My husband enjoys going to estate sales too. We split up in the house and "divide and conquer". He frequently finds things that I wouldn't even notice. He has an eye for hardware. He found this interesting item at the last sale we went to. Do you think you know what it is?
We thought it was a flag holder that mounts on your porch to hold a flag. But after trying it out the flag didn't sit quite right inside of it. Hubby looked it up on ebay and found out what it really is.....
It is a buggy whip holder. I guess it was mounted on the side of a gentleman's surry to hold the whip you would use for your horses. A pretty-much-useless item in this day and age but a neat bit of history none the same. You have to wonder what it was doing in the basement of a house in suburbia in 2012. Since we don't have a surry :) - hubby might use it on his camping trailer to hold a flag after all. Not sure.
One thing we always look for at sales are vintage hooks. Older cast iron hooks are so neat and also sell very well on ebay to people restoring older homes.
We once bought a box of vintage hooks at an estate auction for $20. Sounds steep but that box of hooks earned us a few hundred dollars when they were sold in small lots on ebay.
These hooks in my kitchen were part of that large box. We have many great old hooks around the house to hold coats, dishtowels, robes, etc. They are very useful, stylish and look like they came with the house.