Monday, March 26, 2012

A surprise flea market

Our story begins last Wednesday, my husband's birthday, when he wanted to take the day off work and go gallivanting. He's fun to go gallivanting with, so I was game. We were driving through the country just past Roanoke, Ala. when we saw what looked like a mile of cars parked along both sides of the road. What on earth?

It was Ruth's Flea Market, which a nice teased-hair lady told us is held only on Wednesdays, and "you really need to get here by 7 or 8 to get anything."

Online listings later revealed Ruth's is open on Saturday as well, but we were just astonished at how many vendors and buyers were milling about right there in the middle of the week. The offerings ranged from cases of neon-colored bras in sizes I didn't know existed to deer heads, homemade canned goods, old weapons, fresh produce, plants, these bunny rabbits, and of course old flea market favorites such as glassware, china and silver. I don't suppose I have to tell you what caught my eye!

But I do have to tell you what I bought: this gorgeous old three-piece silver set, and for just $10! The sticker said 5 pieces for $10, and the other two pieces were ...

... egg cups, maybe? You tell me. They surely don't match, but who cares, I got those great silver pieces for a song!

Here's what the set looked like before the first round of polishing.

Now I just adore these old pieces of silver with Repoussé work, or embossing, that's near the top, and the chasing, or etched design, that's on the lower half.

I was drawn to this set because I love the Victorian design, and a little research revealed that indeed this maker, Homan, was in business in the late 1880s and changed its name to the Homan Silverplate Co. in 1896. I wondered why there are what look like two sugar bowls, only one without a lid. Here you can see that in the bowl at front there is a rim, while the bowl at back has no rim. When I searched online for similar sets, some listings described the odd piece without a lid as a waste pot or slop bowl (what a name!), which was used to pour off the old, cooled tea before the hostess refilled her guests' cups. Whatever the case, I'm quite happy with the gifts I got for my husband's birthday this year!


  1. That looked like a fun birthday outing for hubby (and you!). Your new silver is lovely.

  2. What a fun day to spend with your husband. You found some real treasures. But, I have to ask, is gallivanting your word or his? My mom loved to go "gallivanting." When my brother and I were children, our parents would load us up in the car on Sunday afternoons and off we would go!

  3. Sounded like a fun stop and what a neat treasure.

    Yes, indeed, the bowl without a lid is called a waste bowl (much nicer term than "slop") and is used to pour cool tea into.

    I often use mine for sugar cubes and the regular sugar bowl for granulated sugar!

    Guests are expected to drink ALL of their tea!

  4. Happy Birthday to your sweet hubby!
    I love gallivanting too! For me it is usually something impromptu and always turns out to be very interesting and usually ends with finding a fun new place to eat.

    Your new silver pieces are so elegant. I could see them with some daffodils and tulips all lined up down the center of a table. Your could put a votive cup in the "egg cups" and use for a vase or candle. The embellishments on them are very beautiful.

    Just wondering, do always get gifts on your husband's
    birthday? ;-)

  5. What a fun way to celebrate your hubby's b-day, and finding an unexpected flea market in progress made it even better! I love your silver purchases at bargain prices!

  6. WOW!! I love flea markets, because we can find treasures that is imposible to find in another places...

    Here in Italy we always go to a flea market (the city is Bari and every sunday they´re there!).
    I want to post at my blog some stuff that we bought there.

    Congratulations for your silver set. Cute!

    (and Happy Birthday to your husband) :D

  7. I'm thinking those "egg cups" had glass liners in them at one point and were a small goblet. Just a guess.
    Great deal on the silver!

  8. HaHaha what a great way to spend some quality time together! My husband loves flea markets too, he is always looking for musical instruments.

  9. Just lovely, lovely, lovely! I really like old silver and your pieces are extra special!

  10. WOW!!!

    You really scored some awesome treasures - whoo hoo!

    Good job, looove them!

  11. Fabulous! And I love this phrase, " a nice teased-hair lady"! Very descriptive.

  12. Wow, those are wonderful. I want to shop with you sometime!

  13. Gallivanting - everyone in my family uses that word but I don't hear it very much amongst my friends. When there is gallivanting, fun is to be had, that's for sure. Congratulations on your treasures!

  14. Once again you find the most amazing and special treasures for a song! Wow. I think they go to someone who loves and will appreciate them.
    "Gallivanting" is a word my mother used too which means I do too and on it goes down the generations. It is a great word.

  15. How fun to get that beautiful gift on your husband's birthday. Could the eggs have had a glass liner and really for wine or aperitif? I don't think if I went gallivanting on a Wednesday her would I find a flea market like this.

  16. What a fun day! Happy (belated) birthday to your husband.

  17. What a fun post today and Happy Birthday to your husband! I like the use of the word gallivanting, it fits perfectly. The 'treasure winds' were blowing in your favor, that's for sure. Beautiful silver set, Angela!

    I wonder if small bottles were 'set' atop the silver pieces (perhaps they were once used as cruets, oil & vinegar?) They are simply beautiful and I love the embellishments too! You have such great taste in 'treasures' Angela, I need to give you my shopping money and I know I will love the outcome. Joanie

  18. To answer Linda's question above, "gallivanting" is definitely an Angela word!


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