Category Archives: Antiques Business

Railway and Railroad Badges

What “Railroad Man” wouldn’t want to own these…?

Denver  Rio Grande Western Railroad Police Badge

(Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad Police Badge sold for $2,070.00 by Greg Martin Auctions)

I like badges, I always have, can’t really explain why, maybe I don’t have to – but let me try. Badges are artistic symbols of power. They convey authority, mystery, respect and yes, even fear.

Railway Badges seem to inspire though; they seem to make us want to remember something different – a past filled with the vibrations of iron meeting iron, of steam rising thunderously up from a forlorn landscape, of people going home or starting a new adventure into the unknown.

Railway, and Railroad Badges are the Stars of Railway Collectibles

Ocean shore railway badge

(Ocean Shore Railway Badge Sold for $1,380 By Greg Martin Auctions)

I wish I could have been on the first train that rolled across this great country – joining the hands of the East Coast with those of the West. And that “West” would never be the same, would find it’s wildness diminish a little each day as the “Settlers” came.

Oh, but the promise of new things, the rush of hope and the adrenalin of wonder, for these the imagination will always grasp….

Older examples of Railway Badges are Highly Collectible

Scarce Denver  Rio Grande Railway Police Badge

(Scarce Denver & Rio Grande Railway Police Badge Sold for $316.00 By Greg Martin Auctions)

But there is a dark side to Railway and Railroad badges. Because they are also symbols of vanquished dreams, of hobos rousted from camps, thrown from trains, and the tyranny of Robber Barons protecting their expanding empires.

To have been an otherwise honest man without funds, in need of transport, riding the rails like my Grandfather, meant a constant and vigilant eye had to be kept in order to prevent a meet up with the police.

Look for Railway Badges at Estate Sales, Flea Markets and Auctions

Atchinson Topeka  Santa Fe Railroad Police Badge

(Atchinson Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Police Badge Sold for $403.00 By Greg Martin Auctions)

My Grandfather did ride the rails as a very young man, through the Southwest, and Northern Mexico. Those were different times, and he got lucky by meeting a very respectable woman, settling down and raising a family.

I am sure there were others who had this luck, who had this experience. And I wonder how many of these Railway Lawmen might have helped them, move from one place to another safely…

Here’s a Rare Steamboat and Railroad Badge

Southern Pacific Railroad  Steamboat Police Badge

(Southern Pacific Railroad & Steamboat Police Badge Sold for $1,380.00 By Greg Martin Auctions)

Let us know what you like or dislike about Railway and Railroad Badges, I by no means am an expert in them. I look forward to hearing any tales about your collecting experience.

Take Care,

Martin Codina

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Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"

Ignore Local SEO, and Your Estate Sales Business Will Falter

Oh No! I can’t Fail, I hired an Expert Web Guy…

What is local SEO: Your Local Estate Sales SEO can best be understood by entering the keyword “Estate Sales” into a browser search box along with the name of your city or geographical region. The results of that search can reasonably be described as the Local results particular to that city or geographical area. This will allow you to see how Google ranks your site in contrast to others.

Where is your site: Try this, open a browser, enter the keyword Estate Sales, add the name of the city or region you do business in and hit your enter or return key. If your site is not among the first 10 or so results, then the way your website, or its contents are constructed are not fully optimized.

The Majors Dominate Local Estate Sales Search Results

Who are the Majors: Estate, Craigslist, Oodle, Yelp, and there are a few others.

Why you should care: There is only one reason to care about this: Business, your business, the way new clients might find you, is minimized and marginalized, or it will seem to be non-existent to those who use the web to find their local contacts.

Take Back Your SEO Turf, after all, It’s Yours

Who Controls Your Website: If you are not actively engaged with your site, if you do not have access to it, or do not personally know how to upload content to your site, then because your competition does, you will falter. If you think about your site like once or twice a month, and are unaware that the Majors, and even some of your bigger local competitors think about their sites everyday, then you will falter, and may even fail.

Oh my! What ever will you do: Read, read, read about SEO, and then and only then consult with the right people. Study the Majors, and your local competition. Learn how to upload content to your website.

Why ever would you take the time to improve your SEO…

…because it will both save, and make you money…

Delegating this to others: I would only recommend delegating this very important task to others after you yourself have done the research necessary to fully understand what I have written above. No one understands you, and your message better than you. After you have taken the time to compose your message, have learned how to post content to your website, and have at least a working knowledge of SEO, then I think it is reasonable to hire a web person to improve your SEO.

But I don’t Have Time: Here are three questions – 1. Do you have time to wait for your phone to ring? 2. Do you have time to watch others succeed? 3. Do you have time to waste hoping to be noticed? If you do not have the time to do any of these three things, then you’ll have to learn to make time for learning about SEO, and how it will substantially improve your business.

Martin, Why Should I Listen to You About SEO?

Take a look at these three sites: San Francisco Estate Sales (Fine Estate Liquidation, Inc.), The Do It Yourself Estate Sales Guide, and of course the site you are currently on – Fine Estate Sales Blog, chock full of articles and post, many of which rank on the first page of various Google searches. Here’s a link to our Article Archive. I wrote and created these sites! And I wrote and created them as a 52 year old guy, who four years ago didn’t even type, never mind that I was also at the time completely ignorant about computers…If I can do it, so can you.

Prepare Yourself For 2010: From late December 2009 to the end of January 2010 I will work with up to 10 different Estate Liquidators. Estate Liquidators who want to extend themselves, who want to succeed, who are not afraid to be the Estate Sales Leaders in their local cities or regions.

But I Have Conditions, Luckily There Are Only 3 of Them

  1. You have to be prepared to change.
  2. You must call me at least once a week.
  3. You are willing to learn to navigate the admin portion of your site.

This is going to cost money, a fair bit of money…

How Much: I don’t know how much I will charge each of the Estate Liquidators I will work with until I see their sites. Some sites will have simple changes to implement, while others will be more difficult to implement changes on. So each site I work with will be treated as a project, and I will generate a project cost projection for each of them.

Here’s a Cost Range: $1,500.00 to $5,000.00

Is That a Scary Number?

Of Course It Is: But is it as scary as doing nothing? Is it as scary as watching the majors gobble up your local SEO? Is it as scary as waiting, and watching, or expecting a miracle to bring people to your site?

Inaction is the same as: Capitulation; is the same as folding at a card table because the stakes are misunderstood, is the same as agreeing to the success of others at the expense of your own businesses survival.

When you are ready, send me an email or give me a call…

Martin Codina
CEO Fine Estate Sales and Estate Liquidation, Inc.

Email Martin Here

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Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"

Those French Have A Way With Mirrors

The Trumeau

Mid 19c French Trumeau sold at a San Francisco Estate Sale

Available Here: Upcoming San Francisco Estate Sale

Basically a Trumeau is a mirror from France which contains a carved panel above or below a mirror all set within a single frame. Very often it also has a painting contained within the carved panel. These paintings are usually not by any one famous, but they are often signed, so it pays to look the artist up, just in case.

Here are other examples of Trumeau Mirrors and Their Prices:

Louis XVI style giltwood and painted trumeau mirror

A Louis XVI Style Trumeau Mirror: (Last quarter 19c.) Sold For: £4,200 ($7,636) Christie’s: London Auction Date: Sep. 29, 2005

Trumeau courting scene

Trumeau, Circa 1890 “Courting Scene” 66″ x 48″ Brunk Auctions – Jan. 2005 Sold For: $2,300


PAIR LOUIS XV TRUMEAU MIRRORS 18c Christie’s London, Sept. 2007 Sold For: £12,500

Now go see yourself living comfortably and well…

Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"