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Monday, May 4, 2009

When the Thrifty Buys Come Home In Bloomingdale's Shopping Bags. . . .

When your treasures come home in a Bloomingdale's shopping bag. . .

. . . you know you've been to a pretty sweet rummage sale!

Twice a year, spring and fall, the Visiting Nurse Association of Somerset Hills holds a massive rummage sale: 75-thousand square feet of stuff, at The Fairgrounds at Far Hills.

The VNA serves communities in Somerset and Morris Counties in New Jersey, and the rummage sales support their mission. Set-up begins in early April, and the sale opens the first Friday in May. It's a worthy cause and a thrifter's dream come true.

Howard and I, foiled on Saturday in our plans to dig the vegetable garden by a steady drizzle, went for our first-ever visit. (Thanks, Mother Nature, for that rain; good timing!)

So for Blue Monday, hosted by Sally at her Smiling Sally Blog (visit here for more Blue Monday posts) and also for Today's Thrifty Treasures, hosted by Rhoda at Southern Hospitality (click here for more thrilling thrifting!), I'm going to share one of my VNA purchases.


I love cobalt blue.
I especially love cobalt blue when it's paired with gleaming gold.

At the VNA sale, there is a social hierarchy amongst the offered goods.

Items donated by the local commoners are either out in the open or under tents. For items donated by the local fox hunting set -- there is the Bon Ton. The Bon Ton are two little gray buildings at the edge of the sale.


I didn't bother with the Bon Ton building that held the designer duds; I focused on the Bon Ton with the china and crystal and silver, where I just knew that something was waiting to come home with me!

I resisted an enormous Baccarat vase for $300. It was a struggle, but I prevailed.
And I saw these:

Tea cups with saucers.
Six of them, in perfect condition. They are lustreware:

The saucers are reticulated:

Hey! There's my thumb!

I have a fondness for reticulated borders; my mother wove grosgrain ribbon through the pierced borders of milk glass plates, and hung them in my bedroom when I was a little girl. Early imprinting.

The cups are wide, shallow and footed,

with handles clearly not meant for a man's fingers!

See-through porcelain, delicate and thin:

Random fact: Porcelain got its name from the Italian word for the cowrie shell -- Porcellana -- and may have been named by Marco Polo. The cowrie shell got its name from the Latin for pig: porcus. The connection? Porcelain was so named because of its resemblance to the smooth whiteness of the shell, and the shell was so named because its rounded shape resembled a little piggy's back.

I have no idea if this is true, but I swear
I didn't just now make it up.

In March, I lamented that I didn't have any tea cups that could hold their own with my Meissen cobalt and gold teapot. (Here)

Well, now I do.
I see a Tablescape in the future for these little fellas, don't you?

This mark is on all the pieces:

Tariff rules changed in 1921, and goods imported to the USA had to be marked with "made in" and the country of origin in English. So, these cups are probably from after 1920, which makes sense... most Japanese lustreware was made in the 1920s through the 30s.

I have no idea if these cups are 80 years old, or 8 years old. Doesn't matter. I like 'em. They are so exuberant.

(I don't know why the blue looks black in these pictures; it is a very dark blue.)

Were they a bargain? Who knows? We paid $30 for the 6 sets; $5 each set. (Howard has reminded me that I said, upon setting out from That Old House that morning, "I won't spend more than $25.")

So . . . now I have to decide where to keep the little dears. I think I need another breakfront, #3, or maybe a corner cabinet for the dining room. Yeah, a corner cabinet; that's the ticket!

Tomorrow -- the rest of my VNA sale finds, including Howard's personal pick. It's a varied catch -- think: hotel plate, ruby flash, a bit more lustre. . . and not everything came from the Bon Ton!
-- Cass


  1. Oh my, what handsome dishes! The teacups are especially pretty. Thanks for sharing and Happy Blue Monday.


  2. So beautiful!! I think you got yourself and excellent deal!


  3. Those are a treasure. Love those dishes! Can't wait to see your other finds! I, too, love blue -- whether cobalt or transferware. You find such interesting things!

  4. They're beautiful. It's a shame the color doesn't show true blue. Thanks for sharing. Happy Blue Monday.

  5. Beautiful tea set Cass...that must have been some sale! Was it unbelievably crowded?

  6. Just Beautiful my friend...You did great...Can't wait to see what else you got..May you have a great Monday...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  7. How pretty those are & thanks for joining my party today. It's so nice to meet you. I really like how you got your blog title, that's cute. THAT old house. I'm sure I'd love your old house, since I love architecture like that. Please come back & visit me again!

