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EstateSales.NET Blog

Listed below are various articles about estate sales, estate sale companies, and our office that we hope you find interesting. If you have any questions regarding the content on our blog, please feel free to give us a call or e-mail us. We answer the phones between 7am and 11pm Central time 7 days a week.

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Strike Up the Band: Find Brass and Woodwinds at Estate Sales

We’ve talked about what to look for when shopping estate sales for a secondhand piano . The effort and expense that goes into buying one, bringing it home, and making it playable can be overwhelming but rewarding. But estate sales are not only a great place to find instruments that may or may not ultimately serve no other purpose beyond holding houseplants and adding a little class to a room. It’s also a great place to find smaller, more manageable instruments. Why, you could equip an entire marching band with instruments you find at estate sales! You could sign your entire family up for music lessons and start a 4th wave ska band called Redheaded Superman. Or maybe put on your own rendition of The Music Man , and really bring “Seventy-Six Trombones” to life. But first, of course, you need the trombones . And the cornets (whatever those are). And horns of every shape and kind...

Getting Crafty with Estate Sales: Halloween Edition

The big box stores have had their Halloween decorations out for a few weeks now. And who can blame them? It’s only the best holiday of the year. Sorry, Arbor Day. And now that it’s October, I can finally start decorating my home without fear of being that house. (You know the house I’m talking about.) But rather than displaying the same ghosts and ghouls as my neighbors and paying premium prices to do so, I prefer to harness the power of estate sales. Not only can you frequently find vintage decorations (and, of course, materials for Halloween costumes ), but they're also a great opportunity to get crafty. Here I’ll share just a few easy projects you can make your way through on a cool October afternoon. Spooky ceramics Estate sales frequently carry ceramic figurines, some that are, or at least at one time were, highly collectible. My mother and grandmother, for example, collected Hummels . I, as a child, had a shelf full of Precious Moments ...

Mining Estate Sales for Uranium Glass

When hunting for treasures at estate sales, a black light can be incredibly useful to have. Yup, the ultraviolet light you had in your college dorm is good for more than just illuminating your Grateful Dead poster and reminding you about the mustard stain that didn’t come out in the wash. It can also help you identify different glassware. Most notably, it can help you identify glass containing uranium. This sounds much scarier than it is, and precisely as cool. Uranium glass is a popular collectors’ item, and with good reason. This magical glass can come in a variety of shapes and forms—from dinnerware to decorative vases. It is black light reactant, glowing a bright green when near the proper lighting. And while it does emit low-level radiation, it’s generally believed that it’s not enough to cause bodily harm, or to turn you into an X-Man. With the exception of some early 20th century pieces, most uranium glass contains no more than 2% uranium oxide—often much less...

Shopping for Pianos at Estate Sales

I’ve long considered picking up a piano at an estate sale . I have room on my front porch, and a daughter in whom I should probably try to nurture some sort of musical ability. That’s what good parents do, right? We tried violin lessons, but it got to the point where both she and I wanted to throw it right out the window rather than fight our way through practice sessions. If we’re going to try again, the piano seems like a good and logical next step. It’s too big to throw, plus, it will really class up the joint. So I’ve been searching, waiting for the right piano to fall from the sky and into my lap—or rather, to make an appearance at a nearby estate sale (because that first option would hurt). Maybe a former music teacher is downsizing in order to move to a smaller home. Perhaps an heirloom piano has been passed from one family member to the next, and the buck finally stopped. Maybe some young, smart, and beautiful content writer bought one for her child, who quickly abandoned it after a few weeks of half-hearted practice...

Crafting with Glass

We’ve talked about a few of the fancy types of glassware you can find at estate sales: carnival glass , with it’s colorful iridescence, milk glass , with its creamy opalescence, Pyrex , with it’s versatility and strength, the crafty things you can do with Mason jars ...you get the picture. These items make frequent appearances at estate sales. But we can’t overlook the simple, basic glassware . Clear vases, classic wine glasses, and assorted jars fill tables and cabinets at estate sales, and are often sold at extremely low prices. The original owners usually hold onto it because it just seems a darn shame to throw them away. And it is. New uses for these simple dishes are found every day. Newly-engaged couples, for example, are now grabbing up estate sale glassware, from spherical bowls to mason jars to create inexpensive and Pinteresting wedding decor. Don’t have a big, life-changing event coming up? That’s okay. There are fun and easy ways one can spruce up their home or office with upgraded glassware. These are just a few favorites...

