Estate sale season: Upload photos of your thrifty or just plain wonderful finds

1960s chinese polychrome figurinesI have been trying to restrain myself from accumulating more vintage treasures. There is a serious hoard accumulating in the far section of my basement, and it stresses me out every time I see it. My key strategy to avoid the absolutely irresistable, black-hole-of-spending-doom temptation that estate sales hold for me has been to avoid even looking at the newspaper listings.

vintage knoll sofa day bed

The sales tag for this sofa day bed said it was Knoll. It was really cool -- as you can see the sides kind of button down to create a lounge effect. It was marked $500. I did not buy it. No place for it!

This has been working. Except on Thursday, my neighbor Allison sent me an email about a fantabulous estate sale at a true Stockbridge mansion — “the estate sale event of the season” — and gosh, how could I miss that?

I bought this 1980s disco jumpsuit. The bell bottoms are sequined, and the sequined "belt" make the whole effect like hip huggers. It's 15 pounds too small for me -- but now I have REAL INCENTIVE! I want to wear this!!!

I’ve been there twice, and I may go back again today. I did not buy the tall Chinese porcelain polychrome figurines in the first photo, but if they are still there on Sunday and are half price, I may have no choice — I’ve never seen any this tall before, and I have quite a nice collection of Chinese figurines coming together on my dining room built-in.

vintage clothes storage boxes

I kind of wanted to buy these vintage clothes storage boxes. But I was finally hit with estate sale fatigue.

What did I buy? Vintage tiki torches — new old stock, made in Wisconsin… Two bargello needlepoint pillows…. A lovely, larged framed black-and-white photo of the Mrs. of the house…a silk kimono, crocheted poncho and black go-go boots (!) … lots of little ephemera from the hardware table to use for collages… and on day #2, a whole bunch of clear plastic shoe boxes to organize all my estate sale ephemera bits and bobbles.

collaged room divider

I was intrigued by the collaged room divider. Did not buy it - I was trying to limit to nothing "bigger than a breadbox"

On top of that, the house was spectacular — I took a lot of photos and in particular, can’t wait to show you the most excellent 1980s kitchen cabinets — yes, 1980s! It was a good sale, to be sure!

What vintage treasures have you been finding in your recent travels — estate sales or otherwise?

Upload your own finds below… Please give a nice description, okay? 🙂 Note, Terms of Use apply:
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Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image:


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  1. Andrea says

    I just posted three photos of my “wonderful find” this week. After making the jump to a flat screen TV for our sunroom/family room, the search was on for a long buffet or console to put under it (inspired by RR readers’ photos of their TV solutions). I love the Broyhill Brasilia look but that’s gotten so pricey.

    Struck gold last weekend in a local used furniture store when I found this gem of a dining room suite by American of Martinsville. Beautiful solid wood in great shape. Bought the buffet, agonizing all the while over breaking up the set, which I didn’t think I could use. After a sleepless night, next day I figured out how I could use the hutch and table/chairs—as upgrades to an existing table and old bookcase.

    The set is happily reunited in the sunroom, re-purposed as TV console and bookcase. The straight lines look great with all the curvy rattan furniture. Five years ago (before living in my ’52 Cape Cod and before RetroRenovation days), you couldn’t have given me this set. After becoming educated by Pam—and by my house—I adore it!

    The room hasn’t quite been put together yet, so the hutch and table photos are from the furniture shop (I took photos to agonize over after buying the buffet). Also plan to re-cover the chair seats, which are in great shape but have a formal brocade fabric on them. Complete set, all in perfect condition—buffet, hutch, table with two leaves, & six chairs: $459.

    • pam kueber says

      Woah, Andrea! That is one gorgeous set – congratulations! It is my experience that vintage dining room sets are THE BEST DEAL on the planet for Retro Renovators. No reason whatsoever to buy new — buy vintage! The reason these are such great deals – compared to other vintage finds – is that you can find, like, an endless supply of vintage vases and store them in your house. Chairs, even. This supply/demand issue creates higher relative prices. But how many dining room sets can we fit into our houses? ONE. So, these are not “collectible” in the same way. That keeps prices for dining room sets pretty darn good. Same issue, pretty much with vintage bedroom sets. There are only so many bedroom sets one house can hold. Therefore, prices are good, cuz these need to move…

    • Jeanne says

      Gorgeous set, Andrea! That table and chairs you purchased definitely looks like it would have been too hard to pass up. Great decision.

      I, too, am keeping my eyes peeled for the right buffet/credenza for my living room TV – at the right price of course. I have a chair addiction and could easily become a chair-hoarder and would have had to buy the whole set. lol

  2. says

    Andrea, that is some seriously beautiful furniture!!! Great find! Jason – I covet your brutalist nail artwork. I know coveting is bad, but I can’t help it. I seriously want a piece like that for my living room.

  3. says

    estate sales are something i completely forget about! i usually stick to thrift stores. i need to change that and start checking out more estate and garage sales. thanks for the motivation!

  4. Amy Hill says

    How tall are the Chinese figures? I would definitely be interested in them if you’re interested in making a deal!

    • pam kueber says

      Amy, I did not buy them… They were still there at the end of the estate sale, you can contact Scott Sawyer (go to link for estate sale) to get more info and to see if you can still buy them… 1/2 price would be $112.50 — they were pretty tall, I’d say 14″ or so…

  5. Heidi Swank says

    My husband found a working Philco record player and speakers on Craigslist for $25. It’s about 2 hours away, so we’re driving up to Utah on Sunday to pick it up. Very exciting!!!

    At an estate sale on Friday, I saw an in-the-wall hamper. It had unfortunately been covered with tack paper. But it was still fabulous. And right next to it was a bathtub/shower with a tiki mural on the back wall. Wow!

  6. 75Heather says

    That hi-fi is uh-MAY-zing!! And those pink stools are to die for! So much vintage awesomeness here. =D

    I’m getting ready to upload my recent score – from an estate sale that I just went to an hour ago, actually! A side-by-side midcentury wall unit. Can’t wait to get it home and get it cleaned up, waxed or oiled and decorated!

  7. Nikki says


    I just posted a photo of a Declaration by Drexel side table I found by the side of the road and refinished. I found the Declaration catalog on your site and it helped me to identify my find–so thank you! What a wonderful way to mid-century thrifters to connect 🙂


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