Money Found in Marble Wash Stand

Money Found in Marble Wash Stand

One niece inherited the entire estate when her aunt passed away.

But, when her aunt told her there was money hidden in the bedroom, she wondered “is she just rambling at her elderly age, or is she serious?”

So when she hired David Lefever of then Crossroads Auction in Big Spring to come into the aunt’s home and take everything away for auction, she was on edge, and watched the workers like a hawk. She didn’t say anything about the possibility that they might find cash money. She had already combed the bedroom before they arrived, but to no avail.

David’s employee, Cindy, Cindy’s son and David’s son began cleaning the aunt’s home, preparing to haul the items away to Crossroads Auction House. The aunt’s home was just too small for an estate sale to be held in it.

One of the boys lifted up the marble top on a wash stand in the bedroom.

“It was just solid full of money,” David said.

According to Cindy, twenty, fifty and other dollar bills were bundled with thousand dollar wrappers. The bundles were then placed in tissue paper and wrapped with foil.


Renell Moore February 2, 2018

marble wash stand

Amount of money found was never determined

“It was like she (the niece) was looking for the money, and once she found it, it was a relief,” David said.

He added that if she had shared this with him at the beginning of the cleaning, he probably could have found the money for her right away.

“I told her we always find money, jewelry, personal stuff,” David said. “I told her if we find any of that stuff, we’ll give it back to you, we always do.”

Yet, it is often hard to trust a stranger, or even fellow family members when it comes to money.


Family Feuds Witnessed over years as auctioneer sells off estates

David has witnessed numerous family feuds during his many years as an auctioneer, and explained that bidding wars drive up the price on items.

One of these wars began over a daisy churn, and the family member who was determined to buy it, was not the most popular member of the family.

“We sold a daisy churn that was cracked; there was a chip in it, but the lid covered up the crack,” David said. “We sold it for $300.”

When the buyer was carrying the churn to his pickup, he dropped it and broke it.

David said the other family members almost began clapping and cheering. They didn’t actually clap, but everybody got happy, he said.

In the past, David and his wife, Rhonda, held auctions every other Saturday evening at then Crossroads Auction House, located on the north side of I-20, between Big Spring and Coahoma, Texas.

David said the difference with an auction, is that everything is sold, whereas there are usually leftovers at estate sales.


Road Trip leads Pennsylvanian to become a Texan

David came to Big Spring from Pennsylvania in 1978. He was 18 and on a road trip with friends.

“We wanted to go on a big trip when we got out of school. We left in March when there was snow on the ground, and we came out through Amarillo on I-40,” he said. “We got down in here, (the west Texas area). We started pealing our clothes off – we were loving it. We went to the Grand Canyon. We went all around sight seeing. We went out to the beach in California, and coming home our car broke down in Big Spring,” David said.

He said he has been here ever since.

“It’s like one old boy I was working for said, ‘Once you get a little bit of Texas in your blood, you’ll be back.”

Classic Collection Antiques Mall Still Going Strong After 15 Years

Classic Collection Antiques Mall Still Going Strong After 15 Years

Linnie Ray opened Classic Collection Antiques Mall, located at 833 Butternut in Abilene, Texas fifteen years ago after having her own store.

The antiques mall has 40 booths with 27 dealers and 8,000 square feet of antique items.

The antiques mall has an open, airy feel to it with no permanent walls.

Linnie has two girls who work for her so she is able to go out of town and look for pieces, more so than her dealers because most of them have jobs.

Renell Moore February 2, 2018

Linnie Ray--Classic Collection Antiques Mall

Dealers have made the mall successful

If I didn’t have them, it wouldn’t go over,” Linnie Ray, Classic Collection Antique Mall owner, said. “I keep it running, but I have some really good dealers. I want them (the dealers) to succeed and be happy, and if they’re happy, I’m going to be happy.”  Linnie knows that if her dealers are happy, ultimately her customers will be happy. I want customers to be able to see the mantle over there and vice versa . . . I like the open area, and I try to have enough space that you can pull something out.” She said the best thing about the mall is that the dealers are not all alike.



