Odd Yard Sale Finds

The theme song has words?


I’m not sure there would have been anyone in America in the 1960s who couldn’t identify the Cartwrights, father Ben and sons Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe. Their TV western, BONANZA, debuted in 1959, and was a fixture on NBC television until 1973. The series became so popular that even its instrumental theme song was a chart hit on its own, in 1961. I am sure every BONANZA fan would be able to hum the theme on cue, but I would be willing to bet that very few could come up with these lyrics, performed by father Ben himself, Lorne Greene:

Klimt it ain’t


The beauty of art is that it is completely open to interpretation. I am sure someone out there loves this figurine for the universal theme it represents, albeit in a fashion that is obviously a bit rough in presentation.

Gustav Klimt opted for a different and slightly more refined approach when his most famous work debuted in 1908.

Who knew they’d be that lucky?!


To the untrained yard sale eye, this just looks like a large ceramic cat figurine. In truth, these soulful-looking cats are Maneki-neko. (Japanese for “beckoning cat”). In Japan, these “lucky” cats, with their upraised welcoming paws, are believed to bring good fortune to the owner. There must be something to it. I purchased this piece at a yard sale for 50 cents, and sold it on-line for $90.

(Hmm. After watching the video, I am wondering if I would have been better off keeping them?)

If it’s weird, I want it.

That’s not my mantra as a collector, but it certainly is as a seller. Anyone who buys and sells as a hobby learns fairly quickly that there is ALWAYS someone out there looking for the odd and unusual.

This rather gruesome looking little figurine was hiding on the top shelf of a local thrift store, and I almost did not see him, until I heard a small voice scream out “buy me!” So of course I had to.


It’s elementary my dear Isaac.

If I had a thousand guesses I would never have figured this one out. It’s made by Stickley, best known for its very high quality Arts & Crafts Movement furniture. This is obviously not that, but thanks to a friendly eBay user, I was able to get the answer as to what it is and what it does. Sir Isaac (Newton) looks to have figured it out way back in 1687, with his “action, reaction” law of motion. It seems to me it should just fall over when put to use. Must be why I did so poorly in high school physics class.


If you happen to find or inherit one of these, and you haven’t yet figured out how it works, here’s how:

(Maybe I am just hopelessly incredulous, but even after watching the video, I still don’t think I would trust it with anything pricier than my Asti Spumante)

Broadcasting on the Armored Forces Radio Network?

This very nicely detailed medieval figurine looks to be exactly that, until one looks behind the base and discovers it to be a novelty transistor radio.


I recognize that grin!

This one was a no-brainer, but I bet that most people would walk right by this and not realize it to be a presidential collectible. The style of the mug is the give-away, even though there is no wording to identify it.

Hint #1: Only two US Presidents have been peanut farmers, Thomas Jefferson and …

Hint #2: Only one US President’s brother is known to have peed on an airport runway in full view of the Press, and to have had a brand of beer named after him.


Here’s a clip of a few collectors “enjoying” the taste of vintage Billy Beer:

It’s my potty, and I’ll cry if I want to.

Guess that could have been the theme song of whatever young person had the distinct pleasure (if pleasure is the correct word) of enjoying (if enjoying is the right word) the chance to sit on this beautiful potty chair (if beautiful is the right word to describe a potty chair).

I picked this up at a yard sale in New Hampshire a while ago. I think it has vintage charm, and it looks to be very well made, but I have showed it to others who were, I would say, quite a bit less enthusiastic about it. Maybe it is the subject matter of the piece (figuratively speaking of course), or maybe this is just one of those classic “eye of the beholder” items.


Calling Laurie London!

14-year-old singer Laurie London holds the distinction of having recorded the most successful single in the US by a British male during the 1950s. His recording of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” reached #2 on Billboard’s Pop Charts in April, 1958, and stayed there for 4 weeks. Sadly, London never had another hit record, and his musical career faded into oblivion.

Perhaps this unique Leaning Tower of Pisa piece was inspired by the Laurie London hit record?


Okay, I am pretty sure it was not, but at least it gave me the opportunity to share an obscure probably-forgotten tidbit of musical history, and who doesn’t love one of those? 🙂

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