October 29, 2009

Who gets geeky for old books? I do! I do!

We've recently been talking about expanding our home gym (we currently have an elliptical, a bike, a heavy bag and some weights, but apparently that isn't quite doing the job), so we've been thinking about a rowing machine.

(OK, *I've* been thinking about a rowing machine. T. thinks it's unnecessary. He's probably right. But I think I would like it.)

So I was looking through our local ad paper (it's called The Shopper; it's adorable), reading through the auction listings for last weekend, and I saw that one estate sale was advertising used exercise equipment, including a weight bench, a back inverter (?!) and...drum roll...a rower! Yes! This meant:
  1. I'd get to go to an auction, something I haven't done since I was little, and I'd get to have a nice fall day outside on a Saturday.
  2. I could potentially get some exercise equipment for super cheap. (I have mentioned my cheapness before, yes?)
  3. I could scope out other cool stuff (or, as T. calls it, "crap we don't need that will just end up cluttering up our house").


So I bribed my neighbor into accompanying me, and we made the 90-minute (!!) trip Saturday to the auction site. Where...it was raining. And freezing. But there was a concession stand with hot chocolate and an Amish family selling pastries, so it was all good.

We started scoping out the goods. This was a HUGE sale, with everything from farm equipment to Oriental rugs, furniture, hardware, tools, a popcorn machine and nacho machine (!), housewares -- you name it. It took us an hour just to make the rounds.

By far the coolest thing (in my opinion) was the entire garage full of old books and magazines. I LOVE old books -- I have a few that I've acquired over the years from the 1800s and early 1900s -- and I was COMPLETELY smitten. I could barely bring myself to leave to go check out the rest of the sale. In one room, they had:

  • STACKS of Life magazines from the 20s, 30s and 40s, all in amazing condition (with lots of stuff about WWII)
  • A box of Playboy magazines from the 60s (I know, I know, but it was still really cool)
  • A couple of copies of the New Testament from the 1800s/early 1900s
  • A passport with a Nazi symbol on the front
  • An entire table full of WWII documents, many of which were written in German
  • And a GIANT book that, while it was hard to make out, appeared to have the words "National Intelligence" written on the front.

Um. Wow.


We could tell from the crowd that there were some serious collectors in our midst, and we heard people saying that there were going to be a lot of phone-in bidders, so we didn't fool ourselves into thinking we'd actually be able to get any of that stuff with our limited budgets. But still: To be standing in a room with that much written history was, for a nerd like me, amazingly cool.

We reluctantly left, meandered down to a huge pile of household goods and started pawing through a couple of boxes. Mostly junk (as is typical for these types of auctions). But I spotted something that looked like a scrapbook in the bottom of one box, and I pulled it out to take a peek.

The owner had taken the time to compile a scrapbook of portraits of many of the key figures in WWII, pictures of the planes being used, etc., plus an article proclaiming the end of the war and talking about Hitler's downfall. Digging down deeper, I saw the box also contained a couple of really old magazines (early 1900s) that apparently hadn't made it to the garage with the others. I got really excited and immediately piled a bunch of junk on top of the magazines, hoping no one else would notice it...

Except this woman (who was, incidentally, dressed like a lumberjack). When it came time to bid on that box -- MY box, as I was now thinking of it -- she was ALL over it. I told myself there was no way I was bidding more than $40 (I know, it isn't that much, but hey -- times are tough). Miraculously, apparently that was her limit, too, and...I got it! Bwahaha! Eat THAT, lumberjackess!

(I also bought some other crap, including a box of junk for $3, and I did end up getting the rowing machine for the bargain price of $7. Heehee.)

When I got home to examine the full contents of MY box, here's what I ended up with:

  • A bag of super old needlepoint and knitting stuff (I do knit, so I thought this was kind of cool)
  • A box full of about 40 antique ladies handkerchiefs (some of them were REALLY cute)
  • An old yearbook from 1929
  • A tiny book of MacMillan stories from the early 1900s
  • The scrapbook of WWII pictures and articles (which also included a WWII ration card and some other ration coin-type thingies)
  • About 10 sheets of three-cent stamps from the WWII era (tucked inside the scrapbook)
  • A Ladies Home Journal from 1919 and a bunch of other magazines from the 1920s
  • A huge stack of newspaper clippings from WWI and WWII, showing battle positions, talking about the wars, etc.

All in all, I'm pretty psyched -- the antique book nerd in me is over the moon about the books and magazines, and I think I may be able to sell the stamps and the hankies. It was definitely worth $40, in any case.

Now I kind of wish I'd stuck around to bid on the Nazi passport...

5 backtalk:

AthenaBee said...

I have a Shakespeare collection and text books from the 1800's and all of the National Geographics from the 60's, 70's and 80's. NO idea what I'll ever do with this stuff, but I love it. My mom and I would stop on the way to the hospital to deliver my child if we saw a good estate sale.

Anonymous said...

I am SO jealous. I would totally go w/ you. No bribing required. :)

65 Roses for Marcia said...

I would love love love looking through a box like that!! Fun that you got it!!

Kendra said...

That sounds totally, cool, S! Way to go on your find and your sweet deal on the rower. :)

helsalee said...

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