For the Estate Sales Category of our blog, we’re going to be featuring Professional Estate Sale Services from around the country. Estate Sales are a sensitive business and required the utmost professionalism when conducting them. We are excited to be able to present some of the best, and share their background and a day in the life of an Estate Sale Professional.
My wife (Kim) and I (Jim) have evaluated estate contents and conduct estate (Tag) sales and on-site auctions of estates, since 1995 in the Schenectady, Albany, Troy and Saratoga region of Upstate New York. In the Midwest from 1980-1993 we bought and sold antiques, and participated in regional Antique Shows in the Minneapolis area.
We say: “Before you throw anything out, call us!” And, “The Bigger the Pile, the Better the Price!”
We provide top to bottom sale of your stuff, with special expertise in all types of glassware, pottery, furniture (Period, Deco and Retro), vintage clothing & jewelry, fishing and other sports gear, crafts from Native American to Art Deco, Contemporary & Fine Art. Our network of experts provides added coverage of the vast secondary market for furniture, safes, tools, motorized vehicles and architectural items, providing evaluations, market conditions/strategies and ethical advice regarding historic preservation. Our professional links include regional & “high-end” auction houses and fine art galleries in the NYC, Beverly Hills/LA, Boston, Maine and Miami markets.
We respect our client’s needs for a timely sale, while taking necessary steps to organize, research and gauge fair market values and prices on items prior to a sale. We take special pride in the arrangement and overall presentation of the contents of your estate at the sale itself. We provide a detailed contract with fees for our evaluation and sale services. Unsold goods are presented to secondary dealers and auction houses at your option. A wall-to-wall clean-out is facilitated, should that be desired. We work with closing dates on house contracts to assure the premises is in the desired condition as required. To maximize sale of your stuff we use Internet advertising through our subscription to the national EstateSales.Net web site (Bronze Members since 2006). In addition, we are members of TagSellIt.com, worthpoint.com, valuejockey.com and related business networks that accommodate liquidation of merchandise from estates. We have an extensive library of reference books on styles, values and secondary market sources. We use “eBay”, “Craigslist” and similar emerging information & sales resources when appropriate.
We love the business because it is fun to meet people in transition whether through death of a family member, moving, or simple in so deep they need to get out from under a debt. Everyone needs the help of folks like us who are compassionate and fill a professional niche the family does not have. We pride ourselves and have a network of followers who come to all our sales because they know we are fair, fun and have a good handle on the market value of most stuff. At the same time we often get stuff we know absolutely nothing about and say so. In a sale we might put it up for open bidding, or tell the client they can/should put a reserve on the item. This usually gets folks interest and should they bid or offer lower than a reserve we call the client and share the offer. If they say sell it, we are good to go!
We had a client from hell. She was all over us — a helicopter client — whenever we came to the house. Always asking about prices of this or that, doubting our suggestion and bothering us endlessly with stories about each and every thing in the darned place. Interesting to a point, but it was at this sale that we decided to put in our contract that we prefer to have access to homes without owners present. Once we started marking prices she nearly blew a gasket on some of the stuff — “Why that seems way too low!” and so forth. Then she went around and bought a number of items essentially gutting the sale we has presented in photos on our web site. Grr The dealers were going to be furious. (This was before we got smart and modified our contract to prevent loss of commission (fee) for things removed from the sale by owner). Anyway, The night before the start of the sale we were alone doing the last straightening out and making sure signs were properly located. Kim shouted from the kitchen. She had found a burlap bundle way back in the depths of the area under the sink. She unwrapped it and found a Hall Automobile teapot in perfect condition in GOLD. This was a spectacular find with a book value of $600-$800. Because of it’s remote location we figured it was one of the old ones, not a 1993 re-issue. The bottom did show age. We were tired and had a feeling that this was another item that was going to disappear once the owner came into the house at the start of the sale. So — heh heh — we put it up on the mantle with a price of $1,800.
When the owner came in just at the opening of the sale she saw the teapot and flew over to the mantle. She asked where we found that! We told her and she shared that it was her grandmother’s favorite and she just HAD to have it. We demurred that the sale was ready to open and we had Hall buyers who had heard about it (not). She bought it. Sweet revenge!
We have other stories but the Gold Teapot is one of our earliest and most memorable!
James M Schaefer, Ph.D.