Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What I Didn't Buy, Estate Sale Style: Accidental Theft, Guns, and Musing

This estate sale has kick started a new addiction, I can't wait to schedule in more of them. It was fun to peruse the house, admire the organization, and day dream about the home's possibilities or what the owner must have been liked based on  the legacy her items presented.


Whoever she was, she loved her kitchenware! There was a beautiful assortment of teapots and more to behold.


You might sucker punch me through the screen for leaving this beautiful clay owl teapot behind (perfect shape!) but I couldn't make myself pay $12.00 for it. I couldn't get my phone to work in the home to find out if it was vintage, it had no markings.


I worked through the pins to amass this collection of beautiful floral ones and one gold whale that I really wanted to sell as a haul (oh the whale! I love my sea beasts) but they were $6.00 EACH! No! Cannot! Compute! To at least double my profit I'd have to sell the set for $72.00!


Another beautiful tease. I own one a bit newer than this that my mom passed down to me.


I admired the organization at this sale. Likes were grouped together. A pantry closet was lined with Cambell's collectibles. And a cabinet in the living room artfully displayed costume jewelry with a petrified wood collection. Interesting tableauxs abound, like the perhaps unintentional but attractive pairing of red heels with silver.


Then I spied the gun in the corner of the cabinet! Likely not a real one but a cop would still shoot you on sight for carrying that heat around in this city. What the hellz, is that normal at an Estate Sale?!


This neon 60s frock assaulted my eyes and I loved it, so very bright! I chose to leave it behind even though I got it down to $5.00, it's shapeless and to the floor not unlike a nightgown and seems like something that'd be tricky to sell. And there was a tiny stain on the front that may not have come out.


I loved this trio of 1960s prints but $8.00 each was again, a bit much for me. This estate sale was a bit pricey overall.


The traditional China arranged in the living room reminded me of my mom, very much her style.


I took this shot of items I was considering buying in the bedroom. When I got home and saw that I realized I accidentally took home that cookbook without paying! When I got back no one was there so I left it out front in a bag. Quite embarrassing , I hope it was safely recovered! I don't want to be known as that greedy bitch stealing from estate sales! My cryptic humiliation was posted on Instagram. But I digress...


The style of this space was simple, welcoming, warm, and traditional and that's how I'll paint my vision of the owner. You gotta believe a person who'd make her guest bedrooms as cozy as a Historic Inn had a kind heart.

What temptations have you left behind on the hunt recently? Are estate sale prices normally like this? I hear of friends getting steals at them but I'm rarely so lucky.
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31 comments:

  1. I have a tough time at estate sales too. Things are typically over priced so I wait and go back the next day (usually half off). Rarely has anything I wanted still been there.

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    1. I missed the second-day sale. I'll keep hitting up sales to see if I uncover the mythical low-priced goods.

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  2. Estate sales are fun, but we probably all agree rather pricey. I think it's kind of fun to see the inside of houses-- the layout and decor. How good of you to return that cookbook-- the people running the sale were probably amazed.

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    1. I hope it got to them safely. i wanted to slip it into the mail slot but it wouldn't fit. I love that part too, seeing the houses. Especially around here where I'm curious to see the inside of all the beautiful Historic homes.

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  3. I prefer estate sales over tag sales because I love vintage linens, books, ephemera, glassware and the like. These aren't usually found at tag sales. They may be a bit pricey for resale, but I usually think the prices are a bargain retail-wise. Have you tried "bundling"? Over the years I have learned which estate sales to check out by which company is running them. One company in particular seems to get the cream of the crop plus has reasonable prices for the items I look for. And the second day is half price or "make an offer".

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    1. Bundling is asking if they'll take a deal on a bundle of items, or is it the company you're speaking of?

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    2. yes, asking for a deal on a stack of stuff. it usually works.

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    3. Will keep it in mind :)!

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  4. I rarely go to estate sales because most things are way over-priced (maybe I'm just cheap!) The prices you named for most of the stuff seemed lower than I've seen at local estate sales. I've found a few things to add to my personal collection, but nothing cheap enough for resale.

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    1. I've been to others that are way higher. It's such a tease to see gorgeous items I want that are priced way out of my range. But I'll keep huntin'...

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  5. I prefer estate sales for the same reasons as Susan up there. You eventually get to know which company prices higher, and which will bargain too. Some estate sale buyers wait at the sale hours before hand to be the first ones in, but I prefer going on the last day a few hours before the sale ends. I don't worry about what things I might have missed out on in the days prior, it's the hunt in the garage, and in the back of a closet, where I find treasures others passed over, and I get great deals as the sellers just want to get it all out of there!

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    1. Good routine! Gotta make a habit of checking these out more.

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  6. Ooooooo, all the glassware..........I have gone to estate sales on the first day and do still occasionally when I need a good reminder of why I hate it! Imagine that house with 150-200 people crammed in it all being grabby and rude. Now we go the second day and see what everyone else has uncovered. There are still goodies that people think aren't worth anything or that inadvertently got covered up or shoved under the tables in the fray.

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    1. I haven't been to the grabby rude ones yet, but one day... :D Just gotta experience the insanity. Good idea to go the last day, too.

