I scored some brass hands; flea market finds

I mean … this existed in the world without me knowing about it?

brass lamp

Its SOLID brass.  Like the weight of an academy award or four. Scott spotted it and I immediately took it out of his hands, both of us knowing that it was way more me than him. I asked Santiago, the dealer, how much it was and he said $175, which was very bad news to me. He came down to $150 (saying, “I paid $100 for it!! I gotta make some money!!”) and I relented because it is a show stopper. Later whilst walking around the flea market and getting compliment after compliment (Scott getting more and more jealous) we ran into another dealer that I know (and is somehow related to Santiago) and he smirked and asked “How much you pay for that?” I said “$150,” he smiled. I said, “How much did you sell it to Santiago for?” He said “$60.”


So annoying. Had I arrived at the flea market an hour earlier I would have saved $110. THAT IS A LOT. Also, when a dealer tells you what they bought it for, you can almost ALWAYS not believe them. I’m not calling them liars, it’s a smart tactic that tugs on your humanity. I mean, YES, I do want them to make a living so I certainly can’t pay them the same that they paid for it … but Santiago, who knows me and loves me, padded his purchase price by $40. I’m a sucker, but a solid brass hand lamp owning sucker.

vintage wicker

You know what I don’t need in my life? This wicker chair. But look how cute it is. $50, my friends. I especially like the scale — I feel like even a man could sit it in, it is so wide and low. Worth every penny, but totally unnecessary. I’m a wicker hoarder.

porcelain baby head

Oh, what’s so creepy about my porcelain baby head? I got it at the flea for $5 (I collect heads), and then found the dome with weird dried flowers in it for 75 cents. It fit perfectly. And now for my viewing pleasure I have a creepy baby in a glass dome to stare at.

mexican wrestler

This piece of art is crazy colorful and weird. I totally love it. I’m not sure if it’s a lithograph or pen drawing or what, but the colors are so saturated. It was $10 and Brian totally responded to it, saying “that thing’s cool,” so it was worth every penny.

nude art watercolor

Whereas this watercolor of a nude lady excited him MUCH less. Like about as much as me wearing princess sleeved shirts with long skirts a la Sister Wives — not at all. I framed it real quick in a readymade from Aaron Brothers that happened to fit. (I MUST spend less on framing, new goal). I love the colors so much and it’s totally weird (and was $10). (yes, i just edited that part of the post:))

balloon drawing

Last but not least is this drawing of a boy holding a balloon. It’s painfully sweet. I’m hoarding it for a baby’s room, for sure. I love the scale  (if you ever see strange proportioned art that you like grab it because it mixes in so well with traditional rectangular art), and imagine if I colored in the balloon in a bright color? Oh yes. $10.

So that’s what I hoarded from the flea market yesterday. Which is your favorite? Sub-question, do you think I paid too much for the brass hand lamp? Would you have?

  1. samantha

    I really love the redhead nude, Can I buy it from you. Pretty please! sjrubin28@aol.com

  2. I love the boy with the balloon – totally my fav. $150 is steep, but my gauge is if I walk away and can’t stop thinking about it, I probably should have bought it, so I think it was fare since it is pretty quintessential Emily Henderson.

  3. sue

    i think ultimately something is worth what you (or somebody else) is prepared to pay for it… unless you walked around the corner & saw another five of these lights winking at you for half the price, i think you did good… ;)

  4. Emily

    The boy with the balloon is fantastic! I would put that in my son’s ‘big boy’ room.

    If you’re ever asked to donate to a charity, you should donate an afternoon of thrifting. Everyone has to pay for their own stuff but you would be a great guide so people can work on seeing the potential in a piece. That, and you clearly know the best thrifting spots. I’d totally stalk a silent auction to make sure I won that.

    • Carlos

      Or perhaps you could sell the items you found from one day trifting? On eBay or sum such? The proceeds could be donated?
      I (and II believe many of you’d other groupies…I mean fans!) would pay a huge premium for an Emily Henderson curated collection, add that it’s a charitable contribution? Those hands are worth thousands! :)

  5. Elise

    I love the creepy baby head – especially under glass! And I think the lamp is totally worth the $150. But Santiago lying to you – not cool! At least you know now to take every sum he claims to have paid and deduct $40.

  6. Donna

    The wicker chair and boy with balloon drawing are my favorites. Would love, love, love to spend the weekend shopping with you!!!

  7. Love everything you bought as usual. I’m so sad that there aren’t as good flea markets in NYC as there are in the LA area. I go to them in NYC all the time and they are just quite expensive and there just isn’t as much stuff, but I still go almost every weekend.
    Do you have any other fleas that you know of other than 25th st. garage, W39th st. and brooklyn flea? I would love if you know of any more for your days of living in NYC.
    xo Quinn

    Quinn Cooper Style

    • I second that request – thrifting in NYC is just too expensive!! There’s gotta be a few secrets spots that Emily can clue us in on…pretty please?!?!

  8. I love the brass hands and that nude. The boy with the balloon would be a fabulous diy. The masked man lithograph freaks me out… in a good way!

    Love the colour and (as always) love the brass!

  9. Bonnie

    This post made me snort-laugh, so many good finds!! You have my total support. Also, Scott’s OKL sale was superb. Miss you guys!

  10. These posts make me feel like I waste my weekends with dog cuddling and The Mindy Project watching…

    In other news, why is the nude “not a beautiful woman?”