Be a Pinball Wizard at Estate Sales

There was a time when the pinball machine seemed headed towards extinction, its bings and boops fading to a plinky whisper in the collective unconscious. The pinball manufacturing industry, once booming in cities like Chicago where it all began, have whittled down to two in the entire U.S. Just two. Nevertheless, pinball has hit a resurgence as arcades and barcades pop up in trendy areas, and games are still produced, often based on the latest movie or TV show. There’s a great history in pinball. So much so that The Who wrote an entire rock opera about it. Tommy centers around a young man who can't see, hear, or speak, but, as the song suggests, he played a mean pinball. That history includes innovation after innovation, and a long stretch from the 1940s to the 1970s where the machines were considered gambling , making them illegal in most large cities. Thanks to that prohibition, they became an icon of teenage rebellion. And now it’s not uncommon to find reasonably-priced pinball machines at estate sales...

Collecting Little Golden Books

It’s not a stretch to say that if you’re reading this, you probably owned a Little Golden Book at some point in your life. Maybe you held a copy of The Saggy Baggy Elephant in your grubby little toddler hands so many years ago. Maybe you placed There’s a Monster at the End of this Book in your own toddler’s grubby little hands. Or perhaps you were first in line to buy Margaret Wise Brown’s Manners , released earlier this year, which you then put into your grandchild’s grubby little hands. A post shared by Huyana (@farmerandfox) on Jul 11, 2017 at 1:33pm PDT These, and those early first editions and other rarities will be your best bet when collecting for value. More than a thousand LGBs have been written, and over a billion have been printed. So should you choose to start a collection, you might seek out all first editions, or you may focus your collection on a specific era, author, illustrator, or subject matter...

Collecting Vintage Cameras

We’re living in an era when nearly everyone has a camera with them at all times. Every smartphone is equipped with one, and people can’t help but take pictures of their children, their meals, or that dog I saw, and post it to social media for all to see. Younger generations won’t be able to recall a time when one had to be frugal with their photographic choices. Once upon a time, a person couldn’t take a photo of their Chicago style deep dish pizza from every possible angle, intending to simply choose the best one and delete the rest. Well, they could, but it would be a waste of money and resources. Though modern digital technology has certainly made photography more accessible to the masses, there was something special about analog. There is proof of this in contemporary photo apps that offer the user filters made specifically to look like vintage film. Filters with names like “toy camera,” “Diana,” and “lomographic,” hearken back to vintage photography...

Shopping for Vinyl Records at Estate Sales

No one gets sentimental over a CD. Eight-tracks are a nostalgic novelty. But records , man. People feel ways about records. I’m no exception. From borrowing albums from the library and listening to them with giant padded headphones on the shag carpet of our spare room, to playing Canasta with my grandmother while my grandfather blasted Johnny Horton so loud his neighbors could hear “North to Alaska,” records were omnipresent in my youth, even though I grew up in the era of cassette tapes and, by my teens, CDs. A post shared by what I'm spinning (@coffeepezaddict) on May 12, 2017 at 3:57am PDT Featuring the Fab Four smiling cheekily, wearing white coats and holding dismembered doll parts and raw meat, the original album was recalled, “then sent out to retail stores again with a new image pasted over the old one.” Patrick said “Many fans tried to then peel off the paste over, and most of the time it was not a pretty sight.” Patrick said Heritage Auctions recently sold a ‘first state,’ sealed original Butcher Cover for $42,000...

Vintage Fashion at Estate Sales

When it comes to women’s clothing, fashions come and go. Last year it was peplums. This year it’s cold shoulders. And next year, well, I’ve got four words for you: Unisex. Chain-Mail. Track suits. Just wait. You’ll see. But some clothing connoisseurs choose not to focus on what will be on the runways next year, or what’s currently on department store mannequins. They prefer to deal in vintage apparel, appreciating the colors, shapes, craftsmanship, and timeless styles from decades past. You can find them at specialty stores, with specialty store price tags, or you can cross your fingers that something will appear at a thrift store—it does happen occasionally. But one of your best bets for vintage fashions is through estate sales. We spoke to Annette Vartanian, editor of A Vintage Splendor and Lauren from Wearing History , both well-versed in different aspects of vintage fashion...

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