The Ultimate Yard Sale
The Gables estate sale we went to was in a home in the French City Village, on Hardee Road. It was a lovely house, surrounded by a white wall, and there was a small, tasteful sign by the entrance to the driveway indicating that the house was for sale. We were here just for the cast-off contents of the home, however.
Potential buyers entered through wrought iron gates that opened onto a driveway, festooned with blooming bougainvillea. You did not enter the house proper, however. Some estate sales last for days, with much of the furniture and art inside the home priced to move. Instead, this was closer to an upscale yard sale, everything on display for one Saturday in a walled garden, with long tables covered with items.
By simplest definition, the difference between a yard sale and an estate sale is that the latter is conducted by third-party professionals, rather than the homeowner in jogging sweats. The other difference is that estate sales proffer a higher caliber of goods. The range of items and prices at the Hardee home was considerable: Small wooden frames ($1 each); a gravy boat ($5); China cups and saucers ($15 each); a wooden stool ($20); an end table ($50); a bronze Art Deco lion ($125); a Chinese carved jade box ($200); an oil painting of Marilyn Monroe, in the style of Andy Warhol ($500).
I wondered why all these things were for sale. Had the owner passed away? I imagined not; otherwise, the furniture inside would also have been for sale. This was clearly someone who was moving and didn’t want to drag all these knickknacks along with them. This was a cleansing sale, which made me feel less predatory.
What I purchased: A leather-bound book by Heidi Fleiss, the notorious Hollywood madam whose confessions ruined the career of Charlie Sheen ($5); a large glass globe to protect a candle from the wind ($10); a wind-up metal toy robot, made in China, in its original box ($20). It felt more like an episode of “American Pickers” than “Antique Road Show” but was still a fun and satisfying morning jaunt.