Now that I am an impoverished freelancer with no real disposable income, one of the few retail-based pleasures in my life comes from my weekly (or thereabouts) trawl around the local charity shops. I have long since given up checking the clothes rails because all the shops in my town are chains, which means donations get sorted at a central depot, and all the proper vintage is removed before the remainder gets distributed. There is one independent shop, but sadly its donations are very poor quality. I do check it weekly, and I would be very glad to give them some of my money as they clearly need it… but to date I have never found anything worth buying!
I’ve mentioned my love of old china here before, and since then, my addiction has grown even stronger. I can’t wait for the local car boot sale to start up again, but until then, I must make do with the bric-a-brac sections. I get such a buzz from finding old china and glassware, even if, as I live in an affluent Home Counties town, not much I find could accurately be described as a ‘bargain’. In fact, in a shop one town over, which is even more wealthy, I was gobsmacked to find a 1960s china tea set, in good condition but incomplete, with only 5 cups; on sale for £80. The manager complained to me that she’d already reduced it from £100, and that she was surprised that no one had snapped it up since, given the prices pieces were commanding on the internet, it “definitely WAS a bargain”.
What she was failing to take into account, is that the prices she was seeing were on the many china replacement websites, where people look for that one piece of Granny’s tea service that they accidentally smashed. No one goes into a charity shop looking to spend almost a hundred quid on china! So clearly the charities are getting canny and researching their donations. Fair enough! But I have got some bargains recently, and in lieu of anything informative to post… here they are!
I saw the stunning Art Deco jug and five glasses in the window of one shop, on sale for £20. This is not exactly cheap, and it is obviously missing a glass, but I think they’d command a much higher price in an antique shop. When I asked to buy them, as they came out from the window, I noticed two glasses had small chips in the rim. The manager immediately insisted I have them for £10! An offer I could not refuse! I think that the chips will smooth out marvellously with some fine wet and dry sandpaper, and so I am pleased as punch!
The Vogue mirror dates from the 1970s I believe, but the snowy scene is titled ‘Early February 1919 and features a lovely, blue-eyed, fur-swathed fashionista and a car. I have wanted one of these for absolutely years but hesitated to buy one from eBay. This is far from the nicest I’ve seen, but for £2 I was hardly likely to leave it behind!
The teapot and matching jug and bowl confused me a bit, since the small bits carry the china company’s 1930s mark, and the teapot their late 50s mark. The gold stars also scream 50s to me, but vintage crockery guru Naomi informed me that the shape of the teapot is ultra 30s, so I can only assume that it is a 50s reissue of the 30s pattern. It would have matched 50s tastes perfectly, don’t you think? The set was £8 from the local hospice shop.
Last but not least, I am terrible at dating these dressing table sets, but they are usually listed as 1930s on eBay. I know that Depression-era glass was thick and patterned, so it makes sense. I already have a pale blue one on my Art Deco dressing table, so this is going to go in my bathroom. It cost £12, so again, not cheap-as-chips, but postage on such a thing from t’internet would be pretty astronomical, not to mention risky.
So those are my recent finds… have you found any amazing bargains lately?