An occasionally updated chronicle of estate sales in the city and suburbs of Chicago.

"It's such a guilty pleasure..." Lynne Stiefel, Pioneer Press

Friday, October 23, 2009

Barrington Bought and Sold

People often ask about all the valuable stuff I find at estate sales. It seems that everyone's heard that story about a painting that was purchased for $10 at some garage sale and turned out to be worth millions.

So let's use this Barrington estate sale as an example, and see what kind of underpriced treasures we can find.

This is the family room. It was worn, but comfortable and clean.

The kitchen was right next door.

This vintage Frigidaire wall oven offered the convenience of "easy-reach" cooking and is probably from about 1962. The company called this color "Aztec Copper." The door could actually fold all the way down, flat with the cabinet beneath, for "easy-reach" cleaning, too. I couldn't find any information on what's it worth today, but one of the old ads goes for about $10.

Vintage college pennants can be had for $3.00-$9.00, though some bring as much as $45.00, depending on the college. I should have bought that "69," for all the obvious reasons.

Mid-century dressers can fetch anything from $75 to several hundred dollars, depending on the designer, manufacturer and condition. This one was priced at $125.

Behold the Texas Instruments TI-2510, one of the first "pocket" calculators the company made. It originally retailed for $59.95 in 1973, a fair amount of money back then. It offered just four functions -- add, subtract, multiply and divide. Thirty-six years later, you can buy a drastically smaller calculator that does all that and has a memory function, in your choice of colors, at your local dollar store. This model is still available for $29.99 plus shipping on eBay. This estate sale had it priced at $10.

This book was published in 1953. According to the good people at Google Shopping, it's worth anywhere from $3.00-$90.00, depending on the condition. I probably could have bought it for a buck.

If you want to go to Europe on $5 a day, you first have to go back to 1957, when this book made its debut. In the 2004 edition (the last available) the title had changed to Europe from $85 a Day. Sadly, the series has now ended. It's available now only from for $19.17-$93.24, plus shipping.

Purchased: Vintage flannel shirt, $1.

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