Breyerfest Day 7 – Arrived in Kentucky

Huzzah! The sight of the Newtown Pike exit and the Clarion hotel sign are very welcome after a week on the road. We were chomping at the bit to arrive, so we only stopped at one mall on the way in and didn’t find anything to buy. I think we were in a daze and ready to unpack and settle in for Breyerfest.

We spent the day unpacking and setting up the room for sales. I lucked onto a luggage cart which, even though one tire was flat and the steering was disabled, was still better than lugging everything in by hand. Packing is always easier than unpacking, since the last stuff into the truck was completely random, and of course working in the heat of the afternoon in the parking lot was not easy. NAN had just finished up but the parking lot was not full yet so we didn’t have too far to move everything. There were many people arriving and settling in, so there was always someone to help get up the curb or hold a door.

It is amazing how much more space is in the suite compared to a standard room. I had stuff piled everywhere, we could barely walk around for a while. I don’t know how I did it when we were sharing a room and trying to sell! Both beds in the bedroom were piled with boxes while we sorted stuff and got the shelves set up. It is so nice to have the main door to the suite, I have the entry hallway in the bedroom piled with empty boxes.

The hotel is starting to look like Breyerfest. There are shoppers in the halls and flyers all around the hotel. I will say the new restaurant is a bit, um, upscale for the event? They have wonderful food and drink, but a far cry from the old tattered around the edges place. Breakfast took over an hour catching up with friends and chatting over coffee.

Finally, I think the room is about ready to host shoppers! We open tonight at 4 PM for our members event, then after that for everyone. I am very excited and can’t wait to see everyone again!

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Breyerfest Day 6 – Missouri

Onward and eastward we go. It is getting hotter and muggier each day, I think we will be swimming in a spa in a day or two. We got to enjoy some of our favorite antique malls but they all close early in this area so we had to miss a few.

I had to laugh at this booth. It was one of those “pile stuff everywhere” booths and also had a bunch of the get organized genre books scattered around. The ’Cut the Clutter’ book featured here was ironic placement.
I saw this booth and fell in love. Everyone needs a giant dinosaur around the house! Frankensteins monster was looking stylish with the scarf as well. Dealers that have a theme or style to their booth really look great and attract attention. The truck is far too full right now to buy anything larger than a napkin, but I hope I find another giant dino on the way home.
There are many booths that leave me scratching my head. Those that are so full you can’t get into, those that seem to think putting price tags on items is too much work, but the random accumulation booths at least add a smile to my wanderings. I don’t know who needs a personal trampoline and a ceiling fan, but this dealer has you covered. I am not sure if using the trampoline is a threat to the fan or if it could help in installation though.

I really liked this mall with the super skinny booths down the middle of the wide aisle. It gives a nice space for furniture and bulky stuff, but you can see through the space so it opens up the mall and creates more interest when shopping. This is a pretty large mall and it can be overwhelming for shoppers and this area is kind of in the middle so it breaks things up from the usual crowd of 3-sided booths.

One thing that kind of surprised me this trip is the sheer number of movies for sale in booths. I would estimate that over half the booths had VHS, DVD or Blu-Rays (and some had laser disks or Betamax as well). I am not sure if it is because I now look for VHS to resell that I am noticing them or if they really are more popular in general. I also saw several shoppers carrying movies to buy, so that is a sign they sell pretty good.

Tuesday will be mostly a driving day; then arriving at the Clarion, unpacking and setting up to sell so I don’t think we will be doing more shopping in the next day or two. I have plenty of photos and stuff to say about our trip so far so stay tuned for more!

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Breyerfest Day 5 – Kansas

Wow, it is getting very hot and muggy! Luckily most of the antique stores had some air conditioning, because fans aren’t cutting it anymore. It was a pretty long day since most of western Kansas is fairly empty and since it was a Sunday many of the stores were closed. We did get to 5 stores and, of course, bought some treasures.

I loved this vintage Santa, and i am not sure if the composition was intentional or not, but ’hiding’ him behind an open shelf was pretty clever. I do wish more dealers would use larger price signs for furniture, searching a shelf unit for one of those string price tags (especially if it is covered in merchandise with identical tags) can be a frustrating exercise.

