tips on finding the “rare finds”

Marian ParsonsFavorite Finds, Shopping Tips, Tips and Tricks

We’re been spending a few days at Myrtle Beach and it’s been such a fun time.  My boys are really taking to the water, sand and surf.  They want to spend every minute at the beach or the pool.  It’s been a delight watching the discovery and excitement.


I really enjoy the beach, but only aspects of it.  I’ve never liked salt water and sand.  From the time I was little, I preferred sitting in a 5 gallon bucket filled with hose water over swimming in the ocean.  Seriously.  The entire ocean was yards away and I would sit in a bucket (with my night-night blanket, sucking my thumb.)

I do love the sound of the waves, walking in the surf and combing the beach for treasures, though.

The pickings are pretty slim at Myrtle Beach, at least where we are.  It’s a popular beach and it has a pretty rough surf, so most shells get pummeled beyond recognition by the time they reach the beach and the shells that do make it are heavily picked over.

My mom and I did find a few goodies, though…


Some olive shells, which were always my Oma’s favorite, and shark’s teeth.


As we were scanning the sand for worth-while shells, I started to think about the thrill of the hunt and the joy of finding a treasure.  It’s the same thing that I love about yard sales, antiques stores, auctions and Craig’s List.

 I thought, “Oh, I should write a post about that.”

As I was thinking through the post, my sons kept bringing chunks of broken shells and random bits, including a water bottle cap.  I didn’t want to hurt their feelings and tell them these shells are basically beach trash (and the cap is trash), so I told them something interesting about each piece and we added them to the bucket.  My mom and I would just laugh.


That got me thinking even more about how my shell-hunting experience is like antique/bargain-hunting.

I think when a lot of us are novice antique shoppers, we’re like my boys looking for shells.  When I look back at some of the things I bought and was excited about, I just laugh.  I lit up at any bargain, any blue and white whatever, anything old at a yard sale.  I was “picking up shell fragments off the beach.”

As I’ve grown in experience, my eye has become more discerning and I’m only looking for the rare finds – the special pieces that others haven’t discovered or seen the potential in, yet.  Sometimes it takes a while and I have to dig, but the rare finds are there.

When we were out walking on the beach last night, we ran into another beach-comber.  He asked, “Have you found anything good?”

“A few things…some olive shells, shark’s teeth…”

“Well, I’ve been looking for four days and I haven’t seen one thing!”

How can two people, looking for treasures on the same beach, have different results?

It’s just like two people shopping Craig’s List in the same area or walking through an antique store.  There are some things that are true of people who find good stuff.

Miss Mustard Seed-263

They are patient.  

I looked for a wardrobe/armoire for my room for years before I found one that was the right price and exactly what I wanted.  Sometimes you can trip across something right away, but, in my experience, it usually takes some time.


They are persistent.

I’m always asked how I find great stuff on Craig’s List.  It’s because I look at Craig’s List a lot!   I do have specific searches I run, but usually I just go through the furniture and antiques sections page by page.  I just picked up this beautiful antique marble-topped dresser for $50.


They are picky.  

I love ironstone and I’ll buy almost any piece to sell, but if I’m buying for myself, I look for certain shapes and pieces.  I look for ones with just the right age and patina.  I don’t buy things for myself unless I love them and they “speak” to me.  That’s a huge shift from the day when I felt obligated to buy things that were a good bargain, whether I loved them or not!


Lastly, this doesn’t start with a P, but…

They know what they are looking for.

The gentleman on the beach probably didn’t find shark’s teeth, because he didn’t even know they would be washed up on shore or what they looked like.  I knew, because someone earlier in the day showed us ones they were finding.  It helps to be somewhat educated in the things that you’re looking for, so you know it when you see it!

So, what kind of a treasure-hunter are you?  Are you picking up hunks of broken shells or are you coming home with a small handful of shark’s teeth?


The winners of the Parsons West brushes are…

Caroline S (clshoenthal), Janae Stickling, TinaLou, Diane Westbrook, Susanne (robsuehefner), Becky m (menziersr), Debbie w (Dmw212), Lisa (lisacestkowski), Jamee L Potts, Hannah Rose (hannahrose1982).




Goodnight from the beach…


tips on finding the “rare finds”

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