Traditional January "white sales" were considered an opportunity to save on sheets, towels and linens.
Nowadays, the "big white sale" held the first month of the year that titillates any antiques collector is the Oakland Museum Women's Board White Elephant Sale. This year, the event occurs Jan. 27.
The gargantuan sale is actually a preview of the "real thing," which is slated for March 2-3. Each year, organizers allow the public an opportunity to shop early. As a result, lots of bargain hunters arrive looking for super deals. And they find scads of them!
The merchandise -- all donated to help the Oakland Museum of California -- is organized and displayed in an oversized warehouse. Like me, you might think you're in an old-fashioned department store. Overhead signs lead customers to furniture, art, books, jewelry, toys, sporting goods, clothing, tools, silver and china, garden goodies, etc. In the vast mix are an amazing number of vintage objects.
While the sale occurs near Oakland's Fruitvale BART station and a free shuttle service is provided, I know people will undoubtedly take their own cars. Be forewarned: Parking is very tight. Make sure you don good walking shoes. Bring a water bottle and a tote bag. Above all, be patient. Any wait you have will be worthwhile.
The event, now in its 54th year, will be held at 333 Lancaster St., Oakland. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. To obtain a mail-in purchase form, see the website below.
Remember that no strollers are allowed. Children are admitted free with an adult. Also, donations are still being accepted. For more information, call 510-536-6800, or go to www.whiteelephantsale.org.
And you can be certain that I'll remind everyone about the sale dates in March as time draws near.
I'm always sorry to pass on such news, but last month two shops -- one in Palo Alto, the other in Campbell -- shuttered their doors.
Judith A. Frost and Co., in Palo Alto, was a favorite of mine for many years. Pals Eugenie and Meredith first told me of this consignment store loaded with top-drawer goodies, and I dare say I found a treasure on every visit.
The emporium had been in business since 1992 off El Camino Real on Encina Avenue, behind the Town & Country Shopping Center. The last day of business was Dec. 15.
On Dec. 31, the Dante Co. -- one of the boutiques off East Campbell Avenue in "The Courtyard" -- closed for good. The store was owned by Masako Sato for 20 years.
I first ventured into this shop when there were several places to scour for vintage items in this cute shopping arcade. While there aren't as many stores as there once were, there's still reason to visit downtown Campbell.
Marji Gilmore operates Radio Daze & Collectibles in the back of the mini mall. Her shop is crammed with amusing items such as jewelry, posters, toys, baseball cards, even holiday decor. The store is open Wednesday through Sunday. Need more details? Call 408-379-4613.
By the way, you'll discover several other collectibles shops in the vicinity, plus a used book store. Not far away is the historic Ainsley House at 300 Grant St. To get tour information, call 408-866-2119, or go to www.ci.campbell.ca.us/museum.
Since several readers have asked me about the upcoming St. Christopher Ladies' Guild Antique Show and Sale, I thought it best to alert everyone of the dates.
The much-anticipated event occurs Feb. 1-3 in San Jose at St. Christopher's School, 2278 Booksin Ave. I'll be providing all the details in my Jan. 26 column. If you have questions aching for an answer, feel free to call Sherry Riordan at 408-348-7300, or Natalie Brunello at 408-307-7012.
I enjoy reading Vintage Magazine throughout the year. Every month there are neat articles, ads for shops and a calendar of events. Incredibly, it's free of charge.
The January issue contains an extensive listing of this year's antiques shows, auctions and sales that any collector needs to keep up-to-date.
Pick up your complimentary copy at the Antiques Colony, 1881 W. San Carlos St., San Jose (408-293-9844), or at Blue Door Antiques at 321 N. L St., Livermore (925-449-2111). Copies also are usually available at the monthly antiques fairs held in both Alameda (510-522-7500), and Sacramento (916-600-9770).
Contact Steven Yvaska at email@example.com or 750 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, CA 95190.