    • Lori

      RE: the last line of your post, that’s EXACTLY what I was thinking.

      • Melissa

        Seriously. I love the nude. Sucks you don’t think she’s a beautiful woman. Very disappointing.

      • Melissa

        That last post was directed at Emily (not you, Lori!).

  11. Eliza

    An idea for using the boy with a balloon in a kid’s room if you want to color the balloon – make multiple copies of it and (1) color the balloon in a series of colors (all different ones or tones of the same one); or(2) color different parts of the picture (e.g., balloon in one, belt next, then shirt stripes, shoes, and string) -again in different colors, same color, or tones of that color. Also, by making copies, you can experiment until you get the effect you want and not worry about messing up the original. I’d leave the original black and white without any alterations.

    Do you love the lamp? Then you paid the right amount of money. I say let it go – how do you know that the second guy didn’t lie about how much he sold it for? Maybe he was wanting you to doubt Santiago and therefore not buy from Santiago but him in the future. Bottom line, you paid what you felt was a fair price at the time for an item you love. Love the lamp, forget the price.

  12. Holly

    oh man, I hate it when vendors rip me off. I got a faded antique sarape the other week and even though the guys were using it to polish metal on and catch oil can stains, they still over-charged me. Dangit… But those brass hands have a presence! I’ve never seen anyhting like them before, and just think what you would have paid had you bought them on Beverly or something… millllllllions!!!!

  13. Love all of these – I’ve literally been having dreams about yard sale-ing for brass tchotchkes. (True story) They are much better than my excel nightmares during tax season. Yard sale-ing isn’t exactly a sport in NYC, but I’m hoping to get a few good weekends in upstate this summer doing just that.

    I just read an interesting thread on reddit about antiques and collectibles and pricing. I’ve always said that you can’t overpay for something you love (even though it kinda stings to find out you could’ve had it for less). Of course reddit goes on some tangents but it’s a pretty amusing and informative read (even if some of it is obvious advice). Check it out when you have a free 30+ minutes to read since it’s pretty long:


  14. Emily, you crack me up! Okay, so my favorite is definitely that wicker chair. Thanks SO much for making wicker cool. You always find cool ways to style it!

    As far as the brass hands go, I’m going to give you a round of applause for purchasing because it’s SO you! I’m also going to give Santiago an Academy Award for his performance. ;)

  15. Erin

    That lamp is fantastic! I never would have paid that much, but then I would have spent weeks laying awake at night yearning for it, and then spent the $150 on chocolates to make myself feel better. So, all in all, you’re better off spending it on the lamp. Can’t wait to see it all lit up! (also – baby head in a jar = awesome.)

  16. Darcy

    I love the baby head! I recently bought a larger baby bust and can’t get enough of it! I would love to see the lamp lit and in situ. I think it’s amazing!

  17. Lisa B

    Love, love, love the boy with the balloon. If you love the brass hands, then they are worth it.

  18. Susan

    Have you seen the French film “The Red Balloon”? It’s a classic and once you’ve seen it you’ll love the boy and balloon print all the more!

  19. Chris

    The brass hands are in.cred.ible. I’m dying.
    Also, the baby head is so deliciously creepy and I love it.
    Boy with the balloon. No words.

  20. Love, love, love that vintage wicker chair!!! I’m also kinda digging the hands…what kind of shade are you thinking of pairing with them?

  21. that wicker chair has ridiculous detailing that is so unique and fun. to me, that ain’t no run of the mill wicker. what a great buy. and the colors in the watercolor lady are fantastic!

  22. Angela

    That’s nice that you edited the part about the naked lady. Sweet! My backside looks pretty much like hers and I’m pretty cute. :)

  23. I don’t think you majorly overpaid for the hand lamp.

    A typical lamp at West Elm would be the same price, and, unlike a West Elm lamp, the brassy number you’ve nabbed WONT be seen a thousand times in other rooms on Pinterest.

    ‘Tis better to buy the right thing at the wrong price than the wrong thing at the right price!

  24. Tami

    Love the hands! If it makes you feel any better (probably not), you only overpaid by $90.
    $150-$60=$90 :)

  25. max

    Emily will probably put it on OKL for $500, so who is ripping off whom? ( and sadly I bet I lowballed that price.)

  26. Ines

    The hands are totally worth the $150!! TOTAL SHOWSTOPPER. Then again, I am obsessed with hands, kinda like you are obsessed with heads.

    I’m so glad to see you displaying that little head – I have a couple of little hands from mannequins my son collects (yes, we are a family of oddballs) and i’ve gotten “creepy” comments before but I just love them!

    This is probably the oddest and perhaps creepiest comment I’ve ever posted ha ha! Luckily I feel like if there is a good forum for it, your site is it!


  27. Cory

    I gotta say, BABY HEAD all the way. Definitely a conversation piece, sometimes you just need to buy something fun.

  28. Stephanie

    Do you know who the artist of the drawing of the boy with the balloon is? I’m so curious because I have a VERY similar drawing of the same proportions and style that I bought out here in VA and I want to know if they’re by the same person!

  29. pri. scilla

    if you hadn’t find out the brass lamp had sold earlier for less than you paid, you wouldn’t be so hard on yourself. (duh)
    the person who really should be and IS kicking himself is the original dealer.

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