Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Collectorator Heaven

Every year, CollectoratorOne and I mark our calendars with two big red stars, on the days that we plan to attend the Warrenton Antique Festival in March/April and September/October. If there is a separate Heaven for Collectorators, Warrenton would be it. Can you imagine what that would be like, suddenly every collectible you have ever searched for would be right there in front of you and at a great deal! The Warrenton festival is an offshoot of the Round Top festival, we prefer Warrenton because it's larger, free, and the vendors are the nicest folks. I would like to see Warrenton some time when there was no festival there, I bet it is beautiful in its simplicity then. During the festival, though, it is covered with tents and every collectible under the sun. The festival lasts for two weeks, but we only go for one day. We would drain our bank accounts if we dared to go more than one day.

This year we were hit with the traditional Warrenton curse....rain.....Normally rain is good, but when you are traipsing across fields that have turned to mud it is no longer good. Luckily this year the rain kept itself to a minimum, but it had poured the previous few days so the fields were mud pits. We barely noticed though once we were off and running.

Our first stop was to one of our most favorite dealers. We recently found out that they always attend Warrenton, but we hadn't been in the building they set up camp in for years. Not surprising as you couldn't possibly see everything there is every year, not in one day anyway. It goes on for miles. She wasn't at her booth so we walked around awhile nearby and an immediate score for me was this Gilmer pot:

Now it might not seem that exciting at first BUT we just discovered that Gilmer was the offshoot of the Alamo Pottery Company out of San Antonio. After it closed, the designers opened their own company and made similar pots. We have seen these pots for years, but because we had collected Alamo pots first we felt that the now known Gilmer pots were fakes. Course we didn't know the history until CollectoratorOne got the book so we always passed them up. This is what an Alamo Pots look like (scallop goes down and to the right where as Gilmer pots go down and to the left):

Now the great thing about the Gilmer pot I found is on the way to Warrenton I was looking at the aforemented Alamo pottery book in which CollectoratorOne had found that the Gilmer pots often came with an attached saucer. We may have seen one of these before but they are not very common. So I made the comment that if I saw a Gilmer with its saucer I'd get it even though it goes the wrong way. And wouldn't you know it, right out of the gate I found one. I bought it immediately. We haggled over a large white Alamo as well, but ultimately it was too expensive. I probably paid too much for the yellow one as well but it was a rarity given the attached saucer. Later I saw two more with their saucers in another booth, the two smaller sizes (this one I got is the largest), but they were even more money. So the one I ended up with was worth the money, justifiable by the Collectorator credo which is if you find one more expensive than what you paid for yours then it was a good price. =) I also ended up with a Oneida Community silver box for my Lady Hamilton silver flatware. It's nothing to write home about but it's good to have as it was all jumbled together before.

The next good stop was back at our favorite dealer's booth. We were able to find a few clothing gems. My favorite thing there was this black dress. It's a vintage Herbert Sondheim original from NYC, 7th avenue. Its silk and fits like a glove. Herbert Sondheim was the dad of the legendary Brodway composer Steven Sondheim and one of Jackie-O's favorite designers while JFK was still a senator. Apparently one of her favorite sleeveless sundresses was one she wore to church on a Good Friday, which garnered her a lot of negative attention. Here's a good story about it: http://www.post-gazette.com/columnists/20021013cloud1013fnp1.aspgazette.com/columnists/20021013cloud1013fnp1.asp

I also scored a navy robe (I have quite the robe obsession going on these days, I work at home so I've traded new work clothes for vintage robes. fair trade), a pink night gown by Rhythm Romancer (!) and these fabulous navy gloves with red bows. I just think gloves should come back in style. Why did they ever go out of style?? CollectoratorOne scored a fun black shirt a la Laverne and Shirley. It is adorable!

We moved on through the fields and one of the next finds for me was a little yellow bamboo pot, possible Shawnee, CollectoratorOne is doing the research on that one. Like I need another yellow pot, BUT it was on the half price table so hard to resist when it's only $9. CollectoratorOne scored a butter dish finally, a nice clear Fire King one that will work with any dishes. She resisted several along the way and suddenly the right one appeared. Shortly after that she scored an amazing deal on this West Coast Pottery Vase http://www.flickr.com/photos/collectoratorone/3404486345/ I think it could be used as a purse too! Albeit a very breakable purse...

