The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Flea Market Fun and the box of mystery!

Saturday was a glorious day here in Heidelberg, and happily there was a flea market at the Messeplatz. Huzzah! There is usually a flea market twice a month and if there's good weather, the vendors are out in full force and bargains abound. Oh, yes, this is my idea of fun. I've shown you flea market photos before so I didn't bother to take my camera.  I was shopping!  There was so much stuff!  One of the things I love about this flea market is that some vendors are there every month rain or shine (which is handy if you've done business with them and like them) , but most vendors are new every time with a hodge podge of stuff.  Oh, the possibilities!   I was on the lookout for some tansferware (because I love it, and it's crazy expensive in the States, but over here, it's everywhere) and boy did I find it.
My favorite kinds of vendors are not those who are professional flea marketers.  You know the kind, they have big wagons or RV's and display their goods in an organized manner.  They also price their stuff pretty high and are less willing to really bargain.  Yes, they make it easy to find things and everything is all pretty and clean, but they're not a lot of fun if you're looking for bargains.  One vendor was loaded with transferware and had full sets.  Oh, how I drooled.  A lot.  He had an entire set of Villeroy and Bosch transferware that was gorgeous and included place settings for 6, about 8 serving pieces, a complete coffee and complete tea service set, all in the same pattern.  Believe me, I wanted it.  He, however wanted 250 Euro for the set.  I have to say this is actually a great deal (one 5 piece place setting retails on Replacements Ltd. for $119), but not what I was willing to spend at a flea market, especially since I've picked up pieces for as little as 2-3 Euro each.  Still, I walked past his booth about 10 times and stopped to admire his transferware so many times it was almost embarrassing. This was also a HUGE mistake if you are looking for a bargain.  If you show too much interest, they're not as willing to bargain.  I knew he wasn't willing to come down, so I didn't care. It was pretty and I wanted to look at it.  Looking is free.
Now the people who just have stuff randomly set up on tables and boxes and boxes of stuff haphazardly placed, these are my people.  They generally don't make a living off flea markets and are just out there selling boxes of  extra stuff they've picked up, inherited or  purchased at other flea markets.  They're out to make a few Euro and are really willing to haggle.  They'd rather sell their stuff than lug it back home and will take what they can get.  Oh, yes, these are my people!
I ran across one vendor who had many random boxes, so unopened that held goodness knows what.  He had a box of transferware that I thought had potential.  He wasn't very busy, which is good because that means they're usually more willing to bargain.  I wasn't really interested in all the pieces but did like the cups and saucers.  I picked up a piece or two to check their condition (near perfect!) and then walked away.   It was pretty, but if I don't absolutely love it, I like to keep looking.  If I don't find something I like even better, I'll go back and if the item is still available, I'll give it another thought.  I wandered around for about an hour and didn't find anything else in my price range (cheap) that I loved so I went back to box man.  Happily the box was still available and I asked how much for the whole box.  I didn't really want them all, but I figured, why not?  Box man gave me a price that was reasonable, but this wasn't my first picnic (or flea market as the case may be) and I know better than to agree to the first price.  I stood there with my best P-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-poker face (thanks to Lady Gaga I can never hear or say that phrase without thinking of the song) looking like I was thinking about it, hoping he'd come down a few Euro.  Before I could say anything though he gave me another price that was less than HALF the original price.  I sputtered for a second and repeated the price.  The sun was beating down pretty hard and I could have been having a heat stroke and become delirious all of a sudden (plus there's the whole language thing-German numbers are weird).  Surely I had heard him wrong.  He repeated the price back to me (apparently I wasn't delirious) and THEN he offered me a second box that was closed for an additional few Euro.  He pulled a few pieces out to show me and said the rest was all similar.  I asked him if he was sure (maybe he was having a heat stroke) and he agreed.  I practically threw the money at him, scooped up the first box (I couldn't carry them both), assured him I'd be right back for the second and ran for my car.  I cam back as quickly as possible to scoop up the second box before he changed his mind.  He had a vintage apron in his hand that he offered to me as a Geschenk (free gift).  He packed it on top of the box of mystery and handed it to me.  I felt people staring at me as I ran for my car again, but that could have been because I might have been giggling like a crazy person.  I can't be sure of this though.  I won't tell you what I paid because it's almost embarrassingly low.
I hopped in my car and drove home wondering what was in my box of mystery.  I convinced James Bond to go downstairs and lug the heavy boxes up for me, so we could see what was inside.
Here is a photo of the box I wanted originally:

