Treasure Box Wednesday: Victorian Beauties

Normally when you think of the area around Miami, you might think of big pastel-painted hotels in classic art deco or mid-century modern styling. But this year, my treasure-hunting in south Florida and its Keys led to some far-from-streamlined Victorian and Edwardian finds.

I'll start with this little Victorian hand-painted and transfer decorated vase. It has some issues...

A chip at the top and a crack extending from that. But it was cheap. Really cheap. Particularly for its quality. And when I first laid eyes on it-- prior to the damage assessment-- it actually made me gasp.

As a gal who enjoys "more is more," the raised decorations... the colors... the detail... This was for me!

The back had a different, complementary decoration to it...
Down in the Florida Keys, then, I went with my father on his weekly yard-saling activities. Expert garage saler that he is, he found a nice glass tabletop for $2. He's always finding interesting nautical items that make fun tables, so that will be handy for him.

And then I spied the most wonderful box of sheet music...

Oh, it was a big box. A Christmas storage tub, really. And it was filled with turn-of-the-1900 to the 30s sheet music.

My heart skipped a beat or two. To be themic, it possibly did a samba or a cha-cha. And I set about ruffling through it to pick out some favorites and see what they might cost...

As I was pulling out these paper gems of art-- ones that reminded me so much of my Victorian postcard collection-- I heard my dad talking to the owner.

"So how much is the sheet music?" Dad had spied, over my shoulder, a few pieces from World War I he had his eye on, and he was keen to know what they would set him back...

"For the whole box?" asked the owner.

"Well, I don't know," said Dad-- not quite expecting that question as part of the negotiation dance.

"$20 for all of it," said the owner. And, well, you can just bet Dad had his money out faster than you can say "Irving Berlin." As the money changed hands, that's when Dad became the proud owner of over 230 individual pieces of turn-of-the-century sheet music! We know because, later, still in awe, he counted.

Since then, I've been teasing him that certainly I hoped the owner knew Dad was with me, or else technically some random guy had just swept in and bought what I was looking at out from under me! :)

Anyway, that "random guy" allowed me to pick out the pieces I'd wanted from the giant stack, so I have the lovelies you see here today, and a few others.
This one below I was excited about because I know of this art by recently reading novelist Martha Grimes' Belle Ruin. There, the main character, young Emma, encounters an old magazine with art containing a "Fadeaway Girl"...


You can see in this closeup, how the girl's dress blends right into the background with no lines?...That's a Fadeaway Girl! I just never imagined getting to see one for myself!

This lady looks like a Christmas card just waiting to happen. Look at that fir-trimmed hat!...

The piece of music below was the only completely floral one. It looks like a lot of the greeting postcards from the same time period...
Harkening to the tropics, I even have one which nods to the 30s passion for Cuba...
And while the sheet music promises, "I'll See You in Cuba," I rather hope I'll see you Sunday, for The Thrift Shop Romantic's next post.

Bon Voyage!

15 comments:

dustbunny8 said...

Girl,your going to need to find more wall space!Those are frame worthy!
Love the vase too.It seems like when objects reach a certain age, imperfections don't seem so important
anymore.Kind of like people in some ways I guess.Thanks for sharing and looking forward to xmas decor!

Jenn Thorson said...

Dustbunny- Oh, I hear you! I also want to keep them safe-- they're fairly fragile-- so framing a few and hanging them out of the light would be a nice way of doing that.

The Lucy and Dick Show said...

Wouldn't you just love to frame those old pieces of sheet music and decorate a whole room around them?

Andrea said...

I love that vase! I'm a more is more gal too! I've been going through my Rachel Ashwell books today for inspiration and she's a less is more person, and I needed to hear you say, "I'm a more is more person". That made me feel better for some reason....a psychologist could tell us why. Affirmation, I suppose. I'm okay, you're okay, Rachel's okay. The sheet music is a real find. Love the one with the roses on the front. That's a piece of art!!

Jenn Thorson said...

Lucy and Dick- I would certainly like to frame and hang a few of them. A room of them would be amazing, though space doesn't permit. :)

Andrea- Yes, Rachel tends to rely small amounts of really high-quality pieces instead of knicknacks... But then again, she also changes her mind when it suits her. So I wouldn't worry about it. Her books are quite the eye candy, though!

angelawd said...

Oh Thrift, you make me want to go shopping! Around me, there are Salvation Army and Goodwill stores - but where else would you shop? Am I missing good sources?

Janelle said...

THAT is one heck of a find! They all look like they're in wonderful condition, too!

Jenn Thorson said...

Angela- You could check the database of www.thethriftshopper.com for their list of charity thrift stores in your area. You can search by zipcode, I believe. I also hit flea markets, antique malls and things like that, to supplement the thrifting. Basically I just search online on terms like "antique malls western pennsylvania" and see what comes up. Then I make a pilgrimage. :)

Janelle- They're pretty delicate-- so there are little tears here and there, but the color is terrific certainly. And they're not dirty or moldy or anything. It was a lucky score for sure! :)

My Vintage Treasures said...

AMAZING FINDS!!!

Jenn Thorson said...

Vintage Treasures- Glad you enjoyed them! :) Thanks for stopping by!

RecycleCindy said...

As usual, I so enjoyed perusing your wonderful finds and the fascinating photos on all that old vintage music.

Jenn Thorson said...

Cindy- Thank you! You know, I totally thought of you yesterday when I saw someone had made small bags out of pop-tops. It had a chain mail effect-- a bit different than your plastic bags-- but I thought it would give you a smile.

Rethoryke said...

I wonder if you could do a high-res scan of this haul before you framed or otherwise protected them? Then maybe you'd be able to use the copies to have more options for how you'd like to display them -- less worry about light damage to the originals.

Anyway -- great find! I learned "C-U-B-A" from an Austin Lounge Lizards album, and never realized it was by Berlin. That certainly explain why it's so singable and catchy!

"Where all those dark eyed Stellas/Light their fellas Panatelas...."

Ann Martin Photography BLOG said...

oh wow, wow wow! What a superb find.
I'm not a musician, but the images, are priceless alone.

Jenn Thorson said...

Rhet- I definitely want to do scans, I just haven't gotten around to it. Right now they're being safely stored in... the Victorian music cabinet I have. So at least they're flat and out of light.

With the Lounge Lizards, you tend not to expect a cover tune, no matter how quirky; I didn't realize it was Berlin either.

Ann Martin- I love the soft mood lighting they did on figures back then. It made everybody look just beautiful.