Treasures in the attic

BRIDGEPORT – Jack Scarpuzzi admires a handmade wooden sewing case on display at Attic Pickers, 55827 National Road, Bridgeport.

Inside, spindles were placed to hold spools of thread and other countless compartments and pockets were added with care to help the seamstress stay organized.

Scarpuzzi, one of the many associates who sells items on consignment at the shop, noted the craftsmanship and compassion that went into building what was 50 years ago an everyday household item.

“There’s a lot of feeling in this from some man who made this for his wife,” he said. “It’s an unusual piece.”

Many consumers these days are looking for pieces that have the warmth and character of a past era.

Also, based on the success of such TV shows as American Pickers, many people believe they have treasures hidden in their attics and basements and are seeking to sell them.

“There is no shortage of things to sell,” Scarpuzzi noted.

A small Singer sewing machine from the 1940s occupies one shelf.

He said quilters today covet the machine because of its size. Among other items close by are an inlaid table from the 1930s, Duncan Miller hobnail glassware and a bar stool in the shape of a Budweiser beer bottle.

The bar stool would be ideal in a man cave, and so would a framed copy of a program from the 1960 World Series won by the Pittsburgh Pirates that hangs on the wall. And what woman wouldn’t want a 1950s-era bakelite purse, which sits on a counter at the store.

At the Barnesville Antique Mall, 202 N. Chestnut St., co-owner Brian Mayhugh said the demand for specific items “changes all the time.” He noted high on the list of pieces presently desired by his customers are wooden kitchen items, antique toys and advertising signs.

“Any advertising is popular – especially if it’s gasoline related,” he said. “If you can find that stuff, you are really doing good.”

Customers also respond well to glassware and decorated stoneware made in the Ohio Valley, Mayhugh continued.

Sherry Vizba, part-time manager at Antiques on the Market, 2265 Market St., Wheeling, said the shop has been very busy in recent months.

A total of 17 different dealers sell items at the location.

And among the most popular pieces – especially during warm-weather months – are those that can be placed outside in the garden, she noted. A pair of green metal outdoor chairs from the 1950s sit prominently on display in the shop, and close by are well-traveled suitcases used in the past.

One of the dealers specializes in the sale and repair of antique clocks and watches, she noted. Clothing from past decades – including coats bearing the label of the former Hornes store in Wheeling – hang on a nearby rack.

“Vintage is the thing today,” Wizba said. “People love vintage items. It’s just fun to have something from history.”