top of page
  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Dustable Collectibles

After my mother was diagnosed with dementia in 2007, I would go to garage sales to find inexpensive, hand-sized (easier for her to manage) gifts to cheer her up. I went garage sailing once or twice a week for about five years, until mother’s passing in 2013. So, I know about garage sales in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois. I can tell you that early afternoon on Thursday is the best time to go, as that is when many sales begin. IMHO (in my humble opinion) Downstate Illinoisans have the best garage sales in the country, perhaps the world*. They sell really good knickknacks at really good prices. Mother grew up here and my garage sale finds were of a style to her liking. I enjoyed the light in her eyes when I brought her a new bauble, and I also found her some impressive collectibles. She enjoyed hearing how I had bargained for them.

For example, I found for mother a half-dozen very nice figurines in fine condition, 6” to 18” tall, of porcelain country folk, all in the same backwoods style painted in the colors of nature, set in vignettes of fields, foliage, and wood cabins, of rustic men in overalls with heavy farm tools and loyal dogs at their sides, children hauling water buckets or playing prettily, worn women with honest faces in gingham dresses cooking or reading, each one with a unique theme and rendition. I found the figurines at several garage sales about town, all within a few weeks, which was unusually good luck, but then if your recreation is to go to twenty garage sales on the very first day that they open, good opportunities await. Soon after, I found several more of the smaller ones pushed to the back of a dusty shelf at Mission Mart in Bloomington, Illinois, the store that re-retails household articles and retail overstock that is donated to Home Sweet Home Ministries, a ministry which “demonstrates Christ's love through innovative approaches that instill hope...” (And the ministry men who unload my own donations from time to time have the good manners and quiet aspect of people who are being helped.) Mother recognized that the figurines were true collector’s items, and put them in pride-of-place on the top shelf of her lighted, glass-enclosed, six-foot high curio cabinet, above other curios that she herself had found when she could still drive to garage sales, and several lumpy works of clay art created by her three children along the years. The porcelain figurines may have been overlooked by serious collectors because the hill land from the lovely stream-fed Ozarks in the center of this country to the foggy blue smoke ridges of West Virginia near the east coast, known as the American Appalachia, is not fashionable right now, but under the light you could see how cleverly each figurine had been formed. Mother may have especially like them because her father came from the backwoods of Kentucky, where there was once old growth forest, small, clean lakes teeming with fish, and one-room schoolhouses. I attended a professional sociological conference in Litchfield, Kentucky just so that I could then drive south into the hills to see the old homestead. The family later sold off the precious old-growth, hard-wood forest, and then sold the land which was pocked with sinkholes. There were caves and memories there, but I did not feel safe enough to go spelunking.

When I found these cute-as-can-be porcelain ducklings at an estate sale I bought them for myself as my Good Daughter Reward. The previous owner said that she had inherited the ducklings from a relative who bought them about a hundred years old, a pleasant fact. The two duck planters are fifty year-old treasures that someone got tired of dusting, and their style is to my liking, so I am the one to dust them now. These are my only dustable collectibles.

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

* According to the internet, garage sales in Scotland are called carbootsales, in France they are called vide greniers “empty the attic”, and so on.

Caption: Five vintage 3” porcelain ducklings and eggcup.

Currently owned by Annmarie Throckmorton, 2008.

Caption: Vintage 6 ¼ " decorative porcelain yellow duck Planter Figurine

(Fitz and Floyd).

Currently owned by Annmarie Throckmorton, 2008.

(Fitz and Floyd embossed mark)

Caption: Vintage 5 ½ " decorative porcelain brown duck planter figurine

(Mr. C. Iola Wisconsin).

Currently owned by Annmarie Throckmorton, 2008.

(Mr. C. Iola Wisconsin sticker mark)

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page