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Monday, March 22, 2010

A Vintage Library Card Catalog: Part One

Library Card Catalogs have been popping up in a plethora of blog postings over the last year and it makes me uber-envious each and every time I see one. Check out some of the posts I am referencing here, there, and everywhere. This one posted on Small Notebook (pictured below) has been my ultimate inspiration pic:
I finally decided I had to have one and set out on an epic journey to make one mine. Here's a little tale about online searching, online bidding and finally online auction winning!

After spending a month or two scouring Craigslist for a suitable, card catalog from a local seller and coming up short (and after being offered to partake in a few too many pyramid schemes), I decided to hop on over to eBay and see if anyone in Illinois or a bordering state was listing anything interesting.

At first I was discouraged that everything I found was either $1000 or 5 states away, but then it happened. I found one listed a few hours south of me for a starting bid of just $50! I spent my weekend attached to my iPhone tracking a back & forth bidding war (in between March Madness games), for this 72-drawer gem.

I went to bed dreaming of the mini u-haul I would rent for my mini road trip to go pick up my vintage treasure. But my bubble burst when I realized another bidder or two also had the same goal in mind. Thus, my max bid slowly crept up to $316 just to ensure I'd walk away a winner. It seemed to work and it was staying well under $300 until this afternoon. Tonight as the auction closed I was still winning it at $301 until, the final seconds. I watched the countdown: 3 sec , 2 sec, 1 sec and then... I lost! And lost big. Somehow the price jacked up to $540 in the final second. I was upset, but I also felt better that I hadn't lost by just a few dollars and that it truly sold for a dollar amount that I was not willing to pay.

So then I did what any grown woman would do. I sulked at my desk for a minute, turned my frown upside down, and took a gander at the "similar items" eBay suggested as my consolation prize.

And there it was. Another library card catalog that never came up in my own searches because they named it a "Library File Card Cabinet". p.s. eBay, you really need to work on your taxonomy/search vocabulary because I found this to be a frequent problem, but I digress...

To top it off this new one had a "Buy it Now" option of just $300 AND a "Make an Offer" option that I was very excited to try out. Before I left work for the night, I took a shot at offering $200 for this 60-drawer solid oak beacon of hope and left knowing the seller had 48 hours to accept or decline my offer.

Low and behold, just two hours later...IT WAS ALL MINE! And for much less than the one that got away just a few hours ago. Moral of the story...everything happens for a reason!

Stay tuned for "A Vintage Card Catalog: Part Two" where I will hopefully chronicle my road trip to pick up my winnings (with photos) and "Part Three" where I fix it up to display it proudly in our loft :-)


Jennelle March 23, 2010 at 6:09 AM  

That is SUCH an awesome idea! Seriously, Steph, you have the BEST decorating ideas. :) And I love that you mix all these vintage things into your loft--very cool juxtaposition!

I hear ya on the eBay--it makes me SO nervous. I've really only ever bid on one thing, and I lost. :(

Coree March 23, 2010 at 10:22 AM  

Ditto what Jenelle said. Now I want one as well!

You gave me the idea of a telephone bench. I found one at an antique shop and bought it! Now it's sitting in my garage waiting to be repainted and re-upholstered (sp?).

Now, I want a library card catalog! Hope you don't mind I am such a follower!!

Rachel March 23, 2010 at 2:02 PM  

Congratulations! Mine was the second one I tried to buy. The first one was more plastic and more expensive, and I'm so glad someone else beat me to it.

N. March 23, 2010 at 10:50 PM  

We have been seeing card catalogs and other filing systems in thrift and antique stores a lot, and are also in love! I cannot wait to see yours!

kate May 11, 2010 at 2:32 PM  

I've been looking for a card catalog for over a year, but like you, couldn't track one down in North Carolina (or the surrounding states) for a price I wanted to pay.

This post put me over the top. No more fooling around - find a catalog and make it mine!

So that's been the goal for the last 3 weeks, and I'm happy to say that as of 1:30pm today, I am the proud owner of a beautiful card catalog that's on it's way here from Washington D.C. Woot!

Stephanie @ kitschicagoan May 11, 2010 at 11:33 PM  

Kate: I'm so glad you found yours! Send photos.


About Me

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I'm a St. Louis native, but I have been living in Chicago since 2005 and am loving every windy minute of it. I enjoy cooking (more-so eating), home decorating and really anything creative. I'm a supporter of DIY & handmade goods, a fledgling foodie and a connoisseur of kitsch. I spend my days filling online shopping carts, emptying them and repeating the process all over again. Most of all I love spending time with my husband, Dave, our first child, Claire and my dog, Louie.

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