Estate Sales By Glenda

Ventura, CA 93003
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I attended my very first estate sale in 1983 and remember the excitement walking through the house filled with items ranging from antique to everyday items. From that moment on, I was hooked! As a collector, I was able to furnish my home with antique and vintage furniture - from Victorian to 1940s. Eventually, I became so well-versed in attending estate sales that I submitted an article entitled the "A, B, C's of Estate Sales" to American Country Collectibles, which they published. I followed that with another article entitled "How to Attend a Live Auction." The AntiquesWeek Newspaper (East Coast) reached out to me for a "quick turn-around" article on "The Weeping Willow as a Symbol of Victorian Mourning" and I was able to provide that to them within 48 hours. Victoria Magazine later published my article, "Collecting Victorian Fashion Plates."  I have since gone on to publish three books on the history of Ventura through Arcadia Publishing.

My grandmother had a house and garage full of antiques and "old stuff." My mom collected as well. My grandmother (born 1907) gave me her mother's hand-crocheted drawstring bag and hand-stitched petticoat when I was thirteen years old (1965), which are the pride and joy of my collection. That started my love for antique and vintage clothing. Over the past 40 years I have acquired a goodly amount of vintage and antique lingerie and clothing and that led me to giving presentations. In 2004, I was a speaker at the Victorian Elegance antiques show in Richardson Texas on antique lingerie. I bought my first vintage piece in 1969 at the Goodwill - a Roseville vase for $1.69 (which I still have). My next antique was a Victorian parlor chair I purchased (six months on layaway on my $1.50/hour salary) in 1971. I still have the chair. My latest acquisition of clothing is a late 1700s/very early 1800s Calash bonnet. I now collect French furniture when it pops up.

From all these experiences, I decided to "try my hand" at estate sales. When an ad "seeking estate sale person" appeared on Craigslist in 2011, I thought "why not." I met the son, who had flown in from out of the country; we talked and I took the sale. The sale was a great learning experience. Since the son had returned home to Israel, once I completed the sale, I deposited the funds into his banking account here. When I retired from my full-time job in 2014, I took my next sale in August of that year (and am still good friends with the client!). In four years I conducted a little over 100 sales.  

How do we start? It starts with a phone call. I will set up an appointment to meet clients at the property for a walk-through (no charge). I explain to people not be alarmed if I start peeking in closets and cabinets because I need to get an idea of what they have. Questions include: what's the time frame for the sale? Have relatives already come and claimed what they want? Are there receipts or appraisals available for furniture or antiques? (This helps with research and price setting.) What items are to stay with the property - (i.e., appliances). 

This sale description was copied from EstateSales.NET on 4/12/2024 (5-91-8:35:11 PM). Please check there for accurate up-to-date information (239-3).

Once we agree to conduct the sale, the dates are set. The biggest question is --- how many days will the sale be? Sales can be from one to four days. One day sales are usually considered a "blow out" - meaning a short deadline to liquidate and items are "priced to go." A four day sale can maximize the money realized but that's usually reserved for a "packed" house. I can work with anyone's schedule and needs.

What do I do? Once the date has been set, and family has removed their items, I receive any necessary keys, garage door openers, etc. My crew and I come in and do some strategic planning - where to put tables, where will jewelry cases go, where the cashier will be, how will "traffic flow" through the house, etc. I bring caution tape to put down on steps to avoid trips/falls. I have supplies for everything - clothing racks, jewelry cases, risers, plate holders, crates, etc. I do not nail holes in walls unless I'm given permission. If I need to hang art without nails in walls, I have metal grid walls that are freestanding that I can bring to display art. I look through ALL clothing checking labels and price accordingly. I also (since I'm a book collector) look at ALL books. I had a client once who had Harry Potter books (not that unusual); except for the fact there was a polaroid photograph of a young boy with a woman tucked in between the books ... I realized it was a book signing and that the woman was J.K. Rowling. I also knew that Rowling had appeared in my town at a children's bookstore in the 1990s. I checked the three books and yes .. they were signed by JK Rowling. I sold the books on ebay for $600 for my client. I pay close attention to things --- another client's dad (deceased) had an antique photo album in a closet with Civil War photos. The photos were not family so I asked permission to sell on eBay because I knew they would get more money there instead of at the onsite estate sale. The 11 Civil War solder carte-de-visites (with identification) brought in $3500. I liquidated a friend's coin collection on eBay ten years ago for $5000. I research to the best of my ability.

Most of all, I respect my client's property I respect family member's items -- they are precious memories and having to liquidate year's, if not decades, of someone's life can be traumatic and emotional. We are are to help ease that stress.

 

 

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