A “Digger” Sale

When we scour our online sources for upcoming estate sales, there’s nothing that we like to see more than a “digger” sale.  What’s a digger sale, you ask?  Well, picture boxes stacked to the ceiling, furniture arranged like a jigsaw puzzle , an episode of Hoarders in the making.  We know many people who won’t go to these types of sales since they require gloves, flashlights, and a strong back.

This sale was particularly hard-core since there was no electricity or heating in the house, so it was below freezing.  Yes, I know…we’re crazy.  Even so, we were first in line, mostly so we could snag an Alvar Aalto bar-stool and chrome eye-ball lamp that we spied in the photos.  I forgot to take photos of these last week, so you’ll have to picture both in your mind’s eye while you look at the other smalls we snagged at the sale.

Honestly, most of the items at this sale were in really rough condition (including the Aalto stool, sadly).  The person had wrapped early 19th century books in saran wrap, ostensibly to protect them, but he actually just gave moisture a place to chill out and grow mold.  We saw so many ruined books at this sale that it was heartbreaking.  The only one we ended up pulling out of the moldering stack was a first edition of Eugene O’Neil’s Long Days Journey Into Night, with its original dust jacket.  Thankfully, this book didn’t have any problems with foxing or mildew.

The rather atomic ceramic piece is by Charles Houston, whose name has been almost lost from the annals of 1950s ceramics, sadly.  We think this black-and-white piece has a lot of personality and–what’s more–he’s from the Central Valley of California, which isn’t known for it’s production of art pottery in the 1950s like Southern California is.  If anyone knows more about Houston, please let us know!

The other piece of pottery that we pulled out from the depths of smelly boxes was a piece of Lapid ceramics.  I’ve blogged a little about Lapid before and I continue to think that Lapid is one of the sleeper companies that will soon become more popular with collectors.  It’s gorgeous stuff!  Our piece is up in the shop for anyone who’s interested.

The final piece we snagged is the brass organizer in the back of the photo.  We love vintage office supplies–let’s face it, they’re much more sturdy than the plastic crap we pick up at most office supplies stores.  This file organizer is constructed out of a single piece of solid brass and would be a welcome addition to your (teak) desk.


  1. Reply
    SixBalloons December 11, 2011

    Wow, how exciting, you are definitely hardcore. =) I agree though, the sales where you have to work hard usually have the most treasures.

  2. Reply
    Nikki December 12, 2011

    I love that kind of sale. That black and white dish is fantastic!

  3. Reply

    […] actually found this Nambé bowl at last weekend’s digger sale (we blogged about the sale here) and finally took a few good photos of it.  This is an earlier Nambé bowl and features the […]

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