We went to a new-to-us mall, very expensive and nice stuff, and I LOVED that the booths were wide and shallow! I could see almost the entire booth, depending on the dealer furniture arrangement, easily from the walkway. It can be frustrating when I see something I am interested in at the back of a booth and can’t get to it due to too much stuff stuffed in the place.
Speaking of dealers that understand they have to help shoppers want to buy their merchandise, this dealer took the ’lighting sells’ slogan to heart! The booth was open and easy to get into, the front shelves were glass so you could see everything, and they lit almost every shelf with the strings of LED strip lights. It was so bright in this area it lit all the booths nearby. I am quite sure shoppers spend more time in this booth and this dealer does quite well in sales. It did remind me I need to do a better job in my booth of lighting and there are new products to help instead of just the old metal spotlights.

One never knows the backstory of course, but this dealer needs to pay more attention to their display. They had nice stuff, but the execution was sloppy and made the whole booth look neglected. There was a piece of furniture blocking the aisle, pictures were hung askew, and items were set down backwards or on top of other items without care. This horse figurine was the most obvious example. I don’t know if the dealer was tired when setting it out, or a shopper wanted to see it and put it back that way, but when I saw it I thought someone was making a commentary on the booth. This mall was too nice, this dealer needs to pay more attention to their space.

Finally, I think this will be my favorite moment of the trip. I literally laughed hysterically for a bit when I read the tag. Pure classic meme material for the model horse collector. Honestly I think the dealer wrote that price and either laughed themself to death or twirled their mustache and laughed maniacally. The ’Brayer’ misspelling makes me think it was an alien trying to copy humanity poorly or a self-aware hipster being ironic, but we will never know for sure.

Well enough writing, I am off to do more shopping!

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Breyerfest 2022 Day 3 & 4 – Colorado

Wow, time flies on the road, one day blurring into another. We stayed the last 2 days with family, spending time visiting and shopping. The Denver area has lots of wonderful flea markets and antique stores and there wasn’t near enough time to visit them all. We did get to shop at our “must do’s” – the Ft. Collins flea markets and the Brass Armadillo.

I was quite pleased to find this Maureen Love/Lane/Provincial pegasus in our second shop of the day! Muddy Hoofprints has a wonderful blog post on these horses and their history. i have found several variations over the years, but this is my first Pegasus. I can’t wait to get to Breyerfest so other collectors can see this piece in person!

To be honest I enjoy the complete funky randomness of antique stores even more than finding treasures. It seems there is something interesting, unique or stark crazy around every corner. I have taken a ton of fun photos, but this is my favorite so far. This was in a fairly staid shop of wonderful expensive antiques. Who even thinks ”gee, I have this hip mod mannequin, you know what would look fabulous on it? A suit of armor!”

Also in the annals of random stuff to sell, old metal bathroom window sun shades. They do have great shape and color, but a bit limited application. Unless perhaps you want to put your mannequin in a suit of armor outside and need some shelter for it…
Since i am featuring the odd and possibly creepy today I present the ’must have’ home accessory for today: the ride-in toy fire truck with possessed child passenger. Perfect for the Fireman themed kids birthday party or cult horror film! Multi-purpose! Heck, you could probably start a moderately popular video channel featuring this prop.

Overall I was again quite pleased to find the stores full of shoppers and stuff. All the shops I loved are still open and the dealers are still bringing in awesome merchandise. Prices are up overall, but I am still finding great pieces to purchase. We still have a few days on the road and I am looking forward to what the next antique stores have to discover!

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Breyerfest 2022 Day 2 – Wyoming

Wow, there is a lot of driving to do in the first couple of days. Today was 300+ miles and 6 antique/thrift/flea markets. Weather is nice, lots of clouds, and we had a bit of rain dropping into Cheyenne. The truck is running well, and the load on the back is secure. We crossed the continental divide, and had quite a bit of road construction to deal with.

