Souvenirs, things that remember when

C'est Le Vie


Last updated 7/23/2014 at 10:30am

In last weeks C’est La Vie column, I reported on the great bargain hunting opportunities at a couple of antique sales, both featuring unique items, retro household stuff and some honest-to-goodness antiques and collectibles, some more than 40 years old. The Victorian-era cheese platter, with the country of England its origin, made its way to a new home in the Coulee. I liked seeing an everyday household dish used in the early 1900s for sale right here in the Coulee.

The 1997 Wildlife Restaurant Plate, as pictured in that article, had a full color decal in its center and the year’s 12 months (decals) around the rim, and it is now in my collection of Grand Coulee Dam memorabilia. It’s a hanging plate, not one you would serve food on, and I paid $3 for it at the Maier sale, where I missed out on the Wildlife Restaurant water glasses, another quality retro find, that were selling for only $1 each.

Lucky me. I found another Grand Coulee Dam souvenir plate at a yard sale in Coulee Dam this past Saturday, a 10 inch plate with a decal in the center and gold leaf burst strokes around the edges. In perfect condition, this plate came from a USA company and cost $1.

Souvenir plates, cups and saucer sets, metal spoons, and all kinds of plasticware are considered retro collectibles; plentiful and inexpensive, many in the one- to five-dollar range, and the items usually commemorate specific areas such as states, cities, our great American parks, and attractions and events. Collectors will pay more for older pieces. Many steer away from anything made in China, but Japanese goods are OK.

So, if you’re looking for something to brighten up your home, possibly for display purposes on a wall or standing up in shelves or in a bookcase, try commemorative plates, like a grouping from one state or several representing the West or another region. The plates are colorful, many will be in good to excellent condition, and inexpensive. Go for it!

Hey, baby, I mean babe boomers, remember what kind of earrings you wore before pierced ears became the norm? The pierced look got hot thanks to the hippies, I guess. As I recall, from looking through my mom’s jewelry, she wore earrings with screw-on backs. But hold on, my grandmother told me that she had her ears pierced when she was a young woman, back in the early 1920s, and that later, after she married my grandfather, he gave her a pair of gold earrings with insets of rubies as a Christmas gift in the 1930s. And, he actually picked them out!

So, what’s the big deal about earrings? I guess it depends on what your taste in jewelry is. If wearing or collecting vintage earrings is part of your lifestyle, then you’re in luck, because if you have time to shop around, taking time to evaluate the merchandise is worth the effort. However, at a yard sale where earrings and other jewelry is offered up, you might need to make a quick assessment and decision if other shoppers are breathing down your neck or reaching for the same items. The saying “shop around” means you have more time to go elsewhere, to another sale or event, then decide. Sounds great, but more often than not, time is of the essence when costume or vintage jewelry is up for grabs. I’ve noticed that jewelry sells out fast.

Back to earrings. Two Saturdays ago, I purchased a set — a crystal necklace and matching clip back earrings — in perfect condition in the set’s original box, with the cotton batting inside and a store logo on the box. The crystals are beautiful with no marks or chips on them, and I’m guessing these contemporary jewels, made in the USA of German or Swiss manufactured beads, were never worn. The set, at half price, was a mere $5. Wearing the earrings should be interesting from the standpoint of pinching, so when I want to go retro, back to the 1950s-60s, the clip earrings will most likely pinch my earlobes. If you’ve worn clippies, you’ll appreciate this reference. What can I say except - C’est La Vie!


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