Great Thrift Store Finds

Previous to this weekend I would have started this thread by talking about my former roommate who found both The White Album and Abbey Road on vinyl with original inserts for $.50 each, or the coat I found that fit me as though it was tailored for me (a rare find for someone as tall and lanky as myself) and would have cost $200 or more new which I paid $10 for. But this weekend I think I found something that topped all of those: a painting of a purple horse give a pig a bath. I would not hesitate in saying that it is the oddest thing I now have decorating my apartment. I find it comforting to know that not only is there someone out there who paints things this strange but that I am not the only person who is willing to pay money for such things. I feel as though the mere existence of this painting makes the world a better place.

Initially I was going to post this in MPSISM, but I figured that it would be more interesting to hear about other dopers’ odd/exiting finds at second hand stores, so share away.

I paid $20 for a piece of wood measuring 18" x 36" that has a blowup of the Newsweek cover for October 11, 1982. The cover story is “WILD ‘CATS’–London’s smash musical pounces on Broadway.” For an Andrew Lloyd Webber junkie, it was a real find. It has a photo of nine of the original cast members in full costume.

I also got a framed window card for Christopher Reeve in The Fifth of July. When Footlight Records closed, they gave me their framed window card for Reeve’s replacement, Richard Thomas. The double set is worth quite a bit to your average theatre fan.

Excellent find!

I’ve never scored anything great, but I’m easily thrilled by small mundane finds. Kitschy teapots, old glass sugar bowls, that kind of thing.

I’m inspired by yours, though. I predict my browsing time is going to increase by half since I’ll be paging through each and ever picture now.

Not exactly a thrift-store find, but my mother bought some antique glassware for $500 at an estate auction about a month ago. She knew it was Moser, but not much more. She sent pictures to the guy that wrote the reference book about Moser and he provided her with as estimated value of about $22,000. If she sells it to a dealer, she should get about half that. Not bad, considering I had to drag her to the auction because she didn’t want to go out in the rain.


I got a pair of awesome Oxblood sheepskin-lined mid-calf leather boots made in West Germany sometimes in the 80s for £10 last week. I thought that was pretty great.

I also got a big chocolate leather weekender bag for £25 a few months ago.

I’m not big on decorative items or knickknacks, but I’m all for vintage clothing and accessories.

I recently picked up this, a first edition of R.A. Salvatore’s first hardback book, signed by both the author and the cover artist.

I can’t afford to keep it, much as I’d like to, but I think it’s a pretty good find.

I think the last great find was the Italian leather knee-high boots I found last fall. They were $7.

That painting is made of win, Alistair.

When I was in grad school preparing for my comps, everyone kept telling me I needed to get a Campbell’s general biology textbook, because it is The Bible for everything biology. But it was damn expensive, so I tried to make do with the rinky-dink text I already had.

And then I happened to go into a Salvation Army in NYC. While perusing the cluttered book shelf, I found a Campbell’s! It was an older edition (but not overly so) and the cover was missing. But for three bucks, I felt like I’d just won the lottery.

A few years ago I found a room-sized Oriental rug in perfect condition for $20. I still to this day bask in the glory of that find, even though the rug no longer matches my decor.

That is the best painting I have ever seen.

I’m a thrift-store junkie, for real, as in I have three I visit at least once a week, sometimes more. Some of my better finds:

A full length leather coat for $4.
A pair of dining room chairs for $3.
Food processors and pasta machines for anywhere from $2 to $7 (I use them for my clay work.)
A gorgeous formal black velvet halter dress, original $97 tag still on it, for $12.
Most of the bits and bobs that make up my vast collection of Rennie garb - skirts, blouses, belts, purses, baskets, boots, hats, scarves, etc.
A black wool, silk-lined Nieman-Marcus skirt with the original price tag (FOR EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!) still on it, for $4.

Oh, and a black wool, silk-lined, full length cloak in perfect condition from the 1940s, for $1.25.

A steel chair with a virtually indestructible vinyl seat from the original Southwestern Bell Telephone Company–no longer in existence–with a metal tag explaining its ownership screwed into the back…in my favorite color (aqua-lime green) that was made sometime in the early sixties.

It was five bucks. I love it.

Just today at Goodwill, I found two hand-crocheted afghans. $6.99 and $4.99. One of them is entirely done in a tight single-crochet, and it’s large enough to cover my king size bed! I actually kind of feel bad when I think about all the hours and hours and HOURS someone put into that, and how proud they must have been when they were done, and then it ends up in a thrift store. I almost feel like I’m rescuing the damn thing, in a way. Ok, so I’m a little weird about the subject…

I found an out of print book I’d been seeking for many years in a thrift store in Trail, BC, across from the Colander restaurant. We’d only stopped in to waste time between errands, and I don’t live in Trail. But I always glance through the books, and…

There it was–for a single dollar!

I don’t think so. I do that too, though I am slightly picky about color combos. My Mom was an avid crocheter and I KNOW how much time goes into those puppies.

An early painting by Peter Browne for $6. It’s not like anything in the gallery, rather it’s a nice “true-life” cityscape.

Lots of lace pieces. Not to be dismissed - vintage lace fetches high prices; $500 for a tablecloth by a collectable designer.

Rare pair of Wembley bookends - bought for $10 sold for $480.

Some antique china bottlestoppers in the form of ship’s figureheads - bought for $1 each sold for $200 each.

Formalwear for a cruise. $25 for a tux for my husband $7.50 for a gown for me. Ideal because it was a one-way cruise and we didn’t want to carry the gear back home again. (I never got to wear my gown though which makes it not such a great bargain after all).

But my Greatest Find Ever? Well, my favourite piece of Tupperware which I used almost daily for twelve years finally broke. I was lost in the kitchen without it. I walked into Vinnies and there was a duplicate! Brand new, unused, all the pieces! $1!!!

Lemme see…just this past weekend, I found a pair of Eddie Bauer jeans in a flattering style for me for $8, a Puma golf shirt with an embroidered Tennessee Titans logo (the hometown team) with the original tag ($40!) for $5 and another blouse for $5.

In the past, I have furnished several homes, built professional, formal and casual wardrobes, found many good books and some generally interesting stuff.

I went dress shopping at the Salvation Army prior to a show – what can I say? I like the idea of buying drag from fundamentalists – and I found a purple dress with big velvet appliquéd flowers on it that fit me like it was made for me.

As you can imagine, a purple flowered dress that perfectly fits a 6’2", broad-shouldered Scot is quite a find.

kung fu lola later noticed that it was hand-made, which makes me suppose that perhaps there’s a reason, related to its previous owner, that it fits me so well.

Let me conclude by saying that there’s something fucked up about the fact that it was easier, faster, cheaper, and more fun for me to find a ladies’ dress that fit me at the Salvation Army than a men’s shirt that fit me at Simon’s.

My sister found a stuffed monkey on wheels which you drag along (not a real monkey) for which she paid 10 cents.

I work across the street from a Salvation Army store and go there a lot–the last hour on Saturday everything is half price. Nothing has given me more pleasure than the brand new pair of lavendar suede work shoes I got for $7. It took me six months to get up the courage to wear them, there are so bizarre. Every time I looked at them I laughed.

When I finally did wear them, I got stares from everyone, including a run in with Woody Allen. A female cop trying to take care of something kept gawking at them, and one woman waiting for a green light just kept looking at them, even after the light changed.

I stopped by the office one day while wearing them and my Boss, who has seen me in some very strange outfits, was totally blown away.