I do love the shops in Wyoming. There are lots of neat western antiques and the stores are cool to wander in as well. There are converted markets, old brick warehouses and wonderful 40s shops with tile entries and detailed display areas. I appreciate shops that put in a good effort to show off and take advantage of what they have. This thrift store had some nice details, but they didn’t keep up the display areas. Just a bit of rearranging and this area could look super-sharp and show off the cool furniture.

Then there are the over-achieving dealers. This next dealer knows that featuring stuff helps shoppers visualize items in their homes. As and antique dealer I can pull something from a dark corner and know it will look sharp on display, but not everyone can imagine that. This shop front with windows and lighting really stands out and invites you in to browse.

I love stores with multiple rooms and floors. I love to explore and discover treasures. The straightforward shop with even rows and good lighting is fine, but the rambling building where you can’t see the back and the aisles zig-zag at random through uneven rooms is exciting. Antique stores promise the unusual and rare, and it is fun to be surprised by the shop as well as the contents. My favorite thing is to turn a corner and see even more space to explore.

I am very impressed at the overall quality of the modern folk arts and crafts I am seeing in the shops. I am taking lots of pictures of creative projects I tell myself I will do someday. There are the usual projects with cutlery bent in interesting shapes and lots of things turned into lamps, but also lots of new ways of combining old things with a really high level of craftsmanship. This bar was an old dated oak piece originally, but someone really took it to the next level with the modern country update. Unusual bar renovations are popular and have become pretty common, but this one stands out from the crowd.

It was a long and fun day, and the empty boxes are already filling up. No photos of our finds for a few days, we are just too tired at the end of the day to do much more than crash into bed. We have to get our rest to get energy to attack again tomorrow!

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Breyerfest 2022 Day 1

Huzzah! I have been awaiting this day for 3 years! We are back on the road to Kentucky. This year I am selling from the Alysheba Suite with a friend so I had to up my packing game. I got about 40 boxes of horses to sell in the back of my pickup and 8 shelf units in a cargo carrier on the back. This makes it a bit awkward to park and maneuver in tight parking lots. We are undeterred and enjoying the trip so far.

We drove 700 miles today and lost 1 hour to a time change. Weather was beautiful, cool in the morning, warm afternoon and lots of thunderheads to watch build during the evening drive. Lunch is PB&J on the road to save time for our favorite activity- shopping!

I was quite pleased to find most of our favorite antique stores are still open. We made it to 5 stores today, which was pretty good for only having a few hours to shop. Most stores were busy with shoppers, and there were people at the counter buying which was wonderful.

I was a bit dismayed to find much of the merchandise is very long in the tooth, and overpriced for what it is. Even the thrift store prices have gone up, and the stuff for sale has not improved in quality. If the tag is faded and illegible it might be time for a sale. Also, just because new merchandise is more expensive, it doesn’t directly correlate to higher prices for vintage stuff.
I was quite impressed at the creativity of many of the dealers in repurposing items. There were several times I stopped and thought ’wow, that’s a great idea’! It helps shoppers new to buying vintage feel like they are hip and in on something special instead of just buying used stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised to find DIY craft videos about some of the projects I saw today.
While we didn’t fill the empty boxes we brought (yes, I always have room to bring empty boxes), we did make several nice purchases. We love sales, and our big purchase of the day came from this sale corner. All the other buys were from thrift stores. Today is a long day of driving, so no daily purchase picture tonight, I will try to get one tomorrow so you can see what we decided was cool enough to buy. Overall it was a fun day- 1 down, 30 to go!

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Virtual Day 7 – Horses Everywhere

It seems no matter where I go I see horses.  They follow me, and I notice the equine shape just about everywhere.

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Going out to eat?  Horses!  This was a chic bar at a new trendy shopping center.  So arty!  I liked the use of the metal horse collar pieces and horseshoes in the sculpture as well as random tools and locks.

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Attending a home tour?  Horses!  This was the only horse art in the place, loved its placement in the garden.

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Visiting a museum?  LOTS of horse art.  I see equine sculpture and paintings in classic museum areas, but you don’t see as many in modern art sections.

