Print Friendly and PDF With Strings Attached: Estate Sale!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Estate Sale!

I've never met Mary N. She's 89 and lives in one of the area retirement homes -- until recently in an   apartment and now in assisted living.  Mary never married and lived with her parents. She stayed in the house after they died. She worked at Abbott Laboratories and was active in her church. She traveled extensively (especially with her friends Jean S. and Ione, both of whom I've met (Jean is deceased)).

She deeded her house and its contents to the church. In Zion that means Christ Community Church, the legacy church of the Christian Catholic Church on which the City of Zion was founded.  The house was one of the original Zion houses, built in 1904.  Mary's parents were the second owners (late 1930's).

I learned about Mary when I went to the estate sale the church is holding this weekend.  What great stuff!

Here's what I did NOT buy:  Vintage clothing in beautiful condition.

I asked if there was any historical material about Zion that the library could have. Yes, indeed, and Chris, the cashier, gave it to me. Here's the array, back at the library. (Chris already knew that the library will take left over books.)

Here's what I bought.

A heavy cotton floral table cloth (no stains).
A card-table sized Colorado souvenir cloth, never used.  ($10 and $6.)

 Hankies, unused. Note the coordinating set in the upper left.  The boxed group on the right are Irish linen.  ($12 for all.)
 Dress patterns from the 40's to the 60's. Some were never used. (Such is the fate of so many patterns!)   ($8 for all of them.)
This one is unprinted. Different shapes of punches tell where to match the pieces.

The big three pattern companies advertised that theirs were printed. Note the McCall's instructions--"the pattern with the printed cutting line."

(I'm going to give most of these to my niece who loves retro stuff, especially from the 1940's.)

Two sample packets of powdered starch (with the starch).

 This is an oak Singer puzzle box for attachments.   The inside is pretty dusty. There was a plastic bag with more attachments that I declined -- too fiddly to figure out what was what and some were rusty.  This was just $5.  (I paid much, much more than that for the first one I bought, 20+ years ago, because I thought I'd never see one again. I was mistaken. I've seen many, for a range of prices, with a varying quantity of attachments.)  [ This post will tell you a lot more about puzzle boxes.]

Do you remember these?  Mary saved them for years!   (38 at $1 each.)
Thanks to Google I found the history on this website  The Disabled American Veterans(DAV) purchased  The Ident-o-tag company in 1941. License plate keychain tags were used since 1938. The New York based "Lost Key Services" was among the first.There were other advertising tags used too, but you had to order the tags. The DAV was able to get the various state motor vehicle departments to co-operate with them and give them the mailing lists of the people who registered their cars. The DAV mailed tags with your license plate number on them and asked for a donation. The premise was that if you lost your keys, the finder would drop them into a mail box, and the DAV would return them to you. The program continued from 1941 through 1975, and was ended because of a "right to privacy" rule.

I carried my purchases home in this shopping bag which is an artifact in its own right.  (Macy's took over Field's in 2005.)

Now I need to go to Rolling Hills to meet Mary and thank her for her "custody" of all these wonderful treasures.


  1. Marshall Field's is what it shall always be. Macy's does not exist in my world when I am in Chicagoland.

  2. You shopped well, My Friend! Do you have a plan for the hankies, other than blowing your nose?

  3. I do remember the mini license tags. I should have a couple tucked away somewhere.

    When I go to thrift shops, I rescue or adopt hankies, and I use them. So many have lovely crochet or tatted edges.

  4. What treasures! Well for you, me, not so much! I love the handkerchiefs though. I have a collection from my mom that some day I will put into a quilt.


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