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Tiki Central Forums Collecting Tiki Mug Hunting Tips?
Mug Hunting Tips?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 02, 2004
Posts: 637
From: Kansas City
Posted: 2005-10-24 3:59 pm   Permalink

Anybody want to share their secret mug-hunting tricks? I realize this is akin to divulging your Grandmother's pasta sauce recipe and may even fall into the realm of superstition, but I'd be interested in what you've found to be a successful "M.O." for mug hunting. Some things I've considered trying include:

1) Getting a part time job at my favorite thrift store/stores.
2) Offering "finders fees" to friends and relatives.
3) Staring at eBay for weeks on end as the trust fund dwindles to nothing.
4) Approaching people on the street and asking if they have a spare Mr. Bali Hai.


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3293
From: Victoria, BC
Posted: 2005-10-24 4:17 pm   Permalink

My best suggestion is to go every day.
Recruiting others is definitely a good idea, plus you can repay their generosity by having them over for drinks!

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Sweet Daddy Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 20, 2003
Posts: 1099
From: Edmonton
Posted: 2005-10-24 7:41 pm   Permalink

I agree with Wahine - go every day. I work near a thrift store that has a high turnover and sometimes I go twice a day and find new stuff each time.

And yes, recruit friends and family. You may have to educate them in the finer points of tiki recognition to avoid getting lots of aztec/african type stuff. Buy or lend them copies of Tiki Style or Tiki Quest or point them to appropriate web sites so they know what it is you're looking for.

Also: check ALL over the thrift store. Just as stuff is misidentified on eBay, it can be misplaced in the store. Always check out the vases for stray tiki mugs.

And yes, it's not such a bad idea to approach people randomly. Well, not randomly, exactly, but at garage sales. Often people have stuff they don't bother to put out, so it can well be worth asking. The owner of a vintage store told me he was at a garage sale and starting talking to the owners. Somehow they got onto the topic of tiki and it turned out the people owned the Tiki Tiki restaurant. They invited him into their house which was full of Polynesian stuff. None of it was for sale, but he gave them his card in case they ever wanted to sell.

Good luck in your shopping.
-Sweet Daddy T.
Because crap doesn't buy itself.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 28, 2002
Posts: 725
From: Vallejo CA
Posted: 2005-10-24 8:14 pm   Permalink

I totally recruit other thrifting junkies.

And in return, of course, I look for owl stuff for them.

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Tipsy McStagger
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 21, 2004
Posts: 3681
From: HELL
Posted: 2005-10-25 09:11 am   Permalink

it wasn't too long ago that I had chicago completely locked down...I made friends with all the antique dealers and had them look out for tiki stuff for me...they always gave me first dibs on tiki items they found and would report to me when my other competiters came in and what they bought or had to say. the reason they did this for me is not cause I'm such a stellar individual but that I paid top dollar for the items (which, years ago was dirt cheap by today's standards as not many dealers where selling on ebay nor had they any idea what the stuff may have been worth) they knew I was a buyer and had money on hand so I was always an easy sale which was worth setting the stuff aside for me. which shows to go ya, money talks and tiki items take a walk, .....right back to my bar!!!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 24, 2003
Posts: 130
From: N.J. (Philadelphia vicinity)
Posted: 2005-10-25 6:51 pm   Permalink

Some advice from another person who has a hard time finding mugs:

1. Keep looking, even at the thrift shops where you always come up empty and swear you'll stop wasting your time going to. Last week I found five Tiki Leilani mugs at a store where I had never found any tiki items. This particular thrift shop chain exasperatingly seems to mostly sell broken merchandise from Target, in my area. (By the way, I know other people consider that an easy mug to find, but I've only run across one before.)

2. Don't automatically skip antique shops. That's where I found my Tiki Bob's mug--with matching salt and pepper shakers--for fairly cheap. And I've found a couple ordinary mugs (still ones I didn't have) for $5 and $7.