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Visiting an architect home and studio?  Keep your eyes open – this horse was built into the wall.

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Antique stores have herds of horse figures in every nook and cranny if you look.  But don’t miss out on more unusual places like lap rugs.  As an aside, I think this could make a great meme template.  That horse and dog have seen some stuff..

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And finally, horses can pass you by at an antique show if you don’t keep your eyes open.  Unfortunately not for sale, this show shopper knew how to keep out of the sun in style!

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Virtual Day 6 – Out Shopping

I was going through withdrawals not antique shopping this week!  So I decided to go out and hit a few thrift stores to scratch that itch.  I stopped by an estate sale and hit gold!  Never got to the thrift stores, but filled the trunk of the car with only one stop.  This sale had great advertising, and had tons of great stuff.  Semi-organized, but still had to root through boxes – that is where the good stuff is!  I just got home and unpacked, so I have tons of work to clean, research and list this for sale, but I had to share the goods!

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First up is a bunch of dollhouse furniture.  I like to buy small, easy to pack and ship stuff to resell and this fits the bill.  I will have to look it all up (and clean it up), but there looks to be some nice pieces in here.  The room dividers in the lower left are very cool, the diamond blue bathtub, yellow kitchen stuff and the light blue bathroom stuff look good.  I will likely break this up into a few lots of similar items, it will be fun to research!

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Bunch of miscellaneous stuff.  The music items were a whim, I loved the note caddy shaped like a piano and picked up the other items to round out a nice lot.  The sewing patterns I took a chance on, could be good, could be duds, but I liked the artwork – especially the cool western ’70s guys!  My best finds are the two cowboys in the middle.  I believe they are Hartlands – I am not an expert, but the plastic, molding and paint jobs are key tells.  Hartland gunfighters can go for a TON of money, and they came with hats and guns (they might not go to these figures, but you can still sell accessories for collectors to complete sets), so I am hopeful.

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I hear you now – “Knee highs and thigh highs?!?” – yes, these can go for quite a bit of money.  I don’t question why the buyers want them, but new in package hosiery is quite popular, and I love how easy to ship!  The mermaids and fish are all repainted and some are repaired, but they are also very popular with collectors.  I can try to get the paint off, or sell as is.  The ones with sea horses and fish are the most popular, but I can sell these all day and night as they are.  I think the mermaids are Lefton or Norcrest, which are the cats meow for collectors.

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Halloween is a hugely popular holiday.  Collectors, of course, prefer older items, but even recent vintage stuff with good graphics and design is popular.  The two skeletons in the middle are pirates, and I bet they glow in the dark.  Horror VHS tapes can be worth big bucks, especially some of the more cult classic flicks.  I will always pick up these if they seem to be in good condition.  I don’t have a VHS player anymore, but if they are clean and in good shape they still command good prices.

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Finally another bunch of miscellaneous.  Needlepoint kits and books, especially discontinued, are easy sellers.  I found 2 older bags from local businesses with great graphics, so those might go to the antique booth.  Vintage Christmas is hit and miss. I got the tree topper because those tend to be popular and this one was in nice condition.  The glass ornament is totally faded, but I loved the ‘Made in the US of A’ around the top.  Don’t know if I have seen that before.

Hope you enjoyed – I know I will be busy for the next few days having fun playing with my purchases.  So get out there and happy hunting!

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Virtual Day 5 – Favorite Antique Shows

Fair warning – I live on the west coast so this list will skew towards my home base as these shows are easier to get to.  They are all fun, and I hope to get to some antique shows in other parts of the country as I can.

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First is one of the biggest antique shows in the country – Alameda Point Antiques Faire.  Held the first Sunday of the month, they get over 800 antique dealers!  It is held at the Alameda Naval Air station on one of the former airplane runways.  It is well organized, with rows labeled and laid out with good access.  I don’t think I have ever left without buying something.  Bring drinks and snacks, it is a hike to finish the whole thing.  I get tired before the end, and only power bars help me get through.  This is one place I can say they have almost literally anything you are interested in.

