyl records. The thrill of finding something strange has worn off, though I don't regret the time spent on it. The best return on that I ever got was a solo cello record found for $3 that sold for $650 with fairly noticeable crackle. Strange prices.

My -favourite- record find remains unappreciated - a local disco single which I'm giving to a DJ friend of mine in the hopes it might get a bit more recognition.
posted by solarion at 8:47 PM on July 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


Something found me this morning. I was sitting in my front yard nearly banging my head on the ground in frustration trying to invent a way to convert a crappy plastic workbench into a temporary table saw (using a skillsaw and ?????) when a neighbor I don’t know very well from down the street walked up and asked if wanted to buy a table saw. I just stared at him for a minute before realizing he had no idea what I was working on. $100 and an afternoon of elbow grease later and I have a very serviceable contractor-grade table saw. I’m ecstatic.
posted by not_the_water at 10:16 PM on July 14, 2018 [21 favorites]


A long time ago, before the internet and Craigslist and eBay, there were these things called “used musical instrument stores.” If you were a musician who fell on hard times, you could unload your gear to one of these stores and they’d give you much needed cash. There was really no other market place for used musical instruments at the time and the Guitar Center Effect (lots of cheap stuff made overseas flooding the market for total rock star poseurs) really had not taken hold yet, so a lot of the used gear in these shops in the 80s was actually some pretty sweet American made stuff built in the 60s and 70s. And it seemed like this was a time when people still wanted New Stuff because it was shinier and better.

But for a teenage punk rocker making minimum wage it was golden. Randall Smith, the guy who started Mesa Boogie, got his start hot-rodding old Fender amps in the 70s. I picked up one of his original “boogie-ized “ twin reverbs for about $200. I bought a pre-CBS telecaster for $400. Sadly, I disobeyed the cardinal rule about quality music gear (never, ever sell it no matter how bad you need the dough), and got rid of them when I was super poor in med school and needed to buy a plane ticket home. I did however make a large profit.

I also picked up an early Japanese Strat, probably late 70s, for about $400. I got it because it’s a total gem. It’s just one of those rare guitars that just got the very best part of the tree’s wood and it’s set up was just perfection. Anyone who picks it up and plays it remarks that it is the Perfect Stratocaster. I still own that one and it has always been my favorite and the guitar I use on stage.

Nowadays, you go to vintage guitar shops and it’s either total garbage stuff or it’s highly curated with 5 digit price tags. Everything else goes on ebay. My last two guitar purchases were on line and I’m officially done buying anything without playing it first. There’s a lot of stuff out there with the right serial numbers that are just total lemons
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:33 PM on July 14, 2018 [14 favorites]


a few years ago while looking for colonial spanish andean silver to angrily repatriate, i found a crappy looking old terracotta pot on an international auction site that was alleged to be around 5,000 years old from wadi'arabah in jordan, it was $100 which is less than the cost of a monthly metrocard so i was like lol ok and i bought it and it's definitely old as shit and i love it; but the best part is that i found out a few months later that the sellers were arrested by interpol for selling looted antiquities so 01) i probably accidentally funded isis and 02) i probably own something stolen from a national heritage museum and in conclusion 03) it is my golden calf now
posted by poffin boffin at 11:02 PM on July 14, 2018 [23 favorites]


I bought this pink Fender Pawn Shop Series Offset Special from a music rental shop here in Austin for 400 dollars. I love it dearly. I hardly ever see them for sale and while it’s priceless to me, it’s worth a good deal north of 400 bucks.
posted by nikaspark at 11:10 PM on July 14, 2018 [6 favorites]


Oh! I thought of a find! When my kids got super into dinosaurs I called a friend of mine who's an avid fossil hunter and she took us fossil hunting! And I found a totally unremarkable crinoid fossil! And I love it! Because I found it myself!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 11:20 PM on July 14, 2018 [11 favorites]


I generally find this guy annoying, but his twenty plus minute dissection of Roundabout by Yes is a strange kind of poetry.

I've got a feeling this may turn into a FPP
posted by philip-random at 11:33 PM on July 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


Since I was a teenager, I've habitually picked up notes, photos, and other media on the ground. (Inspired originally, I think, by the This American Life episode Other People's Mail, reinforced by Found Magazine.) Many are dull, but I've collected around 50 that are worth keeping.

Photos include an unbelievably sad looking 11 year old girl holding a wrapped present in front of a Christmas tree in a very formal home; a large, bearded man grinning and holding a Santa-clause snoopy doll, and a delightfully geeky fellow winking at the camera while playing keyboard in front of a painting of a cartoon lion. (As happens whenever this comes up, I'm torn whether or not to post them. I find them delightful and want to share them, but I'm not sure the people in them would want them shared)

There are a surprisingly number of love letters and breakup letters: "would you do me the favor of. . . [heart-shaped-bulleted list]. . . describing a perfect date," "to my only one, which could not be replaced! Baby please tell me you feel for me, the same emotions you had felt now that four months have pass on," and "you made a liar out of me. And I can never forgive you. You made me a liar in an area of my life where I never wanted to be a liar. . ."

There are lots of school assignments: "My father (whom, I might add, is now very interestedly looking at the beautiful Austrian postage stamps) is a farmer," "Last night I was a rock concert and I saw Santa Claus. I knew it was him because he was wearing his red suit and there were a bunch of elfs around him," and "long ago in a vily in the hoth Dragon tarritory ther wus a war. Cold heros foling it was troo herows. . ."

There are some troubled rants: "we are creating a very powerful positive garden on earth from our wishing well. There is a 'VERY BIG THUNDERSTORM' moving in," and "THE DEMONS HAVE BEEN STIRRED UP! THESE DEMONS WITHIN YOU (OVERT AND COVERT) SEE: MATT. 12:43-45 NOT ONLY DEMON-strate, BUT THEY HAVE DEMON-STATIONS. . ."

There are three typed pages from the middle of a play with hand-written corrections: "GINGER (kissing JUNIOR): Oh, I bet he was the cutest baby. // MOTHER: Cute? He looked like something the dog had dug up. He was a puffy ball of red flesh covered in goo and nobody would go near him for weeks.// JUNIOR (more embarrassed): Mom!// FATHER: We tried to leave him by the trash week after week, but the bloody fools wouldn't take him. . ."

But, my favorite find tells a story. [Note: a story with some creepy, stalker behavior, though it's not too graphic.]

Walking through an alley in the early 2000s, I came across a pile of around 25 loose photos and some papers on the ground next to a dumpster. The photos didn't make much sense: some were quite racy old-timey pinup shots, others were a combination of posed and candid head shots of women of varying age and ethnicity, one is clearly cut out of an artist's photo book and shows a model sitting in a wooden kitchen chair with a blindfold, an ice-pack on her head, holding a large tumbler and a cigarette in a fancy holder, one is a postcard of a contortionist holding a cigarette to her mouth with her toes. I didn't really understand what it meant, but I started gathering it up.

I also found a "final check" payroll form, with the full name and address of a guy who made $574.85 during a particular month in the late 90s in a Midwestern US city. And there was a Rail Canada ticket receipt covering travel from a town in Texas to Toronto.

Finally, there was a half page typed letter that had been folded into quarters. It begins, ominously, with "As for lurking areas. . . " and goes on to describe several different places in Toronto where one can find women standing around outdoors. For example, "On good weather days, shopper and retail women alike gather in that area for a smoke break," and "Outside of Union station.. you can sometimes catch commuter women stopping for their last smoke before the ride home to the burbs." It ends with, "What address is the hotel? Any idea of when we are hooking up for Saturday?"

I still didn't quite get it, but I knew there was something interesting (and disturbing) here. Since I had the guy's payroll forms, I looked him up. He made a name for himself as a smoking-fetish-website pioneer during the early days of the web. Looking back at the photos, the one thing they have in common is that everyone is smoking. And the letter is specific about places to candidly photograph women during "smoking breaks."