Mall features a variety of items from shabby sheik to mahogany

“We do have various things, and I think that’s why the mall has been so successful,” Linnie said.“I cater to all kinds. I’m not just a specialty mall . . .I just like old stuff, and I like what you can do with it. I really like to decorate, and I like to help people decorate.”

Linnie enjoys being creative and putting pieces together.

“I like to show them how they can take a shabby piece and put it with a nice piece of mahogany and it’ll look good,” she added. “I try to decorate my side of the shop with pretty pieces and shabby pieces or primitive pieces or signs”


Anything Goes in Today’s Society from primitive to new items

“When I grew up everything was maple, or mahogany or pine – everything had to match.

Today, the younger generation really like putting old pieces with newer pieces when they are decorating their homes.

“I think it’s good that people are coming around and seeing that you can put different pieces together,” she said. “The magazines today are dictating what we sell.

Customers can open a magazine today and it will have a shabby mirror in it.

“I like pieces to have shabbied over the years – something that’s set in somebody’s barn. It’s blue, but it’s not baby blue because it has faded over the years, and it has so much more appeal than something you just take home and paint red, or white or whatever and bring it back and put it on the floor.”

Linnie likes to buy antique pieces that are already shabby or peely.

Her motto for the mall is “From shabby to sheik” and she said her style has been successful, but it has been her dealers who have made the mall that way.

“It takes a lot of hard work. It’s a challenge. Every day you get up and something needs to be different,” she said.

“I have a lot of repeat customers, and if you have it the same way, it gets stale,” Linnie said. “I could have something six months, and change it from one corner to another, and someone comes in, and says ‘Ooh, I haven’t seen that, and it sells.’

“You’ve got to make customers want to stop and look at your stuff.”

Nay Nay’s Cottage Antiques: How I started selling antiques at Round Top Hill Antiques Show

Nay Nay’s Cottage Antiques: How I started selling antiques at Round Top Hill Antiques Show

It was a cool, crisp spring morning on March 25, 2010 when Sandra Becker opened her doors to a “first business” of her own, known as “Nay Nay’s Cottage Antiques.” Deciding on the name of her business adventure came easy as her four grandchildren call her “Nay Nay.”

Renell Moore  January 8, 2018

Ralph and Sandra

Selling at the Texas Antiques Week Fair

Her show is located at Round Top Hill, Route 237, Round Top, Texas. Nay Nay’s is open twice a year during the Texas Antiques Week Fair. Twice a year Round Top is host to one of the nation’s largest antiques events. The show started in 1967 with 22 dealers at the Round Top Rifle Hall. The Original Round Top Antiques Fair is still the first full weekend in April and October. Because of its success, many other shows open prior to it and now include the towns in a 10-mile radius of Round Top.

Sandra and her husband of almost 54 years, Ralph Becker, always enjoyed going to Round Top and Warrenton during the Texas Antiques Week Fair.

Buying is a delight but selling is a little bit different

After many years of collecting, Sandra thought it would be fun to sell antiques and still give she and her husband a chance to have a fun time buying. Sandra gives most of the credit to Ralph as he does the hard work, lifting, moving and refurbishing of the items. He uses many different brands of the “chalk” paint, but now has a formula of his own.

Sandra said, “Buying is a delight, but selling is a little bit different.” She feels she has been so fortunate in greeting and meeting people from all over the USA and even from Canada and Europe. A couple from Canada who purchased an item at the fall 2017 show emailed Christmas greetings and Happy New year wishes.

“It is hard to believe that Route 237 in Round Top and Warrenton bring in so many visitors,” Sandra said as she recanted her very first show of March 25, 2010. “People came and walked through my booth, but I did not make one sale until mid-afternoon of the first day. Another vendor from the venue came to my booth and purchased an unusual pickle jar for $15.00. This was my only sale the first day of my new adventure.”

As the show went on, Sandra was very satisfied with additional sales, but admitted that her first day was like “going to your prom, and no one asking you to dance!”

Sandra’s booth consists of a “mixture from antique rocking horses, shabby chic furniture to flower arrangements in select antique containers.”