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One for the midwest – the Randolph Street Market in Chicago was small and mighty.  They had jamming live music, great food trucks, a good variety of antiques and collectibles (mostly well curated) and a great location.  They have an outdoors section and an indoors area with two levels in Chicago’s Plumbers Hall.  Great building and great antiques make for a fun experience.  I totally enjoyed this market, and would love to go back.

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Back to the west coast – the Sacramento Antique Faire ranks in my favorite list for several reasons.  It is close to me, small enough to get through without total exhaustion, but big enough to have a good variety of dealers, and is underneath the freeway so it is shaded in the summertime!  I hit this one as often as I can, and rarely leave empty handed.  They have so many fun dealers I almost regret using this picture, but really – I have been to lots of markets and faires, and this is the first one I ran into a goat at the port-a-potties.  She was a local, and evidently liked to wander about and greet people.

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Billed as the largest antique and collectibles show in the US, Brimfield is actually a collection of multiple antique shows held along one section of highway 3 times a year.  I only got to attend once, and it was amazing.  Days and days of shows – small ones, big ones, flea markets and high-end shows – it went on, and on, and on…  I highly recommend, as there is something for anyone here.  One thing I did notice was many dealers just up and moved around from show to show during the week.  You would see something interesting, then the next day find it at another field.  You still had to jump on good deals, but if you liked something that had been around the show for a bit you could usually bargain and get a good deal.  Beware – there aren’t many hotels close by, we had to stay in Connecticut to get a decent rate.

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And finally, I love one of my local shows – the Hot August Nights Swap.  It is predominantly car related stuff – gas pumps, ceramic signs, car parts and so on.  What I like is that the car dealers will bring along just about anything else they think they can sell, and the non-car stuff tends to go cheaper.  Likely true with most specialty shows, I have gotten great deals on stuff here because the dealer specialized in something else and just threw boxes in the trailer to take up space.  I also love the design of early automobile advertising, so the old ephemera and signs are a treat to see preserved.

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Virtual Day 4 – Jamboree

I thought I would reminisce today about a beloved model horse event – The West Coast Model Horse Collectors Jamboree.  I loved it because it felt more intimate in scale and also more inclusive than other shows and events in the hobby.  Held at a host hotel (first at the Red Lion then the hotel at the Pomona Fairplex) there was a lot to do and more air conditioning than Breyerfest!  Pardon the photos, this was before I had a digital camera so I am taking pictures from old scrapbooks.

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There were all the things to do you would expect at a large event.  There was a large model horse show, spread over several days with classes for everything you could want – and this was before NAMHSA.

35CB8F4C-211C-4DFD-8A0E-F831A7AF666CThere was a benefit auction, and what I loved was the variety of items included.  Hartlands, Hagen Renaker, Peter Stone Horses as well as Breyers, with customs, signed artwork and many other makes and models.
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It seemed everyone came to this event, and there was time and space to see it all.  I remember the year Peter Stone debuted the first ‘factory custom’ at Jamboree.  Live horses came, there was a dinner and workshops as well.  Oh, and a vendors hall, room sales, and did I mention air conditioning?

F989B9AE-541A-43FA-8C51-47F0D7B3DC96Another one of my favorite parts was the Tricked Out Pony contest.  It was a customizing contest with a twist.  Every entrant got the same blank model.  It was great to see the variety of ideas people had, and all the different places they went from the same starting point.
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Expecting the unexpected makes the unexpected expected as they say.  The event was in Southern California in the fall, also known as fire season.  We could see the flames from the hotel, and everyone’s cars were covered in ash that year.  There wasn’t ever a big earthquake during the event, thank goodness!
There really hasn’t been another event like Jamboree – small enough to do what you liked but big enough to attract just about everyone.  It was a destination event that everyone could find something interesting to do.  Every medium was represented, from flat work to bronze, there were shows and seminars, food and fun.  I loved the hotel at the Fairplex, it was a real suite hotel with separate sleeping and living rooms, perfect for selling and socializing.  Oh, and did I mention just about the entire event was air conditioned?😁

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