As far as I can tell, the guy wasn't doing anything actually illegal and he was very public about running fetish websites filled with candid smoking photos, so there wasn't really anything to do except feel both creeped out and fascinated by the snapshot of an obsession he left lying in an alley.
posted by eotvos at 12:20 AM on July 15, 2018 [10 favorites]


A couple years back in a used bookstore's "ephemera" box, I found three tiny notebooks (about the same size as your phone, probably, but thicker) marked "Army Diary" one through three. The first entry is marked "Taisho 2 [1913], January 1st," and the three books cover the entire year, apparently the private diary of a Japanese soldier. (Japan was not fighting any wars in 1913 that I know of, so he must have been basically in garrison). The handwriting is rushed but relatively clear for handwritten Japanese, meaning I can read maybe half of it if I concentrate, with old-fashioned kanji/kana out the wazoo. The blank pages at the end of the third book have some Chinese and English poems, with Japanese translations for the latter (Carlyle?), written with much greater care in beautiful handwriting.
Some time I'm going to enlist a useful Japanese person with some experience in this sphere, maybe a grad school colleague who could use a cash infusion, to read these with me and figure out who exactly this guy was and what he spent his year doing. I really want to know.
(Also, the three books together cost me about $2.95 equivalent.)

Hey janepanic, I hope the new job is great! Good for you. Homo neanderthalensis, many hugs if you want them and best wishes. (I'm in vaguely medical (IVF-related) limbo now and tired of waiting for something to happen.....)
posted by huimangm at 1:14 AM on July 15, 2018 [8 favorites]


Though we knew Arezzo's main piazza antiques market to be an unlikely place for any real finds or bargains, one Sunday a couple of years ago we headed out with friends more as an excursion than anything else. When an attractive mirror at one banco ended up souding surprisingly affordable, a small, overpainted, sinewy side-table standing just below it caught my eye half as a joke: its legs were my surname initial. We haggled it into the deal for twentyfive euros, and on the way home thought mostly about what it would take to return it to some semblance of decency. It took an AskMe to boost my confidence in a pretty homebaked restoration - and then, while image-browsing a designer name the seller had shrugged off as far-fetched in relation to the thing, I found this listing - at a hunderd times the price.
There's no risk ours (previously) will ever reach that rarified circuit - but that Sunday Arezzo earned its place in my serendipity mind-map.
posted by progosk at 3:48 AM on July 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


As an extremely broke 14-year-old (my allowance was $5), I once found four $50 bills tucked into my mom’s copy of War and Peace and she wouldn’t let me keep them!!!!
posted by lollymccatburglar at 5:39 AM on July 15, 2018 [11 favorites]


Fun Fare: A Treasury of Reader's Digest Wit and Humor

The book is worth nothing to the collector -- there must be a million copies kicking around, and my copy is falling to bits -- but it is interesting (to me, anyway) as a snapshot of how things were in America around 1950 from a certain middle-of-the-road (but aspirational?) Reader's Digest point of view.

Racism and sexism are just the wallpaper, the atmosphere. A "negro" shows up just eight or nine times just so the raceless narrator can joke about their encounter with a maid or laundress or dressmaker or describe an amusing little conversation between stock black characters. Also, there's an Indian thief, an Eskimo single mother with a blue-eyed baby, and a Japanese butler in the "Native Wit" section. But women (as women) show up everywhere, because women are of course end sources of amusement as drivers, co-eds, gossips, daughters, wives. It feels like every page has at least one jab against a woman.

But there's more to it than that. Every joke is stuffed with stuff that is stuffed with further stuff. Unspoken assumptions. Rabbit holes. Things that were and no longer are. For example, "Mrs. Rex Beach, phoning from her Manhattan hotel suite, was greeted by the switchboard operator with a cheery 'Hotel Algonquin.'" Just one sentence into one joke and I'm thinking: Who the hell was Rex Beach? Who was his wife? Were we expected to know her in 1950, or just to think of her as the sort of woman who would marry a Rex Beach? Be reminded that wives had no names of their own back then. The need for and operation of a hotel switchboard. A phone encounter between a privileged wife lying about upstairs and a busy working-class girl (?) pulling and pushing plugs (?) at a switchboard for a large hotel in New York. And it's pointedly Manhattan, the Algonquin, to set the stage.

And that's before I even start the Googling. One bland joke can take me away for ages. The jokes have telephone operators, hotel switchboard operators, steamship wireless operators, airliner radio operators, elevator operators, telegraph operators working the machines for us. It's stuffed with names that must have been famous at the time, but I ask myself "who the hell was..." over and over, sometimes because I'm just ignorant in that area (New York theater, for example) and sometimes maybe because Mrs Rex Beach was relatively inconsequential. But then I find her in Wikipedia: "In 1949, two years after the death of his wife Edith, Beach committed suicide in Sebring, Florida at the age of 72." So she had a name after all, but apparently she preferred Greta.
posted by pracowity at 7:09 AM on July 15, 2018 [19 favorites]


I'm sure I've found things of greater monetary value over the years, but the time that came immediately to mind was when, in high school (c. 1980), I got a Buffalo nickel AND a Liberty dime in a handful of change from Hook's.
posted by worldswalker at 7:21 AM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


I scored this 60s vintage radial arm and its accessory box for $75. It's an amazing piece of machinery, phenomenally better than the 70's vintage Sears model I'd previously used.
posted by Mitheral at 7:24 AM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


My two finds: a pair of colorful little robot(?) lamps and a wooden fig box. Both I picked up in Portugal. The noses of the lamps light up and I can't explain it, but they just really tickle me.

The fig box is both decrepit and beautiful. Plus, it now covers a hole in the wall.

What got me started down this train of thought lately is the pile of recipes my mom dug up. I mentioned one last week, I think. Since then, I've been going through them one by one. They're a fascinating look into the past, equal parts revolting and riveting. There's a little family mystery too, since they were found in my grandmother's sewing cabinet but the handwriting is not hers. And it's not my grandfather's. Possibly they were given to her by one of her sisters?

Among many other things there's a recipe for mayonnaise-y potato salad floating in lemon Jell-O (!) and this dessert recipe for Ginger's Special:

"cut up a pkg. of marshmellows, medium size can of fruit cocktail drained.add lb of walnuts chopped .whip a bottle of cream add to the mixture and chill.

delish"

posted by veggieboy at 7:27 AM on July 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


But then I find her in Wikipedia: "In 1949, two years after the death of his wife Edith, Beach committed suicide in Sebring, Florida at the age of 72." So she had a name after all, but apparently she preferred Greta.

From that article: Greta, as she preferred to be called, was an actress who Beach had met in Nome.

I'm thinking she probably could tell some good stories.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:01 AM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Our whole house is filled with finds, it’s my wife’s business. She sells old things, mostly toys, and books, occasionally kitchen stuff. Behind her desk is a wall full of vertically mounted printer’s type drawers, every compartment filled with culture’s detritus. She especially likes odd dolls, little devils (particularly babies or toddlers), cops and soldiers from the Victorians to the eighties, wood, celluloid, plastic, tin, steel, product premiums, political memorabilia—a randomly displayed assortment of things never meant to last more than a decade at most. It’s really beautiful and marvelously curated. I could stare at it for hours.

Our living room and library are filled with bookshelves, but the living room does have one wall covered salon style in paint-by-number paintings. There’s four Jesuses including the Last Supper and one that looks like a high school yearbook portrait. There’s a Jaguar and two kittens and two boxers, some landscapes and still lifes, and a really old still life that was painted on a canvas. Apparently, some of the first PbNs were on canvas. Who knew? There are over twenty paintings on that wall above the couch.

I collect a lot of books, and I recently acquired a few of note. One is a catalog from the 1950s of designs for building what might be called accommodations for children with cerebral palsy. It had pictures of the structures in use, including photos of kids in wooden braces built from the designs, or tables to hold eight kids locked into a standing position around a common table. The devices seemed so primitive and cruel, yet I understood that the creators of the designs were doing the best they could to at least help. It’s both a fascinating and upsetting document.

Another is actually a two-volume set titled An Almanac Of Comedy, with volume one covering 1832-1834, the other 1834-36, and were each published in the ending year of their respective spans. They’re filled with political and popular comics from publications of the time, and bits from written published and performed humor. Most of it is very of its day, and without reviewing what was happening in Victorian England at the time, particularly in London, it’s hard to find any of it funny, but it’s a remarkable document of early comic history.

Another recent acquisition was of a very unusual Armed Service Edition of political comics published in US newspapers about GIs serving in WWII. What’s immediately interesting about it is its size. The whole point of Armed Service Editions was to make literature pocket-sized and portable. This book is the opposite of that. It’s about 18 inches long and about eight inches tall, and each page presents around five single-panel comics across a page in what must have been a larger size than they were when they first published in the US newspapers back home. I still have a lot to learn about this particular document.

