Gold mine of new-old-stock tile and accessories from the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s & 70s — uncovered!

a school full of vintage tile for salethousands of pieces of mid century tileYou wouldn’t know it, but you know it now: This old school in West Virginia is loaded with boxes and boxes and boxes of new-old-stock ceramic tile and accessories spanning the 1930s through the 1970s. Emily and her son Lawrence discovered the treasure trove of vintage ceramic tile at property auction — boxes and boxes and boxes filled a complete building, “the retro building” — and they are eager to sell it. What color do you need? Looks like they are likely to have it — with NOS ranging from simple pastels…all the way to 1970s groove town, too. Read on for yet another story of NOS wares that were stashed away for decades — and recently uncovered. Emily writes:




My son and I bought a building full of tile on a property in southern WV. We are restoring our town one house at a time (we fix neglected homes in nice neighborhoods and resell them). My son also does home repair and historic restoration. He owns a 4 story 88,000 square foot school, so we have ample storage. Lawrence has been collecting doors, windows, mantels, etc. from older homes due to be demolished in our area for years. We have perhaps 100? doors (some of the doors are off-the-hook) and windows that can be sold, among other various items he has salvaged pre-demo. We are staging the first tile sale this Saturday at the school from 10-3, to run every Saturday. We will also have the school open on Monday evenings. The school (former Central Jr. High and original Beaver High School) is located on US 19 in Bluefield, WV. .

1970s orange tile

We attended the tile sale and bought several pallets of various tiles from 1970 and newer. At the end of the sale day, we bought a building they referred to as “the retro building”.

1970s blue mediterranean tile

It was literally FULL of tile from the 50s and earlier. We have well over 1,000 of just the fixtures (soap dishes, tp holder, towel bars, etc.) alone. The tiles have newspapers in among the boxes that verify ages. We even have some wooden crates of tiles from the 30s and 40s. The newspapers are as interesting as the tiles!

ceramic soap dish from the 1960s

I would love to see this tile that has not seen the light of days in decades be put to use and enjoyed! All of the pieces are in pristine, unused condition.

1970s mosaic floor tile
I have posted some items on ebay… albeit SLOWLY. I list an item and include many photos of other products we have with it. I am WatersWV on ebay if you have a moment to look.

Thank you for your response! Hopefully the pics I have attached will come through. I have many pictures. but am afraid of crashing the server.

Emily, Bluefield, WV

Well, I am pretty much in awe. Of late, I have gone nuts for the 70s. I think I may be saddlin’ up my Ford Ranger to go get me some of the orange stuff up at the top (the paired design + solid), along with the and blue and green and yellow Mediterranean tile right here. I can see it in my mind’s eye:  A 70s split level with my name on it. It needs work. I put in all this tile. Everywhere. I have a new persona: 70s Earth Mother. But heck, I haven’t even SEEN the 1930s tile — I could do that persona, too!

 –> How to reach Emily –> Email her at:

Please: DO NOT leave your email address below… or try to contact ME. Contact Emily as per above! I will delete all such comments and ignore all such emails — as this quickly gets out of control.

Happy hunting.

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  1. Leslie says

    What a great story! Thank goodness this treasure trove ended up in the hands of someone who cares about restoration.

  2. Heidi says

    Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! WHY do I live so far away?! The 70’s has been my style since I was a child (much to my mothers chagrin) and that orange tile would be PERFECT for my upcoming kitchen re-do!

    I would give my pinkie toe to be able to go there. What a cool story, and congrats to all of you who do make it there!

  3. RebeccaSF says

    It actually hurts. I’m not being dramatic. It HURTS me that I am a renter and can’t purchase the tile she has listed on ebay right now. The 1950s tile – #2 option – is exactly what I’ve been dreaming of, and there it is for sale.

    I’m going to go cry now.

  4. says

    I’m actually looking for floor tile for my bathroom just like the squares and rectangles ones posted above. Guess I’ll be contacting her to see about getting some soon.

  5. Ann V says

    OMG! This is the tile I grew up with! My parents have a 1961 rambler, and the tile in the 4th photo down is in their kitchen as the back splash behind the stove. The brown and white tile in the last photo is their bathroom floor. My dad put it in in the late 70s to replace the original vinyl floor, which was in bad condition. I think they’ll get a kick out of this post!

    • pam kueber says

      I’d LOVE to see photos of your parents’ house, Ann V. Send me pics, if you’re game, at retrorenovation [at] gmail [dot] com

      • Ann V says

        I’ll see what I can do! My parents’ house isn’t really a time capsule house, but it does have some cool mid century details, like sloping kitchen cabinets that are wider at the top than the bottom. They also have the original “ming green” bathroom fixtures. My dad actually rebuilt the mechanical part of the toilet and special ordered a new toilet seat so he wouldn’t have to replace the green toilet!

  6. Ann-Marie says

    Suhweet! I am going to have to keep an eye out for some mosaic that matches my downstairs shower floor tile. The rest of that bath has… well, I don’t even know, come to think of it. (I just bought the place in another state. My mom took the pics, and only then told me she doesn’t know how to email them. GRRR.)
    I do member thinking, “Oh, this has to go,” when I saw the floor. It was something from the 80’s.
    The shower floor is a dark brown mosaic.

