Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Vintage Shopping Bag

Just because you don't always get what you expect, doesn't mean you won't love what you get.

The other day I took a drive down to Conn. in search of a guaranteed find at a bargain price. Is that what I found? Well, kinda.

Rewind about two years (ish). My mom and I are at the Brimfield Antique Market (click image to the left to learn more) in, you guessed it, Brimfield, Mass. and we are on a quest: find vintage buttons to add to my (then small) collection. Here's why.

First, let me tell you that if I am in search of anything, my mother is the one I want to take with - she will uncover every nook and cranny like she's searching out my heart transplant donor. Plus, she will get the price that is fair - with just a raise of the eyebrow. AND you cannot find a better support system. Yeah, momma's got my back.

So there we are in the midst of thousands of dealers on twenty different fields, all lining a one-mile stretch of Route 20. We park down this long alley, pay our five-dollar parking fee and get out of the car. We pass the port-a-potties and head straight to the first pavilion. Behind the very first case we see is standing a friendly, chatty woman. I ask if she has any buttons and there began my serious quest for antique buttons. She whipped out tons of special beauties - metals, glass, mother of pearl, ceramics - you name it, she had it. I picked out my favorites and I walked away with a happy little bag full for 20 bucks.

On this day we visited a permanent building that I had been to once before (months earlier when I dragged my helpful children to join my search - but that's a story for a different day). This place is called the Brimfield Antique Market. Straight through the door, hang a left at the back wall, down several feet and there lies the mother lode of all mother lodes. I picked but didn't buy much there because I was out of cash. But I vowed to be back.

So fast-forward a few months. I go to the spot of the mother lode and to my horror, mother lode has packed up and left town! What a disappointment. The woman working there, who probably sensed I was on the verge of tears, was kind enough to give me the name and number of the owner of the mother lode - a.k.a. "the button guy."

I got in my car and called the button guy right away. I felt like I was on a drug quest - I needed to gain access to those buttons! The button guy had moved his stuff to a new location - the Vintage Shop in Conn. - his own shop. Whew.

So this week I finally made it down there and was surprised to learn that not all of the buttons had made it. He said he has more in storage and I'm convinced those are the ones I came to see. Well, I browsed around anyway and I found some very interesting collectibles.

(click image to enlarge)

  • Two silver button hooks that were used in the late 1800s to early 1900s for buttoning up items with many small buttons - womens' garments and boots.

  • A hand-carved bone hair pick/hair stick/hair pin - something like that - ca. 1800s - I'll have to do more research on this item.

  • A pair of large green celluloid buttons - they almost look like carved wood. I think these are from the early 1900s.

  • A bunch of small carved mother of pearl buttons with a purple tint added - gorgeous!

  • Some glass buttons from the turn of the century - they actually look like they may be mother of pearl.

  • Three different sizes of mother of pearl whistle buttons from the same time period.Whistle buttons have one hole on one side and two holes on the other.

  • And some snap cuff links from the 1920s-1930s - never saw these before and had to Google them to confirm my suspicion - art deco era.

There are some other items too: a pair of resin covered golfers, more mother of pearl finds, some hefty wooden buttons, a couple brass beauties and a tiny 4-H pin that I found cute.

My favorite? The snap cuff links - because they're new and interesting to me. I searched them out online and found similar pairs going for upwards of $50 - wow.

So, how much did I drop? A measly 15 bucks. I got an excellent deal and the "button guy" has definitely found himself a return customer - even if he didn't have what I was expecting to find.

1 comment:

Lorelei said...

wow. I am so jealous of this lot of goodies. You'll definitely have to do some button shopping for me.