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  7. I got burnt out on Estate sales....or lazy its your call.:) Those prices where lower than most estate sales here. But your right about the pins. They can do really well (I sold a lot of enamel pins for close to fifty dollars. But thats the catch they do better as a lot than singular). Just thinking about Estate sales makes me tired. We used to go so early to get the best stuff and it did pay off. But you get burnt out eventually. Anywho the estate sales where you really feel the person who resided there can be super cool or really sad. I've experiences both. Oh the stories I could tell.

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    1. They're definitely an experience and can be time consuming and exhausting. I haven't been to any of the sad ones yet, but they all certainly help you confront your mortality. With thoughts like, "wWow, what will people think of my junk when I'm gone? Will they fight for it like vultures?"

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  8. The 60s prints are adorable!!! Bit pricey, though...
    Becky :)

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  9. Oh Van even though some of this pries are high for resale I would have parted with a few dollars for myself a few of those enamel flower brooches and the 1960's dress. I rather like the trip of prints with the children but at $8 a piece forget about it.

    Can't think of what I've left behind recently but I am becoming more selective if it's for resale.

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    1. That dress is totally your style :) I was very tempted for the floral broaches because it was my first time seeing them in person but I resisted.

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  10. The only time I pay on the pricey stuff is if it's something I want to keep. The last estate sale I went to was at a home of a woman that had passed away (her daughter was running it). I found a room full of the late woman's original art- loads of paintings done in the 60's and 70's (signed and dated) $25.00 a piece. I bought 5 without trying to talk her down. As a result the daughter sold me the other things I was looking at for next to nothing, some pieces she gave me for free. I walked away with 4 vintage handbags, 2 vintage wallets, a set of milk glass candle holders, wooden nutcrackers made in Italy, a retro red wooden wine rack, two vintage nautical maps dating back t the 1960's, a bunch of books and two wooden bookshelves . Le sigh.

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    1. You definitely got your money's worth! I love it when sellers throw in freebies :)

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  11. We built our entire collection going to estate sales. The best time to go is the first day to peruse, and the last to buy. But, that being said, we have bought things on the first day. Sometimes they are priced very low because the sale wasn't run by a company, and the family just wants it gone. Or, they may not know what they have. We just recently downsized and sold several pieces at our own estate for well over 500-600% (sometimes higher) than what we paid for them, because mid-century is all the rage. We had only been collecting for about four years. We have worse luck at garage sales and thrift shops; they aren't the best in Dallas.

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    1. This certainly inspires me to get out to more estate sales!

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  12. Thanks for sharing your estate sale adventure!

    I'm learning which companies have the best prices in comparison to companies that hold estate sales that are just ridiculous in price. But, gotta get out there to figure out which ones are worth going to.

    I went to an estate sale last Friday and the prices were GREAT! The man who lived there was an engineer that built highway bridges. I bought a binder full of his original bridge sketches and all the math on graph paper. Paid 50 cents for it. :) I also bought a omega silver collar necklace. It weighed a lot and I only paid $15 for it. Well worth over that for the silver weight alone. I will be going back to any estate sales that those ladies hold in the future!

    Went back on the last day (Sunday) to try and buy the desk chair and the file cabinet. But, some lady was there and had JUST bought them before I got there. That's what I get for being cheap. The prices were very reasonable to begin with.

    I've been having lots of fun at estate sales. It's interesting to try and decipher who the people are/were by the contents of their house. And getting inside the older houses in the Riverside/Avondale neighborhood is a treat!

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    1. I get punished for being too cheap all the time, too. Sometimes it pays to be impulsive, stuff will be gone before you know it. You're right, always a treat getting into houses over here, when I'm walking around I'm always wishing I could see the insides of them.

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  13. I have a phobia that I need to get over - going to estate sales just really creeps me out. I cannot seem to step over that invasion of privacy threshold, even though I know logically it should be business as usual. I get so sentimental and emotional when I see things in their natural home. Garage sales are different because the owners are selling their own stuff, but buying from a deceased person's house just overwhelms me. I love Goodwill, and maybe the stuff I get from there is from an estate too, but there is that comforting third party barrier between me and the deceased. Sorry for rambling - I just wish I knew how to get over this feeling. Might be a good topic for a blog post. BTW, the picture with the silver tray and red heels is super cool. Always enjoy your posts.

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    1. It certainly helps me confront my mortality and think about the kind of legacy I want to leave behind. I get over the intruder feeling by thinking about how the items I buy from the deceased person will go on to make others happy. It's helping me, the person who buys it, the people at the sell, it's a positive way to keep the spirit of that person going.

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  14. Van, those flower brooches are popular for use in creating brooch bouquets. Instead of carrying real flowers that will just fade, many brides are opting for bouquets made with brooches or earrings that resemble flowers. Just do a search on Etsy or Google for brooch bouquets, and you will see many examples of them.

    Like many commenters have already mentioned, prices at estate sales can vary, depending on who's running the sales. Out here where I live (SF Bay Area), most estate sales are run by companies and not by the families of the deceased, so it's trickier to find great deals, but they can be found. Some estate sale companies will give you a better price the more you buy. I'm assuming the one you went to was run by professionals? The dead giveaway were the tableaux they created all around the house. That's a good sign that the prices will be high. They really don't do that too much out here where I'm at.

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