Shopping at thrift stores, flea markets and estate sales can be overwhelming. With so much content, how do you know where to start? How do you find gems … well, junk?
As a professional reseller who has been scouring thrift stores for nearly 30 years, I can help. If you’re ready to cut your shopping time in half, score bigger bargains and pick up brag-worthy finds that can be redeemed for cash.
From hard-to-find household items to resale money makers, everything featured in my “Thrift Shop Like a Pro” series qualifies as a BOLO (Be On the Look-Out for) item. Buy it as soon as you find it!
Featured Finds: Vintage Engraving of Curtis Gelle
I was hesitant to add a Curtis Jeré sculpture to this series because I hadn’t found a wild sculpture in over a year…and I quickly found the piece pictured above. So hope (and gait) springs forever. These mid-century gems await discovery in the dusty attics of thrift stores and estate sales.
of Curtis Jelle The brand is a mashup of two names: Curtis (Kurt) Freiler and Jerry Fels. Freiler and Ferth, artists and brothers-in-law, wanted to present gallery-quality art to the public. In 1963, they began to jointly design cast metal and resin sculptures, named Curtis Jeré (in French zhair-AY) and will be distributed through their new company, Artisan House.
Clearly mid-century in style, the company’s work is also brutalist, derived from the French word for “brut,” crude, with a penchant for heavily exaggerated shapes and raw materials used to create art. It was a design aesthetic that elevated the architecture movement In the 1950s, it eventually influenced other forms of design.
With the Curtis Jeré brand, craftsman’s house Today, the company recreates classic Gelet sculptures as well as new designs. However, on the second-hand market, his vintages from the late 1960s through the 70s are the most in demand.
why buy it?
Like Eames furniture and Russell Wright tableware, Géré’s sculptures have become icons of mid-century design. Authentic pieces are noted for their scale, craftsmanship and sophisticated design. Many home his stores now sell Jelle-inspired imports, but you can brag about adding authentic furniture to your home (especially in thrift stores where he found things for a dollar and a cent). case).
Even better, vintage Curtis Jeré engravings continue to be highly prized. Over the past decade, I’ve seen resale prices rise steadily.
On eBay, this 58 inch wall sculpture Entitled “Birds in Flight,” the piece recently sold for $1,700. tabletop owl sculpture Selling for $400. On Etsy, prices for Jeré’s work tend to be even higher.this wall hanging 54 inch wood carving Listed for $1,995, this is brass eagle sculpture Available for $1,795.
what to look for
Curtis Jeré’s world of vintage engraving is complicated for two reasons. First, the brand “Curtis Jeré” is often added to online auction listings to increase the number of non-Jeré items in search results. This process is called “keyword spam” and is frowned upon by sites like Etsy and eBay, but it’s hard to control. If you’re looking for comparable prices, it’s helpful to know that many mid-century style brass, copper, and bronze sculptures are deliberately attributed to him by Jeré.
The second complication relates to Jellet’s signature. Authentic signatures are handwritten in black ink directly onto the metal or engraved into the metal. Ink signatures are much more common and usually have a copyright symbol followed by “C. Jellet” and the year of manufacture.
Ink marks can be easily duplicated, so unscrupulous resellers sometimes add ink marks to vaguely midcentury-looking metal engravings. Avoiding these parts requires a little practice and a close look at styles, welds, and surface finishes.
Pro tip: Sadly, many of Jelle’s works have fallen victim to the spray painting fad. , the ink signature may be lost in the process). YouTube offers several safety tutorials remove latex paint from metal.