It contains 12 cups and saucers a sugar and creamer (all of the same pattern), plus 5 plates and 2 bowls (the blue) of varying patterns (including a matching plate to a few other pieces I've picked up along the way) and a few extra saucers of a different pink pattern.  Isn't that awesome???  But wait, there's more.

The box of mystery:

James Bond really liked the little...thing on the side.  I don't know why.  What he's saying roughly translates to "Your moving specialists" or something like that.

When we opened the box, we were stunned.  STUNNED!  I could NOT believe what was in there.  Can you believe this????

And they're all the same pattern!!!! There are 6 dinner plates, 5 soup/salad bowls, 2 serving bowls, a gravy boat with attached plate, a covered serving bowl and a 12" oval platter!  James Bond and I stared at each other for a few minutes before he congratulated me on my super score.  I actually felt guilty.  I wanted to go back and give Box Man more money, but the flea market was over by then.  This is a closeup of the platter:

It is made by Wedgewood (!!!) and the pattern is called Woodland.  One dinner plate costs more than what I paid for both boxes.  I love flea markets!!! 

Oh, wait, and here's the Geschenk:

Isn't that cute?  It's black and cream and he just threw it in the box!  For FREE! 


LTCLC said...

WOW, that's awesome!!
Gotta love flea markets!
I have to see if there is one around here, I really want to go to one now!

Sarah said...

Wow! Great finds!

We went to a flea market over there a few months back on a particularly hot day. Little did we know that this flea market was like Toys 'R Us for adults. We spent about two hours there persuing the goods before making off with an antique Pfaff sewing machine (still in working condition), a cast-iron waffle maker, a nifty jug and an 8mm video camera. The biggest steal was the sewing machine. We ended up paying almost half of the seller's original offer, because he said he had a hurt back and didn't want to lug the thing back home. I feel bad for the guy's back, but I feel great about our pocketbook!

These Are The Days said...


family of 4 on the move! said...

OMG what a fabulous deal!!! Way to go woman!!! I would love to hit up a flea market here. The only one we have been to was kind of ehhh.

Glad you found such a great deal and I too am a huge fan of transferware!!

Every now and then I find a few pieces here and there at the thrift shop or yard sales.

Hehe I can totally see you running to your car carrying a big box too! Yay for deals and gorgeous finds!!

Barbara said...

Boy did you ever make out! And how cute is that apron that he threw in. I never get that lucky :)

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I am SO envious!!!!!

Nancy said...

What a fantastic deal! I like the Wedgwood Woodland's hard to find usually so it's even a better deal (if that's possible) to find so many matching pieces together! Good for you!

Susie from Bienvenue said...

I think my heart stopped when I saw what was in your those dishes!!!!! Have a great day my friend~ Susie~

Melissa said...

That's AWESOME! I love that pattern, and actually my parents have it...and yes, you TOTALLY scored big!!! So much fun.

AmyLK said...

What an awesome score! And I love the apron! Congrats!

Captain Dumbass said...

Wow. Can I come to Germany and shop with you?

Anonymous said...

Love those plates!

Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

OMG!! ok, next time I'm coming with you. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the sets you got! what a fabulous find!!

Wholesale Flea Market Items said...

Its nice article and yes the flea market really fun and enjoyment for the further market..Thanks for amazing post here..

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

SUPER Score....

Good for you.

And, bless your heart for your service to this country.... Please thank your hubby as well.

Warm blessings,

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