Estate Sale Art

In Tallahassee estate sales are often nothing more than glorified yard sales. I never get my hopes up that I’ll find something that will make my heart smile. But occasionally I come away with a perfect purchase.

Saturday morning I followed my GPS directions to a home in an older part of Tallahassee. Parking was interesting. The street adjacent to the house was narrow and curvy and the home sat atop a hill with a driveway right out of the Alps. One had to walk up the hill to access the home, and I felt like yodeling when I crested the rise. The reward for that climb was a nondescript home surrounded by overgrown shrubbery.

I considered just walking back down the steep incline and going to brunch, but my heart was still thumping from the walk up to the house, so I decided to go inside and just meander around until I could catch my breath.

So glad I did. If ever there was a truth behind “don’t judge a book by its cover” this was it. My only problem was not having enough money to buy every piece of art in the home.

Two professionally framed prints by artist Ted DeGrazia came home with me.

“Roadrunner”
“Free as the Wind”

They look beautiful in my Texas-themed bedroom, replacing a goofy painting of a sunflower that I did years ago. I’m a lousy artist, so the sunflower will likely go to Goodwill or into a dumpster. I’m not sure Goodwill will accept it.

Peace, people!

A Wilde Find

My dear husband, Studly Doright, doesn’t quite get my fascination with estate sales. Or rather, he doesn’t understand my non-competitive attitude toward them.

I don’t arise at the crack of dawn to go pawing through the belongings of some recently deceased dowager in order to find items of value. No, I’m quite content to wander through homes looking for books and/or small objets d’art to add to my collection. Now, should I happen onto a rare first edition hardcover in mint condition, or a unique piece of jewelry, I’d likely snap it up; however, there’s a whole different mentality involved in the search for pieces of that nature.

I see these people at every sale. They arrive even before the doors open and walk around with a no-nonsense air about them. They block the bookshelves until they’ve examined every vintage book, and their bags are filled with promising finds to list on eBay.

On the other hand I wander through rooms picking up nonsensical items and looking for the next book in the Harry Potter series (currently I need book 4). This isn’t to say I never find anything that’s been overlooked by a more avid shopper, but my goal isn’t to turn a profit.

This past weekend I discovered a couple of fun items in addition to The Prisoner of Azkaban. One was a small piece of art that I thought was interesting:

The other was this book of fairy tales by Oscar Wilde.

Neither is worth much, but I couldn’t leave without them. I pictured both probably going to a Goodwill shop somewhere, and thought surely Doright Manor could provide a better home for them.

Of course at some point my kids are going to have to go through my stuff and decide how to deal with my treasures. At least I won’t be around to see how they are disposed of. I hope they’ll be treated kindly.

Peace, people.

Uno, Dos, Tres!

My Quest:

Find and purchase copies of the Harry Potter novels

Criteria:

  • Hard cover in excellent condition
  • Purchase in order of publication
  • Purchase only from estate sales, garage sales, or secondhand stores
  • Purchase only one book at a time

Purpose:

To replace a mismatched set of Harry Potter books that I donated to a school library several years ago

Justification:

I’m a crazy person with way too much time on my hands.

Current Status:

After several weeks of searching I located book three at an estate sale in Tallahassee. I can’t explain how happy that makes me.

Fun Side Note:

Refrain from trying to explain to anyone at a estate sale or garage sale or secondhand shop what I’m doing. People look at me like I’m annoying or crazy or both..

Peace, people!

Mission Implausible

Everyone needs a hobby. Some of us have more than one. Among mine are writing and reading, painting badly, and talking to myself. Recently, inspired by an estate sale find, I embarked on a new hobby; although, perhaps it would best be called an eccentric pursuit.

Here’s what prompted my search:

A hardback copy of the first book in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Nothing special, right? In fact, at one time I owned every book in the series; although, some were the paperback editions. I donated that collection to a school library in Champaign, Illinois. A librarian friend had put out a request for Harry Potter books, and I couldn’t let her down.

But when I saw that copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone sitting all by itself on a table at an estate sale it seemed to say, “Take me home.” So, I did. Well, after paying for it. I’m no thief.

On my drive home from the sale I devised a plan to buy all of the books in the series again, but, with certain rules:

1) Buy only hardcover books in good condition.

