We love a good mystery, and when it comes to the flea market we never know what we might see. Sometimes we don’t even know what it is when we see it!
At first we thought this was a fancy cork display, until we realized they were old-timey receipt picks, and the corks were just there to protect the tips. Even after being fooled, we each bought one for our desks. A fun way to keep flea market receipts tidy!
Hard As Nails
One time we ran across a two-foot long leather strap with a hundred nails poked through it. Kitty thought it looked like an ammo belt for a nail gun. Then she noticed that each nail head had a different number on it. But why? Turns out it was someone’s collection of railroad date nails. These nails had years embossed on the ends and were hammered into railroad ties to mark the date they were last repaired. The seller said to look for them in old fence posts that were once part of the track. A collectible we’ve never heard of!
On one trip to the Alemany swap meet, a dozen colored glass domes caught Jennifer’s eye. She picked one up to show Kitty—and, boy, was it heavy! An industrial paperweight? A mini lighthouse model? Nope. The vendor said they were from old utility poles and used to insulate the wires. Jennifer fell in love with the aqua and green ones, and she’s been a collector ever since. Rare and unusual ones cost a bundle, but she won’t pay more than $3 as a rule. She keeps them lined up on a windowsill to let the light shine through. So pretty!
A Chinese Riddle
Sometimes we see something so unusual that we take bets on what it is. So when we saw this handmade wooden thingy, we knew the challenge was on! Kitty said it was some kind of sled. Jennifer guessed it was an extra large mailbox, but couldn’t explain the handles. Before long, two fellow shoppers were drawn in—a cabinet with a towel bar? A cart for crowded Chinese markets? The seller took pride in telling us we were all wrong. It was an antique scoop from the Far East used to gather and spread grain. Kitty knew it would add a farmy touch to her hearth, and for $100, she scooped that scoop right up!
Punched Tin Puzzler
Is it a pet cricket carrier? Not quite. This punched tin and wood box is a mid-1800s foot warmer! A little door on the side opened so you could fill it with hot coals and use it as a portable heater. We think it would warm any space with or without hot coals!
We both assumed these painted wooden sticks were juggling batons from the circus. But the next booth had some that were unpainted, and some had thread on them. Although, you could juggle them if you want to, they are actually vintage textile spools called “beehive bobbins.” But we call the painted ones folk art. And for $25, Jennifer called them hers!
A Real Knockout
Yes, you can have your own fire department battering ram. A bold conversation piece, and just what you need to knock down a door in a pinch!