Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Top 10 Repurposed Gifts you can Find at Auction

Tis the season to be jolly, or if you are like most of us, tis the season to agonize over what to give that one person who is so hard to shop for. I agonized and agonized like I do every year (my mother is SO hard to shop for)! Fortunately I work at an auction house so unique and interesting gift ideas are always right in front of me. There are many ways re-purpose the things you can find at auction with normal stuff you might have lying around your house. 

So here is my top 10 list of the best re-purposed holiday gifts ideas from things I see come into our doors all the time.

10. Turn this dresser into an extra special accent piece. I see great furniture come through our doors all the time. Auctions are a great place to pick up something that with a little love can be a master piece. 
For example here are a twelve ideas. Here is another idea, but instead of buying the dresser from a big box store, buy it at auction and give new love to something that already exists.

9.  Mason Jar Upcycle. We see mason and ball jars come through the doors all the time. These are some of my favorite ways to reuse them for holiday décor and gifts like a soap dispenser or holiday candle

8. What about those old mirrors and frames? We get plenty of them… have you ever thought of making it into a statement piece? A little paint and viola! Here are some more ideas with repurposed frames .

7. Button Crafts! As anyone will tell you I am just mad about buttons! We sell them by the thousands! Here are some button project ideas! I know someone who would LOVE a button bouquet for their wedding (ahem)! Here's another one that combines the frame and the buttons. Don't for get button bobby pins 
Did I mention I LOVE buttons. You can read my post about them here ­

6.  And for that person in your life with a green thumb? I love these teacup planter ideas. We sell teacups by the case full and this is a great way to use them!

5.  Personalized Mugs. I can’t even begin to tell you how many mugs we sell. We sell the by the box. Why not make a personalized mug for someone?

4. Decorated Tins. I have them on my desk at home to keep my stuff organized. They can be repurposed to match just about any décor. They would also look great in kids rooms.

3. Maps. We all have them. I probably have all 50 states stuffed into my car somewhere here are some great ideas to reuse them. I love the idea of making hearts out of places that are special to you and framing it! I might be doing that tonight when I get home! Italy anyone?

2.  Okay, I’m slightly wedding obsessed, I am in the middle of planning my own, so I had to throw this in. I love using the vintage keys for a guest book. But I also love the idea of putting a key on a chain and making a really great unique necklace.

1. And what to wrap all your creations in? Maps, newspaper, recycled grocery bags, old posters, comics. The possibilities are endless  

All of us at Gateway Gallery Auction want to wish you all a very happy Holiday and a happy New Year! We are busy getting set up for our auctions beginning in January 2013. As always be sure to check out our upcoming auctions for more great upcycled and re-purposing ideas as well as vintage and antique items! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Vintage Pinterest

If you are alive today (and are computer literate) chances are you have heard of Pinterest. I have often called it "stumble upon for ladies". If you're a young 20 something and planning a wedding (ahem)... you practically live on Pinterest. Frankly I often wonder how people got things done before its existence. If you are at all into vintage it is also a wonderful portal to explore your interest. If you haven't used or heard of it here is how Pinterest describes itself:
"Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse boards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests" via
Heres a picture of the front page:  
As you can see we have recipes, exercise routines, fashion, quotes, and photographs all represented. 
This concept is nothing new. People have been sharing recipes, decorating houses, planning weddings, and getting before Pinterest burst on to the scene. Scrapbooking was there long before the internet (and still is for many dedicated hobby-ists out there). When we think of scrapbooks I often think of picture albums, but this is a common misconception. Scrapbooking was popular long before the photograph. People would often clip out items from magazines and news papers, greeting cards, calling cards, quotes etc. Working in museums, I have even seen recycled books turned into scrapbooks where clippings were pasted right over the page. I've also seen scrapbooks dedicated to pressed flowers and hair jewelry  Photographs in scrapbooks didn't become that common until the mid to late 1800s and after.

Over the years I've seen many different incarnations of the scrapbooks. These pictures are from scrapbooks  we are featuring in our December 10th auction. Just like today, celebrities and fashion were hot topics... looks pretty familiar right?.

Now here are some items from my Pinterest page.

Not all that different eh? Interests span time and generations. Sure, most of us aren't literally cutting and pasting (or are we via our computers)? Although Pinterest isn't a physical scrapbook it still is a visual representation of things that inspire us. As we move forward in the digital age, its often nice to stop and take a step back to consider what the predecessor is and how we got to the current incarnation. Technology changes fast, but the idea of saving important things never goes out of style, especially in the auction business.

