Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Vintage Nut Celebrates Taylorstone Cathay Day

In my first post here, I'd like to thank The Thrift Collective for generously allowing me to join such a super-groovy vintage lovers blog. Reading about others' thrifting highs and lows in an empathetic community is good for my kind: I get daily reaffirmation that I'm not the only nut out there who cannot (nope, I cannot) pass a thrift store without pulling into the parking lot to run in for a quick look-see. Much appreciation to The Thrift Collective.

Now, please allow me to share with you the inspiring thrifting adventure behind what I now refer to as Taylorstone Cathay Day. 

Of course, if you're not interested in reading a story, feel free to scroll down to more photos.

I don't normally venture into thrift stores on weekends. They're crowded and just not worth the aggravation. But a week ago I did stop in at my favorite GW on my way home from an ESL class I teach. It was just a little past noon, and I had to cruise the parking lot for a couple of minutes before I finally found a parking spot on the opposite end of the strip mall, over by the Dunkin Donuts. And even before I entered, I could tell that the place was indeed full of folks. Again, I don't like weekend thrifting. 

So why did I do it on March 15, 2014, a.k.a. Taylorstone Cathay Day? I'm crediting a supernatural vintage-stuff-whispers-to-vintage-nut-in-a-language-only-vintage-lovers-understand phenomenon. 

I felt a pull.

Enough. Let's skip to the near end. Check out the photo of my buggy that I texted to Mama in North Carolina as I headed to the register.

And after sending this image, I still found a couple more pieces to load in there. (Yay!)

Like many of you, I love the perfectly atomic Taylorstone Cathay pattern. And I do know that it's not uncommon in thrift stores, because I see lots of finds on others' blogs. I also consider myself a collector, in fact. (And by "collect," I mean that I've bought, maybe, six or eight pieces.) In fact, my first post on this blog included a modest Taylorstone Cathay find. So you can imagine the double-take I did when I happened upon the many precariously stacked Taylorstone Cathay pieces sitting on the shelves of a housewares endcap. 

Immediately and without regard to price, I knelt and began putting the pieces in my handheld shopping basket. (I never choose the buggy optiontoo cumbersome.) Of course, there was no way I would fit all that was there in that little basket. And, unfortunately, you can't holler "saved!" in a thrift store. Well, you can, I suppose, but there's no guarantee that it'll be effective.

So I stood there, trying to figure out how to go grab a cumbersome buggy while still protecting my great find from other shoppers (none of whom seemed the slightest bit interested in whatever the heck I'd discovered). But then a GW employee who recognized me as a regular (heck, most of the employees there know me as a regular!) happened by and told me that there was more of the set on the opposite endcap. I think I said in reply something like, "Holy moly." He asked whether I wanted it. Heck, yeah!

So the nice man began putting all of those pieces from the other end-cap in another basket for me. And now I had an ally protecting my "saved!" pieces. I commandeered a buggy at the front of the store. Then back at the housewares aisle, I thanked the nice man and put everything he had gathered into my not-really-so-cumbersome buggy. I also told him that the hubby was going to freak, because I wouldn't be coming home with one little Russel Wright plate today, but with pretty much a whole stinkin' set of 50-year-old dishes. The nice man asked me to then please refrain from mentioning to the hubby his involvement in my adventure. 

Thinking like a seasoned thrifter, I then roamed the rest of the housewares aisles looking for stray pieces from the set. That's when I found two oval platters. Holy moly, again.

My buggy held the following:

  • 13 dinner plates 
  • 10 salad plates
  • 10 bread & butter plates
  • 10 soup bowls
  • 16 cups with 16 saucers 
  • 9 additional cups without saucers
  • 2 oval platters
  • 2 veggie bowls
  • 1 creamer
  • 1 sugar bowl with lid
  • 1 gravy boat with its saucer

It took quite a while to ring up my purchase and then to loosely wrap the entire set. (Duh.) The GW folks kindly found three boxes in the backroom to help me carry everything. During the process, the nice man told me that he had just priced and put the dishes out that morning and that he was glad they were heading out the door so soon. I think the staff believed that this was one of those sets that would sit around taking up space foreveras if it were manufactured by Gibson 10 years ago or something. Each piece was priced between 96 cents and $3.96. In the end, everything I got cost me just under $130, and that's including sales tax. Yay!

