I stayed with my aunt in California, who has a great love for Asian antiques. When she found that I was interested in old tools, she took me out to her favorite antique shops in the area. I only had room in my suitcase for around 20 more pounds, so I was very selective about what I bought. I was looking for things that were useful rather than decorative, so that cut out much that I saw.
I rejected most of the cast iron cookware on sight, since I've seen lots of cast iron available in Ohio. However, I ran across a little corn muffin pan that makes cornbread in the shape of ears of corn. I had never noticed anything like that around here, but there were a bunch in several of the shops. Most were overpriced and/or in very poor condition, but I found one pan that was $25 and had hardly any rust on it. I think I can easily recondition it for kitchen use. The thing is called a Krispy Korn Kobs Junior.
It's kind of strange that I've never noticed them around here, since it was made in Sydney, Ohio.
There were also lots of iron sheep shears available, most over $20. However, one of the shops had one for $4, and at that price I don't care if I break it trying to make it functional. This one doesn't look like it was ever sharpened, so perhaps it's a reproduction? Well, I will attempt to sharpen it and see what happens.
Finally, I also saw many draw knives. This is a necessary tool for stripping bark off of wood, and also for shaving down a piece of wood. Since I want to start turning some of the newly dead wood in our forest into useful items, I kept my eyes open for functional-looking draw knife at a good price. The one I ended up buying caught my eye because it looked like it had been well used and maintained. It also felt comfortable and right in my hands. Best of all, it was on sale for $16! Most other draw knives were $25 or more and in poorer condition. It needs some slight sharpening, but otherwise looks very serviceable.
Finally, my aunt also gave me a cast iron clothes iron from our family. She said it's very unusual for the stand to remain intact, which is why you'll see plenty of irons at the antique store but they almost never have their stands. I don't know if I'll ever iron clothes with this, but I really appreciate having it.
Oh, and my suitcase ended up weighing 49.5 pounds at the airport. That was close!