For more information on our upcoming auctions be sure to visit our website! Happy cutting/pinning! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Civil War Diary sheds new light on African American Troops During the Last Year of the Civil War

The diary of a young officer of the 42nd U.S.C.T. sheds light on obscure regiment

Chambersburg PA- African American troops made up only 6% of the total troops who fought in the Civil War making accounts of their units scarce, but Gateway Gallery Auction hopes to change that by selling the Civil War Diary of First Lieutenant Adoniram Judson Hastings of the 42nd U.S.C.T.  on October 22, 2012.
The diary of Hastings recounts the closing events of the Civil War including the fall of Richmond, Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, the assassination of President Lincoln, and the shooting of John Wilkes Booth. 
“This diary gives us an insight into the everyday life of the unit as well as how people were feeling about the events of the time. By 1865 many folks were weary and ready for the war to end, this diary reflects that.  This unit, stationed outside Chattanooga, was in a perfect position to watch the fall of the Confederacy.”  Lee Kalfon, Assistant Auction Coordinator and researcher at Gateway Gallery Auction said.
The diary also tells of the daily activities of the regiment made up of African American troops and includes descriptions of meetings among the enlisted men.
 “This was an obscure unit formed late in the war, It is rare to find primary source information on any African American unit, but since the 42nd wasn’t formed until 1864 and performed mostly garrison duty most of their stories have been lost to time.”  Kalfon continued.
In addition to the Civil war diary, Gateway’s  October 22nd auction will also feature vintage items, clocks, toy tractors, furniture and more. Gateway Gallery Auction holds bi-weekly estate auctions as well as specialty collection auctions. For more information visit  or call (717) 263-6512.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Candy Containers and Western Toys are not just for Children Anymore at Gateway Gallery Auction

Candy Containers and Western Toys are not just for Children Anymore at Gateway Gallery Auction

Rare Kaleidoscope Candy Container and Western Toy Collectibles top off a superb holiday auction.

Chambersburg, PA- Gateway Gallery Auction's annual Columbus Day Auction on October 8th, 2012 features period furniture, firearms, glassware, ceramics, local pharmaceutical items from Wogan's pharmacy and stand out cataloged items. Gateway's Columbus Day auction is a must see for buyers and collectors alike.
 "This is a really well rounded sale", Heather Kohler Fowler, auctioneer at Gateway Gallery said, "Holiday sales typically draw the biggest crowds and I expect this will be no exception"
 The Highlight in Gateway's Columbus Day auction is a Turney G. Strough Moving Pictures Candy Kaleidoscope Container with a complete red label. A similar one sold in 2003 at James D. Julia Auction for an impressive $22,425. 

"An identical item appears in Collector's Guide to Candy Containers by Dezso, Poirier, and Poirier. It had been in one collection for many years, and was said to be the only one, but rumors surfaced before the sale that there may be another hiding somewhere." Mark Sisco wrote in the June 2003 issue of Maine Antique Digest.
 In addition to the candy container the October 8th auction contains a collection of vintage western toys and cap guns. These items have been put on to Proxibid and are available for online bidding so all interested parties will have a chance to bid on these extraordinary collectibles.

Gateway's Columbus Day auction also features period and modern furniture, firearms, vintage collectibles, decorator items, art an more. Doors open at 10:00 AM. For more information including full catalog listing and photos visit our website or call (717) 263-6512.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vintage Beauty Standards

Today is Spa Day at Gateway Gallery!

Heather and Wheezer having a steam bath
Even I am enjoying my beauty treatment
I can tell you sitting in the Grecian steam bath did not make me feel more relaxed, but perhaps its all in the mind.

Honestly we have some pretty neat vintage exercise equipment in our September 3rd auction. Like this gem, anyone remember these? 

This got me thinking about vintage exercise and beauty products, which by the way are very hot in the antique world right now. With the reinsurance of pin up culture (although some would argue that it never went away), we are seeing an increasing interest in vintage beauty items. Some of the beauty standards seem strange and even offensive to us now, but who knows in 30 years what will we think of the Bumpit? 

I often find myself fawning over old curling irons and wondering just how women used them without burning themselves or worse, burning the house down. A quick Google search will give you hundreds of vintage beauty tips to give yourself that old Hollywood glow. Many of the old "beauty treatments" contained poisonous chemicals such as mercury. Pain is beauty right? If you want to see some more arcane antique beauty products I encourage you to read the article on Collectors Weekly called Bizarro Beauty Products 1889-Now  . If you want to know more about the vintage beauty and exercise items we have in our Labor Day Auction please head over to our website

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


One of my friends asked me once, "Hey Lee, what are your favorite things you have seen come through at auction"? Although its always difficult to pick just one, usually buttons come to mind. Now, as my grandmother once told me, I sew like a blind man on a fast horse... so for me they are not merely about mending clothes. At auction, they often end up all together and somewhat neglected. Many people pass them by thinking, "Well I don't sew, what use would I have for buttons"?