Sandra shares a highlight from one of her shows

“I had a fall/winter 2014 Country French magazine laying open on one of my tables. The page featured a picture of a beautifully designed kitchen that I had shown my friends. The magazine was still open on that page when two precious, prim and proper ladies walked into my booth. As we were chatting, I showed them the picture in the magazine and jokingly said, “This is how I want my next kitchen to look.” The two looked at one another and smiled, then explained that they were the designers.

“I thought they looked familiar,” Sandra said, “so I asked them if they had their picture in a magazine.” They informed her that they had been featured in the March/April 2015 Southern Lady issue. Sandra had this issue at home. It turned out they were the owners of a design business in Little Rock, Arkansas called “Providence Design. Sandra felt these ladies were “so delightful to visit with!”

Selling is Fun – Packing Up is Hard Work

As a final note to antiquers, she said, “Selling is fun, but hard work when you are packing up your unsold goods when the show is over.”

“Having gone into such a fun, small business opportunity twice yearly has been so enjoyable and I have met so many wonderful shoppers and dealers – many of whom we consider to be our dearest friends today!” Sandra said.

More Old Signs – How I Started Collecting

More Old Signs – How I Started Collecting

I worked for Champion Technologies in Odessa, Texas from 1979 to 2005. A fellow employee I worked with in 2003 said,

“If you find me 5 lease signs with logos on them, I will pay you $25 a piece”.

More old Signs Owner

So I went to some local antiques shops and yard sales and found some of these lease signs. When I called him and told him that I had them, he never showed up to buy them, so I thought to myself, “If he can sell them, I can sell them.”

by Randy Moore Dec 12, 2017 @ 9:20am


How I got started

(Continued from above)….I started going around to antiques stores trying to sell them. My daughter was in high school and was on a traveling basketball team, and the extra money to pay for travel expenses would come in handy.

I stopped at Goldie’s Antiques in Seminole, Texas one day, which was owned by the late Ernie Singleton. When I walked into his store, I was amazed at all of the butter churns Ernie had displayed up high on shelves on every wall in his store. There were rows and rows of Dazey butter churns – 200 to be exact.

I got to know Ernie after visiting with him for 2 to 3 hours that day and he bought all 5 of my lease signs. Ernie told me, “If you find anymore, give me a call.” I started looking for signs with advertising on them to sell Ernie.

Ernie passed away a few years later when a fire engulfed his store. Ernie had been disabled in a car accident and had lost the use of his legs. He used a wheelchair and lived in a bedroom in the back of his store, which was located on Main Street in downtown Seminole, Texas. Late one night, the store caught fire, and Ernie was unable to make it out.

After Ernie passed, I progressed from buying small, cheap signs to buying better quality and more expensive signs. Back then, I was happy to find a sign for $5 and sell it for $10.

My First Major Deal

The first good deal that I made selling signs was when I was in Jayton, Texas and I stopped at an old closed-down station. The station was filled with lots of old cars and junk. I noticed a sign inside the fenced in area in the back. I saw one six foot round Texaco sign, one six-foot Shamrock sign and a Gulf sign. I knocked on the door of a house located beside this old station and asked the man who answered the door if he owned the station. He said he did and I asked if the signs were for sale. He said he would sell them and I paid him $300 for them. My wife was upset that I had written a check for $300. The next weekend, I sold the signs for $500 each, for a total of $1500. Needless to say, my wife became a believer and that was the easiest $1200 I had ever made in my life. I was hooked!


My biggest Mistake

For the next few years, I would buy and sell signs. I tried to double my money and was happy with it. What made me start researching the value of signs was the day I bought a power lube sign that had a white tiger on it and the graphics were killer. I gave $350 for it. I had spotted it on my way to Abilene when I was working. I called a friend in Lamesa, Texas. His name was Howard Stout and he was one of the top sign guys in the area. I told him I bought the power lube sign, and would be home the next day. When I arrived home, a buyer named Kathy Swinney was parked in my driveway. Kathy was friends with Howard. She offered me $700 and I took it. I found out later that the sign was valued at $2200 to $2500. From then on, I decided that before I sold a sign, I would find out everything I could about the value of the sign by researching it.

