LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT ESTATE SALES
Here's how we did it and what we learned:
2. Turn everything upside down and look behind every drawer. At some point my Mom had gone through and written on the bottoms of drawers or attached a note to the back of a piece of furniture, "This belongs to Bonnie". It made it very easy when it came to picking out pieces each of us wanted to keep as an heirloom that we could hand down to another generation, things like our great-grandmother's wedding dress we found at the bottom of an old cedar chest or a cloisonné bracelet in her jewelry box that I had made for her when I was in grade school.
7. We may have been naïve but we weren't too worried about theft. What we were worried about was injury. Even though we had posted we were not responsible for accidents we were cautious about danger points in my Mon's house. The worst was her sunken living room that you could enter from two places. People were so focused on the merchandise that they failed to see our "Watch Your Step" signs and kept tumbling into the room. We posted people at both ends of the room and anytime someone approached the room the call went out, "WATCH YOUR STEP". No one was hurt but there were some pretty close calls.
9. You're going to meet some of the weirdest people; the ones who want 50% off on a quarter item and the ones who'll stand in the middle of a room and tell everyone how overpriced everything is, or the ones who know everything about glass but can't tell the difference between a piece of contemporary art glass and a piece of glass from the late 19th century. These people were few and far between but most of them made us laugh or scratch our heads. Only one man yelled at us because on his third return visit for a $15 item on the 50% off day of sale another buyer beat him to it, legitimately getting in before him while he gabbed with another person missing his chance to get into the sale on time. We tried to tell him he should have paid the $15 on his other two visits but this didn't seem to appease him.
John Dugdale, photographer
Represented by Holden Luntz Gallery, Palm Beach, Florida