But the best find of the week happened yesterday. My twelve-year-old daughter turned thirteen yesterday, and as she’s on the spectrum, she doesn’t really have a large circle of friends outside of my son’s queer buddies, which include three trans kids and four gay kids. Yesterday they came over and celebrated my daughter’s birthday and they all had a really great time. Our house is sort of the queer kid safe house in the neighborhood where kids can hang out without fear of parental or social intolerance and they can just be themselves. Really the only cost to them is they need to include my daughter. It doesn’t surprise me that these kids are more tolerant to her stemming and palilalia, but it warms my heart to see them actively encourage her to participate and that they intuitively know how to calm her and comfort her when she gets overwhelmed. It was a totally awesome day.

But those kids hang out here all the time, that wasn’t the find, the find was a gift she got from my father-in-law. He sent her a 3D printer pen. You put the end of a plastic coil in one end and push a button, and like a caulk gun, a hot plastic line comes out the other. By drawing over and over a shape you can draw a 3D shape. She fucking loves it. She played with it last night until she got sleepy and started playing with it again as soon as she woke this morning. She even played with it through her breakfast of leftover birthday cake. Her plan for this afternoon is to look up some YouTube videos on techniques for using it. So my project for this afternoon is to look into improving the ventilation of her dining room workspace and to see where I can get those plastic coils in bulk.
posted by Stanczyk at 8:14 AM on July 15, 2018 [22 favorites]


I developed an interest in food history a little while back and since I live here and we're insufferable yuppie "locavore" trash I was trying to find out more about New England foodways (relevant AskMe). Anyway, I was reading through "Outlaw Cook" and Thorne provided a recipe for a raspberry pound cake by a New England food writer by the name of Haydn S. Pearson.

Off I go looking for more information about Pearson, and there's basically no information about him online. However, he was indeed a writer of several books and contributed to some local periodicals in the mid-20th century. I was able to find most of his books from various used book sellers, and now I have a small collection of his work. Most of his writing reflects on his upbringing on a farm in rural New Hampshire.

The cookbooks are the very essence of early 1900s recipe writing, providing the merest suggestion of quantities, temperatures, and cooking times. Recipes are no longer than three lines, interspersed with the kind of rants thoughtful introspection you might expect from your elderly grandfather - like how "Maineiacs" have no idea how to cook and eat lobster or lamentations on the poor city folks who do not have access to the root cellar barrel full of sauerkraut and must woefully purchase it, jarred, from the supermarket.

His memoir, "New England Flavor," has a very similar tone of longing for days gone by. The writing is very "uphill both ways" but provides some interesting stories about living on a farm in the 20s and 30s. It's not the most riveting reading, but I enjoyed being able to find these books.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:42 AM on July 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


My parents were in town and we impulse-stopped at an estate sale on Friday - it appeared to be an entire house + New England barn full of stuff, and I snagged a little eight-drawer cabinet that is destined to become lego storage. It was entirely empty except the bottom right drawer, which is one of those Pieces of String Too Small To Save collections of sandpaper from circa 1950 - about half used, half in pristine vintage packaging. I'm planning to take it all out and photograph it and put it up somewhere, because it's just super cool. (And then probably use it, because I always need sandpaper and it doesn't, you know, spoil.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:26 AM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


I love reading about frauds and scams, so I searched metafilter for "scam" and found this wonderful Banana Scam post from a couple of months ago that I'd missed!
posted by moonmilk at 9:31 AM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


I used to have a great record collection and I lost them ALL due to sad life circumstances. I’ve started slowly buying records again, but prices have gone up in the ten years since I had mine, and it’s been kind of depressing. “Oh I used to have that” = $20 for a beat up copy I paid $2 for back in 2002.

Fortunately, I mostly want country records these days, and fewer people care about those.

It’s not a spectacular find, but yesterday I paid $4 for a Taiwanese bootleg of a country album from 1966. There’s weird misspellings and incorrect information on the sleeve and the label. I’m way happier with it than I probably should be, but the reason I like records in the first place is because of weird, head-scratching stuff like this. Weirdly enough, I feel like I actually have a record collection again, now that I have something totally obscure and quirky, even if it’s totally worthless in terms of price.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 9:56 AM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


Also I interviewed for a job and I think I have decent chances, and if that isn’t a rare find I don’t know what is.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 9:58 AM on July 15, 2018 [14 favorites]


Yeah, living in Berkeley for grad school was great for this kind of stuff. Walking to lab with Dr Bored for Science one day, found a full set of Kitchenaid pasta maker attachments (the rollers for thinning and cutting fresh pasta). Needed a tiny bit of cleaning, but they work perfectly. Maybe I should make fresh pasta again, even though in an 8' x 8' kitchen the semolina and flour get everywhere. There was buying a completely-unused Zorijushi rice cooker at Urban Ore for $15 (that we still use, five years later).

The very best Berkeley story I have? That's the Tale of the Dumpster iMac.

So, it's early fall, 2012. Dr Bored for Science and I are studying for our respective qualifying exams (read: we're even more complete homebodies than usual). It's a Saturday morning, and I'm taking out the trash in our weird little apartment building where we were the only grad students, and I look in the dumpster and see a curved aluminum foot. Think big flat piece, with a ~90º curve going towards something that I can't quite see under the bags of trash. I put the bag of garbage in the dumpster, grab this aluminum foot, and to my surprise, pull out a 27" iMac. It's got some onions on it, and the front glass in front of the LCD is shattered, but the LCD itself looks OK.

Now, I've been fixing Macs since I was a teenager, so I figure "why not, let's see if it works." I carry it in to our apartment, Dr Bored for Science grabs a trash bag to put under it so we don't get onions and whatever other crap is on it on our table, and I go rummaging for a power cable. Plug it in, push the button, and it boots first time. LCD is fine; computer is fine; just the outer glass is shattered. Turned it off, removed what remained of the shattered glass (carefully, to avoid damaging the LCD) and get the rest of the crud (not much) off the case. Grab a spare keyboard and mouse, boot it up again, and look at the configuration. It was, pretty much the top of the line iMac that you could buy at that point. Call it ~$2400 of computer. Just thrown in the dumpster because the glass was broken.

What did we do with it? We had plenty of computers ourselves, so we gave it to the lab we were doing our PhDs in. It didn't feel right to sell it, somehow (this feels dumb in retrospect, but we had a labmate who really needed a better computer, and the lab didn't have the money to buy her one). We did get our grad advisor to pay for the repair I needed to do on the glass. How much was that, you ask? $80, and about five minutes of my time. As far as we know, the iMac is still in service in the lab, six years later (it certainly was when we graduated in 2015).
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 10:11 AM on July 15, 2018 [16 favorites]


Oh yeah, Urban Ore is great! But their prices can be really inconsistent nowadays, sometimes great, sometimes a total ripoff. That said, a friend found me a late 70s Kitchenaid there for $12. It needs new grease and a new gasket, and the bowl and attachments will run about $70, but all in all not bad.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:22 AM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


My favorite Urban Ore buy (aside from the first ~15 years of Doonesbury books for about $10), was an Ikea four-poster bed for $20. Which necessitated a "take the bus back to campus, then grab the largest Zipcar I could rent on zero notice, pick it up and haul it into my 3rd floor apartment, then build it without an instruction manual."
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 10:26 AM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Stopped at an estate sale with my daughter and saw an old tool we were told is an edger but the blade has a curved top so I didn't see how you could stomp on it. The ones I've used have folded-over straight tops like this. We bought it anyway because for $5 they threw in a couple of bales of peat moss. Brought it home and Mr. Botanizer immediately identified it as a flensing blade. Got it in one!
posted by Botanizer at 11:22 AM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


I found a 16th-17th century jetty for a Royal Palace.

Now I'm a professional archaeologist. Not found another jetty. Yet....
posted by Helga-woo at 11:23 AM on July 15, 2018 [7 favorites]


Some time around 2015, I found a 1906 US penny in my loose change. I could only get like $4 for it if I sold it, so my plan is to wait a couple decades and then give it to some kid selling lemonade on the street. Hopefully we will not have abolished the penny by then.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 1:11 PM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Great finds, hmm. Lots. Number one is our house, which offers the amount of space we need for a price we could afford, but that's for another posting.

