A Flea Market Connoisseur

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Are you a garage sale connoisseur? At times, I think I am.

My eye is always out for that once in a lifetime artistic find, like an oil painting by Picasso or DaVinci. In reality the only painting (a print, actually) that I bought was in a flea market for $1. I displayed it for a short time, then relegated it to my sunroom, a catchall for castaways.

But, honestly, some rummagers are lucky enough to find a real treasure among the junk. Remember the London antique scrapmetal dealer who found one of eight missing Faberge eggs at a flea market in American Midwest.

He paid $14,000, thinking he could make a profit by reselling the piece for its elaborate gold content. It turned out the rare jewel-encrusted Easter egg was worth millions. The imperial egg was made for Russian royalty and was given by Alexander the third to his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna in 1887.

It isn't likely that any of us will ever be fortunate enough to find such a treasure but there are lesser treasures to be found. Flea markets have such items as vintage clothing, antiques, furniture, toys, old dolls, jewelry, posters, books, trunks, guitars, rugs, tools, parts for cars or motorcycles, bicycles. There are holiday decorations, games, wall hangings, knick knacks, glassware, and mirrors. And much more.

I still have the 35 cent green wicker frog I bought at a yard sale years ago. A girlfriend laughed at me when she saw me paying for it. "What are you going to do with that?" she asked. I told her I was going to stuff a washcloth in its mouth and put it in my bathroom. And that's what I did.

Among my finds are a pair of brown boots that don't fit well. I've read that shoes shouldn't be bought at yard sales and neither should mattresses. For sanitation reasons, I suppose.

Recently I bought a circular rug for half price at an indoor flea market in Piggott. Years ago I bought a large round straw basket, red in color, at an auction in Kennett. I use it now for holding newspapers and magazines.

At a Relay for Life silent auction I bought a new oriental purse which has now disappeared from my bedroom closet. I've searched and searched but it is nowhere to be found. It has a heavy gold chain for a shoulder strap. Actually, the last time I remember using it (only three or four times), it was in the floorboard of my car.

I once bid on a huge box of kitchen items, not really knowing what the box contained. Turns out, it was full of new plastic dishes, Corning Ware, Tupperware, and sundry other plastics.

I bought an oak coffee table for $10 and a matching end table for $5 at a yard sale.

My wood dining room table and four chairs came from an indoor flea market in Paragould. As I debated whether I should buy or not, a friend stopped by. "Why one of those chairs alone, would cost the price you plan to pay for the whole set," he said. So I bought.

So, some sunny afternoon when you have nothing better to do, take in a yard sale, rummage sale or indoor flea market or an auction. You just might find a deal.

Just don't count on a missing Faberge egg.