Monday, April 24, 2006

Antique Estate Sales - UGH

I sell antiques online. This requires that I spend several hours a week attending sales and auctions in order to maintain my inventory. For the most part I don't have any complaints about the way folks conduct their sales and their business. I know who has the best estate sales, who has fair prices, high quality antiques and collectibles, knows their antiques, etc. But this past Saturday I met the dregs of the estate sale lot.

The first sale we went to seemed a little odd... 5 complete dining room sets, very few items were priced and those items that were priced were HIGH. It just did not look like a true estate sale or atleast any that I had been to before. I went into the kitchen of this house and it was piled with boxes filled with holiday crap, not antique or vintage not even collectible, it was all cheap new stuff heaped and piled in boxes. I counted 23 boxes. You couldn't move in this room much less rummage around through the items to try and find anything to buy. In another room there was a MELTED plastic doll with no head with a $10.00 price on it. I did find a few items to buy... all not priced offered them $10.00 and left.

As we were walking to the car I overheard 2 gentlemen talking behind us about how the items in the sale didn't belong to the man who lived in the house. I turned and asked what he meant and he said that he knew the family the wife died several months prior and the man recently moved. The gentleman I was talking to had been in the home on numerous occassions and recognized very little that was offered for sale. Evidently the "company" conducting the sale just hauls stuff from sale to sale in hopes that they will eventually get rid of it. There is nothing wrong with this stuff is stuff, I don't care who it belongs to as long as it's okay for you to be selling it. ATLEAST HAVE THE COURTESY TO PRICE THE CRAP!!!!!! I think that this is the deal, they don't put prices on items because some neighborhoods may be able to bring in more than others and if you have priced something then you may be cheating yourself out of a quarter or two. I do know that I will not be going to anymore of these folks sales.

The next sale was amazing. It was a family run estate sale plus it was 1/2 price day. Everything was clean and neatly displayed. I found numerous items, visited with the ladies, all sisters, they told me the stories behind most of the items I purchased and we had a great time. I really found some treasures both to sell and to keep.

Here's the downer.......
The 3rd sale, turned into our last one. It was in a fairly well-to-do neighborhood and from the outside the house looked very nice. I found a few items on the front porch, all unpriced, but at that point I was okay with it... I started a pile by the "cashier". I entered the kitchen first. OH MY GOSH it was gross. Grease was on all of the dishes, nothing was pulled out of the cabinets or on display so I reached up into a cabinet and pulled out a plate and mouse turds fell out onto my head. I flipped the plate over and it was Wedgwood. It looked like there was service for 12. There was some antique ironstone dishes but I didn't touch them they were almost black with grease and grime.

I ventured on through into a den of sorts and noticed boxes filled with family pictures. There was a stunning portrait of a lady dressed to the nines. I started wheezing..... there was mold on the walls. I found a cookbook I was interested in and grabbed it and warily made my way to another room.

The living room had several broken boxes and figurines. I went into what looked like a childs room and all of the surfaces were covered in dirt and grime and there was mouse crap on the stuffed animals. The carpet was covered in trash throughout the house.

Mind you none of this stuff had a price tag so you didn't know what they wanted for this dirty stuff and you weren't really sure what disease you were going to catch simply by touching it but I have found some great buys in worse places so I trudged on into the final room.
This room had a sign "all books in this room $2.00", cool I'll look at the books. I love books, I love selling books and I collect vintage first edition books. By this time I was having a very hard time breathing because of the mold and mildew so I was moving quick. I spyed a print on the wall that I was interested in and found 8 books that I also wanted.

I hit the front door at a dead run straight to the cashier. I grabbed my pile and asked for prices.
She grabbed and I do mean GRABBED the books out of my hands, I told her that these were in the $2.00 book room. "We won't sell anything with an inscription in it." I'm stunned but okay with that. She hands me back 3 books. I ask for the price on the print.... $25.00, I tell her to keep it. And so it goes. They wanted retail +++++ prices for this dirty, infested, greasy, crap that they couldn't be bothered with pricing beforehand or even pulling out the items they didn't want to sell. I was angry I felt that we buyer's were there to clean up and bring out the "good stuff" so that they didn't have to ruin their lungs and health by going into that nasty house.

When I was in the den I noticed quite a few framed letters signed "The Eisenhower Brothers", the books that they would not sell to me were inscribed to Mrs. Eisenhower and there were numerous Dwight Eisenhower items in the house (there probably were not for sale either).
DD Eisenhower was from Kansas but I know it was not Mamie Eisenhower's house. So I did some research. President Eisenhower had several brother's all of whom left the area except for the eldest, Arthur. Arthur had a wife Louise, Lousie had a daughter from a previous marriage, Katherine that Arthur adopted. Katherine married Berton Reuche (sp?) (I did buy one of his books at this sale) and they had a son. So my deduction leads to me believe that it was the home of Katherine.

Then I start feeling sorry for her. I cannot find an obituary and the family tree I looked at doesn't show her as deceased so she is probably in a home. Where were these 3 people conducting the sale when she was living in the house? Why didn't they care as much for her "name" when she was living in squalor as the do now that they are "selling" her life and letting folks tromp through her filthy house? I would bet dollars to donuts that they books and other items of note that they would not let us buy they will try to sell on ebay thinking that they will bring big bucks. I am really upset with these folks that I don't know and will probably never see again as long as I live for allowing this person to be shown to the world through the filth in this house, they could have plugged in the vacuum cleaner and taken a couple of swipes. No wonder they were sitting on the front porch.

I do believe in Karma and I know that what you put out there come back to you 3 fold. I don't want to be anywhere near these 3 ladies when their Karma catches up with them for this instance.

Shame on you and God bless you Ms. Eisenhower where ever you are.

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