Eizo monitors. The Mercedeses of monitors. Found a 21" CRT one two blocks away from home once, left at the curb. Took it home, plugged it in, found it was fine, tied a bow around it and put it in front of a housemate's door. Said housemate was into audio and video and art stuff, and a second monitor for his PC wouldn't go amiss. The bow was because it was his birthday, which also had him come home very very late and very very inebriated. Which caused him to not see the large white lump of plastic and glass in front of his door and eh, trip over it.

A pair of 17" LCD monitors was rescued from a skip at work. Checking them out I found they both had a red line vertically across the screen. No big deal, they would be good enough as consoles for test systems at home. Then, checking some more, I find production dates. And I find, in my memory, some inkling that Eizo offers a five (5) year warranty. This is verified to be correct. The production dates are less than four (4) years back. So, one phone call later they get packed well and labeled, as per instructions, and get picked up by UPS the next day. Two weeks later we have two flawless 17" LCD monitors.

The skip at work has yielded three more 21" Eizos, and one 17", with just superficial scratches on their screens.
posted by Stoneshop at 1:17 PM on July 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


A while back, my parents received a box of my paternal grandfather's old stuff from a relative. He died back in 1980, before I was born, so I obviously never met him, though I heard stories. I knew he was a wiseass, that he and his sisters had been a family vaudeville act when they were kids, and that he flew in the US Army Air Forces in WWII. Anyway, my parents never gave the stuff more than a cursory look, so I spent some time with the box on a visit a little while back. I found a few interesting things there... the old yearbook/facebook for where he was stationed in WWII, several personal photos, old cigar boxes with coin collections inside, and so on.

But my favorite by far was a small stack of mimeographed chain letters, which read as follows:
Dear Sir or Madam:

This letter is being sent to you, for we know that you are critically interested in your lawn.

The Spring season is almost upon us, so I would like to tell you about our little club.

This is a fertilizer club and it will not cost you a cent to join. Upon reciept of this letter, go to the address at the top of the list below and shit on the front lawn. You will not be the only one there, so don't be a bit embarrassed.

After having done that, make five copies of this letter and send them to five of your friends who appreciate good lawns. You will not get any money or checks, but within just one week, if this chain is not broken, there will be 9,126 people shitting on your front lawn. Your reward will come next Spring when you will have the greenest lawn in the neighborhood.

Mr. Harry Butt
236 Corn Cob Alley
Wipeout, Wis.

Mr. & Mrs. Took a Fissik
724 Running Loose Ln.
Cuttoff, Conn.

Mrs. Windy Ayers
1422 Enema Dr.
Freely, Tx.

Mr. Smelly B. Hind
476 Diarrhea Way
Airhoot, Ok.

Mr. P.U. Sniffer
#2 Suppository Ln.
Whistle Britches, Pa.

Mr. Howie Farts
286 Fertilizer Way
Sniffensmell, Ok.

DO NOT BREAK THIS CHAIN!! One man didn't give a shit and lost his entire lawn.

If you are constipated, pass this on to a neighbor.

Sincerely,
Mr. B.M. Blaster
posted by duffell at 1:35 PM on July 15, 2018 [18 favorites]


Berkeley sidewalk finds, just this morning: a wonderful green leather jacket that fits me perfectly. A white sweater with oversized scarf collar.

Plus, my favorite: a chrome Mustang grille emblem my neighbor sold me for $20 (actually, much cheaper than in town!). This had the added bonus that I could send my husband a text proclaiming ‘I just bought a Mustang!’ and he was convinced for a short amount of time that I bought a whole car. Fun times!
posted by The Toad at 1:36 PM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Also, speaking of grandfathers, on another visit home I found this letter that I made for my maternal grandfather (whose real actual name was King Cole) using MacPaint on our family's Macintosh SE back when I was 6 years old. I apparently never sent it. I will type out the text portion below, but you should really look at the scan linked above.
TO A SPECIAL GRANDPA KING

LOVE JOHN

I KNOW YOU FALL DOWN A LOT

BUT DONT FALL ON A NAIL

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

I AM 6 HOW OLD ARE YOU ?

BOMBS AWAY I LOVE YOU !

THE DUFFELL FAMILY LOVE'S YOU A LOT
posted by duffell at 1:46 PM on July 15, 2018 [8 favorites]


I never feel like I'm all that lucky at finding things, but I guess I am sometimes. I have a small collection of vintage stereo amplifiers dating from the 1950s through the 1980s, all of them working and mostly acquired by happenstance; one was retrieved from an electronics recycling bin (after getting permission from the guy watching the place). An old tube amp from the 50s was $7 at an estate sale because after I looked it over and walked away, the woman running the sale literally followed me around the house repeatedly cutting the price on it until I relented and bought it.

One evening I spotted an Silvertone guitar amp, looking like it was from the early 60s (shaped speaker port, tweed-like cabinet, tubed circuits of course), left on the curb the day after trash pickup day; it was still there the next morning so I gave it to a buddy who was setting up a recording studio. Turns out it works fine and sounds pretty amazing; I have a little regret about giving it away but I don't play guitar so it wouldn't have been all that useful. Well, actually, I also got a guitar for free once (thrust in my hands by somebody trying to pack things up after their yard sale was over), but if you've ever tried playing a 1970s Tiesco you'd know that the effort of coaxing sounds out of it can't really be considered play.

This runs in the family, to some degree; my mother started collecting Griswold iron in the late 80s because they had been a local business and everybody in town had some Griswold that they were putting out at their yard sales for one or three bucks apiece.
posted by ardgedee at 2:07 PM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


I found a pair of athletic shoes, just my size, in a neighbor's sidewalk giveaway pile. They're the most comfortable walking shoes I've had in a long time, and they've lasted longer than shoes I paid real money for! They just got their first touch of shoe goo yesterday, about 3 years after I found 'em.
posted by moonmilk at 2:20 PM on July 15, 2018


I have found so many great things. Some at the curb, some at charity shops. A good example: my local charity shop had a Goblin Teasmade for sale. They thought it wasn't working because it was so slow to heat up the water (well, duhh. It's not a high powered modern day kettle). I'm not sure they understood the timer mechanism, either. So they priced it at €7,50 which is a steal.
Reader, I snapped it up. It turned out to be in perfect working order and in excellent shape, bakelite tray and all.
Okay, now I want a mug of Yorkshire Gold...
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:20 PM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


ardgedee, what do you have? I’ve posted a couple Ask questions about my misadventures repairing the free Kenwood KR-7200 that a friend gave me. What a nightmare! I fixed one problem and now for the life of me I can’t figure out why one channel is quieter than the other. Someday it’ll be an awesome possession, but in the meantime it’s the bane of my existence haha.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 2:36 PM on July 15, 2018


I found a 16th-17th century jetty for a Royal Palace.

Every Palace should have a back-up jetty.
posted by clavdivs at 2:48 PM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


I sell vintage clothes and jewelry for a living (opening a store in a month aaaaaaaaah) so I find cool things pretty often. My favorite story, though, is mostly my favorite out of spite.

See, for six years I rented and stocked the basement of a nearby vintage shop. I also staffed one day a week as part of my rent. Last summer, the shop moved, and I lost my space in the process. (This is a much longer story I'm not getting into here. Suffice to say we didn't part on good terms.)

On one of the last days I staffed before the move, I saw on arrival that the owner had put out bunch of new inventory since the last time I'd been in. There were, among other things, some novelty print skirts from the 50s, and the owner had underpriced them. This wasn't unusual: she hated computers and never bothered to look things up online. On numerous occasions I'd tried to warn her that she was pricing items at a fraction of their value, and usually she ignored me.

One of the skirts had a border print of Lady and the Tramp on it. Without looking anything up, off the top of my head, I knew:

1. Vintage novelty print collectors go hard.
2. They like border prints even more than regular novelty prints.
3. Vintage Disney collectors make the novelty print people look chill.

She'd priced the skirt at $40. Reader, I bought it, and used my employee discount to do it.

I have a friend in Baltimore who sells on Etsy full-time, and specializes in rare and unusual vintage clothing. She has a much larger following than me, so I asked her if she'd be willing to sell it for me, and split the proceeds 50/50.

She listed it on Etsy for $1400, and it sold in less than a day.

