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Searching for island treasure

Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce

PUT-IN-BAY – I’m looking for treasure. I have that recurring fantasy that this will be the year that I will find some long-lost painting, Ming Dynasty bowl or one-of-a-kind trinket at a yard sale that turns out to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And even though “Antiques Road Show” is not coming to Cleveland or Toledo anytime soon and “American Pickers” hasn’t called us to schedule a “pick” for next season’s show, I have inadvertently discovered that our islanders have some of the most amazing yard sale “finds” around.

So you want to search for treasure? Well the Island Yard Sale is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 19, on South Bass Island, and it is not to be missed. If you have gone treasure hunting on one of our yard sale weekends in years past, you know what I mean.

Not only do the Nemecs have their amazing annual island collectibles yard sale, but every year there’s someone who is cleaning house or moving and really needs to unload. I have talked to many folks that go on yard sale weekend hunts. These knowledgeable folks tell me that they find “gold” here.

Not literally, but maybe this is the year you’ll find tableware from the Hotel Victory or a long-lost Otto Herbster photo. Last year it was I-LYA treasures on the West Shore. Who knows what this year’s best pick will reveal.

For some, yard sale prospecting is a never-ending process. In fact, for the island Facebook crowd there is an island yard sale every day. Just search for PIB Locals Garage sale for daily and weekly treasure and you could be a winner. I have sold some things there in 24 hours.

Plus, Ottawa County and Erie County have yard sale sites too. When you add that to Craig’s List and eBay, you would think there would be nothing left. But I am always amazed that new treasure turns up every year at the Island Wide Yard Sale.

Now I’m an equal opportunity seller, but really many times I have found that selling beyond our island meant a rendezvous with some person at a shopping center parking lot in the rain and they wanted to haggle. However, this local event is a real community meet and greet.

So even if you don’t have a pick list, you may still find a new light fixture or a kitchen faucet (still in the package) like I did a few years back. And if you’re contemplating having your own sale, mainlanders will come here and they want to buy. You can be a winner this year, as a buyer and seller, if you call the Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce and list your yard sale. The earlier you do it the more people will find you.

Huston is director of the Put-in- Bay Chamber of Commerce. Contact him by email at ambassador@, follow the chamber on twitter at @visitputinbay or visit visitputinbay.