CHESHIRE — The motto “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” remains true for many people who enjoy antiquing, especially those who frequent estate sales looking for that one-of-a-kind piece to complete their home.
Two years ago, town resident Lisa Franco came across a relatively special antique while attending an estate sale. Little did she know, it would prove to be a “priceless” find for one local family.
Franco owns and operates Over the Moon Vintage, an online antique shop. To stock her shop, Franco attends estate sales all over the state to find the best products for her customers.
“I went to this estate sale here in Cheshire (two years ago),” she said. “Now, I really have an affinity for old bottles, and when I went into one of the back rooms they had this old, kind of dirty bottle and basket just sitting there. I thought, ‘I could totally clean that up and make it nice to sell,’ so I bought it.”
Franco’s purchase proved to be an old glass “demijohn” bottle which was used for decades to transport everything from alcohol to water. Something about the bottle really attracted Franco to it, although she never got around to selling it.
The demijohn bottles have been sought after by antique dealers all over the world for their unique look and wicker basket partner. Demijohn bottles were popular in the mid-18th century for carrying alcohol and other liquids.
“After I cleaned it up, it looked really nice, so I listed it on our site, but no one really showed a lot of interest in it,” she said. “Sometimes people would comment on it or say they liked it, but no one was committed to giving it a home. I even would bring it around with me, but no one wanted it, at least until now, obviously.”
Unbeknownst to her, someone had been looking for that very bottle ever since she purchased it at that particular estate sale.
“When my grandfather died, we really didn’t have a lot of time to figure out what to do with all of his stuff,” said local resident Jon Lion. “We hired a company that did a really rapid estate sale. We tried to sell as much as we could, but of course I forgot about the bottle in the heat of everything.”
The bottle has an important sentimental value to Lion, who recalled fond memories of his grandparents and the bottle. His grandmother used to own the bottle and Lion had wanted to pass it on to his two sons as an heirloom.
“The bottle has been around in my family since I was a kid,” he said. “I believe it was my grandmother’s. My grandfather was a marble collector and, when he died recently, he left all these marbles and I thought, what is a better place to put them in than that bottle, but we couldn’t find it anywhere.”
Lion’s wife stumbled upon the bottle on Etsy.com, and, at first, couldn’t believe what she was looking at.
“My wife was just like, ‘That’s it, that’s your bottle,’” Lion said. “After she confirmed a few details with Lisa about where she got it and how, it became clear that it was our exact bottle.”
While Lion tried to purchase the bottle from Franco, she wouldn’t accept funds for something so meaningful.
“Now this bottle has an important meaning to me, too,” she said. “I couldn’t charge him for it! I gave it to him and he started crying. It really was the sweetest thing.”
Lion, who is an artist, promised Franco a painting for returning the bottle to him, and he can’t wait to pass the bottle down to his children now that he has it back.
“This bottle meant so much to me and it’s amazing that, not only were we able to find it, but we’ve forged a fantastic relationship in the process,” Lion added. “It’s amazing what can happen when you least expect it.”