Friday, December 8, 2017

The lure of estate sales........Knowledge is power

     I love estate sales, or as my Canadian neighbors say "content sales"!  There is something quite alluring about rummaging through a whole household that is there for the picking.  I probably attend 100 or so estate sales a year, usually plotting a route that takes  me to 3-5 sales on an early Friday morning ( it's always early and it's always Friday).  I go to the posh downtown dwellings and the off the grid family farms, and I've scored at both venues.
     I never find a globe at these sales,  good globes are needless in a haystack really.   Well that all changed this past Friday.   While casually glancing through the app I use to find these sales I saw a picture of a globe, it was old , a 12 inch table globe that had to be mid 19th century.  Below is the picture I saw.

This photo taken from the estate agent's post on
social media, the globe as bookend! 
     I knew it was something, what exactly I could not know for sure,  well 25 miles away I raced down the thruway to the "Delaware " district of Buffalo and their 100 year old mansions. This house didn't disappoint, almost 7000 square feet of 1890's gilded age splendor.  I ran in the door , 14 steps ahead of my lovely wife who was still parking the car ....... I was 5 minutes late.... just purchased.
     So what was it that I missed,  never shy I walked right into the corralled area sold merchandise is kept and discovered that my 5 minutes cost me a Smiths of London desk globe, and at a measly $250 what a steal that was for the lucky buyer.   Dejected I probably let some other great finds slip past as I smarted about my near miss.  Such is life.

Smith's globe for a mere $250.........

Smith's globe despite plaster cracks, otherwise intact 

    Despite this failure I I always persevere, later that day I found for just a couple of dollars a great guidebook to the 1901 Pan American exposition, complete with 2 fold out maps, certainly not a retirement piece but still a great little thing.  You should know that my house is full of estate finds large and small.  Here's a pic of my consolation prize:

     Now in the antique business estate sales are where the sausage is made so to speak. That Smiths globe purchased for $250 will most likely be sold on by the picker to a mid level dealer. As a fairly specialized item it might get another quick sale to a higher level dealer ( a 1st dibber )  that person will then contact Green Dragon bindery or another highly reputable restoration company and they will spend the $1000-$2000 it will take to make this globe perfect again,  after these investments. That high end dealer will offer it for sale in NYC, or Boston,  at a price probably approaching $5000.  So from found at $250 to high end object In  3 steps !
     Antiques move quite often from estate sale to dealer, to collector and back again, with smart people along the way who see value in items differently than the object's present circumstance.  Knowledge is currency in the estate market, and time along with exposure to these sales is the only way to accumulate this currency!   The hunt at it's best!

1 comment:

  1. UGH!!! A miss so close! I think I would cried! Great globe though!!