Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Buying Vintage - Jumble Sales


Back in the thirties and fourties here in the UK, a horse drawn cart would go around the streets. Children would bring out their rags in exchange for a gold fish. The small gold fish were in a large jar on the cart. You also had to bring a jam jar with you to get your fish!
Many elderly people can remember going back to their parents and begging for more old clothes to exchange because what they had - was not enough to get a fish. The rag man had sent them for more.

In the sixties I can remember the rag and bone man rooming the streets. He had a very large hand cart, piled high with old clothes, bags and other stuff. How he could see where he was going always used to puzzle me. I spent many an hour following, sitting in the gutter to see if he tipped the cart over or pushed the cart into one of the few vehicles that were parked in the street

Now days, it is easy to buy vintage. From special high street shops, on the internet, auctions, charity shops, newspaper adverts, car boot sales or from a good old fashion JUMBLE SALE

Church and charity jumble sales have been around for years. In the seventies, I was going to meet someone and was for once early! So popped into the local church jumble sale - never been to one before. Came away with two waistcoats, a black cord one and a maroon suede one. Wore them for years with my jeans and cheese cloth tops. Those were the hippy/rock days!! Bargain cost only a few pence at the time. I think the maroon suede waistcoat came from a sixties three piece men's suit.

We still go to jumble sales. They are great fun and have found some great clothes, many unworn and named brands. Ideal if you want to pick up cheap clothes, shoes, bags, household items, books, furniture, toys - in fact absolutely anything.
At a recent jumble sale, a wooden fire surround was for sale. Hand carved and would have cost a fortune if brought from new. Jumble sale price = £20.00. You just never know what you'll find

Here is our guide to going to a jumble sale:
  • Go early 15 to 30 minutes before opening and queue. Great fun to talk to the other jumblers. Also the best bargains get snapped up quickly, so get in early
  • Take a load of change. You want to give the right change as the sellers may have trouble finding change. Many items can be brought for as little as 5p up to 50p or more
  • Have a few bags (plastic or a re-usable one) for your finds. Often there are bags available, but some sales seem to forget.
  • A jumble sale can get very crowded and busy. Please don't take a small child in a push chair into a sale and expect to have a relaxed buy. For one, you can not get to the tables and I have almost fallen over a pushchair before now. Children get frightened and fretful when all they can see is legs and loads of people. If you have a little one, take someone else to look after them. They can go to the refreshment tables, sit and have tea or fruit juice and the pick of some scrummy home made cakes. Don't leave them at home as children learn through experience. Older children can be given some pocket money and they will have great fun finding and buying on their own. Usually what you gave away last week!!
  • Some sales can be manic, many people all trying to get to the tables to look. Wait patiently just behind and soon they will move on and you can get in. Or walk around the room. There is usually parts that are not so crowded and easier to look.
  • Check what you are buying for size, any repairs needed or buttons missing. You can always repair, change buttons and even re - fashion or do a GOK! on many clothes.
  • Looking for curtains or other soft furnishings. Measure before and don't forget to take the measurements with you. They are no good on the kitchen table. Also take a tape measure. Many sales will have one, but they are often in use. I am always amazed at the nearly new or new curtains, covers and bed linen given to jumble sales. My daughter picked up a brand new touch control table lamp.... for 50p
  • If you are into sewing, craft, making or patchwork. Jumbles are a must. Where else are so many different materials availabe for a small amount of money. Just use your creative imagination.
  • Don't forget - have fun. A great way to spend a Saturday morning or afternoon. Finished buying. Treat yourself to a cupper - and don't forget all those home made cakes available
I will be looking at charity shops, auctions, the internet and car boot vintage buying experience in this blog. so bookmark.....

Pictures taken from "The Jumble Sale" by Roderich Hunt (now out of print) first published 1989