I began to go on Ebay and research signs. I would click on “highest prices” because I wanted to know which signs had the most value so I would remember them when I came across them in my travels.

My Best Find

The best deal I have ever made on a sign was on an OK Used Car porcelain, neon dealership sign. I found it in Monahans, Texas. I was driving around the loop and passed a body shop on the right side of the road. I saw a big sign on a pole about 20 feet in the air. It read: Used Cars and I thought to myself, I have seen that sign before. I turned around, parked and walked into the shop. I asked the guy if he would sell the sign. He said he would and asked what I would give for it. I told him “I don’t make offers, I would rather you tell me what you would take for it.” He said, “Give me $300” I said, “I will give half that if you can help me take it down.” He agreed. I walked out and looked up at the sign. I could see some yellow paint around the edge of a piece of round metal at the top of the sign. I realized they had screwed this round piece of metal onto the sign to cover up the yellow OK part of the original sign.

I told him I had to go to Ft. Stockton, but I would be back. The shop owner called a lady who drove an 18 wheeler that had a huge forklift on the flatbed. She unloaded the forklift off of the trailer. She wrapped a chain around the pole, lifted the pole and sign out of the ground and laid it down. It had four bolts that mounted the sign to the pole. The shop owner called a friend, who was a welder, to cut these four nuts so we could take the sign off of the pole. I called my wife to let her know that I had bought a sign and I might not make it home until midnight because I was not coming home without that sign. I borrowed my brother’s trailer and loaded the sign on it to take it home.

I took the sign to the Texas Antiques Week Fair twice and ended up selling it at the Pate Swap Meet in Ft. Worth, Texas. A year and a half later, I sold the sign for $7500.

I have made a lot of good deals on signs, but none have topped the OK Used Car sign deal. I am still looking for that “next good deal.” I will always have a passion for “the hunt” of finding that next good sign deal.

Fire Grenades: Antique Firefighter Tools

Fire Grenades: Antique Firefighter Tools

Back in the 1870s, you would throw a glass bulb full of liquid to douse a fire. These days, fire extinguishers look pretty similar and industrial. However, the fire extinguishers of old were arguably works of art in their own right. These bulbs were made between 1870 – 1910 and were known as fire grenades.

Nov 11, 2017 @ 10:23


Whats inside?

During their heyday, Victorian-era homeowners adorned their homes with these fire grenades. They were meant to be thrown into flames (like a grenade) hard enough to shatter and let the substance inside quench the fire. The first patent for a fire grenade was given to Alanson Crane around the 1870s. The ones created before the 20th century usually had a salt water solution. Many fire grenades made after 1900 were filled with carbon tetrachloride – a substance that is highly toxic to the lungs, liver, kidneys, and brain. This substance is banned today. Since today’s fire extinguishers are filled with about 1kg of foam, it’s clear extinguishing technology has come a long way over the past century.Antique GuardX Canadian Fire Grenade

Antique GuardX Canadian Fire Grenade

Hayward’s Hand Fire Grenade

Hayward’s Hand Fire Grenade


Designs & Manufactures

Fire grenades were relatively small devices, measuring about 6-8 inches tall with a round body and slim neck. They featured patterns in the glass and usually also had the name of their manufacturer. Some of the more famous manufactures include Harden Hand Fire Extinguisher Company of Chicago, Hayward’s Hand Fire Grenade of New York City, Babcock Hand Grenade, and the Dri-Gas Fire Extinguisher Company of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Collecting Fire Grenades

Fire grenades are hot collector’s items today. Many of the devices are absolutely stunning to look at since colors like cobalt, green, amber, and crystal were common in the manufacturing process. Harden produced a fire grenade in 1889 that featured three separate glass sections of cobalt blue, amber, and clear glass. This is one of the most sought-out fire grenades. Since over 200 companies made fire grenades, there’s a lot of surviving examples out there that are often found hanging in vintage kitchens.H.S. Nuttins Glass Fire Extinguisher

H.S. Nuttins Glass Fire Extinguisher

1887 Harden Star Fire Grenade

1887 Harden Star Fire Grenade advertisement from Illustrated London News

Be careful handing!!

