As the official costume jewelry princess at the auction I go to, and because I’m a nice princess, I get special privileges. A few weeks ago a seller dropped off a 20 gallon box full of costume jewelry. Don’t get excited, it wasn’t full of Juliana and Fancy stuff jewelry. Rather lots of broken watches, dirty jewelry, and possibly the occasional bug.
When sellers drop off huge amounts of jewelry like this the auction assistants have to match pieces together (like earrings) and display them on trays. The thing is, costume jewelry gets no respect. So the assistants don’t know treasures from trash. So Melissa, the assistant, told me to put some trays together, for myself to bid on. Woo hoo. Digging through a box of costume jewelry, that’s right up my aisle. As you may have figured out, I have a thing for beaded jewelry, especially glass jewelry. So I dug around and found some art glass necklaces, a Venetian Sommerso bead necklace, some 1950s beaded necklaces, and assorted treasures. I kept digging around the bottom, because you never know what you might find. I love dress clips and fur clips, so at the bottom I found a figural Coro fur clip, of what looked like an old woman. It was in bad shape, very chippy, but since I was going to bid on this extra special tray, I threw it onto my pile. Long story short, a couple hours later I was high bidder on the two trays.
So I took my treasures home. The Venetian beads were wired onto an ugly chain, so I removed them and put them on an appropriate chain. I listed some of the necklaces, and kept putting the ugly Coro fur clip aside. I finally got around to taking her pictures, and posted then on Ebay. While I heavily promote my Etsy shop, Ebay is still my primary store, so I post everything there first. I knew painted Coro dress clips could be valuable, so I researched them only finding Charlie McCarthy ones. Why they would make womens jewelry depicting Charlie McCarthy is beyond me.
I had no idea how to price her, so when in doubt, I put items up for auction and let the buyers decide the value. So I started the auction at 14.99. Right away I got a bid on it, and a strange email asking if I would end the auction early, because she had lost these before. I said, once I start an auction I don’t end it. I recently joined the 21st century with an Iphone, which is connected to Ebay and tells me every time I get a bid. About 20 minutes later my phone started beeping, and told me the bidding for the pin was up to 300.00. For a really ugly pin.
At that point I decided to ask my Etsy team mates on Facebook what was so special about this pin. I posted pictures, and we went back and forth. Someone found a Coro website with the other half of this fur clip, it was Punch, as in Punch and Judy. He had a moveable arm with a stick, was in excellent condition and asking price was 1200.00! So who I had was Judy, but her arm was missing the stick, and she was missing a lot of paint. Everyone gets excited when a teamie has a great find.
So I had to wait 7 days for the auction to end. I knew there were at least 2 people in the world that wanted her. I kept checking the bids, but they didn’t change. Final high bid was 320.00 Only 320.00! This shows you how greedy we can get. The first bidder was the winning bidder. I asked her what she was going to do with it, restore it or leave it? She was up in Providence Rhode Island, former costume jewelry capital of the country, and her grandmother used to work in the Coro factory. She didn’t know whether she would restore Judy or leave her.
What absolutely amazes me, is that if I hadn’t found her, in the bottom of that grubby box, I’m sure she would have ended up in the trash. In my mind, this ugly Coro fur clip has a place in costume jewelry history, and I was possibly the only one there who could even envision anyone wanting her. I’m so happy that she has returned home to Providence.