Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Highland Walk - Morningside “Estate Sale

When the Millionaire Next Door was published at the height of the dot com bubble the authors told of new nouveau rich who have a million dollars but lived in the same neighborhoods as the people who might buy this type of book. The book was not just a 90’s period piece but also an indicator that inflation had made the term millionaire mundane. Some quick arithmetic shows us that if an average wage earner had a million bucks they might be able to get by for only ten to 20 years depending on how the spent it. Private airplanes, Palm Beach mansions and butlers, these things are out of reach for just plain millionaires. Regardless of this loss of cache the estate sale folks who put together this event advertised it as an estate sale at the home of a millionaire. Concerned that millionaires were now next door I wandered out to see what was in one millionaire’s home. What I did find in the case of this millionaire is that he owned a lot of plush toys. The sale was in a infill community I had never seen before (which is getting more common every day) near the shopping area on Amsterdam that used to be warehouses (yet another thing in Atlanta these days.) Thus the common millionaire lives in a stylish looking row home squeezed into a gate dead-end street with other houses the same size. When I arrived there was still a lot a clutter in every room. An in nearly every room I found plush toys. What I found is that having a million dollars allows one to buy two of every plush toy. There were two Alfs, two cute dinosaurs and two happy bears. Beside the copious plush a few other indicators of the rich still being different is that they have guns. Now I’m as big a supporter of gun ownership as anyone, but firearms are not often found at sales in Virginia Highlands where bread makers and copies of “What color is your parachute” are the norm. Upon entering the dinning room I encountered a seller exhorting a buyer holding a small caliber rifle with “put that down! It’s already sold!” It is equally interesting that there were not only real firearms but toy ones as well and an animal shot with a gun, namely a large mounted Canadian goose that was sitting on the floor of the living room. I am a fan of the art and beauty of taxidermy. But Canadian geese have become such common pest birds since global warming put their flyway through out city. That they are now considered little more that large possums of the sky. A lot of other stuff had hunting motifs, such as plates with duck and barware with waterfowl. Anther common motif at this sale was bulldogs. Not your common red sweater clad UGA canine, but ones resembling those on the hood of a Mack truck. A table had over a dozen ceramic ones. Mack trucks themselves were well represented for on a table I found two commemorative pewter plates with Mack images on them. Other stuff on the table included a hobo clown dolls sans clothing, a toy monkey wearing a fez and about a dozen little toy trucks. A lot of the first floor of the home contains the usual furnishings of an upscale home as well as the usual kitchen appliances- coca cola mementos, piles of quilts and a boomerang. There were four bottles of desert wine on the floor for sale as well as a handful of 1996 Olympic credentials.

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