In the parking lot, the hubby called wondering where I'd gotten to. (As I mentioned before, I usually head straight home after teaching on Saturdays.) I told him that I had detoured to GW, but that I'd be home soon. Then I said, "Um, dear. This will be a day that will test the strength of our relationship."

He met me at the door when I got home. He shook his head and laughed. He knows me. I explained to him how incredible my find was. And for the umpteenth time, I reminded him that when we married over 25 years ago, we didn't register for china. (I've used that one to justify buying vintage dishes forever. And it works!) He went out back to smoke a cigar, while I unpacked and washed and dried everything. It took me almost two hours. 

The set looks to have never been used. There is no crazing, and there are no stains. Four or five pieces do have small chips. No biggie.

I love that the set includes the gravy boat with its handy-dandy plate.

I also got a creamer and a sugar bowl. Check out the oh-so-mid-century-mod wood lid!

The cups' insides are such a rich green.

A few days after Taylorstone Cathay Day, I returned to the GWon the off chance I'd left a piece sitting there by its lonesome, or the staff had just put out more discovered hiding in the back. And there was a piece: another sugar bowl, sans cool lid, but priced at 96 cents. I grabbed it. I'll probably never find the lid, but I don't care.

Also, a couple of days after Taylorstone Cathay Day, Mama happened across a salt shaker from the set, marked at $4, in a North Carolina thrift store. Did I want it, she asked. Heck, yeah! And in honor of March Madness, I'll declare, "Serendipity, baby!"

I think this will be our go-to nice set when we finally move to our North Carolina home in a few years. I'm planning on decorating with a mid-century modern/mountain theme. It'll work. I'm sure of it.

Thank you for humoring me as I shared my story. You thrifters understand. I know you do. 



  1. Love the story! I recently picked up a creamer in this pattern but had a very curvy handle. What is the difference between Taylorstone and Taylor Smith Taylor?

    1. I've tried to find info on that, but I can't cite anything definitive.
      I'm thinking that it might be that Taylor Smith Taylor is the manufacturer/brand, but Taylorstone is a particular line. And that would make Cathay the pattern?
      Not sure.
      But if anyone else out there knows, please educate us!

  2. Welcome! What an amazing find!

  3. My grandmother had some of those dishes. They have all been gone for a long time. Glad you found the entire set!

    1. I'm sorry that your grandmother's set is gone. But if she picked this pattern, she must have been one hip lady.

  4. I had a similar experience at a Goodwill recently and bought a whole set of these dishes... and I don't even want to tell you how much I paid.

  5. I love your luck! I rescued a lone soup bowl from this pattern from a "dig and save" thrift store almost ten years ago. It's so pretty that I had to save it from going to the dump (the next stop for the items in these boxes). Now it's a candle holder. But I'd love to have a full set to eat off!

  6. Yay! Thanks for saving it from the dump boxes.
    My mom and I were in a Savers a while back, and we found a couple of Starbucks mugs on an end. Soon after, an employee came over, loaded lots of the mugs we had passed on into a box, and took them into the stockroom. A minute later, we heard her going to town on them with a hammer. Gotta move inventory, I guess.
    Such a waste, though.

  7. Wow! Awesome find! I just picked up a few pieces of these today and googled them and they brought me here. :)

  8. What a wonderful find! I love this pattern and talked my Mom into letting me use our green stamps to get a set in the 1960's. I inherited the set and would love to find some of the pieces that were broken over years of use.

  9. and I meant to mention that the company is Taylorstone and this pattern name is Cathay

  10. I had never seen any of these before and this weekend, I went to a garage sale and bought 17 complete place setting of 8 pieces to each place setting, two salt and pepper shakers, 2 platters and 2 creamer & sugar sets. I absolutely fell in love with them when I saw them. I got ALL of this for $35! I was ecstatic!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...