…Each day for the next 30 days, I will write about my experiences as an Estate Sales Professional…
Haggling is fine at an Estate Sale, it is expected and it is a necessary part of the estate sales process, however being rude or aggressive is not…
7:00am and a bit past the crack of dawn: I am making more estate sales signs in my garage, because after all, if a shopper doesn’t know where you are, they can’t shop…and shopping is what it is all about in the estate sales game. We are on day two of a three day Estate Sale in the Twin Peaks Area of San Francisco. In general, it has been a fine sale so far, no real hassles, lots of sales, and for the most part the fact that this is an Easter Weekend Sale has not affected our sale in the least.
It is very close to 10:00am: I meet Andy and Vina at the corner of Clarendon and Fair Oaks, to give them a sandwich board sign that Andy then ties to the top of his car, we talk about our reaction to the sign monster, you remember him – he’s the guy who acts as a one man vigilante – taking down even lost pet signs from various lamppost and such, throughout the city. I’ll just say, that Andy and I do not have a favorable opinion of the sign monster…we think, there must be a rock that the sign monster can crawl back under and stay.
10:30am: Did I mention coffee? Did I mention too much coffee? Well I had too much coffee to drink this morning, so I am talking motor mouth style a mile a minute: first to a customer about some small Persian carpets, then to someone else about the Royal Daulton Figurines we’re selling and then there is the books and record guy – we get into a discussion about the value or lack of value that Classical records have. He tells me about how some 78rpm Robert Johnson records are worth a small fortune. And speaking of records, that’s almost like speaking about the music business, Joel Selvin walks in and kicks the edge of a carpet, like a used car buyer kicks a tire and ask “How Much?”
My Coffee Jag Last Until about 1:00pm: Maybe I need better coffee, coffee that will help me stay alert without re-infusions of extra cups of the Mighty Joe applied judiciously throughout the day. Katherine, then asks about lunch. She says “On behalf of the entire crew, when can we have lunch?” Oh dang! I hate to stop everything to go and get lunch, but not as much as I dislike facing a hungry and ravenous estate sales crew…easy food is always best when working an estate sale, and there pretty much is no easier food to eat than a burrito, so burritos it is: our favorite burrito place near the neighborhood where we are having this estate sale is Gordo’s, on 9th and Lincoln. I have been going there for 30 years, always good, simple, never fussy or fancy, and the thing I like most is that the place is clean.
2:30pm or thereabouts: I am with a dealer at an undisclosed location. I am buying stuff, that’s right I buy antiques and collectibles stuff, like all the time…The Twin Peaks Estate Sale is being staffed and is in the capable hands of our crew. Here is the most logical place to let you know that Lesley, our newest staff member, has been patiently waiting to see her name pop up here. Her exuberance is palpable, and infectious, if there was ever a person you wanted to have help you as an estate sales shopper, it is Lesley – make sure you say hello to her, and that you let her know that both Valetta and I thank her for being so diligent, loyal, and fun to be around.
At about 4:00pm: I am back at the estate sale having a conversation with a kind and generous woman named Marti, about the advisability of letting other dealers know about what you know about various categories of antiques and collectibles – whether or not this compromises a dealers ability to stay in business…I get her point, it could and likely does make her job of securing quality antiques and collectible at an affordable price, more difficult.
5:30pm: I get in my car and make the trip back home, first stopping for gas, and I thank provenance for all that we have, all that we have learned, and for all that we can give…
All The Best