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Monday, January 24, 2011

Big Love

I've never been one to take things slow and easy, and I'm probably too old to start now. While some people have the patience to scour thrift stores for months to find the pièce de résistance of a new collection, I tend to go for broke from the start.

This usually keeps me from getting a $350 piece for $2, but even so, I sometimes find what I consider a pretty good deal. That's what happened over the weekend.

I started collecting Iroquois Harvest Time a few days ago with an 18-piece score on Craigslist. I fell in love with the Ben Seibel design at first sight and started looking for good deals on dinner plates and saucers. While looking, naturally I found the "oh wow" pieces of the set...the samovar and the lazy susan.

The samovar, which stands a whopping 15 inches tall, usually goes for $240-$350, but Saturday I found one listed as mint on eBay for $99, with a Buy It Now price of $145. I kept an eye on it all that night and the next morning, and it didn't have any bids. I was getting hopeful. Then a few hours before the auction ended, someone bid the minimum. A few minutes later, the same person apparently got worried that the first bid was too low and bid again. And again.

At this point, I was pretty sure she'd run her maximum bid up to the BIN price, but I couldn't be sure. The only thing I could do was wait till the last possible second and try to beat her by a few pennies. With 15 seconds to go, I bid...and won!!!  Her maximum bid had only been $122.77, so I was able to get the samovar for less than the BIN price after all.

$125.27 may not be Salvation Army great, but it sure beats $350.

Iroquois Harvest Time samovar by Ben Seibel--
the eBay photo of my latest purchase

Now I'll be on pins and needles till it arrives all in one piece. When it gets settled in with the rest of my collection, I'll post a new photo.

Update: Here it is with the rest of the pieces in my Harvest Time collection, plus a few Russel Wright pieces in gray.


  1. Fantastic! I hate the BINs when I see someone bids and I think I should have just paid the BIN price if it's still reasonable.

    Yes, too old to spend hours and hours at thrifts and yard sales. They don't have anything good at mine anymore anyways. They didn't 8 years ago when I all but stopped going. But thankfully at this age we have the ways and means to be able to spend a tiny bit more and still get things we love. =)

  2. @1950sarh: I hear ya! For the most part, I leave the thrifting to my kids and let them call me/send me a picture if they find something they think I'd really want.

    One of the good things about getting old is that you realize you saved well for retirement...and retirement is NOW. The Don Henley line about "no hearses with luggage racks" starts to take on a deep, personal meaning, and your motto becomes "LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL," rather than "A penny saved is a penny earned." LOL

  3. That is so totally worth it! I have never seen anything like that before. It is really beautiful.

  4. @Midcenturymadam: Thanks! The minute I saw a picture of it on Replacements Limited, I knew I had to have it, but I never dreamed I'd find it listed on eBay the next day for so much less. I'm ecstatic!

  5. I know the seller thinks I'm a complete worrywart, because I emailed him asking him to be SURE to pack the samovar really, really well, since I've had several things arrive broken over the past few months. He assured me he would, but I won't rest easy till I have it here. that's a term I probably haven't used or heard for the past 3 or 4 decades. I don't know why that word popped into my head...LOL

  6. So gorgeous! Congrats on the win. Ebay bidding wars give me anxiety! Can't wait to see the photo of this piece with your collection.

  7. Man, those are some cool things. I was looking at all the stuff on ebay and was just dumbstruck at how cool they were!

  8. @Rhan Vintage: Thanks! Sometimes I feel a tad guilty about eBay sniping...but at least I do it manually, which I think is so much classier than using a program...and is kinda like a cross between playing Chicken and a game of Cat and Mouse. :)

  9. @Barbara: I know! I can't believe it took me so long to discover the Ben Seibel Iroquois stuff. Now I want to start buying some of the things he designed for other companies.

  10. As John Prine would sing "Big, Fat Love" and that's what this is. Totally gorgeous and will look over the top with your Russel Wright collection. Last second bidding..I'm the queen of it and seems like that's when my computer wants to go into snooze mode. I've missed several good deals because of it.

    Don't be a worrywart for too long, it will make your hair turn grey :) Although shipping on fragile items is enough to make you get an ulcer.

    Since I don't have my own blog yet I hope it's alright for me to share my big score this weekend on yours. I managed to FINALLY get my hands on a Broyhill Saga dining room suite and it's mint! It's not Brasilia (have never found a piece within 300 miles from me) but it sure is pretty. Thanks for the bragging space.

  11. @Krazy4Mod: Congratulations on getting the Saga dining set! You have bragging space with me whenever you want it...:) I think Saga is absolutely gorgeous with its starburst-looking cutouts and unusual legs. I love the dogbone backs on the chairs too. To me, it's every bit as lovely as Brasilia.

  12. lol Dana I love your attitude.

    Sorry I don't get back often to respond to your response, I'm not at the retirement age just yet, working my butt off to make up for the time I gladly spent caring for both my late parents.

    No regrets, but I have to work double time to catch up to my peers and their retirement savings.

    But I still indulge in that occasional indulgence like the Calder Mobiles tablecloth I could only dream of owning a decade ago. =)

  13. @1950sarh: My father died in 1986, but my daughter and I took care of my mom for several years when she had Alzheimer's until she passed away in 1997, so I completely understand. No regrets here either.