Glass fire grenades that still hold the original Carbon Tetrachloride should be handled very carefully. A HazMat team was forced to deploy to a New Hampshire antique store after a grenade with the dangerous substance broke in the shop. Everyone had to be evacuated and the resulting clean up took several hours.


Where can i find them?

They’re also spotted at estate sales, auctions, antique houses, and glass shows. Collectors have also found many fire grenades in the basements of old churches as well.Vintage Shur Stop Fire Water Grenade with hanger

Vintage Shur Stop Fire Water Grenade with hanger

Babcock fire grenade

Babcock fire grenade 

What can i expect to spend?

The average price of a fire grenade varies based on its condition and rarity. Some of the more common ones usually fetch about US$ 75, while a rarer one might get up to several hundred dollars. Ones that are still filled and sealed usually command much higher prices, sometimes well into the four figures.



Hunting for antique fire grenades can be an interesting experience. Their beauty and historical provenance can make them a welcome addition to a home’s decoration, or an interesting addition to a collection of fire-related memorabilia.Red Comet fire grenade

Red Comet fire grenade.

Red Comet fire grenade.

Detail of Red Comet fire grenade.
John Wayne Movie Posters

John Wayne Movie Posters

John Wayne is one of America’s most beloved and famous actors. He was prolific on the silver screen, having averaged a pace of 3.5 movies a year. He kept this up for five decades and appeared in 170+ motion pictures. The most sought-out collectibles from his acting career are original movie posters . They were printed across many different languages and can fetch mighty high prices based on their condition and rarityMovie posters give collectors and movie lovers alike a glimpse into how Wayne’s movies were marketed and advertised. They can also bring back a sense of nostalgia for those old enough to remember his films as they were coming outBy Jake Lopez, HGTV

Updated 11:59 PM ET, Tue January 30, 2018

Poster rarity

Experts think there are, at most, 20 movie posters from each of Wayne’s 93 pre-1945 films. Many believe the number could be less for some of his more famous movies like Stagecoach (1939) and Flying Tigers (1942)Posters from the pre-war era are rare because paper was needed for the war effort. Not much could be spared to print movie posters. In addition, movie theaters were told to return posters to the studio after use.

Angel and the Badman, 1946

Angel and the Badman, 1946The Fighting Kentuckian

The Fighting Kentuckian,1949

Poster Conditions

Many posters that were made before 1985 come with folds due to the shipping process from the printing studio to a movie theater. A lot of posters from more recent years come with a linen backing that is intended to reduce creasing and prevent wear. However, these linen backed posters are sometimes not as desired by collectors. There’s also a bevy of reproduction and reprint material out on the market. Some cinemas released small poster cards that featured some of his films as well.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1962

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1962The Searchers, 1956

The Searchers, 1956

Is Your Movie Poster Authentic?

Authentic John Wayne movie posters usually command some big money. A poster from the film Stagecoach sold in September for 31,000 UK pounds ($US 41,000) as part of a bigger auction of 66 posters. The posters were actually found by builders in Cardiff Wales while they were renovating the home of a deceased cinema owner. All of the posters were actually being used as carpet underlay in the house, but were still in pristine condition. The poster collection was so rare and in such good shape auction house Rogers Jones & Co Auctioneers couldn’t even put an estimated price on them. Some of the other posters featured Alfred Hitchcock, Sir Laurence Oliver, and Henry Fonda.

Paradise Canyon

Paradise Canyon, 1935


Many of Wayne’s posters that hit the market are not going to be in perfect pristine condition. Since they were used in theaters, they usually come with pinholes, folds, tears, tape and writing. Some people see these blemishes as part of the history behind the piece. Others opt to put a linen backing on the poster to prevent further degradation. Adding a John Wayne movie poster to any collection is sure to be a great choice. As one of the nation’s most iconic actors, and the embodiment of the American spirit, John Wayne’s legacy lives on, and his posters continue to rise in value.

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