Petty? Yes. Satisfying? YES.
posted by nonasuch at 3:10 PM on July 15, 2018 [38 favorites]


I had been dating my girlfriend for about a month when I suggested we go to the annual Wiener Dog Races in Buda, TX. Buda's a cute little town that's not too far of a drive from Austin, where we live. Towards end of the event, the sky all of a sudden got weirdly dark, and the temperature seemed like it dropped 15 degrees instantaneously. It looked like a storm was coming, so we decided to cut out early and head back to the car. On the way back to the car, we passed this vintage shop that had a couple costumes on a rack outside. "You like costumes, right," my girlfriend said. "That place has some costumes out front, we should totally stop there." It's true that I like costumes, but the weather looked like a monster storm was about to rain down on us. Still, we decided to stop at the place and check out what they have.

We poked through the rack, and the stuff was interesting-enough, but nothing that I really wanted to buy or anything. Someone sees us poking through the racks and says "If you like those, you should check out what they have upstairs." We go inside the place and ask the person working there how to get upstairs- there was a door with a unlocked padlock on it, which opened immediately to a set of stairs. We get to the top of the stairs, and turn around, and it's like 4 rooms FILLLED with racks and racks of awesome vintage-seeming handmade costumes. Easily thousands of costumes crammed up there.

We were the only people up there at first, but maybe 15 minutes later, someone else comes up the stairs and laments how they were here a couple weeks ago and there was so much more stuff the last time they were here. We talk for a bit, and apparently, someone in Buda bought up like 5 trailers worth of costumes from someone they knew in California and this vintage shop had been letting them sell them in the top floor. Lots of the stuff was labeled with big tags that said stuff like "Space Girl #3" (and then the tag listed all the props which went with the Space Girl costume, and all the props were in bags on the costume's hangers)- it looked like most of them had been made for a theater group or something like that. No real dressing rooms, but we tried on like so many sweeet riDICulous costumes over our clothes. Nothing had any prices on it, but we kept making a pile until the clerk got on the intercom and told us they were closing in like 15 minutes.

We went downstairs and set our pile down on the counter. As the cashier is ringing stuff up, she's commenting on how cool the stuff we picked out was. She finally totals everything up, and it's something like $75. I whip out my credit card, and the clerk says "I'm sorry, it's cash only." The blood kind of drained from our faces, and we started pooling together all our cash, which was not even $60. We ask what we can take off the bill because we don't have enough money, and she pauses for maybe a beat, and then she was like "Just give me all your money and we'll call it even." We thank her profusely, and tell her we'll be back with cash in hand next time, because we didn't have enough time to even see like a fraction of what was up there (and the clerk had mentioned that there was still a couple trailers-worth of stuff that hadn't even made it to the shop yet).

We took a business card to remember to go back, but since we had just started dating I didn't want to basically repeat the same thing we had already done on a date so soon. Halloween starts sneaking up on us, and I go "Hey, want to go back to Buda and check out those costumes at that place?" We go back to the shop, head to the staircase, and the door in front of the staircase is padlocked this time. Ask the clerk "Hey, can we go upstairs to check out those costumes?" and was informed that the shop owner had the costume person move their costumes out a couple months back. Dammit. Glad we got that Space Girl #3 outfit when we had the chance.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:13 PM on July 15, 2018 [10 favorites]


At my old job, they were getting rid of a piano and I took it. It has a cracked sound board and lots of scratches, but is generally playable. * Since the office was near Berklee College of Music (and the New England Conservatory and the Boston Conservatory and Symphony Hall), I had no trouble finding an appraiser. “Oh my God!” he said. “You have an early Mason and Hamlin!” It would be worth $10,000 if the sound board were fixed (which costs $10,000).

* Not by me, alas. Damn it it’s hard to learn instruments as an adult!! :(
posted by Melismata at 5:34 PM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Once in San Francisco when I was really poor I found an unmarked bank envelope in Beale Street with $93 in it.

I live in an old house that's on the National Register of Historic Places. It was converted to apartments not too long ago (I met a woman whose then-boyfriend had lived in it as one house with a bunch of friends).

There are several really interesting rooms in the basement but one in particular is great. It's filled with stuff that presumably has been left by previous tenants. I go down there at night and scavenge through it. I've talked to some of my neighbors and they do it too.

The first interesting thing I found was a collection of maybe 75 envelopes of photos. I pulled some of the least moldy ones and took them upstairs. It was a family's photo collection, mom, dad and two daughters. They were at Disneyland, at a campsite, at someone's graduation, at the beach. I wanted to figure out more.

I discovered that plain water with a tiny bit of Dr. Bronner's would clean off most of the mold of the photos and I also discovered that wetting them made them stick to the plastic walls of my shower. So I stuck this random family's photos on my shower walls so they covered two sides top to bottom. I would stand in the shower in the morning and puzzle over the photos.

They were disturbingly moldy so I took them back downstairs and then noticed that there was a name on the outer envelopes. I googled it and found a phone number. I texted the number and had a very skeevy conversation with this person before he asked about the photos. He said he had no idea that they were gone and had never been to my address. Finally he mentioned that his ex-wife had maybe had a boyfriend who lived in the house. I asked him if he wanted to come over and get some of the photos.

He said, "I can come by at 10AM on Saturday," and I said "No way. That's too early. I'll be sleeping." I've never heard from him again.

Other interesting finds:

- A brand new barbecue tools kit from Crate & Barrel. On googling we learned the set retailed for $100.
- A tiny under-desk heater that keeps my feet and legs warm in the winter.
- Some interesting men's clothes including a brand new pair of Tsubo shoes.
- A cheesy swoopy wall sconce that I've propped upside down above my sink and it's beautiful.
- Various dishes that I'll probably take back down to the Room O'Crap.
- A brand new water purifier pump that I used extensively this weekend by the creek.
- A Munsell color guide book
- A box of a family's photos dating back to the 1930s.
- Two full strings of Pottery-Barn-esque tiny lanterns that all work. They may go back down stairs.
- And FTW a shipping case of a wide assortment of beers from Allagash Brewery in Portland, Maine. There was also glassware, multiple bottle openers and a cribbage board made from a plank with squarehead nails as the peg.
posted by bendy at 5:52 PM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Oh! While thrift store shopping in Victoria, BC I found a truly bizarre Monopoly-like game called the "Game of Gibsons" that appeared to be based on the small town of Gibsons, BC. I did a bit of research online and found that several similar games were made for various communities, culminating in this FPP.
posted by duffell at 5:58 PM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


In the ordinary realm of ordinary antiques road show finds, I got this this four-piece Eastlake Victorian bedroom set for $250 (it cost me more to have it shipped down from Maine than what I paid for it). The mirror on the dresser was obviously stored separately and in a not-good location so the paint is pretty faded, but everything else is in pretty good shape. It'd be a tricky restoration because it's not just a matter of refinishing, but in the right hands and to the right buyer it would certainly be worth somewhere in the $1,000 range. It was never originally a particularly high-end set--it's all faux wood grain on ordinary pine, but it's still a very pretty, functional, unique set and it makes me quite happy. However, my real bargain was picking up the the son of a Belmont Stakes winner who sold for $50,000 as a yearling for the low-low price of $3,000.
posted by drlith at 6:21 PM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I found out that today was national ice cream day (US) so I stopped at the grocery on the way home after work and bought ice cream. It was also half price day at the resell shop I go to, and I found lots of music cds and books. I've already listened to 3 cds and they are damn good; am currently eating ice cream which is also good. Looking forward to books!

I was looking for a replacement 1 qt nonstick pot (forgot I was cooking something) but no luck in that department.

I went to grocery for neighbor and ended up with a steak for myself....first one purchased in about 6 months....a nice thick tbone which was on sale. I fired up the last of the charcoal and had a fantastic meal of steak, clearance wine (also impulsed at grocery) and red taters with home grown garlic chives. Delightful change of pace.

One fabulous find is my neighbors, who have become friends, who are more like family that I don't need to invite into my life; but, instead, BELONG in my life. We have just the right level of interaction but are THERE if either needs it.
posted by mightshould at 6:28 PM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


> I’ve posted a couple Ask questions about my misadventures repairing the free Kenwood KR-7200 that a friend gave me.

