Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah...

I stopped at a garage sale off of Susan Road in Oakville, MO this morning. The man hosting the garage sale didn't speak much English and sounded to be Eastern European. The items he was selling appeared to be from the 60's and 70's, so I'm wondering if he might have bought the house (50's ranch) including contents and was flushing it out. He kept pushing his cantaloupes too: "You want cantaloupe? They're organic!" Odd.

I didn't see a whole lot that interested me, but when I saw a stack of postcards, I rummaged through them. Buried within were 3 Kelloggs Cereal postcards featuring Tony the Tiger, filled out by a couple of brothers from camp in Pevely, MO. in 1966. Does anyone know anyone who ever went to summer camp? It was frequently portrayed in movies and tv, but I never knew a single person who went. The postcards span June 26, 27 and 28th, 1966 and were sent by brothers Gary and Bob (don't all me Bobbie) Bradshaw. Anyway, these are definitely a slice of Americana and I love the notes written home on back. This is the back of the card shown above. Kisses, but no hugs!:

The front of this card has "688 Pevely, MO" written in Tony's sign.
I love how he wrote "Mom" in the address and someone scratched out and replaced with Mr. & Mrs. Bradshaw.

The front of this card has "Teamster's" written above the "Camp" on the sign and below that, Pevely, MO 63070. "I Love You's. Bring Books?"

Can you imagine a kid asking his parents to bring books these days? It would more likely be "Bring Nintendo DSi and cell phone!". I wonder if his plea for "Come Sunday" was just for a visit or to take him home -- his fear being he would left another week! Oh, and one last thing: "I mess you's."
Oh, you laugh as his poor grasp of plural pronouns, but he comes by it honestly -- his mother wrote some doozeys on the other postcards which I will profile in an upcoming blog.
As seen on the postcard, the family lived at 4165 Potomac in St. Louis. According to Google, this is their home:

The above is just a snap of Google's streetview as embedding them seems to cause the blogpage to go crazy, much to the consternation of one of my followers... You can follow this link to the home.


Teamsters Camp 688 still operates as a children's camp. Now why didn't I think to look?!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Puddin' Head Twins - Separated at Birth, Together at Last

When I was a kid, my mom had one of these, the orange one. I used to play with it, but never knew what it's intended purpose was. Years later looking through an antique store with a friend, I came across it. I knew I wanted it, but the price was a little high. On the way home, we stopped at a thrift store. Low and behold, there was one on the shelf for 50 cents.
Doing a little research, I found that his (their?) name was Puddin' Head and it was a shaker mixer for a dry pudding powder made by Colgate (perhaps to boost their toothpaste sales?).
Skip to a couple years ago at a garage sale and I come across his Bizarro-world (think Superman) brother ("Me am Puddin'head"). When I saw it, a younger couple was looking it over, debating its value. They were clearly scoping the sale for eBayable items. Now, don't call me a hypocrite. Yes, I too sell some of my garage sale finds on eBay. But that's not why I garage sale. If I didn't have a love for it, I'd never do it just for the small monetary gains I've made over the years. After deciding it wasn't worth anything, they put it down and I promptly grabbed it. They were one step ahead of me the entire sale, and passed on some good items including a couple Ben Cooper masks I snagged.
Anyway, back to Puddin'head. I couldn't find too much on the internet about them other than a few shots of the original packaging courtesy The Imaginary World:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Country Camping with Barbie and Friends

When I was young, the only vacations my family ever took involved camping. We never stayed in a motel or even a cabin. My sister and I (and occasionally my next-oldest brother) would pile into the '70 Impala and we'd be off dragging the Apache Pop-up camper behind us. Upon arriving at a campground, my dad would sequentially throw us kids out of the car to guard a site while he drove on to see if there wasn't something just a bit better. Utilizing my mom, he could "reserve" up to 4 sites while he decided. Upon deciding, the call would go out and all other outposts would convene on the chosen site whereupon my father would swear the camper into submission.

As crazy and as simple as that sounds, those were days we looked forward to all year round.

