Over the years, two local smallish flea markets have yielded up a surprising
number of antique tools. The larger of these two markets seemed to have "dried
up" with regard to old tools - the character of the market has changed to be
mostly inexpensive imported goods. The clean-out people that had inhabited the
back row for many years have been scared off by the new, higher space fees.
Yesterday, my girlfriend wanted to stop back to this Avenel Flea Market to see
if a coat she'd seen there last week was still available. (t was, but that's not
part of the story I want to tell.)
I wasn't really expecting much......the back row was actually vacant and the
spot in the very front. where "The Pirate of the Caribbean" sells storage clean-
outs was likewise vacant.
Well, there it was......a Stanley Liberty Bell smoother, small 8"size,
apparently in good original condition - no rust anywhere, no excessive wear. My
only doubt about it is that the toe has no markings; perhaps they were sanded
off. Amazingly, the iron is very sharp! I talked the vendor down to the non-
gloatable price of $30 from his original position at $35.
He had two other transitional planes, but they were models I already own. He
said he'd bought the contents of a storage unit at auction, and these were the
last of about 150 antique tools that he'd sold off. (This was somewhat
disappointing, but it's my own fault for believing that this market was not
longer worth perusing on a regular basis.)
So, with that in the bag, I see another table of antique tools. Most of them,
I'd seen before. But there was at least one new item; a PEXTO Coe's-style monkey
wrench with the "Railroad Special" style all-steel handle. It was a bit
greasy.....on the shank, I could make out "...DG Co." Yanking a paper tissue
out of my pocket, I rubbed it like Aladdin rubbing his lamp. The grease-
obscured letter proved to be an R. "RDG Co." - Mind you, this is in Avenel
NJ, adjacent to Port Reading, NJ, where the Reading Railroad came out to NY
Harbor [Arthur Kill] tidewater. I managed to talk him down to $8 from his
original position at $10.
I have visions of this wrench having lived in the toolbox of one of the
Reading's steam locomotives, possibly some old Mother Hubbard "Camelback" type.
So, not such a bad visit to this Flea. A Liberty Bell smoother and a RR-marked
wrench. Oh, and an unopened box of 5,000 staple gun staples for $5! It really
is true; the harder you look, the luckier you get.