Image via
Image via

Although buttons are a common household item, they can be very intricate and fascinating. I recently read an interesting article on the history of buttons published by Judy Stewart. Who knew that buttons used to be a symbol of wealth and status? If you're interested here is her article: A very interesting article on the history of buttons .

In the grand scheme of the secondary market, buttons are a great way to upcycle your favorite vintage items in a new and often exciting way. I have long been looking for a new set of buttons to adorn my vintage pea coat to give it a little pizzazz! Upcycled buttons are all over and other boutiques as jewelry too. What a neat and unique way to make jewelry. Just a quick search of Pinterest for "Upcycled Buttons" turned up all these great ideas: Button ideas! See what I'm getting at? Buttons have serious craft potential!

So next time you pass a box of buttons take a second look they hold more potential then you may think!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pressed Pattern Glass

Its been a while since we have updated our Auction Blog, but mostly that's because we have been so busy with auctions! In the past few months we have had some pretty incredible items come through our doors. Our last auction featured pressed pattern glass goblets and it had Heather and I pretty busy! We had nearly 1,000 goblets that we had to identify and group. Not an easy task to say the least.
This was our top lot of the auction selling for $1,500

It took us the better part of a week to get through all 992 goblets. We did our best to identify all the patterns although we missed the mark on a few! For me it was a fantastic learning experience.  I got to learn about pressed pattern glass, which I will admit I knew very little about from some of experts who came down for our auction and those I reached out to online. I want to say a very special thank you to the EAPG Society and Sean George and other specialists that helped guide us in identification. 
I guess that brings me to my main point why I think this is an exciting and fantastic business to be in. You are constantly learning. There are so many experts in so many fields and they are always willing to share their expertise with an open and eager mind. As we prepare for our next auction featuring guns, ammo, knives and fishing equipment I look forward to getting learning a little more! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Why shop at auction?

Lately here at Gateway Gallery Auction we have been sitting here racking our brains on why more young people don't shop at auctions. With the rising trend of vintage, upcycling, antiques, and thrift stores auctions would seem to be a natural shopping destination for young people looking to furnish their lives with quality goods on a budget. Although we have been seeing some younger faces how do we reach more? How can auctions capitalize on the vintage movement by young people across the country?

For our part, we have started an aggressive social media campaign to try to engage a younger generation. However, as a twenty- something, I really feel like our generation is missing out on some great finds because we are not really exposed to what an auction has to offer. I will readily admit that until I worked for Gateway Gallery Auction I had no idea how an auction worked or what they had to offer. The closest I have ever come to an auction experience was Ebay (its not the same thing as the real deal ladies and gentlemen, trust me). I am a lover of all things vintage and had I only known auctions were an available outlet, I probably would have gotten into this business a whole lot sooner.

Those who are really into the green movement should also really be behind buying things at auction. Instead of buying furniture at a big box store (which will likely fall apart in a few years and end up in a landfill) you could have a real piece of quality furniture that is built to last for the same price. This means less waste in our landfills. I have already posted about repurposing your auction finds to make them more personal for fit your needs. This is a huge movement these days and I wonder why more people aren't willing to take advantage of it.

Hopefully this new P.R. campaign can help us reach and bring in a new generation of auction enthusiasts, but its more than drumming up an online buzz, its about getting them in the door to experience all that an auction can offer them. We would love to start a dialog on how to reach the younger generations. I think we can all learn from each others experiences. Join our conversation by "liking" us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. You can also e-mail me, I would love to hear any suggestions!

Monday, January 23, 2012

What to do with your auction goodies

Sometimes its hard to see the diamond in the rough when looking at items from auctions. It is true that some items we end up with have seen their  better days. However, if you are able to look past the surface to see the hidden potential you may end up with a hidden gem. Some things need a little TLC to really come to life. If you're willing to put in a little work you can end up with a real treasure at a great price. Recently a group of photos of buggy seats landed upon my desk. Here is what the looked like when they were purchased. 

I'll be the first to admit, they don't look like much, but buyer brought them home and gave them a little work.

With a little love, TCL, and some simple tools, they were able to make beautiful bench. All from those old buggy seats! 

From this....
To this
Pretty amazing
All you need is a little elbow grease!
So next time you are thinking there is nothing at an auction that would interest you, remember to dig a little deeper and use your imagination. You never know what you might find and what you might end up with!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

After a wonderful sale this past Monday, we are in the process of getting ready for our sale on Feburary 4th. We are all working very hard to make it a great one. Our upcomming sale will feature Guns, Coins, and Automobiles and Automotive Accessories.

Tiffany is working very hard on making our cases look amazing

Even Miss. Teagan is getting in on the action!

This auction is going have some amazing collectors items. I personally have had a chance to do some research on a few of the rare guns. Stay tuned for more updates on those!