Our most recent estate sale was in the Richmond district of San Francisco. And I have to say it was a very exciting and an exceptionally diverse sale. Because we consign items from other estates, this two story house was packed with an array of eclectic treasures; Russian Icons, Taxco silver, Outsider Art, marble mantel clocks, antique Samovars, fine art, sterling silver, books, china, and much much more. This sale had what all estate sale customers want – something of interest for everyone.
Here are some of my personal favorites:
A box of ephemera dating back to the 1930’s and 40’s: vintage gas station maps; old AAA trip tiks, vintage Russian sheet music, postcards, old photos, letters. To make things easier for our staff and for the buying public we priced each of these items separately. When a local paper dealer spotted the ephemera he was in heaven and wanted to buy the entire box. I should also mention that our client saw no value in these “old papers and photos” and had placed them in a part of his basement that was his “to be thrown away corner.” So a word of caution to anybody who is cleaning out a loved ones estate – what you consider trash quite likely has value to someone. The above paper pile sold for in excess of $500.00.
A collection of vintage California license plates dating from 1928-1939 were really cool and in excellent condition, and it made an enthusiastic dealer really happy to find them.He also fell in love with a unique Russian sterling silver cigarette case which had a repousse dragon lid, and had a cabochon cut amethyst clasp. He didn’t really deal in silver, he just really liked this piece and decided to buy it for himself. He could have used his resale number, but as a testimate to his integrity he chose not to. He was more than willing to pay the tax. Touché for him.
On the last day, a woman arrived at our estate sale. I immediately saw a magical and delighted sparkle in her eyes as she looked at seventeen original hand-colored aquatint engravings by Samuel Howitt (1756-1822). These graced the walls leading up the staircase to the second level of the house. They were exotic drawings dramatically depicting a variety of African hunting scenes. She asked if this was our entire set, or had we sold a few. I explained that this was indeed our entire set, and although people had expressed an interest in buying just one or two, we chose not to break the set up. She told me that it was her birthday, and she had found the perfect gift for herself; a series of engravings by an artist she admired.
I just love seeing the excitement in dealers’ and collectors’ eyes when they find their much sought after treasures…. It’s magical.
My name is Valetta Ciarla. I work for Fine Estate Liquidation and I love the magic of my job.