Skeleton, Cabinet, Suitcase, Clock, and Car
Periodically, I go on these hunts or binges on eBay looking for a bulk listing of whatever the perfect item of the moment is. I’ve found lots with a bunch of non-working watches, leatherworking tools and acrylic eyes, among other things. I don’t always win the auctions because I actually limit my max bid to what I think is a valid price (for instance, I can get leather stamps from Tandy at a great price, wholesale, so I won’t buy them if they cost more on eBay with shipping). But some things are harder to find locally for a “reasonable” price to a scavenger–I need to make sure that I’m not paying so much for a piece that it’s unreasonable to include the price of it in my pricing formula for the book or doll that I’m making.
Skeleton keys is one of those items that are almost impossible to buy at a scavenger price. Most places I’ve found them (usually antique shops but occasionally at the flea market) want at least $5 per key. That’s just not a materials cost I want to add to most of my pieces. I prefer embellishments to be in the coinage range. Clock keys are another key that’s hard to find for a decent price, nevermind finding any cute little cabinet or luggage keys.
A couple of weeks ago, I went on a key-finding binge on eBay. Looking for skeleton keys but I hit the jackpot. The listing was for over 150 keys. Some were keys that I wasn’t overly interested in (car keys? who needs old car keys? well, I could maybe use one or two for something…) but most were in the “perfect find” category, including several skeleton keys.
Both large and small…
But, wait! There’s more…. This lot also included some beautiful old clock keys, some really interesting looking luggage keys, some more regular looking cabinet keys and probably padlock keys, and a rather odd lot of keys that I don’t really know how to classify (but I will definitely find some great project to use them on).
What I really love about this find is that I’ve been searching for some keys that I could use in my Steampunk books. Little keys, clock keys and even some of the small skeleton keys that will work in small “locks” that put on my covers. Also, keys that can function as handles, essentially, for turning gears and making things move (yes, I have been getting ambitious in some of my designs).
If anyone has any ideas what some of the keys look like they’re for, feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to know, especially on some of these odd ones. And keep an eye out on my blog and shop as I start adding some of these beauties into my work.