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EstateSales.NET Blog

Listed below are various articles about estate sales, estate sale companies, and our office that we hope you find interesting. If you have any questions regarding the content on our blog, please feel free to give us a call or e-mail us. We answer the phones between 7am and 11pm Central time 7 days a week.

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Cookie Jars

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t delight at the sight of a cookie jar. Oh, what treasures does it hold? Chocolate chip? Snickerdoodle? Peanut butter? Oatmeal raisin? Just kidding. Raisins have no place in cookies. Regardless, the jars, not unlike the cookies inside them, have delighted children and adults for decades. And while Great Britain has had their own “biscuit barrels” since the eighteenth century, it wasn’t until the Great Depression era that the prototypical American cookie jar—colorful, shapely, ceramic—made its way into U.S. households. It’s generally accepted that the Brush Pottery Company is responsible for the first ceramic cookie jar as we know it. But other pottery and glass makers were close on their heels. This is unsurprising, since most of the popular American potteries of the time resided in eastern Ohio. Word travels fast, and Joneses must be kept up with. So the market for those culinary treasure chests quickly expanded...

Vintage Kitchen: Revisiting the Microwave Meal

Microwave ovens , both in their cooking ability and people’s attitudes towards them, have come a long way over the last four decades. Once a modern marvel of convenience—a technology promising to revolutionize home cooking—the microwave has now kept its vow, and as with many things, is taken for granted. People scoff at TV dinners, and relegate the microwave to the menial task of reheating leftovers or making last-minute meals. Microwaves remain popular because of their speed and convenience, but they initially promised so much more. It was expected to practically replace the conventional oven. They were faster, smaller. “The greatest cooking discovery since fire,” Amana proclaimed in an ad for its Radarange line. They were also quite different from the countertop cookers we know and love today. Some had heating coils for broiling and browning. Some monitored food’s internal temperature and adjusted cook time accordingly. They truly seemed like the (micro)wave of the future...

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is just a few weeks away. You knew that, right? There’s not a sudden sense of panic and dread setting in as you realize you’ve not even considered a gift for mom, is there? No, of course not. That’s why you’re her favorite. But maybe you haven’t quite settled on the perfect gift. Or maybe you're dealing with a mother like mine, who's just tough to shop for. Everything she needs, she has. The same goes for most things she wants. So when you’re dealing with one of those troublesome mothers—lovely, loving, and content in the life she has (so annoying, am I right?)—you might want to get creative. A gift she’ll treasure past the month of May won't come from the mall. That’s where we can help! Estate sales are a great place to find unique, high-quality gifts. They’re an opportunity to walk through a variety of personally-curated collections. You can buy what you want, taking advantage of the world travels of others, and their lifetimes of hobbies...

Name that Pattern

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Restoring Cast Iron

We’re big fans of cast iron here at EstateSales.NET. Many of us have at least one pan at home. Some have several. Most of them are relatively new and store-bought. Shame on us. Shame on us because whether it’s the adorable cob-shaped pans made for cornbread, the questionably-shaped acorn pan, or a traditional skillet, estate sales are chock full of vintage cast iron treasures . And even if they’re not in peak condition, a little elbow grease and a little more time will turn those tag sale finds into kitchenware finer than what’s in the store today, and at a fraction of the price. Because frankly, vintage cast iron has a lot going for it over contemporary pans. They have a smoother finish, which improves its non-stick qualities. It’s often lighter-weight. And it has a history, whether known or not, that a pan off the rack simply doesn’t have. Cast iron pans last for generations—there’s something special about finding one that's already lived one life, and bringing it back for another...

