5 October 2022

Winter is coming and I’ve been meaning to get some antique bellows for awhile. I found this one on Etsy. It’s from the 1930s and I love the green leather. It’s not in super great shape, but it works well.

Total spent today: $51.72

Playing Cards

10 May 2018

I’ve been on the lookout for some really good-looking playing cards for the room that are in decent shape for a decent price. I finally picked out a couple sets from Etsy, but I’m sure I’ll find better ones in the future.

Total spent today: $37.78

Depression Glass and Postcards

22 April 2018

Today Jenny and I hit up Brass Armadillo in Des Moines on the way home from a trip and we got some good finds.

First, we’ve been looking for a good set of depression glass glasses that were a good color at a good price for the last few years and today we finally settled on one.  We’ll probably pick up some martini glasses or some saucers in the future if we find some good ones.

There was also a booth which had more postcards than I had ever seen in one location and they were all categorized by location and/or holiday (but not by year).  If I had to guess, I would say there was something like 10,000 postcards!   Unfortunately for me, the peak of popularity for postcards was around 1900 to 1925 so almost all of them were from those years.  With limited time, I could only look through a tiny fraction of them, but I managed to snag two from 1943.

The first shows the CBS and NBC radio studios in California that opened in 1938 and the back reads:

“I am enjoying my stay here very much.  The weather is so nice and the homes and surroundings are very pretty.  I can’t imagine homes of movie stars being any prettier than some are on this street.  Michael is fine and growing so fast.  And is he frisky!  Can hardly imagine I have been here over a month now.  Love to you and the family.  Mary.”

The second is a picture of the Illini Union at the University of Illinois in my hometown which was completed in 1941 and says:

“Just arrived here in Champaign-Urbana about 1.  Had lunch at this beautiful Union Bldg., have look at and in some of the new buildings.  After visiting Dr. and Mrs. Litman in a short time, we shall return to Chicago this eve.  Beautiful magnolia blossoms here – red-bud just starting.  Love James and Edwin.”

Total spent today: $53.64

A Trunk

16 September 2017

Every Christmas I make my rounds as Santa Claus and now than we have a 3 year old, I need to be extra careful with keeping my big red suit hidden.  As such Jenny and I have been eyeing some antique trunks on craigslist for awhile now and through that, we met a gentleman in Fremont, NE who restores 19th century trunks.  Out of nearly 20 trunks in his garage, we picked out one.

Total spent today: $160

A Wooden Pony

28 March 2016

I found this wooden pony at Brass Armadillo today.  It had a tag that said it was handmade in 1930.  We brought it home and let our 19-month-old daughter play with it. She was afraid to get near at first, but after some encouragement she loved riding around on it.

Total spent today: $32.50



A Christmas Tin and More

27 November 2015

My uncle and cousin were in town for Thanksgiving and as always, whenever we can’t think of anything to do, I suggest going to Brass Armadillo.  Usually, the stuff there doesn’t change very much from one visit to the next, but everyone started putting out Christmas things so it was a good trip.

I picked up a really cool Christmas tin whose tag said it was from the 1930s. I found some awesome reproduction vintage wrapping paper made by a local business called Sweet Vintage Wrapping Paper. I also picked up a Christmas Card Record book to track cards you’ve sent and received. Finally, there’s a Sears Roebuck and Company pamphlet called How to Decorate your Home from 1941.

Total spent today: $18.99

A Lantern

23 November 2015

I’ve been looking for a lantern for a long time, but they’re often overpriced and/or very rusted.  So on occasion, I take a glance at eBay and I recently came across this Dietz No. 100 Special which was manufactured in 1947.  Unlike a lot of antique lanterns, it has the cap to the kerosene reservoir and the wick so it should work, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Total spent today: $37.99

A Pipe

2 November 2015

I’ve been looking for a pipe for a long time and they’ve been generally too expensive or in bad shape.  But this week I took a peek on Etsy and found a good Medico brand one from the 1930’s.

Total spent today: $26

Fremont Finds

1 November 2015

Jenny and I were driving home from Cracker Barrel and we thought about going to the Brass Armadillo since we were in the area and the baby was being nice and quiet, but the problem with our Brass Armadillo is the items don’t change very often.  So we spontaneously decided to road trip to Fremont, Nebraska about 30 minutes away.  I had never been to Fremont before, but we went to four different shops there.

I picked up a 1943 calendar with tips for homemakers and a year-long weather forecast, a bar of Proctor and Gamble soap (it was only $3 so I thought, “why not?”), a couple of Nebraska State Poultry and Turkey Show ribbons, a copyright 1940 version of Parcheesi aka India board game.

I also found a Children’s Activities magazine from October, 1940.  One page has an American flag with 48 stars on it.  Another page has drawings submitted by children; their addresses are also listed.

Finally, I picked up another Saturday Evening Post, this one is from December, 1943.  It has an ad with Santa promoting cigarettes and an article about the benefits of eating ice cream.

Total spent today: $40.39

Notepads and Mail

20 September 2015

Jenny and I took the baby on her first road trip and we went to Kansas City to visit Jenny’s friend.  We only had about an hour before the drive home to go antiquing so we went to the Kansas City Brass Armadillo.  I had to be quick and skim each seller’s booth as fast as possible, but when I hit upon one that had some quality stuff, I didn’t look at any other booths; I just grabbed some well-priced things without doing too much Googling on my phone.

I did pick up a Prince Albert tobacco tin for $5 which are very common, but this one had a Mississippi 6 cent tobacco tax stamp on it so I knew I’d be able to date it once I got home.  Unfortunately, it’s from between 1958 and 1962 so I can’t put it in the room.

In 1920, some drug stores across North America started rebranding themselves as Rexall.  So it makes sense that they would start handing out Rexall-branded notepads around that time.  I found one of those notepads that belonged to a student that was a Roscoe High School sophomore in 1920.  Based on some of the names in the pad, the class colors, and the class flower, it seems Roscoe High School was in Coshocton County, Ohio.

There are some class notes and some essays and near the back, someone was tracking their spending habits.  They bought a lot of candy, cookies, and ice cream too.  Rent was $5, an umbrella was $1.50, and hairpins were 5 cents.

I also picked up a Dannen Mills notepad which was empty except for the owner’s name, address, and phone number.

Finally, I found this Movie Shots Film Co. letter which had a photo postcard and instructions for their newspaper contest.  I’m guessing the company was short-lived because the only trace of this company I could find on the Internet only tells me it was incorporated in 1939 and they had a booth at the New York World’s Fair that year.  Apparently, they had photographers take peoples’ pictures and then selected one to include in the Philadelphia Daily News newspaper.  If you bought the newspaper and saw a portion of your photo in it, you can bring your postcard back to the company and claim your cash prize.  It seems like an ingenious way to get newspaper subscribers.

Total spent today: ~$3.80

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