Monday, March 21, 2011

Picked up a few more little treasures...

I headed out for an estate sale early Saturday morning. My buds weren't able to go to this one and I usually prefer Friday sales to Saturday ones but I decided to check this one out. It was in a neighborhood that was pretty dodgy 15-20 years ago but has slowly been coming back to life. The house was a 'shotgun' style similar to this one.

The house sat very close to the street but had a chain link fence in the front and all the way down the sides and back. The owner was an older man -- a retired teacher. Strictly speaking, this wasn't an estate sale since no one was moving out or 'being' moved out. He had his items inside the fence on tables in the front yard and front porch along with some items inside the house and a few more tables in the back yard. He just wanted to get rid of some things.

I picked up a cute egg cup, a nifty deco looking raised plate in a deep salmon color with a shrimp design made by Shenango China, and a cool looking old glass container with lid that may be for sugar or syrup. There were a number of paintings and small sculptures but they weren't for sale. The artist was the man's sister.

This man told me that when he first moved here from New York to work as a teacher, he had no idea that the neighborhood he'd bought his house in had so much crime. Apparently, his house had been broken into several times the first few years he lived there while he was restoring it. He laughed when he told me that he also didn't know that the street that his house practically sits on was where prostitutes hung out. Apparently there was a group of transvestites who had a regular spot on the corner closest to his house. When they found out he was a teacher, they told him that they would make sure that no one messed with his car. He said that one day when he was standing outside his front door some of his students rode by and yelled, "Hey, Mr. R______ what are you DOING here???!!!" They were shocked that he lived in the 'hood. He seemed to take it in stride.

I've been to quite a few estate sales that turned out to be terrific sales in very modest houses/neighborhoods. One I went to a couple of months ago with my friend, Duane, had been owned by a 95 year old lady who had lived in her house for over 50 years. The house looked very small from the front but it actually rambled pretty far back, room after room all on one floor.

I don't think she had ever thrown anything away. Even her 75 year old wedding dress (similar to the one shown) was for sale.
Besides her cool vintage clothes, there was a fur coat and fox fur stole, tons of pairs of white dress gloves, costume and fine jewelry, porcelain, and furniture. I bought some of her costume jewelry. She had a good eye and there were some very nice pieces.

The strangest estate sale I've been to (so far) was actually inside a 'magic' shop owned by a magician and the woman who used to be his assistant when he still performed. (I talked with the assistant and she had also traveled with Barnum & Bailey's Circus with this magician.) Besides some things he put out in his shop, which was located in the middle of a strip mall, he had a ton of stuff locked away in a storage facility behind his store. There was a service road that ran behind the shopping center and there was actually a storage facility business there. So this guy was selling stuff that his mother had left behind when she'd died 25 years ago. He had put the stuff that family members didn't want into this storage facility and hadn't even bothered to open it during the years he rented it. A little spooky but still fun to rummage through. I'm still waiting to 'top' that one some day.


  1. I'm sorry I missed this sale, it sounded interesting and the man sounds very nice. I don't remember hearing about the Magic sale before. What fun!

  2. The magic sale was well over a year ago. It certainly was unusual. :P

  3. Sorry I missed this adventure. I wonder where he taught school. I'll bet he could tell some stories about his neighborhood!!!

  4. I didn't even think to ask him that. Pretty sure it was a junior high or high school, though.