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Treasure Hunting Report: Hoodwinked

I’ve been had.

You might have seen this minty green tray around the townhouse.  Normally my best finds comes from thrifting or yard saling, but I actually bought this tray at my favorite, upscale mid-century shop, right here in Ottawa, over a year ago.  I loved the colour and the shape.  I thought it had an unusual glaze for a vintage piece (kind of matte), but that made me love it more.  I paid $20 or $25 bucks for it.  I know, I know.  Steep.  But so minty!  I love mint.

It hangs around the kitchen mostly, corralling tomatoes and kiwis.

Imagine my excitement when I found the exact same tray at Value Village!!  Imagine my disappointment when I flipped it over and saw this:

That’s right!  It’s a flippin’ Martha Stewart tray, made in CHINA.  I’m sure the antique dealer didn’t know and I doubt this was a malicious “get the customer” scam (which is why I’m not naming the shop).  I still like the tray, but I bet dollars to donuts I paid more for my used one than it originally sold for. 

This is why I will sometimes spend hours researching items that go into our shop.  I’m so nervous about accidentally selling something newer, because so many newer items have such a vintage aesthetic.  Have you ever bought a faux-vintage something, thinking it’s the real deal? 

P.S.  We ran out of internet – for our billing period – with Rogers yesterday (I’ve been playing too many Mother Mother songs on YouTube), so I am going to take a long weekend from blogging.  See you all Monday!

P.P.S.  Yes, I bought the second tray at Value Village.  It may not be vintage, but the Value Village find was a sweet price ($2.00) and I love having a pair. 



  1. White Cabana
    March 7, 2013 / 3:08 pm

    An amusing story. At least you have two now! And if you average out the price, each tray set you back just over $10. Which is a decent price for thrifty minty trays.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 7, 2013 / 7:34 pm

      That was my thinking exactly! Buying the second one lowered the price per tray on a pair, lol. They are sweet trays.

  2. Dana@Mid2Mod
    March 7, 2013 / 4:29 pm

    I think that's happened to all of us at one time or another…but even worse is selling something you don't think is very valuable, only to find out later that it was worth a fortune. That eventually happens to all of us too, I think. Oh, the joys of buying and selling vintage! 🙂

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 7, 2013 / 7:34 pm

      Oh gosh, I can just imagine that horrible feeling in the pit of one's stomach after selling something valuable for a song . . .

  3. Marge
    March 7, 2013 / 6:27 pm

    I recently bought a Saarinen-esque table at Goodwill and was thinking it was a vintage knockoff until I noticed the IKEA sticker while loading it into my car. Oh well, I still got it for a song compared to the IKEA price. Also–random–I just went to see Mother Mother last night in Phoenix! They were great!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 7, 2013 / 7:35 pm

      So jealous about the Mother Mother concert!! We bought tickets to the Ottawa Bluesfest and they (along with other great bands I heart) will be playing. Yay!!Too bad about the Ikea table but horray for still getting a good price 🙂

  4. Oona
    March 7, 2013 / 6:34 pm

    My dad used to ask the question, "If you had a fake diamond ring that nobody else would ever know was a fake, would you still like it?" Lots of great conversations around that one! I love the mint-colored tray, and I'm glad you bought the second one. Just think: Two for only $11 each! 🙂

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 7, 2013 / 7:36 pm

      Your Dad is a wise man!! At the end of the day, he's right: I still love the tray and now the price per is much more reasonable. I guess the lesson is also buying what you love, regardless of what the label of age is, and you can't go wrong 🙂

  5. Jenny @ Simcoe Street
    March 7, 2013 / 8:07 pm

    Old or new, I love the trays!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 8, 2013 / 12:44 am

      Thanks Jenny! They are pretty cute.

  6. Ana Maria
    March 7, 2013 / 9:39 pm

    I was just doing some antique shopping this morning and I came across several things I loved only to discover they were mass produced in China so I totally get your disappointment….although the tray is very cute.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 8, 2013 / 12:45 am

      Oh no!! That's terribly disappointing for you. I think antique/vintage shoppers have to be more educated than ever to find a good deal – or even a "real" deal.

  7. timemotionstudy
    March 8, 2013 / 2:47 am

    I've never had that problem (that I know of!), though I have had sort of the reverse. I bought a bag of random antique fabric pieces, and a few years later, one of those big fabric designers who sue small crafters for using their fabric to make items they sell (I can't recall exactly which one (of two or three) so I won't mention any) came out as having "designed" that exact pattern! It got my goat, because that designer was SO protective of "her" intellectual copyright and yet had totally copied this particular pattern. Colorway was a bit different, but scale was very close. But probably legal or at least borderline legal in terms of intellectual property given the age (1930s?) of the fabric piece I had. And if it hadn't been for her general attitude, I'd've been just glad to see a good pattern resurrected!Is there any chance that that's what happened with yours? Are they identically made, or could Martha Stewart have been "inspired" to directly copy a vintage item?I like using my thrift stores finds as impetus to learn a bit more about the world when I search for more. That probably makes it so I'm a bit less sure initially about an item. But since I shop thrift stores rather than antique stores, any guess at age is generally mine. Sometimes I think a thing might be really valuable and am relieved when I discover it isn't, because that frees me up to use and love it.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 8, 2013 / 5:02 am

      What an interesting story with the fabric designer! I've often seen really vintage-looking patterns and wondered . . . Unfortunately, mine is a Martha piece – it has her mark on it and everything! I just didn't know what the lone "M" engraved on the bottom (not pictured) stood for. But they both have it and are identical. Ah well. I love your attitude about loving something more because it's not valuable, because you get to use it! I've started using even valuable finds if I love them and just hope for the best . . .

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