2) Purchase only one book per location.

3) Buy them in order of publication.

4) Only buy the books from garage or estate sales. I’m still wrangling over whether I should allow thrift store purchases.

Yesterday, I found the second book in the series at a huge estate sale in Tallahassee.

It fit all of my requirements. And even though I could’ve purchased books 3 and 4 at the same venue, I slapped myself on the wrist and carried my book to the cashier.

Now, to me this search sounds perfectly reasonable, but when I tried explaining it to the woman in line to pay behind me, she gave me an odd look and slowly took two steps back. It seems there’s a fine line between eccentric and outright crazy.

Peace, people!

She Said She Shed

I was investigating an estate sale in mid-town Tallahassee, on Friday morning, and while I didn’t purchase anything, I fell in love with this backyard potting shed. As soon as Studly Doright returned home I showed him this photo and told him I thought I needed a she shed of my own.

“But you don’t garden!” he said.

“Well, I might if I had a nifty she shed,” I replied. “Or maybe I’d use it as my writing nook. Who knows, maybe the next great American novel could be written in such a shed.”

“Oh, you’re planning on letting someone else use it then,” he said.

I’d have hit him with my gardening shears if I’d had any.

But, can we agree it’s a lovely she shed?

Peace, people!

Houses With Books

A house without books

Is a heartless edifice

No stories, no soul

Build for me a shack

Every wall covered with shelves

Each shelf filled with books

No ivied mansion

With fixtures of finest gold

Could be more desired

I’ve been going to estate sales again. No real treasures this week, but I realized as I walked through houses, marveling at the objets d’art, some beautiful, some bizarre, that people have collected, and browsing through these museums of their lives, that I spend far less time in a house where there are no books. I suppose that makes me a bit judgmental, but a house with no books seems incomplete.

This is fairly hypocritical of me. Ninety percent of the books I buy now are for my e-reader. And I know a good many well read people who seldom buy a book, instead borrowing from libraries. I do still purchase print books, though, and I have a good many from which to choose. Still, when I die, and you visit an estate sale to pore over my worldly goods, look for my Kindle. There are thousands of books on there.

Peace, people!

Intellectual Arithmetic

At least once a month I spend my Saturday in search of estate sales. Very seldom do I buy anything, but this week I found a couple of new-to-me treasures.

First is this lovely wildlife print by Nancy Z. Guinn (or Gwinn).

The photograph doesn’t do it justice. I keep expecting one of the birds to fly out to light on my finger.

This, though, was my favorite find:

I know, this copy of Ray’s Intellectual Arithmetic is in awful condition, but I’m sure I won’t look all that great when I’m 142 years old either.

After perusing the pages of this pocket sized publication, I realized that by “Intellectual Arithmetic” the author was referring to what we call mental math.

Perhaps this find doesn’t excite you, but I’m a retired teacher who often was assigned to teach math (or maths, for my British friends) and science to elementary students.

I can well imagine the reactions from modern day children were they to be handed a plain Jane copy of Ray’s Intellectual Arithmetic when they’ve become accustomed to this:

Studly Doright was impressed with my little book, but for a different reason. He thinks it might be worth more than the few dollars I paid for it. Given the book’s condition I doubt it’d be valuable. Except, that is, to me.

Peace, people!

A Genuine Whatchamacallit

When I was in Texas in early October my son, grandson, and I spent part of one morning scoping out estate sales in Dallas. Fortunately I was living out of a suitcase, otherwise there’s no telling what I’d have bought. Yes, I know I could’ve gone to a pack and mail place and have purchases delivered to Doright Manor, but I didn’t want to spend money on postage.

Early in the day I bought a nice tennis bracelet, and it looked like that would be it for me. I looked at some nicely priced, nearly new designer bags, but honestly, my cup (and my closet) runneth over when it comes to purses and such.

At the final sale we went to I found this intriguing silver piece, and my son bought it for me as a birthday gift:

Here it is with the dome up:

And with the little plate removed:

Finally, a close up of an attached holder. That was what gave away this whatchamacallit, in my book.

Well, that and the assistance of an informed collector. It needs a good polishing, but its beauty shines through.

What do you think it is? I probably won’t laugh at any guesses. No promises.

Peace, people!