Check your memail.
posted by ardgedee at 7:22 PM on July 15, 2018


Most recently, I found a wild 70s Marimekko print jacket at a St Vincent de Paul in Wisconsin. It was steep at $10 but even though I can’t quite wear it - wow that orange is so orange - it makes me happy to have it. That was a good thrift store - there were also some men’s shirts from Savile Row in London! The arms are very short but I roll them up anyway. My best finds, though, are from long ago.

Once I found a signed copy of Minnie Pearl’s autobiography for 50 cents at a thrift store in Asheville. I read it - it was pretty good! she had a very interesting life - the Minnie Pearl thing was a completely made up character, she was actually from an upper middle class family who were horrified that she went into show business. Then I gave it to a bookseller friend for his birthday and he read it and then sold it for hmm like $30 I think so, all good all around.

Before that, once at Value Village in Baltimore I found a brand new gunne sax prom dress, black, short layered satin skirts, sleeveless satin and lace top, tags still on and it fit - FOR A DIME. Even longer ago than that, in Charleston in the 80s I found a half ounce of weed just lying in the grass by Colonial Lake. That was an extremely good day. And before that, when I was 10 or thereabouts, I got a 1905 buffalo head nickel in change out of a candy machine, which caused me to look askance at the candy (I am old but not that old.). Askme had not yet been invented so I ate it and then waited to see if I would die but as you have deduced I lived - and kept the nickel for years and years.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:38 PM on July 15, 2018 [5 favorites]


My self love and self acceptance. Best find ever.
posted by bologna on wry at 8:07 PM on July 15, 2018 [9 favorites]


Lots of things, but one memorable one was when I bought a jacket at Goodwill and it had a eulogy in the pocket for someone obviously fairly young.
posted by bongo_x at 1:07 AM on July 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


When I dug through the antique writing chest that I found somewhere in a room of my parents' house this spring, I found a draft from around 1969 in the hand of my dad, of an angry letter to my math teacher about how worthless his brand of pedagogy was and how my dad fundamentally and vehemently disagreed with how I was being treated in class. I'm sure the letter never got sent in this form, but it was a pretty sweet moment finding it.
posted by Namlit at 3:11 AM on July 16, 2018 [14 favorites]


but the time that came immediately to mind was when, in high school (c. 1980), I got a Buffalo nickel AND a Liberty dime in a handful of change from Hook's. and I got a 1905 buffalo head nickel in change out of a candy machine

I never like to hear things like that because I figure someone has raided a family coin collection without realizing they are spending something worth more (one way or another) than the 15 cents they are spending to get that piece of candy.
posted by pracowity at 5:50 AM on July 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


I dunno how much of a "find" this is, but my introduction to Mefi & personal fave writer Iain M. Banks happened years and years ago when the boyfriend of a friend wanted to learn how to play guitar, but didn't have much cash, and I had a crappy 70's Les Paul copy made out of plywood that I don't even remember where I got it from. (I'm pretty sure I got it as a fixer-upper and it played fine once I fixed some minor issues, but once I dug into it I decided it wasn't worth putting more time and money into.) So I traded it to him straight up for paperback copies of Use of Weapons and Against A Dark Background, which he was willing to get rid of because he hadn't liked them. (??!!!??)

Overall, I think I got the better end of that deal.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:21 AM on July 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


A few years back, my wife's elderly grandmother passed. While we were cleaning out her house, we stumbled upon a great treasure in the attic: a vintage early-70's KitchenAid mixer, in avocado green, still new in its packaging. She'd received it as a wedding gift, but apparently had no use for it. Now, I grew up using a 30-year-old KitchenAid stand mixer, and am intimately acquainted with (a) how awesome they are for all things baking-related (b) how utterly unkillable they are and (c) what utter shit the new ones are because they swapped out all the metal parts for cheap plastic ones that break when you try to grind almonds with the attachment. We were 800 miles from home, about to leave on a plane the next day, and I saw my wife's uncle eying the find appraisingly, no doubt intending to add it to his own reliquary of unused tools. It would never fit in our suitcase, and we despaired of leaving it behind. Luckily, a quick perusal of the airlines' carry-on-luggage guidelines later, I wrapped the box in a few bungee cords, and carried that monstrosity on board the plane as my primary luggage. The look I got from the guy who X-rayed the box was priceless, and a few TSA agents had to confer to discuss the potential lethality of a 50-pound stand mixer, but they eventually relented. The beast lives in our kitchen, a glorious shade of green, and rarely a week goes by that it isn't employed to make bread or cookies or some such. My kids will one day inherit the unbreakable stand mixer.
posted by Mayor West at 6:57 AM on July 16, 2018 [23 favorites]


My best and worst find story, I actually forgot about. Here it is:

In 1988, I was attending school in Israel and we went on a 3 day archeological dig. As we were all brushing and sifting, I found a small goddess statuette. It could have been Inanna or Asherah, I have no idea, because the second I held it up, it was rushed from my hands to who knows where and I never saw it again. There is part of me that wishes I had never told anyone and I kept it. I don't even remember what it looked like now, so I can't even look her up.


She listed it on Etsy for $1400, and it sold in less than a day.
I saw it and pined for it mightily.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:13 AM on July 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


I once found a couple of fountain pens at a yard sale. I purchased the one I liked the best, which was very modern looking, with beautiful clean lines and a nib that barely protruded from the tip of the pen. I took it home and a little googling revealed it as a Parker 51. It needed repair, and fortunately one of the best pen shops in the country was just a few miles away, so i took it in that afternoon. There were two men behind the counter (A glass case filled with gorgeous vintage pens), chatting with a customer. They all examined my new pen with interest, and proclaimed that it was an early model, probably from 1941, and the shop could definitely fix it up for me, for an entirely reasonable price. it was worth about $150. Then they wanted to know where I had acquired it.
"A yard sale," I said.
"Very nice," said the owner of the store. "How much did you pay for it?"
"Oooo, you're going to want to kill me," I said.
"Nah," he grinned at me. "No matter how much they charged you, at yard sale it wouldn't have been too much."
"A quarter."
All three men were suddenly very, very still, and looking at me. Total silence for about fifteen seconds, which is much longer than it sounds like.
"Like, twenty-five cents?"
"Yup."
"Uh.... where was this yard sale?"
I described it as best I could, and even went looking for it again later, but alas the Magical Vintage Pen Yard Sale disappeared into the ether, never to be seen again.
posted by Adridne at 7:18 AM on July 16, 2018 [9 favorites]


I've wanted a cat since, well, "cat" was my first word, but my parents moved around a lot and then the rental places we lived in never allowed pets. We had just managed to buy our flat, so I could finally think about getting one, and we were "just looking" at cat shelters near us, you know, to get an idea how it all worked before we went to adopt cats for real. The last shelter we went to, about 10 minutes before closing, had loads of cats loose in a group room. One of them came over to say hello, and he was gorgeous and friendly and I sort of fell in love with him on the spot.

"Oh, yeah, he's very friendly. In fact he's sort of sad at the moment because the other cats don't want to be friends with him and keep hissing at him. He has a sister but she's sleeping in that ball so you can't really see her"

Turns out they were 9 year old ragdolls, and I've always wanted a ragdoll cat, and my husband just looks at me and I'm going "but.... we were only going to get one cat. Can I get two cats?" "Yeah, sure, you've always wanted ragdolls" "really, I can get two cats?" "I said yes"

The small issue was that I was just about to re-do the entire bedroom floor, which involved moving all the furniture into the living room, and they wouldn't hold the cats for us. We were worried that this would somehow traumatise them, or they wouldn't settle in, or.... But I loved them, so we brought them home anyway, and for two nights didn't sleep because they insisted on sleeping on the mattress with us, or sitting right next to our heads and purring.

Anyway they are the cuddliest little monsters, they don't scratch any of the antiques or knock stuff off shelves, and they insist on climbing onto our laps to be stroked. They love getting their tummies tickled. Basically they're the best possible cats for us.

Oh! We also once found a hamster in the hall of our apartment building. Nobody claimed her despite making signs, so we kept her. We called her Bear because she looked like one, and she developed weird long tufted hair bits behind her ears and either side of her butt. Pretty sure she was some sort of space hamster and thats why she had "fins".
posted by stillnocturnal at 7:24 AM on July 16, 2018 [13 favorites]


This is not a "good value", this is just a small story I had to share from an actor acquaintance.