My next big find of the day, literally, was another Gilmer pot. I figured I had already gone down the Gilmer road, what's the harm of another one? It's yellow of course. Here it is at home with its fellow yellow Alamo pot, nicely flanking my favoirte pink Alamo. I am a little worried putting a Gilmer next to an Alamo, I am not sure what they might reproduce when I am not looking...scallops that go up and down???

We had to make a trip to the car after that purchase, but on the way back I found my best find of the day. CollectoratorOne ultimately got the BEST FIND OF THE DAY award (read on), but for me these were the best of the day...and to think I almost left without them. We wandered into the booth with the guy who sells a variety of quirky stuff, you'd not know it from looking at his booth as a whole, but he always has something cool in it. One time he had this AMAZING cobalt blue glass mirror but he had broke it on the trip down. This time he had several neat items including a record player that was in a little 60's style console. I of course wanted it, but given I have three record players already I figured I should leave well enough alone. We spotted some end tables though and it was all over. See, I've been wanting new end tables for a long time, but I have an attachment to my grandparent's and although they do not go with my other furniture, blood is thicker than...well new end tables. I tried to talk myself out of them by saying there wasn't a round center table that matched, but I knew I was going home with them because not only where they cool they were only $40 for both of them and they were in excellent condition. If I saw those at a store at home, they would easily be over $100. I actually made a good faith effort to my "blood" and left the booth BUT we were back shortly thereafter. CollectoratorOne can talk you into just about anything when she knows you should have it, and she's always right. So the tables are now in their new home with the new lamps I got from CollectoratorOne in a lamp swap. I am only borrowing her shades though, on-loan...

Note how cool the sides are: three tiers and the lovely insert which is aluminum. We thought it was glass at first. The best part is the wood grain which is in a checkered pattern. It matches all the waffle decor I have in the living room (I'll do a later post about my waffle obsession). Now of course I have to find the round center table that will "go" with it. It's always fun to have something to look for! Thank you CollectoratorOne!

After that we had lunch at the Legal Tender Saloon. They make the absolutely best chicken salad sandwich, hands down. I think it's all due to the giant slices of homemade bread because the chicken salad part is simple, so why it tastes so good I'll never quite understand. They probably go through thousands of sandwiches a day. The worst Warrenton day ever was when we were late at getting lunch one time, and they were out of chicken salad!!! We'll never make that mistake again.

We had already had a great day and typically by lunch we are tired, hot, and frustrated because we haven't found enough. Not this time. We headed back out with our cart now in tow thinking it would just bring us bad luck given all the luck we had without the cart in the morning. We were off to a slow start, because our usual favorite places were coming up empty. We found some orphaned pink bathroom pieces (tub, sink and toilet) but obviously we couldn't bring those home. So we trudged on...I ended up scoring a little deco aluminum tray somewhere along the way to add to my tray collection (I don't know why I need more trays... I just do).

But, CollectoratorOne was the next lucky one... We were merrily going along when she spotted the Heywood Wakefield desk she's always wanted. As long as I have known her she's been collecting Heywood Wakefield. I always wanted to get in on the action, but given my love for dark wood the two just don't go together. We made our way over to the desk thinking that it'd be the usual overly expensive piece. However, imagine our surprise when we found out it was only $495. We talked to the dealers awhile as CollectoratorOne debated getting it, it turned out they were from a town nearby us so we built up a rapport quickly knowing it could lead to future deals. I knew CollectoratorOne was not going anywhere without that desk. It was in perfect condition, and they had even refinished the top. They also shared how to refinish Heywood Wakefield furniture with the right color that perfectly matches. So not only was it ultimately good collectorating, it was also a good learning experience. They eventually came down $100 on the desk so there was no more thinking about it at that point. They also had a cool set of nesting tables that CollectoratorOne also wanted but she had to be good... Here's a picture of the desk in it's new home.... http://www.flickr.com/photos/collectoratorone/3392269303/

Isn't it beautiful? Definitely the find of the day. And boy howdy was that thing heavy. The drawer alone must be taller and heavier than me. Getting it home was another story....read on....

So we left the desk to sit and wait for us and headed off, but in looking back at the desk one more time CollectoratorOne spotted an Alamo pot. Most of the ones we had seen throughout the day were too expensive but this one was $10. It was a little messed up, shape-wise, and therefore it probably originally sold at the garage sale the company had for it's rejects. But for me, it was Alamo and cheap so it came home with us.