So when Christmas of 1972 arrived and along with it my sister's Barbie Country Camper, I was probably as excited as her. Finally, my G.I. Joe (with the Kung Fu grip) had a recreational vehicle to...well, to *recreate* in! Sure, it was no man van, but if it meant he could go camping, Barbie's psychedelic, flower-power wussy wagon would have to do. So, when my sister wasn't around, Joe was off on an adventure, arm resting on the window, eyes fixed on the horizon.

Last week, that all flashed back to me when I found one in very nice condition at a garage sale off of Becker Road in South St. Louis County. My first thought was of course my sister, but I was pretty sure she still had hers (she does, I later found out) and of course secondly eBay. It was $5 so I felt pretty comfortable I'd get my investment back. As it turns out, maybe not. That's about what they're worth. Who'd have thought.

So here I am stuck with Barbie's Country Camper. But there could be worse things. The kids enjoy playing with it and maybe when they're not looking, Joe just might head out on the road again, adventure just beyond the horizon.

Split Second Lives!

The house is once again stocked with AA batteries, so I pulled out Split Second. I must have bee seeing double (or at least 2/3's) when I looked at the battery compartment initially. This game calls for 6, not 9 batteries.

So after loading it up, I turned it on and voila, we have LED. You select a game 1 through 8 as detailed on the back:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Here's How -- Dewey's Triangle Liquor

Is it me, or does it seem like people don't throw parties like they used to? Sure, there's birthday parties, but none of those "Hey, let's get together, have some drinks and eat some dip and chips" parties TV lead me to believe adults partook in. You know, the ones where the kids would hover in the shadows watching undetected. Maybe they do and I'm just not invited.

Anyway, here's a relic of those days courtesy of Dewey's Triangle Liquor in El Dorado, Arkansas. "Here's How, The How-To Book of Home Entertainment". Dewey's is no longer at that address -- it's now Tony's Fashions:

View Larger Map

The only Dewey's Liquor I could find was in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Maybe they moved:

View Larger Map

I don't imbibe, other than a little wine during the holidays, so let me know if you try any of the recipes in the book. And if there are any other sections you'd like to see scanned (see index), let me know.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Foods Men Hurry Home For

Yet another find from the great gumball/electronic games/Der Bingle estate sale. I found a box of miscellaneous papers (or ephemera, as we collectors like to call it). Mostly company-sponsored recipe pamphlets, the kind that would have been given away free when you bought flour, butter, etc. Most date from the 20's to 30's. Some are quite interesting with many pictures that would fit well in James Lileks' Gallery of Regrettable Food. I'm thinking about framing the montage above to hang in the kitchen. I'll profile some of the more interesting pamphlets, including one on how to throw a party and and another on mixing drinks in a later post. Bon appetit!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Der Bingle

How could I pass this up?

Columbia Records from 1955. It's 33 1/3, although it's only called an LP, no mention of the RPM. I picked this up for 10 cents from the same estate sale as the Toy 'n Joy vending machines. It has the original Woolworth's price tag of 95 cents, so I saved 85 cents over 1955 prices!

I'm particularly fond of the couple in the upper left corner.

I can hear the photographer, "Okay, get close like you're gonna kiss, but not *too* close!"
The songs on this album are:
"Learn to Croon"
"Blue Prelude"
"Ridin' Around in the Rain"
"Just an Echo"
"The Last Round-Up"
None are Bing's signature songs and from listening, actually sound from very early in his career.

Apparently, this was just 1 of a number of House Party Series albums which are detailed here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Toy n Joy

When I was little, the trip to the local grocery store or K-Mart wasn't complete without a stop at the bank of vending machines near the front door. It was a rare occasion that my mother gave me a dime or quarter for the encapsulated treasures or gigantic gumballs, but that never stopped me from staring slack-jawed at the possibilities. Later, when I had an allowance, I collected gumball machine prizes. Trolls (similar to the Dammit trolls, but smaller) and superballs are a couple I recall getting weekly.

Those memories came flooding back to me this morning. On my usual garage sale route, I found that the house I had bought the electronic games from was having another sale. I figured I'd stop in and see if there was anything I had missed or if the prices had been slashed.

