Announcing..."As Luck Would Have It" -- the Website!

FINALLY! The "As Luck Would Have It" Website has launched! Now, in addition to the offerings at Home Store Manassas, my carefully edited collection of vintage treasures are available thru Be sure to check it out daily, as there are many more pieces of inventory to be posted. And tell ALL your friends, family, co-workers, strangers you meet in bars....Trust me, they'll thank you for it! At least I will...!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

China Syndrome

What’s a furniture addict to do when the all available storage runneth over?  In my case, I redirect my acquisition urges toward items that are considerably easier to warehouse:  tableware, knick-knacks, pictures, and all sorts of tschotskes.   The possibilities are endless in this category of vintage décor!

In my previous post , I let my Dear Readers in on the secret of the glorious thrift store Yesterday’s Rose.  On the Monday following my first visit there, which had resulted in the discovery of several lovely (and bulky) pieces of vintage furniture (now occupying valuable real estate in The Warehouse), I returned to transport the silk-covered Baker loveseat.  As previously mentioned, that day also happened to be “1/2 Off Everything Day”!  What a coincidence!

Considering that the loveseat required almost every square centimeter of space in the Passat’s cargo area, there were limits to what I could acquire on my second visit.  Fortunately, the Rose had a rather extensive offering of dishes and glassware.  Having perused the stacks of breakables the previous Saturday with BFF Diana the Lady D, there were a few items that I was hoping to locate once again among the piles.  However, there was one treasure first and foremost in my mind for this excursion:  a set of eleven china plates by Royal Albert.

Weeks prior to my foray into the treasure-filled cavern that is Yesterday’s Rose, Lady D emailed me to express her glee over finding a beautiful china plate during one of her Rose trips.  She dubbed the item “The Faux Oyster Plate” because its bold yet delicate pattern reminded her of plates designed for such a function.  Although there had been a complete set of twelve of these exquisite dishes, Diana had chosen to purchase only one (convinced that she has an innate propensity to break things, she was fearful of being responsible for a whole dozen of china plates!).  Nonetheless, on her many follow-on trips to the Rose, she faithfully stopped by the case in which they were displayed to ensure no one else had acquired the remaining eleven.

What made these plates especially intriguing was the hint of their history indicated by a handwritten note attached to Lady D’s single dish.  Carefully written in a delicate script on a piece of tape placed on the plate’s surface was the statement, “Debbie, from Cowell & Hubbard…Very Expensive”.  Diana, the consummate Internet researcher, pulled this thread and discovered that Cowell and Hubbard was a jewelry store located in Cleveland, Ohio.  According to The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History ,

Cowell and Hubbard Co . is Cleveland's oldest jewelry store. The firm started in 1861 when Geo. Cowell and his son, Herbert, took control of the silversmith shop of Royal Cowles, which had opened in 1849 under the Weddell House at Superior Ave. and Bank (W. 6th) St. H. Cowell & Co. sold clocks, watches, silverware, lamps, fine jewelry, and notions.

Obviously, the previous owner of these delightful and delicate dishes desired that “Debbie” be fully aware that these plates had an extraordinary pedigree.  (Luckily, “Debbie” apparently couldn’t have cared less, and the Royal Albert plates ended up in a thrift store!)

The Lady D then set out to determine the plates’ vintage.  Sleuthing through the vast information store of the Internet, she came upon the definitive source for all things Royal Albert:  Here, she determined that the plates’ backstamp indicated that they were manufactured 1927-1935 (apparently a particularly prolific period for the Royal Albert Company!).

When Diana and I visited Yesterday’s Rose on that fateful Saturday in November, the remaining eleven Royal Albert plates still resided in their place of honor in the glass case near the shop’s entrance.  However, recognizing that a mere two days later the dishes would be included in the “1/2 Off Everything” event, I decided to tempt fate and wait until I returned to transport the Baker loveseat before purchasing them.  (You see, as desirous as I was to possess these fine plates, the fruit would be that much sweeter if I could get them at an even more remarkable low price!  Vintage shopping is multi-faceted endeavor.)

As I approached the Rose on “1/2 Off Monday” to retrieve the loveseat, I was guided tthough the cold rain by my determination to embrace the Royal Albert plates before they were claimed by some other less-deserving shopper.  But, because my trip to the Fairfax shop had been delayed by a long-standing doctor appointment (which I’d been sorely tempted to cancel), would the dishes still be available?  Walking (well, running, really) into the Rose I breathlessly approached the glass case….Yes Yes YES! the plates – ALL ELEVEN OF THEM – were still there!  Oh Fates, blessed Fates!  I immediately engaged the gentleman behind the counter and, after confirming that the dishes were included in the day’s sale event, I proceeded to carefully examine each one for damage.  I was delighted that all were in pristine condition, and instructed the clerk to consider them sold.

After ensuring my treasure was appropriately set aside for me, I proceeded to rummage through the piles of dishes precariously stacked on the open shelves on the shop’s selling floor.  And I was rewarded for my diligence:  added to my Royal Albert purchase were a 1953 calendar and zodiac plate by Homer Laughlin ; a 1950s-vintage plate with a stylized floral pattern in light blue and gold; and a set of three dinner plate with a large Mod daisy design in the center of each.  Each of these finds could serve as stunning wall hangings, especially the daisy plates when presented as a trio.

There was one near-disastrous moment:  having completed my transaction (with the Goth-Girl clerk manning the register), I attempted to place the box full of newfound bounty into the shopping cart for transport to the awaiting Passat.  !  My hand slipped, and the carton slammed into the bottom of the cart.  I was convinced that I had cracked at least a few of the treasured Royal Albert china plates.  However, upon my inspection back home, it was revealed that all items had survived my moment of clutziness.  I had miraculously evaded Lady D’s curse! 

Now, Diana and I are in negotiations regarding how The Eleven are to be divided; she insists that she should hand over her single plate in order to keep the set intact (and to escape their impending doom that being in her possession ensures).  I, however, contend that the vintage wealth should be distributed, and a set of eight would suffice for me.  Indeed, disposition of the dozen is a task best suited for King Soloman.

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