We headed up through the Bar W area after that. It was pretty dry collectible-wise (although the ground wasn't!) up that way too until I spotted a vintage silk white robe with navy trim. Given it was exactly opposite of what I found earlier in the day I thought I should try it on. It didn't fit very well but the dealer said she had more clothes under this big pile of stuff. Then it was like the Collectorator Heavens opened up and went AHHHHHH!!! in that pile we found this really cute cute cute quilted pink robe with black trim that zips up the front. $20 = Mine, especially given that it fit well, like a dress. Even the belt is like the kind on a dress. I envision myself wearing this constantly when I am old. Everywhere. I am going to be the crazy lady in the pink robe...mark my words... If that wasn't enough CollectoratorOne pulled out another pink nightgown peignoir set from the 1940s. It's stunning. I have a lot of 1950s/1960s peignoir sets but not one from the 1940s. The fabrics on the two pieces are different, the nightgown being silk and the robe being organdy, but they definitely go together. The tags are slightly different, both by Gilbreath but the night gown says Nightlife by Gilbreath. Again $20 = mine. I can't find any info on it right now on the label yet.

Our next stop was at the booth with the man with two first names who always recognizes us and loves us. He's had clothes the past few times and gives us a nice deal with the "lady friend" is not around. All the clothes had been rained on and so they were quite soggy, so even better deals were in order. We scored everything for $10 each so that was nice. CollectoratorOne got a soggy Gay Gibson velvet dress with a little jacket, and I got a nice white Jackie O dress with a big poofy rose on it which will go perfectly with this awesome pair of white gloves I have (presuming the dress fits of course). I also got a cute green and orange cotton dress (also not sure it fits yet). We left there and got something to drink and I promptly dumped part of my iced tea into my bag with the nice white Jackie-O dress. ugh. Everyone knows that tea is a nice way to dye fabric....there was nothing I could do at the time, but when I got home later I tried to oxyclean it out but it turned into a "Cat in the Hat" style stain spreading all over the dress. That meant I had to bring in the big guns to get the stain out. One of our favorite dealers in town gave us this cleaner that like oxyclean uses oxygen to clean, but you have to let it sit over night in the solution. It is worth the wait because that stuff works. Not only has it fixed all but ruined pillow cases stained beyond help, but now my nice white Jackie-O dress. I have no idea where she gets it or I'd share...

We trudged along awhile longer getting lost and turned around in Bar W. No matter how many times we try to get that right we never seem to. I am not sure what it is about Bar W, it should be renamed Bar Triangle because you might go in there and never get out! We wrapped things up pretty quickly after that, none of the booths we usually have luck at had anything we had to have this time and the wind started picking up so all the dealers were scrambling to save their stuff. We decided to just head back to pick up the desk and end tables instead of trying to forage on. We didn't go up past Bar W where we sometimes find stuff in the giant tent, and we didn't go across the street where we usually find some good stuff. For some reason, time just got away from us, but it was a good day nevertheless.

Bar W will always be the site of my favorite Warrenton memories. We have had a lot of fun over the years in that area. My most favorite Collectorating memory though was when we were driving out of Bar W one time and CollectoratorOne spotted a painting she had to have that she didn't see when we had walked by there before. I hopped out of the car, bought the painting, and was back in the car before anyone behind us good get mad. Now THAT is good Collectorating skill. To this day it's one of her favorites, a Terone I believe?

Next came probably the most fun part of the day, watching CollectoratorOne work her magic, packing everything we bought into her SUV. If you ever move, you want CollectoratorOne directing the packing of your van. She will perfectly fit in as much as possible in a very nice neat organized way. I don't know how she does it, her brain must just work that way. It took awhile and some trial and error, but as luck would have it one of the legs unfortunately fell off one of my new end tables and ended up being a key to getting it all to fit in the SUV. I really wish I would have taken a picture of the packed SUV! It was impeccably packed. We drove back hoping we would not have to slam on the brakes because I don't think my little end tables would have been a good opponent to the desk. We have had some incredible times packing things up and driving back. I'll have to share those in my next post. "Collectorators On the Road"

All in all, we had a great collectorating day. I spent too much money of course, but all on things that I will love forever so it's worth every dime. CollectoratorOne won this time in all categories: money spent, find of the day, and deal of the day!!!

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