It seems appropriate to take my first step into the blogging world by somewhat briefly sharing how I got here. In the spring of 2013 my mother-in-law asked if I’d be willing to dive into a completely new (to me) hobby by assisting her with selling a close family friend’s estate of beloved antiques and vintage collectibles. I accepted the offer as a bit of a challenge since I’m a school counselor and have no prior knowledge or experience with this realm of the world… unless you count the year I spent in and out of Goodwill and thrift stores purchasing numerous bud vases for our June 2012 wedding.
Our wedding at Rivermill at Dover Landing in NH – photo by Bethany and Dan Photography
I began by rummaging through the estate’s numerous items and, when one struck my fancy, I’d spend time at the computer blindly searching for any information that could help me identify the piece. I’m typically not a fan of old dust, dirt, cobwebs, and (as other pickers are accustomed to) mice poop – okay, maybe I’m still a little bothered by mice poop! However, the more time I spent in the estate’s attic, basement, and other forgotten spaces, the more my threshold for grime grew.
It’s evidence of a good day of picking when you’re too dirty to sit anywhere but the floor.
Before I knew it, I’d be surrounded by dusty clocks, well-loved kitchenware, dolls with matted hair, and anything else you could imagine encountering when stepping back into another time. I’d ask myself, what next?
Research! I absolutely adored sitting down with a warm cup of coffee, my laptop, my trusty magenta suede notebook (which is just about full at this point… bummer), a good ol’ #2 pencil and, of course, a handful of antique and vintage collectibles. The thrill of discovering a piece’s origin – where it’s from, who it’s from, when it’s from – was truly intoxicating. Then there was the moment of truth when I’d discover the worth of an item. Sometimes it was expected and other times it was beyond imaginable that one small collectible could be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. I was hooked!
Being new to the world of antiques and vintage collectibles, I figured it would be beneficial to try out various ways of selling items. I first contacted local shop owners and dealers for a one stop shop and cash exchange. This was a good way to move items quickly; however, it wasn’t very gratifying. Next, I contacted auction houses for some of the more unique items, but found them to be difficult to reach and arrange appointments with. I then stumbled across Ruby Lane, an online marketplace for antique and vintage collectibles. I decided to open up a shop of my own titled Boeske House (you can find the link to the shop here when it reopens). Where does that name come from anyway? Mrs. Boeske was the owner of the estate that started all of this and my last name is House (Did I forget to introduce myself? I’m Kristin House!)… so it only made sense to combine the two names into Boeske House.
I loved maintaining the Ruby Lane shop; however, as mentioned, I have a day job as a school counselor. Not only that, but my husband and I had our daughter, bought our forever home, and each started new jobs all in a two year span.
My family in the backyard of our Maine forever home – photo by Ornate Photography
Life’s changes forced me to close, reopen, then close the Ruby Lane shop. However, I desperately miss the excitement of finding unique items, researching them, listing them for sale, then sending them off to enthusiasts who will love and appreciate them just as much as, if not more than, Mrs. Boeske did. I plan to spend some extra time preparing listings for Boeske House before I reopen the shop for the final time. “Final” because I’ll be committing to remaining open through life’s changes (have I mentioned I’m pregnant with our second child by the way? It’s a boy!).
In the summer of 2016 I created an Instagram account (@boeskehouse) to allow others to follow my adventures, finds, and shop listings through snapshots. This blog will go beyond that by providing me with the opportunity to share more about my journey and the pieces I discover. I hope you choose to join me!
Enjoying a cuppa coffee during a research sesh.
The items pictured above – from left to right – are as follows:
- O’Hara Dial Co. Native American Tray
This piece is a turn of the century O’Hara Dial Company tray with an enamel insert image of Chief Wolf Robe. Wolf Robe was a chief of the Southern Cheyenne Indian tribe and, during the late 1870s, Wolf Robe’s tribe was forced to relocate to a reservation in Oklahoma. The back of this tray is stamped “PARIS FRANCE O’HARA DIAL CO WALTHAM MA USA” within The O’Hara Dial Company’s Fleur-Des-Lys inspired trademark. The O’Hara Dial Company was developed in 1890 in Waltham, Massachusetts and their claim to fame was watch dials. Business declined in 1898 due to competition from a large watch dial company on Long Island, NY. It was at this time that the O’Hara Dial Company began making steins and other items, such as this tray.
- Taylor Instrument Stormoguide Barometer
This barometer was copyrighted by “Taylor Instrument Companies”- located in Rochester, New York – in 1927. The instrument is that of a nautical design due to the wooden wheel and brass spokes.
WWII Bastogne NUTS Bronze Plaque
This octagonal brass plaque depicts two large military figures standing over the Belgium town of Bastogne. The figure on the right is a German soldier offering a surrender to American General McAuliffe who is standing on the left with his hands in his pockets. McAuliffe replied “Nuts” to this surrender, which is stamped into the top of the plaque. The piece also includes the American and Nazi flags and parachutes representing the 101st Airborne Division. “DECBER 44”, which is when this battle took place, is also stamped into the plaque. These plaques are said to have been made by melted down artillery casings.