The Allure of Lures

My father’s tackle box was filled with odds and ends—an assortment of hooks, lines, sinkers, and a variety of colorful lures. My favorite bait was bright green, rubber, and shaped like an over-tentacled squid. I was never sure of its intended target, but I’m certain it wasn’t the tiny bluegill that hung around the docks I fished from. Needless to say, I never caught anything with it. Though that cephalopod would likely be considered “vintage” today, it would be worth far less now than when my father purchased it decades ago—if he still had it, that is. I imagine it’s stuck in the weeds at the bottom of Mark Twain Lake right now, one, maybe two tentacles hanging on to its rubber base for dear life, the rest chewed off by time and minnows. But there is a market for vintage and antique fishing lures, and estate sales are a great place to find them...

Five Things You Can Do with Mason Jars

The continuing appeal of Mason jars is hard to deny. Whether it's a green Lightning made over one hundred years ago, the ever-popular blue antique Ball Perfect Mason, or a more contemporary jar, the glassware's appeal is hard to deny. They've served myriad uses for over a century, from food preservation to home organization to more contemporary use as quaint wedding decor. All of this means that mason jars are frequently found at estate sales across the country at varying prices, depending on the jar's age and availability. But even if you don’t have fruit to can or nuptials to plan, you can still put these versatile jars to good use. Here are a few easy, crafty ideas. Apothecary Jars Even if you don’t know what an apothecary jar is, admit it, you want one just for the sound of it. Apothecary jar—classy, right? The covered containers were originally used by druggists to hold their pharmaceutical supplies, but now they keep home kitchens and bathrooms organized...

Identifying Bakelite

Estate sales frequently have large collections of costume jewelry . From faux-pearls and colorful brooches to stackable bracelets, the inexpensive baubles have an undeniable charm. And while some individual pieces may have more value than others, there is one particular type of costume jewelry that has become a collector’s item, and often comes with a collector’s item price tag. At first glance, Bakelite jewelry may look like your average plastic trinket. But it’s made of one of the earliest plastic resins, and its bright, saturated colors and retro feel have helped it continue its popularity on the vintage market. Bakelite (pronounced with three syllables, by the way: the middle E is short, not silent) was created by Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekeland in 1907 with industrial uses in mind. It’s nonconductive and heat-resistant, making it ideal for use in electrical insulators and radio and telephone casings. Unlike other plastics, Bakelite cannot be melted down and reused—heat will not change its shape...

In Pursuit of Pyrex

Once upon a time, there was a tag sale one town over from the EstateSales.NET offices, carrying nothing but Pyrex dishware. It’s a tale told at least once a month around here, and there’s a glimmer in every storyteller’s eye, not unlike a sea-salty fisherman recalling his biggest catch, as if to say “Aye, I remember that fateful day.....” The line on opening day, I’m told, was formidable. The selection was overwhelming. The prices were low. A perfect estate sale storm. The crowds battled, and shoppers emerged victorious. They understandably wax nostalgic for that sale. The thrill of the hunt is hard to resist. It’s a feeling many seasoned Pyrex collectors already know. Some seek out a pattern that calls to them, and work to collect the full set—bowls, casseroles, refrigerator boxes (lovingly referred to as “fridgies”), and their coordinating lids. Others seek out a certain dish—chip & dips, perhaps, or #401 bowls in every pattern possible. Others are content to scoop up any pieces that pique their interest...

Collecting teacups

It seems no estate sale is complete without a tea service. As part of a larger set of china or separated from the pack and sold as singles, those little cups and saucers have become collectors items in their own right. In many cases, it’s likely the dishes never left their cabinet. Put on display, perhaps only to be brought out for special occasions, if at all. Teacup life can be lonely. But they’ve recently seen a resurgence in popularity. Once the dowdy wallflower at the homecoming gala, they’re now the prom queen with a full dance card. Colorful cups and saucers can add a vintage flair in a home. And they’re versatile. Not only can you drink from them (what a novel idea), they can sit prettily on a cabinet as a jewelry holder, a home for small plants, or they can be used for other crafty projects . But before you run out and buy the first cups you see, propelled by the possibilities of all the pretty porcelain, you might consider a few things. Is it a teacup...

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