Saturday, August 28, 2004

August 27, 2004 Friday

Estate Sale, Avondale Estates
Estates sales are not yard sales but they attract me for different reasons. I like being able to walk inside the sellers home. You not only see their stuff, but how they lived, decorated and perhaps died. In some ways this is the last real effect of a person's life upon others as their stuff is parted out and sold to strangers. Sometimes if it’s a good sale all rooms are open and one can wander about their home looking in drawers, cabinets and boxes, perhaps even finding places that the sellers did not know about.
For buying things I do not find estate sales to be a great source of value. Most are operated by professional estate sales companies most of which over value anything that looks interesting, sometimes beyond the price one would find for the same items at a a antique store. I do find that for old paper items and ephemera they are the best places to shop. But often I can tell as in the one I went to this week if they will not have anything I might want just by looking at the décor and the home.
I also have noticed a number of false estate sales. By my definition an estate sale is held when somebody is put away in a home or a grave and all their stuff is sold. It is not a estate sale when a middle age couple moves to the west coast. It is also not a sale that a gay man in Midtown has to show off what fine furnishing he has (complete with a printed price list posted near the entrance). Regarding the rented bungalow he’s living in is some sort of high end gallery. These type of sales are falsely advertised and I resent them but in a sad way do reflect on the false delusions of those holding the sales.
Estate sales are generally begun before the weekend. When I’m not on vacation this limits me from attending them when they begin. If I go to them on Saturday they are picked through to the extent that I cannot make a good assessment of the life of the person whose goods are being sold. This past Friday I had the good fortune to notice that there was a sale in Avondale not far from where I work and that I could leave work and get there before it closed.
The sale was advertised as the home of an octogenarian, that word always gets me and lots of others going so I was hoping for the best. The 50’s ranch house was wonderful to behold, the Octogen has outlandish decorating skills. I can not even name the colors of most of the heavy fabrics that covered the windows floors and walls. Like most octogens she was a woman who had if she had a husband passed him in life many years ago. But other than her wild décor she did not seem to live a really wild life. Among some of the items encountered. A violin and bow in a large heavy frame, several original drawings of pet terriers.
Two large closets stacked with mostly dreadful crafty Christmas decorations. One of the best items was a entertainment unit from the 50’s or 60’s that looked like a oak rolltop desk. One rolls up the top to reveal a radio and a turntable. The turntable looked as though it was never used as it still had the round instructions covering the top. Still in its packing bag is one of those old fat spindles which one could set six 45’s on the turntable to play automatically. The name on the unit is “The New Englander”.
Near the New Englander is a massive electronic organ. I think the owner played this a lot more than the prior instrument since beside it is a large collection of sheet music.
She did not have a lot of books. On one shelf are six of the Left Behind books. She did have a big doll collection, which a lot of buyers are looking at. As well as a fearful looking homemade clown figure.
I bought nothing.

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