  8. They are exquisite! And yes,you definitely need another cupboard. Just tell your hubby I said so & it will be done. lol. Thanks for sharing!

  9. These are absolutely beautiful!!

    I made a promise of $20 and spent $22, Saturday. It really is difficult for me to stick to a plan. I found a few pretty nifty things. No gorgeous teacups, though.

  10. Oh, Cass...these are just stunning.
    How blessed you were to find them.
    Happy Blue!

  11. Your teacups are just fabulous. I think the price is fabulous too. Really a great deal. I can't wait to see the rest of the goodies. Hugs, Marty

  12. Hello Cass...

    Just read your note...thank you so much for getting back to me and answering my question about breakfronts! I just love learning about these old antique pieces and now I can add "breakfront" to my list of newly learned facts!!! It's so interesting, and now I think I need a breakfront of two! hehe!!! Especially since you are searching for #3 and I don't even have one!!! Hehe!!!

    My friend...I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your post today!!! Girl, you did good!!! If those aren't the prettiest little teacups and saucers that I've ever seen...they are divine!!! I love the rich cobalt blue and the the shape of the cups with their footed bases...and ohhh, the saucers are heavenly!!! The pattern and sheen of the lusterware really make these teacups and saucers just exquisite!

    You know...I am so enjoying your blog! I love that you included a little history and background about these teacups and very interesting to me! Now...for the bargain part...Girl, 6 sets for just $30...that was a "steal-of-a-deal"!!! I would have loved shopping that sale...fabulous treasure find!!!

    Warmest wishes,

  13. Time to set the record straight. I pointed out the tea cups knowing Cass would like them.

    I don't care what Kim says 2 break fronts is enough. Now if the corner cupboard were a curio cabinet I would think it was something different and be ok with it.

    I'm looking forward to other finds and I was there but you never know since Cass was on her own part of the time.

  14. LOVE those cups and saucers.

    I HOPE your porcelain fact is right 'cause it's pretty cool.

  15. Well you can save 5$ on something else and it will be even.
    Great score you got there. Will tea stain them? They look so pristine.

  16. Dear Cass,

    Lovely dishes! I firmly believe you can't have enough beautiful dishes! I worry about where I am going to put them after I get home too. Love, Paula Bee

  17. I really like these dishes, Cass. The colors do go so well together and I love the scalloped rims of the saucers and the footings on the cups (I really don't know China~Speak!!).

    I would love to have a place like this to go. I am scouring the newspapers and finding a lot of flea markets all around my area but they are open only on weekends (when I am at the lake).

    Can't wait to see the rest of the booty!!


  18. Cass that china is so beautiful, and unique! I just wanted to say thank you for the sweet comments on my sunroom at Laurie's. Connie

  19. Your teacups are just breathtaking! What a wonderful find. Just think of all the joy they will bring you each time you use them.

    Thank you for sharing.


  20. The Bon Ton - what a great name!
    It sounds as though you were truly in thrifter's paradise. I too love cobalt and gold - my favorite souvenire is a set of tea-for-two in that combo from a Russian china factory - gorgeous.

  21. breathtaking set of china.
    and interesting fact about 'porcelain'.

    barbara jean

  22. Lovely. I missed the sale this go around as we had a family communion,
    but I picked up some lovely things last sale.

  23. Hi Cass....I cannot believe I missed this sale by a day...We left last thursday for home and I forgot about the sale until Sunday when I mentioned it to daughter...She was miffed that I didn't tell her sooner....I have to make a point of being in Jersey in the fall....Glad you enjoyed the little jersey house tour....those homes are in and around the Princeton area...and the beach house is on LBI in Loveladies...It's been on the market going on 3 years now...the builder will not reduce his price....Like we could afford what he's asking for it....We would have to wait for someone to die to buy it......hint hint.....

  24. **Hi. I just wanted to poke you and tell you to make sure you check out my new blog post today where your name comes up. :-)

  25. They are beautiful..they suit you to a tee or tea!
    And thank goodness my Villeroy and Boch bags don't have BASEMENT CLEARANCE plastered across the front..cause that's the only reason I go there!

  26. These teacups are so intricate and beautiful! I'll bet that's a wonderful sale to hit every year.

  27. What beautiful treasures you have , I cannot believe the tiny little details,these are just wonderful.
    Thank you for a very happy Blue Monday post,
    Sorry about the garden but I am so happy for the teriffic tea cups.
    Have a fabulous week.

  28. And I didn't even go into the Bon Ton... aaaarrrrgh! They are so beautiful, Cass!


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