Archive for the ‘This just in!’ Category
We’ve brought a collection of angels and costume jewelry to our booth space at the Hancock Antique Mall, located at 266 North Pennsylvania Avenue in Hancock, Maryland. Ask for the Orion’s Attic booth in the back right corner of the main part of the store and you’ll see signs with our name on it. Prices range from $4-$25 on average but everything in our space is 50-percent off the sticker prices for June. Check out a photo album of the angels and jewelry.
We’ve got porcelain angels, glass angels, Christmas angels and some little figurines. One of the angels plays music when you squeeze her. The costume jewelry includes bracelets, pins, earrings and necklaces. Hancock Antique Mall is open every day of the week except Wednesday.
You’ll find a lot of other good stuff in our section, too. We’ve got a nice array of colored glass, crystal, clear glass, a little bit of pottery, drop-leaf end table, child’s bench, shot glasses, beer glasses and boxes of inexpensive art. We add more to our section on a regular basis.
The staff will be happy to point you to our Orion’s Attic section.
Do you have a neat collection of antiques or collectibles that you would like to sell? Contact us today.
Won-ok and I didn’t wake up on May 28, 2011 planning to have a life-affirming day that would still bring joy to our hearts a year and a half later. We didn’t plan to buy a hand-made wagon and fall so madly in love with it that we held on to it until 2013. (We put it up for sale today on our Web store.) It just sort of worked out that way.
Our intention then was to simply show two new friends representing the Japan Bear and Forest Society a little slice of America before they returned home: That meant only one thing — minor league baseball. We picked up Tomoko and Kaz at a D.C. hotel and headed north. Bryce Harper and his Hagerstown Suns teammates weren’t slated to take on the Asheville Tourists until the evening, giving us plenty of time to wander around Maryland before the game.
We jammed on the brakes when we passed a countryside yard sale in a hamlet called Foxville, Maryland. Most locals know it as Sabillasville. We didn’t know it at all but we were budding entrepreneurs with a vision for expanding the range of items Orion’s Attic sells. All American pickers have enough sense to stop when they see a front yard full of stuff for sale and a barn and shed behind the house. Tomoko and Kaz were mesmerized, too. They had no idea what a yard sale was.
I confess I did pause for a moment before we got out of the car. I wasn’t quite sure how an elderly white woman and her barrel-chested husband with military tattoos on his bulging arms would react to a Toyota Prius filled with a white guy, his Korean girlfriend and two Japanese folks. Bonnie and Gary Swope, though, greeted us like long-lost family the second we set foot on their driveway.
Won-ok and I filled a few boxes with items we knew we could easily re-sell. A wind chime enchanted Kaz while a couple of owl figurines grabbed Tomoko’s attention. The more we shopped, the better we got to know the Swopes. Turned out that Gary was a Navy man, serving from 1960 to 1964 — including a stint at nearby Camp David the year that JFK was assassinated. Gary then spent more than 30 years working for Mack Trucks in Hagerstown before he retired.
Even before calling it quits there, though, the son of a sawmill operator got out into the woods, and his workshop, every chance he could. We didn’t know that until after he and his wife had given us bear hugs goodbye and we were piling back into the car. He asked if we had a moment to see something he wanted to show us.
Gary escorted us to his workshop and pulled out a miniature wagon — also known as a goat cart — that he made from Linden wood near his home more than 20 years ago. He built the wagon as a little but exact replica of a four-horse wagon used in a bygone era. He said you could hook a goat to it and use it for modern day chores, though his has never been put to work. It’s in mint condition like the day he finished it. It took him an entire winter.
“I’ve got a lot of hours in that,” he said in a video interview now on our Orion’s Attic You Tube channel.
All four of us were struck silent by the quality of his craftsmanship and the notion that we were gazing at something made from the very woods he loves. The more he told us about its construction, the more riveted we became.
I didn’t want to insult Gary by asking him if it was for sale and I certainly didn’t want to add salt to the wound by suggesting a price that was too low. I spoke telepathically with Won-ok as we often do in this business and asked him if he thought he might ever sell it some day.
“I hadn’t — until just now,” he said, as if surprised by his own answer.
Won-ok and I braced ourselves for a price that we suspected would be well beyond our means, then nearly gasped when he tossed out a figure that we could manage. We didn’t have room in the car that day but we could speed right back the next day. We had to have that wagon and we had to capture him on video talking about its history so we could share his story … and perhaps provide the next owner with a DVD to keep with the wagon.
We all made another round of goodbyes and headed to Hagerstown for some baseball. Asheville dominated the Washington Nationals’ Single A team for eight innings — making phenom Harper look foolish on curve balls. The Suns stormed back and won it in the bottom of the ninth. Our Japanese friends loved the drama as much as they did the ballpark food and ice cold beer.
Our conversation continued flowing the entire way back to D.C. They shared their philosophies of life, centered around the concepts of love and gratitude, and we shared our remarkably similar views. We delved into questions about the essence of nature and conservation. (I was still working for The Wilderness Society at the time.) We wondered which nation was filled with worse drivers.
Won-ok and I bid them farewell and raced out of the house the next morning to buy Gary’s wagon.
“What made you decide to let it go?,” I asked.
“I am getting to the age now where I don’t know what’s going to happen to me,” he said. “Then I’d never know what happens to this. I’d like to know where it’s going and what happens to it.”