3. Tell friends, coworkers, and relatives you collect vintage mugs from tiki bars and restaurants, particularly ones with restaurant/bar names imprinted. (Say this even if you also yearn for unmarked/generic mugs or some of the great mugs being made now---this is a white lie to keep from receiving a lot of party store mugs and "I thought it might be a tiki" mugs from heartwarmingly generous people who don't actually know what you want or don't want.)

4. Keep looking.

5. Keep looking.

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8FT Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 30, 2003
Posts: 1406
From: Kansas City, MO
Posted: 2005-10-26 7:56 pm   Permalink

Give up looking for mugs, I have already found them all!
This town is dry I tell you. Start collecting menus.
OK , I am just kidding of course. But I would tell you this,
Don't be discouraged when you look and don't find something. Inventories change regularly and you just need to have good timing. And I have learned that just because you have found a tiki item in a shop doesn't mean that it is a place that has not been searched before or even recently. Sometimes a collector will leave a piece that they find when it is something they already have. Also, Not everyone has the cash to buy duplicates or the desire to pick them up for trading. Finally, when you do find something you must find 2 so that you can trade one with me.
Happy Hunting, 8FT
I once was lost.....but now I'm found.....

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 25, 2004
Posts: 491
From: San Diego
Posted: 2005-10-26 11:19 pm   Permalink

For a couple of years, I would go to a thrift once every three months, or so. Of course, I never found anything and got most of my stuff from Ebay.

Then I decided to conduct an experiment and visit a local thrift on the way home from work, everyday for a month. This store had a high turnover rate, so they had new stuff constantly. I ended up getting a lot of stuff in that month. Ultimately, I tried to go at least every other day, and have gotten some really nice finds including a $0.95 Munktiki, and 9 coconut mugs from 'The Tahitian'.

Like everybody says, keep looking, and don't be afraid to revisit a place you may have just gone to a day or two before. It also doesn't hurt to network. Getting on the good side of thrift/antique store owners can also help you create 'agents' to find stuff.

Also, get a copy of 'Tiki Quest' (if you haven't already), and study. There is stuff that may not look like Tiki, but it is. Early on, I made newbie mistakes, and passed over some stuff (including a nice Frankoma piece) that I've been kicking myself ever since.

Finally, be sure to share your finds on Tiki Central. Best of luck!
The Tikipedia

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Unkle John
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 22, 2003
Posts: 1217
From: Middle-of-the-Ocean, TX
Posted: 2005-10-27 10:09 pm   Permalink

It also never hurts to ask the staff working at shops (antique or thrift) if they recall seeing anything that looked:

Native American

You can even say "Ugly", "Scary", or "Evil-looking" if you are brave enough.

I've found good tiki finds at church rummage sales b/c the previous owners thought it was "too evil" looking to keep in their house, but good enough for the church to turn a profit on. Oh well, one man's loss...

Be careful how you use "ugly" or "scary", you might get pointed to most of the store. LOL



My Tiki Lounge http://unklejohn.suddenlaunch.com/index.cgi

[ This Message was edited by: Unkle John 2005-10-27 22:10 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 02, 2004
Posts: 637
From: Kansas City
Posted: 2005-10-28 07:17 am   Permalink

Maybe something like this might help?


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Suffering Bastard of Stumptown
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 09, 2005
Posts: 648
From: PDX
Posted: 2005-10-28 08:29 am   Permalink

You could also check the obituaries that say "he was fond of taking frequent vacations in Hawaii" and then hitting their estate sale.


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 19, 2005
Posts: 106
From: York, Pa.
Posted: 2005-10-30 05:51 am   Permalink

Estate sales are where I do the best. I usally look for Ranch houses in my area and see what furniture is listed. The people who lived in their house for 40+ years usally keep everything and most of the time they keep it very nice. In my area most people are not looking for the stuff I am. 1950s-1960s stuff unless they are dealers. Usally the dealers are cheap anyway because they want to resell the stuff so no problem outbidding them. Check Tiki Finds to see what I found at one yesterday. Scott

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 20, 2003
Posts: 716
From: A rock in the middle of the Ocean
Posted: 2005-11-01 8:06 pm   Permalink

SilverLine... Nice shirt!

I always thought this would work


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