He's right now in an outdoor production of ROMEO AND JULIET, and one part he plays is the Apothecary, in a scene where he sells Romeo the fatal vial of medicine that will make Romeo look dead. This week they've been doing the show in Battery Park, and the scene with the Apothecary is quite close to the Hudson River Waterfront.

Last night, he reports, at the exact moment that he was handing "Romeo" the vial, a party boat came cruising past them on the Hudson - and it was blasting Bel Biv Devoe's "Poison".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:28 AM on July 16, 2018 [10 favorites]


"I found a wild 70s Marimekko print jacket" - mygothlaundry

What's the opposite of eponysterical?
posted by moonmilk at 7:30 AM on July 16, 2018 [7 favorites]


my wife and i just found a house that is six blocks from where I work and basically equidistant to the co-op we shop at

we also found a little bat napping in it when we had our inspection!
posted by dismas at 7:37 AM on July 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


I fell in love with sailing at Scout camp 30 years ago but I haven't really sailed in a long time except on little Puddle Ducks and stuff which isn't the same. Last year my family went along with my son to that same Scout camp and stayed at the family camp across the lake. They had the same Sunfish sailboats as when I was there. Literally some of the same boats, but also newer ones. Mrs. Clinging and I took one out for an afternoon and it was great. It was her first time sailing. The bug came right back and I wanted a boat, but I can't justify even the $500 a used one usually goes for. I happened to do a Craigslist search one day out of boredom at lunch break and there was a 1967 Alcort Sunfish with 2 sails, life jackets, and original daggerboard and rudder (I prefer the original fixed rudder and wood rather than composite) for $200. I said something to Mrs. Clinging and she just said "Happy Father's Day. Go to Wisconsin and come back with a boat."

It's better than I hoped and all it needed was a quick repaint of the coaming and some new rope. I looked over the paperwork and the original owner in 1967? The Boy Scout Camp! I may have sailed this boat years ago. The scouts named it The Scary Lady which I don't love but I don't plan to change soon either. I've only had it out for one day in the bay behind my parents' house, but it was a blast. We're taking it Up North to the same lake I learned to sail on years ago in a few weeks. My Mother-in-Law has never sailed and said she's always wanted to so everyone is excited.

Sorry for the long winded story - I'm excited about my little find. As much as I don't like pictures of myself - if you've ever wanted to see a 6'7" guy way too excited about a 14' boat that's probably not at all big enough for him here you go.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 7:38 AM on July 16, 2018 [18 favorites]


posted by Clinging to the Wreckage

hopefully anti-eponysterical!
posted by dismas at 7:42 AM on July 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


What's the opposite of eponysterical?

Contreponymous?
posted by Sophie1 at 7:43 AM on July 16, 2018 [11 favorites]


You know what's a great find? The Metafilter Card Club.

I've been having a hard couple of years with some TD depression, but have been slowly getting better over the past several months. The card club has actually been a huge help for me. It's all good, no matter the amount of effort I can summon up -- sometimes I have the energy to research the MeFite and make them a card, and sometimes all I can do is dip into my card stash and sign my name. But I still get to feel good about it either way. And also I have a stack of cards on my table that were sent to my cat for his birthday and it was awesome!

Friends, if you are not in the MeFi Card Club, you are seriously missing out.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:06 AM on July 16, 2018 [11 favorites]


My favorite recent favorite find, possibly due to the Weezer cover of Toto discussed on the blue a little while ago, is Leo Moracchioli's Frog Leap Studios, and his amazing metal covers of a wide variety of music.

Nothing gets the blood moving faster on a Monday morning than some guy from Norway screaming his way through "I Wanna Dance With Somebody".
posted by hanov3r at 8:51 AM on July 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


I once found a rusty old bayonet for an M-1 on a chunk of land that was used for training. We were on a Scout backpacking trip and I added that chunk of metal to my already heavy backpack without a second thought.
Middle Georgia, late-'80s to early-'90s.
I was a kid who was totally into history.
It was awesome.
Then it got stolen by the people who moved our house.
posted by Seamus at 9:08 AM on July 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


They had the same Sunfish sailboats as when I was there.

Sunfishes and Sailfishes were ubiquitous in my youth on Curacao. The sailing club had a few of each; I could take out Sailfishes; for a Sunfish you had to be 14 or over IIRC (a somewhat silly rule as they're basically the same, with the Sunfish having a footwell and being slightly wider where the Sailfish has a smooth deck). They were a blast, especially as tipping and then righting them was just standard stuff with 4..5Bft.

By the time I was allowed taking out a Sunfish I had essentially free access to a 6.6m, 16sq.m Pampus with which we could sail the entire Spaansche Water, not just the part in view of the sailing club (the limit for Sailfishes and Sunfishes), so the desire for the 'Fishes eh, dried up.
posted by Stoneshop at 10:05 AM on July 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


I found a Whiting & Davis purse at an antique mall/flea market for $20. I just thought it looked cool and didn't know it was an actual brand.

It's only from the past 10 years or so, so it's not even "vintage" but since even the cheap ones aren't exactly cheap, I got a good deal.
posted by darksong at 11:34 AM on July 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


I've been going to the same town for summers for the past seven years. The town has a few places to eat and they're mostly fine but we're sick of them. So me and my sister (and sometimes not_on_display) are always looking for breakfast places that meet our pretty loose specifications. That said, if we eat with Jim one of those specifications has to be "Must be open and serving breakfast after 2 pm on Sunday" which shrinks options considerably. Jim was in AZ this weekend so my sister and I were trawling Yelp for ideas when suddenly we saw a magic looking place that was pretty nearby in a part of Fall River we'd never been to before. We headed over there and the whole time were like "This place is where??" Turned out it was a completely family-owned friendly as hell diner type place (the sort of place where the grill cook says hi as you walk in and tells you to sit anywhere and it turns out they own the place) with amazing breakfast, great waitstaff and terrific coffee. We were so stoked! And then I got home and the owner had facebook messaged me! And I was like "Yes?" Turns out I'd left my credit card at the place, they were going to be closed for two days and did I want him to mail it to me? And then I left a super friendly review on Yelp and they thanked me for it. Win, win, win!
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:59 PM on July 16, 2018 [14 favorites]


Not sure if you'd call it a find, but last Sunday I was given a poor old starving bay molly mule. Maybe you could say she's the one that found a sucker willing to feed her expensive senior feed and spend money on vet and dental bills.

She's just a little mule, about 14 hands tall, and about 200lbs underweight. I've been calling her Poverty. She came with big fly sores on her belly and chest and raw spots in her ears. She's lost about 20 lbs of nasty hair, which makes her hips and ribs look even more prominent, but the sores are healed, the scurf is coming off her hide, and she's actually starting to develop a bloom on her shoulders and hips from all the brushing. Once all the horrible sharp points and malocclusions in her mouth are fixed, she'll be able to chew without quidding her feed all over the ground.

There's not much personality yet--she probably has been knocked around a bit and doesn't trust people. But she's sound, got good conformation (you can see all the bones!) and is a pretty colored dark bay with a fawn belly.

My summer's plan of training 3 mules for the pick of one as my personal steed went out the window when I had the wreck, but I wound up with a free mule project instead. I may have to look for a different name in six months, but right now she's a mule named Poverty.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:28 PM on July 16, 2018 [19 favorites]


Wishing you luck and success with your new mule, BlueHorse!
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:20 PM on July 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


Hands down, our house. It is 140 years old and tucked away in a part of Philadelphia I didn't know existed. We have no immediate neighbors and are steps from the river, two bike paths, and a nature preserve. It's too big for the two of us, but not cavernous. There is stained glass in the windows upstairs, and we're convinced it's haunted by a benevolent, housekeeper type whom I've named Mrs. Thistlewaite. My partner bought it before I moved to Philadelphia, and I didn't step foot in it until the day we were set to close on it. I walked in and burst into tears because it felt like home.
posted by coppermoss at 4:29 PM on July 16, 2018 [15 favorites]


I was going through a second hand book store and found a whole bundle of Masonic stuff that probably shouldn't have been there (receipts for dues paid, scripts for various rituals with penciled annotations for some degree or other, personal notes, addresses etc). I paid $5 for the lot and, with the addition of a Masonic sash bought on eBay for $10 it made a lovely birthday present for my brother-in-law who is a Masonic conspiracy theorist hobbyist.
posted by ninazer0 at 9:22 PM on July 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


Bluehorse: if you get the other two mules you can always name them Chastity and Obedience.
posted by Segundus at 3:33 AM on July 17, 2018 [8 favorites]


I've been calling her Poverty.

Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime. Twins! You're in for an interesting summer.
posted by pracowity at 6:51 AM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


On the topic of random restaurant finds, I was out in Gallup, NM (pop. 22,000 or so) for a meeting, and learned of Bombay Grill (Yelp), a really good Indian food restaurant in a gas station/truck stop convenience store.

So if you're traveling on I-40 in western New Mexico, you can find something more than the usual (and usually delicious) New Mexican food and diner fare.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:07 AM on July 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


Last summer I was at a cool shop in Providence called 2nd Life, which the Rhode Island School of Design operates. Individuals and RISD departments donate partially-used art supplies (plus tons of random stuff), and the shop resells it for really cheap.

One day there I found a shallow pie tin full of coins, and asked how much they wanted for four or five of them. "Two dollars." How much for the whole thing? "....Three dollars." SOLD. At home I went through it all and boggled: I found a dozen pound coins, a WWII coin from France made of aluminum, twenty Kroner, a big pile of Irish coins including a cute pre-decimalization coin with a bunny on it, a handful of Euros, and half a dozen American coins from the 1800s!

This past spring I bought someone's filthy, used backpack. I took it home and washed it, and it turned out to be in perfect shape: an REI 40l bag for seven bucks!

I go every week and browse around, but nothing has yet matched the Pan Of Interesting Coins.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:08 AM on July 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


I couldn't think of any amazing finds when this was first posted so I held off from answering this wekeend, and then bam! My great find happened today.

We went impulse antiquing this morning - had some time to kill in town while my car was in the shop - and we found a copy of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds (the full version rather than the abridged version) on vinyl, in what looks like good condition. It has all the original inserts (including two copies of the companion booklet for some reason) and the sleeve is in great shape. It was £5.
posted by terretu at 9:03 AM on July 17, 2018


Last weekend I was at a Maine flea market where I found an unframed photograph that I would date to about 1885, judging from the borders on the cardboard mounting. The photo was whole, but there was not much image left. It must have been exposed to sunlight for years, or maybe the quality was just never very good. But when I tilted it into the right light, it was haunting.

It was an old woman, at least in her 80s by my lights, but possibly younger -- the 19th century was hell on teeth, and she hadn't a one. She scowled straight at the camera from a tiny bed heaped with quilts and blankets. Or maybe she wasn't scowling; maybe her brow was so hooded that that was all you could see anymore.

The writing on the back was difficult to decipher, but I could make out "Grandma Heeney Cleares [?] sickness [?] 9 yrs in bed." Nine years in that bed! It would be generous to call it a twin-sized bed. Imagine being a young woman in the 1820s -- hard enough even for society ladies -- and ending your life that way. And yet, with country families needing to bunk up as much as they did, it might have been the only time in her life she got her own bed.

I didn't buy it. It was desperately poignant, but it was too degraded to display, and I couldn't read the names well enough to identify the family for certain -- if they were still alive and had someone who would want the thing back, which, by this point, they probably don't. But I did buy another picture of about the same age -- of two stout ladies, one of whom is reading something called Light magazine while the other looks over her shoulder pretending to disapprove. It's adorable, and I'm trying to find out if Light magazine was supposed to be shocking. (Hard to find an old periodical with such a common name, though.)
posted by Countess Elena at 9:37 AM on July 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm another record collector here who has spent a lot of time (although not as much these days) digging through flea markets and thrift stores. In terms of monetary value, the best LPs I've found in bargain bins are Latinaires Orchestra ‎– St. Vincent's Supersound, Dorothy Ashby ‎– The Rubaiyat Of Dorothy Ashby and Jackie Mittoo - The Money Makers (all three of which I decided to keep rather than sell).

But the best single collective haul I've ever come across was three or four years ago; about two feet of pristine '80s Britpop, in plastic sleeves and everything, at the Value Village near my house. The Smiths mostly, a bit of New Order and a bunch of groups I'd mostly never heard of on Creation Records. The single most valuable item was a German pressing of "William, It Was Really Nothing", and all told I sold everything (since I'm generally not a fan of The Smiths or the other bands) except the 12" for "How Soon Is Now" for a total of about $500. I'll never understand how those records wound up in a thrift store.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:30 AM on July 17, 2018


I was at a cool shop in Providence called 2nd Life

Oh my word does this solve a problem for me (an "I need do donate some stuff" problem, not an "I need art supplies" problem)
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:02 AM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


The Card Cheat, I was delighted by your The Smiths find until I got to this part: "(since I'm generally not a fan of The Smiths or the other bands)"

...to say the least, I'm truly disappointed.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:47 PM on July 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I found a job! Now that’s exciting.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 2:47 PM on July 17, 2018 [9 favorites]


I have found amazing things at both yard sales and our local Goodwill (our house is merely a way station to/from Goodwill), some of the more notable:
- not one but TWO Hermes scarves, in perfect condition, including this one (found on two different trips) for $4.99 each
- a trove of Asahel Curtis (brother to ES Curtis) Magic Lantern slides, in a box with some remarkable hand-tinted botanicals (that was $3, and I later sold them to a local Magic Lantern aficionado for $200 - and that person said it was a total deal).
- and the most recent, a bag of 27 vintage glass cabinet knobs (for $7.99), complete with hardware. We're re-doing our kitchen and saved the old knobs/drawer pulls, but needed some to replace broken ones, and also needed better hardware. Reproduction items cost about $2/each, so that was a serendipitous find.
- lastly, a friend of my husbands gave him an old scythe, with a forged Austrian blade. The handle needs replacing, but even before sharpening, the blade cuts well. This was plucked from the trash by said friend.
posted by dbmcd at 4:17 PM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]



Berkeley sidewalk finds, just this morning: a wonderful green leather jacket that fits me perfectly. A white sweater with oversized scarf collar.


Ooh I got excited, I put some stuff on my Berkeley curb Saturday and wondered if you’d stumbled across it! Alas not.

I found two things in my mom’s bedroom after she passed. One was a very old leather scrapbook, filled with pasted in old advertisements. I saw some dates that place the book in the 1880s if I remember correctly. It was from my father’s side of the family. My father left us when we were kids and I had no idea she had this book from his family. He was killed shortly before my mom died so I can’t ask him about the book. Strangely, I found a very similar book from my mom’s family, only it was from the 1950s, when my mom was born. I had never seen this book before either, so the whole thing is intriguing.
posted by JenMarie at 6:24 PM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: Oh my word does this solve a problem for me (an "I need do donate some stuff" problem, not an "I need art supplies" problem)

Oh, yeah -- but beware that they will want to give you store credit, which will perpetuate your problem!

If you don't want it, I will gladly spare you the agony and take your credit suffering!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:47 AM on July 18, 2018


octothorpe: "I bought a ~1960 Graflex Super Graphic press camera for less than $400 on eBay which is ok price but when I got it this week, I was shocked at how pristine it was. This thing is sixty years old and looks brand new and almost unused."

Oh so the electronic flash that came with this thing has the most wonderful of 1960s names: The Heiland Futuramic Strobonar.
posted by octothorpe at 2:18 PM on July 18, 2018 [3 favorites]


Early 00s. Goodwill Computerworks in Austin; i regularly browsed their "this doesn't work with a PC we don't know what the hell to do with it" table.

I spotted something. Did a double-take. Looked at the price. Picked it up, almost RAN to the register, paid the $25, and giggled madly when I got it out to the car.

Took it home, found the system sitting on a shelf that connected to it, with the "special" cable. Fired things up. it worked great.

A Digital Equipment Corp. (IIRC, I forget the actual model number) 20" flat-panel orange-gas-plasma display monitor, that plugged right into my VAXstation VLC.

Original catalog list price was something like $20K. I played with it for a few weeks and then eBayed it for over $250.
posted by mrbill at 3:05 PM on July 18, 2018 [6 favorites]


I could be misremembering, but, The Card Cheat, I believe you sold those britpop records to me when I had Good Music at Queen and John. The standout title, imo, was Felt's Forever Breathes the Lonely Word. Nice haul. :)
posted by dobbs at 10:53 AM on July 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


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