We thanked Gary profusely for the honor of selling us such an extraordinary item and allowing us in turn to find the right home for it. That home has been with us for 19 months. Will it be with yours next?
Queen City Flea Market on 1 Bennett Lane in Cumberland, Maryland may be one of the state’s best kept shopping secrets. Locals know it and love it. Serious antiques and collectibles buyers shop there. Still, the place doesn’t have a Web site and online map services like Google Maps can’t find Bennett Lane. (Head to Franklin Street between the railroad tracks and Columbia Avenue.)
Its relative obscurity actually adds to its allure. Orion’s Attic found it by accident on a random day trip to Cumberland, feeling like we had just stepped through a corn field to find our own indoor, three-story field of dreams. The place was packed with all kinds of stuff and shoppers were buying it with gusto. We promptly chose to join the large roster of vendor selling in the market by obtaining our first space there despite the 130-mile one-way drive from our base in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The decision turned out to be a great one. Many months later, we have now added yet another space to our domain — linking about five spaces together on the third floor … Queen City’s own attic, if you will. Find our clearly marked section by going up the stairs to the third floor and heading toward the life-size cardboard stand-up of John Wayne. We fill our vast array of floor space with truckloads of collectibles and a few small pieces of furniture and discount it all by 50 percent because we are currently overwhelmed by inventory. You can scoop it up year-round on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
We’ve done very well there. Just as important, we’ve had a heck of a lot of fun getting to know owner Lenny, manager Roxanne, vendor Dave (who works at the site to manage his cavernous flea market real estate) and many other vendors and staff members. Won-ok and I learned very early in our entrepreneurial lives that one key to our happiness is making sure we only do business with people we enjoy spending time with. Staff and shoppers alike fit that bill at the Queen City Flea Market.
We love our regular “commute” to the Cumberland mountains. We bring new merchandise to replace what has sold, visit our friends there, and then go goof off around town and around the area. Queen City has been our passport to the northwest Maryland region.
And oh by the way, you should absolutely make a point to visit the market — heading to the Orion’s Attic section on the third floor first, of course.
Here’s just a partial list of what’s on our shelves: Colored glass of all colors and varieties; Barbies, Hess trucks and other fun toys that even grown-ups love; alcohol and tobacco collectibles including glasses, mugs, clocks and other items with various beer company logos along with an unusual collection of ash trays and lighters; Elvis and Beatles records and memorabilia; massive amounts of china; oil lamps; vintage kitchen items; a nifty collection of figurines (animals, Hummels, and others including some made in occupied Japan); a bit of pottery; post cards; art; end tables and chairs; seasonal items (currently featuring a huge Christmas display including Keepsake ornaments, Santa Claus figures, candles, porcelain, etc.); all kinds of home decor and household goods. See more than 200 photos of our section in our Queen City photo album on the Orion’s Attic Facebook page.
We bring boxes and boxes of stuff every time we visit, sometimes selling it as fast as we unpack it. Find out what we’re bringing next by “Liking” our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/orionsattic (where you can also tell us what you would like for us to bring). You can find out about all of our latest news and upcoming events by signing up for our e-newsletter from the top of our Orion’s Attic home page and by following this blog.
Make plans now to head to Cumberland, explore the city and all it has to offer and romp around Queen City Flea Market — especially our section on the third floor. Be sure to say hello to Roxanne and Dave and tell them that Orion’s Attic sent you.
Don’t forget you can also find our antiques and collectibles in stores including Copper Fox Antiques in Sperryville, Virginia; Old Glory in Frederick, Maryland; Hancock Antiques Mall in Hancock, Maryland. Be sure to attend our estate sales and Upscale Yard Sales, too.
The need for one I could understand. Maybe he was a groom who had somehow dropped the ball in historic fashion. The need for two? That was odd. We were selling them for cheap, though, figuring someone would buy them from us and turn around and re-sell them. I never question paying customers’ motives, though, so I told him to come on over.
He was stunned by the quality of the dresses and took the first two without hesitation, agreeing to the $50 price for each.
“I was just about to start driving around to every thrift shop and Goodwill store in the Washington D.C. area,” he told us. ”I’ve got to be at the airport tomorrow at one o’clock because I’m going home to see family in Haiti.” He added a third dress to the pile as he spoke. Three were in mint condition. The remaining had some tiny stains on them that we knew could easily be cleaned.
“My sisters run a bridal business,” he continued. “They rent out wedding dresses because people in my country are too poor to buy them. They had been telling me for six months that I had better bring some wedding dresses back with me the next time I came home.”
A big smile crossed his face as he went on. “They said they would kick my butt if I didn’t.”
I asked him if he was interested in the fourth. He wasn’t sure he wanted to spend the money on one more but he knew his sisters would like all the dresses he could carry.
“What if we made the last one just $25,” I replied.
“You bet. The dresses don’t mean anything to us and I’d rather the last one go with you than sit around here for who knows how long.”
The young man thanked us profusely for making his day. “I’ll be a king when I go home now,” he beamed.
I pictured bride after bride in Haiti putting the 2010 earthquake behind them and starting a happier phase of their lives — walking down the aisle looking resplendent in a dress Orion’s Attic was able to provide.
I’ll give up $25 for a vision like that any time.