Stepping inside, I immediately saw this to my right:

and this:

and this:

They were all labeled $10. As I was looking them over for the one in best condition, contemplating the price, one of the hosts of the garage sale came by and said I could have them all for $15. I was pretty sure I could sell at least one of them on eBay and get my money back, so I told him I'd take them.
At home, I was surprised how well they cleaned up; they had been extremely dusty. I noticed one of the machines still had some prizes inside, so after positioning them into the drop slots, I put in a dime and claimed my prize -- 2 $1000 bills! Alas, instead of Grover Cleveland, they sported a deer head. A clear tip-off they weren't legal tender. The vending machine in the first picture is in very good shape and I would imagine it was in the middle of the bank. The second one is a little rougher and has some paint wear. I couldn't find any manufacturer's marks on the last one. It also appears to have been repainted.

Only the red and blue unmarked vending machine had a key, so I opened it up. Inside was a 1965 penny which is probably about right for the era. I thought it was a mistake that there was a penny inside, but after trying, I found it was indeed a penny vending machine. From the inner workings, it appears to have vended loose peanuts or candy -- the kind you'd get a handful of.

The seller had told me the other two didn't have keys, but he thought the locks could be opened with a screw driver. I tried one and sure enough, the lock turned and I was able to remove the front plate. I was happy to find a bunch of vending prizes in a bag inside the machine:

I also noticed on the inside of the coin mechanism:

I wonder if I could still take them up on their offer?

The other vending machine's lock is functional, so the screw driver failed to open it. I wonder how much it would cost to have a key cut for it...

The two Toy n Joy vending machines are both dime vend and made for toy capsules. As you can see, they are made by the L. M. Becker & Co in Appleton, Wisconsin. They are still in business and they are still selling the Toy n Joy vendors and stock. Looking over their inventory there's not much I could buy to make a profit from a dime a piece. I may order some capsules though and fill them with the prizes that came with the machines and whatever else I can find -- I think I still have some of those trolls...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Great Moments in Garage Sale History

Welcome to the first installment of "Great Moments in Garage Sale History History History!" wherein I take time to profile a favorite or odd piece from a past garage sale adventure.

First up is the Philco Nine Transistor Radio.

When I think of Philco's, I tend to think of large 30's and 40's console tube radios. That's why I was surprised when I saw this transistor version for $1 at a garage sale. The owner, who was close to 60 said it was his when he was a kid. It's not the transistor radio I've come to expect, ie: small. This thing is relatively huge. 7 inches tall, 3 1/2 inches wide, 2 inches deep. I've been unable to identify this radio on the internet, but I would put it at late 40's/early 50's based on it's size.

It's made in Japan and takes 4 AA batteries that fit into a battery pack connected to a 9V battery connector. Works great.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mott Ramsey

It's an unusual name, Mott Ramsey (saying it's an "odd" name would seem rude). But, that's what I thought when I first saw it, stamped on a wooden crate I picked up at a garage sale a couple weeks back.

I'd picked up a few items at the sale, nothing of great interest -- a mechanics crawler so I don't have to lay on a piece of cardboard on the ground when I change my oil and a few other items that weren't interesting enough for me to remember at the moment. But as I was leaving, I saw a blue/green wooden crate on the ground marked "Free".

I put the purchased items into my car and headed back up to check it out. I opened it up and inside were odds and ends you might find in a garage collected over a lifetime -- nuts, bolts, switches, light sockets -- all collected in cigar boxes and carefully pieced together vintage wooden Velveeta boxes. As I was looking it over, the elderly lady hosting the sale came over and pasted a much larger sign that said, "FREE!!!" and strongly encouraged me to take it. Not one to turn down free items and being there was enough potential inside to find something, I agreed.