  7. Amber Rhea says


    I am definitely going to get in touch w/ her to see if I can get tile for my pink bathroom project! I already got pink towel bars, etc. thanks to another Retro Renovation post abotu someone who came across a bunch of NOS. Then all I will still need is a pink bath tub!

  8. Kersten says

    Wow! I love every piece of this story— especially that it is all stored in such a beautiful old school (that was NOT razed!) Oh, what I’d do for some of that random block floor tile. The new stuff that we ordered just isn’t the same. A couple years ago, we attended an auction at an old flooring store that was going out of buisness. HUGE rolls of *REAL* linoleum were going for $1 and $2. We bought one very large roll for $2 that would have covered our entire basement floor (it still had the paper description attached showing it was made from linseed oil.) When it came time to use it, the floor guy said it was too dried out and brittle to lay out. I was bummed, but at least didn’t lose a lot of money on it. Now everytime I pass on older looking flooring store or tile store, I wonder what it buried in the basement or attic! Thanks for a great story!

  9. TroySF says

    Oh wow oh wow oh wow oh wow. Why oh why oh why oh why is WV so far away? I want I want I want I want I want some of that 70s tile for my kitchen. *sigh*

  10. Melanie says

    Oh wow! Oh my goodness. First of all that school building is GORGEOUS!!! Secondly, why do I live so far away from WV????? And tile from the 30’s and 40’s….. how cool would that be!!!!!!

  11. Connie says

    Oh my god, my parent have that EXACT same tile in their shower (circa 1970) – the white with green marbling. A couple of them are broken on the corners. I think I might have to give these guys a call. And here, the last time I visited them I was thinking what a shame that the next owners of the house would undoubtedly tear out the shower since there were broken tiles. Now I might be able to save a cool bathroom. Thanks Retro Renovation!!

  12. Mark says

    Ok, I will take some black and white 1930’s floor tile, and some wall tile and black soap dish for the shower/sink, cove base…….and then I will start thinking about other rooms.

  13. Nina462 says

    Love it! Would like a blue tile toothbush holder & cup holder…but then I’d have to cut into my original blue tile wall to add. Lovely array of tile:)

    And what great Romanesque architecture of that school. I have noticed lately (around here) that the 2 new schools being built – have the Romanesque architecture vs the other new school having that bad soaring wings of a ceiling look.


  14. amy mcginnis says

    I read and understood you don’t want contact comments and I surely understand – however, repeated emails to Emily at the address provided have gone unanswered. Do you have any additional information or other contact? I would be grateful, as I’m sure would other readers. Regards, Amy

    • pam kueber says

      nope, sorry. try World of Tile…when I get a moment I am going to close this thread to comments and remove her email…

  15. Mark says

    I went to that school in the 70’s. I want the building. I have alot of good memories of that school. It was a neat building that was well built with a great layout.I hope they have taken care of it. If anyone ever gets to visit the school asked to take pictures, I love to see the old school again. I have lived in California for the last thirty some years, but ever time i get back to my home town i stop and take pictures of tha old school. I would love to seeit inside I have to go for now.

  16. pam says

    That tile you show — green with white marbling — I ordered from World of Tile in NJ for my bathroom floor. It looks great, although I wish I had gone with dark grout. With white grout it gets a very “white” look overall. But also, unless I am mistaken Chippy at World of Tile had told me that was NOT vintage tile…it’s NEW tile ordered from some Japanese manufacturer.

    • pam kueber says

      Thanks, Pam. I will ask Chippy. Yes, in my video about things I would do differently in my own bathroom design, I suggested: Gray grout the color of concrete, rather than white or even soft white. White gets pukey colored too fast…

  17. LuAnn says

    Pam and friends, I have 4 x 4 beige tile with variations in brown tones around the edges. The backsplash is the same but with random tiles that have a raised design done in dark brown and orange. The grout lines in all are wide and brown. Any idea what era my 50s kitchen was “updated” in? I actually kind of like this tile, since a lot of my retro stuff is 70s and kind of earthy. But I do need to re-grout. I don’t have a website, is there a place to post photos?

  18. Melissa says

    My husband and I are purchasing a 1964 home. In one of its 3 full bathrooms is [what looks like] tile that was original to the home, but I’d love to see if anyone on here may be able to look at it and tell me if that’s the case (or if it was re-tiled at a later time but still vintage, or if it’s modern tile made to look vintage)… The floors, bottom half of walls, vanity top, and shower all have the same tan/gold/brown tile bordered in white tile. We love the tile, but were considering replacing the sink cabinet. I don’t know if there’s a way to safely remove the vanity and sink without damaging it. I’d love to do that if the tile is vintage. If it’s modern tile made to look vintage I wouldn’t feel as bad if something happened to it if we do replace the cabinet. Thanks in advance for any input or information on this tile or any words of advice if we do attempt removing the top to change out the cabinet. Blessings!

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