Estate Sale Virgin

Friday was a glorious fall day.  Sunny and mild with a hint of a breeze that rustled the leaves. A great day to be alive.  A great day to go to my first estate sale.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous. Excited, but nervous. (And isn’t that true for a lot of first-time experiences?! Think about your first kiss, your first time driving a car, your first day of college….)

When I arrived 30 minutes before the doors opened, the driveway was already filled with people. I tried queueing up not realizing I needed to add my name to a numbered list. By the time I got that figured out I was #36.

As I waited I got chatting with Pamela and Mike.  They come to these things all the time and knew a good number of the folks in the driveway. Mike was on the hunt for old cameras. I told him I was there to find things for my Etsy stores.  They asked a lot of questions about how Etsy worked and in the end decided they’d check it out for themselves.

Redwing, Gypsy Trail line, Plain pattern. Circa 1930s to 1943.

Finally an estate sale staff member started calling names from the list to let people in.  Though I got in the house within 10 minutes of the start of the sale, many things that had piqued my interest in the publicity photos had already been snatched up…alas, alas. Then I spotted a sweet, little Redwing creamer and sugar bowl that had been overlooked. They weren’t “giving the set away,” but it wasn’t unreasonably priced either. This was a keeper.

When I got to the bookshelves I found three classic children’s books that I’ll sell as a bundle and three vintage cookbooks. The Culinary Arts Institute “Encyclopedic Cookbook” is just that … a 1000-page tome of recipes, photos, menu ideas, advice and more. The recipes run from the basic (broccoli with cheese) to the bizarre (grilled tongue and egg sandwiches).  It’s a WOW of a book.

I wandered around for a bit more. There were a lot of nice things. Sets of crystal and china, a copper tea kettle, quilts, antique wood furniture but nothing else that grabbed my attention.  Eventually my arms got tired of holding all the books and I decided it was time to pay.

As I walked out of my first ever estate sale, I realized I was happy.  I had fun finding a few things, met some nice people and it was a beautiful day.  That’s enough!


Come earlier.
Get name on list, tout de suite.
Bring a tote bag.
Take advantage of the “hold” table.
Find out if you can negotiate on the first day of an estate sale.

Would love to hear about your estate sale experiences and any advice you have!

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