Handheld Electronic Games

I was at an estate sale today in South St. Louis county off of Mueller Road (Foulk Road to be exact). This estate sale was restricted to the basement. It apparently had opened on Friday (lots of estate sales do, although I believe it's a recent development) and that's another reason I dislike them -- I'm usually unable to attend on their opening day and miss the best stuff. But I did manage to pick up a few items including a Halloween Pumpkin candy carrier to add to my collection and a set of 3 NOS (new old stock for you not in the know) Super 8mm film reels with cases, still sealed with Target price tag (25 cents on clearance). I also found a couple of vintage Dr. Pepper soda crates. I'll keep one to hang on the wall as a shelf and probably eBay the other.

The best find was a group of vintage handheld eletronic games: The unfortunately-named Atari Touch Me, a Parker Brothers Split Second game (the design twin of the popular Merlin) and a Coleco Zap!

Touch Me and Zap! both work great. I haven't been able to test Split Second yet as it takes 6(!) AA batteries.

Atari Touch Me

Welcome to Garage Salin'

Why "Garage Salin'"? Because "Garage Sales" and "Garage Saling" blogs were already taken.

And because I've wanted to create an album of my garage sale finds for the past several years.

My history with blogs has been less than stellar. I love to start them, but then I tend to lose interest or just can't find the time to do the things necessary to post (scan images, do research, etc.) I'll do my best (but make no guarantees!)

I've been garage salin' for 30 years. My interest started when I was about 13, going with my mom and sister on Wednesday mornings. I should mention, sales in St. Louis are on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with estate sales closing out Sundays.

The purpose of this blog will be to document some of my more interesting (and not so interesting except to me) finds.

Which brings the question, what do I look for? The hosts of garage sales always ask me, "What are you looking for?" I always answer, "Whatever catches my eye." Because that's really what I'm looking for. I can't say there's a theme to my searches. It's just things that I find interesting. I do sell some items on eBay, but I never buy anything I wouldn't mind getting stuck with (because I have been stuck with things I didn't want but thought I could sell and couldn't!)

If I had to make a list of my most popular searches, they would be (not in any particular order), vinyl albums and 45's, books (vintage and children's), vintage dishes, electronic games of the 70's and 80's, board games pre-1980, vintage media (photos, film, etc.), vintage media equipment (radios, television, record players, film projectors, slide projectors, etc.), ephemera (a fancy name for old magazines, catalogs, ads, post cards, etc.)

I mentioned eBay earlier. I have made a little money over the years selling things I've found, but as of late, it seems people have figured out the worth of most things, and eBay continues to make it less and less profitable to sell there. So these days, most of my finds end up on my shelves, in bins, or at my own next garage sale.

Let's take a moment to discuss the various types of sales I attend. I prefer the Garage Sale/Yard Sale over the Estate Sale. Usually, garage sales are privately run and you have a better chance of finding something the value of which the seller doesn't realize. I tend to shop older neighborhoods where I'm more likely to find those vintage items I crave. Newer neighborhoods tend to sell mostly baby items and clothes. I like to do a quick pass by in my car and can make a pretty good assessment of whether I'm going to find anything interesting. Estate Sales: I have a love hate relationship with them. While there tends to be much larger volume and wider array of items at estate sales, they are typically run by companies who have already cherry-picked the best items and have priced the rest accordingly. There's another rule I really dislike about estate sales: most don't open until 8:00 a.m. I'm usually on the road by 6:30. I can't tell you the number of times signs promising estate sales have lead me to a house where a line of people stand outside like 13-year-old girls camped out for Miley Cyrus concert tickets. But if it happens to be later in the morning and the parking isn't too bad, I will stop. Which leads me to the love portion of my estate sale affair. I love walking around in someone else's house. Not in the creepy way you might think, but just to see the decor. Typically, these houses are stuck in the 60's, 70's, or 80's. You come to expect certain things -- dark wall paneling, shag carpets, a bar in the basement, and all too often mold. I've been in some houses where the mold spores permeate the air so much, I have to leave.

I'm starting to ramble and get into more detail than an introductory blog should, so let's wrap this up. Future posts should begin to demonstrate what grabs my attention and will elaborate on my observations of second-hand sales.

This should give a good idea of what motivates me at garage sales, let's get on to the finds.

Happy Salin'!
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