The Tale of Two Estate Sales

Against my better judgment I decided to head out Friday to the first hour of the first day of a three-day estate sale. It was heavy on Asian items (of which I know very little) but looked promising with a lot of interesting things.

This is one of the advert photos.

As the sale had just opened it was ridiculously crowded and as I feared, everything was too expensive for those of us who resell stuff. (I saw my picker friend Diane there and she was in and out in a flash without buying anything.) I did find a couple of things I was interested in and told one of the estate sale guys it was my birthday and would it be possible to get a little discount. (I know it was cheeky of me but it really was my birthday and I thought worth a shot!) Unsmiling he said, “We don’t give discounts on the first day.” Alrighty then.

But what what irritated me most at this sale was the general lack of courtesy by other shoppers. As I was looking at the silver and silver-plate smalls displayed on a table, I was almost knocked over…TWICE! I had to grab the table once to keep from falling. Some guy said, “Wow, you’re getting it from both sides.” And no one apologized.

In the end I left this estate sale empty handed and drove home in the rain, my body and spirit both dampened. Then about a mile from my house I spotted an estate sale sign and couldn’t resist turning onto the street intending on following the sale signs…except that was the only one! Once on the street there was no sign in front of the house or excess of cars and people. I drove right by it the first time! Such a strange lack of signage for folks running a sale. Once I found it, I discovered it was rather a slap dash operation in a house with a myriad of small dirty rooms. Most stuff wasn’t priced but I was hoping that meant it was reasonable!

I spotted this glass owl figurine/paperweight from Sweden right off. Owls and stuff from Sweden…both winners!

He still retains his Reijmyre, Sweden, foil label. I’ll list him for $25.

In the garage I found this hefty, creepy cast iron door knocker with a brass finish. It’s likely Japanese or Vietnamese and the image is designed to ward off evil. Not my kind of thing but someone will love it. I’ll list this for $90.

And I found this astonishingly heavy footed bowl with great dragon detail. The inside plating had been damaged (thanks to someone using it for potpourri and who knows what all), but otherwise it was quite nice.

Here’s the maker’s mark. Haven’t started researching this yet. Anybody recognize it?

Turns out this bowl weighs over 11 pounds (!!) and is made of cast iron with a silver leaf overlay. Not sure how it was intended to be used.

Isn’t this detail amazing?

This piece felt like a bit more of a gamble, but I couldn’t leave it behind. These days it could be used for fireplace kindling, a jumble of paperback books, a big collection of matchbooks, Christmas ornaments, etc. It has a lot of possibilities. Can’t you picture it filled with sand and a few lit pillar candles? No idea what I’m going to list this for.

I paid $38 for all three (which included sales tax) which I thought was fair.

My experience at the two estate sales couldn’t have been any more different and as I drove home it struck how oftentimes the scrappy sales at the down-at-the-heels houses can yield the better outcome.

Would love to hear about your recent estate sale experiences!

As always, happy hunting,



    1. Thanks Gabriella. πŸ™‚ The bowl was just too cool to leave behind!!

      Maybe estate sales are more of a smaller city/suburban thing or maybe more of U.S. thing? They are fun but weird too. I always feel like a cross between a Peeping Tom and a vulture as I paw through someone’s belongings in their house!

      All the best, Karen

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I understand the feeling πŸ™‚
    There is a local seller that I think does house clearings – the area is affluent and when elder people pass away, often the heirs don’t really bother with the not-so-valuable house contents.
    But I think London may be generally too affluent for estate sales. There are some from the countryside, but generally the items are rather sold through auction houses.
    Happy hunting! Hopefully you find more of the sales where there rudeness doesn’t come with the packet πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great finds! So often it’s the less fancy, disorganized estate sales that offer treasures at a value. But I still typically fight the crowds first day at most sales that look good and old. It’s disappointing when an estate sale is unpleasant and one walks away empty handed. The good days of junkin’ make up for it though πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Marsi. I probably won’t try to go in the first hour of a “fancy” estate sale again. I used to all the time, but I get too annoyed/disappointed now. Still, I find good stuff even without going early! πŸ™‚ – Karen

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We are trying to focus more on vintage electronics, which (when looking for specific items) unfortunately means going to just about every local estate sale, even the ridiculously crowded ones. But yes – sometimes going late of second day we can still find a typewriter or polaroid camera. I think when I used to buy a wide variety of stuff, even the crowded estate sales gave me a rush!


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