Friday, July 5, 2013

George Washington's Vision

We're sure many of you have heard of George Washington's vision at Valley Forge in the Winter of 1777. You can Google it and receive many accounts of it. HOWEVER, we have the only TRUE account of his vision and it goes like this .....

George was sitting and writing at his desk, with instructions not to be disturbed. when a woman appeared from a mist and began to speak ,,, well, we will let George take it from here.



"Presently I heard a voice saying, `Son of the Republic, look and learn,' while at the same time my visitor extended her arm eastwardly. I now beheld a heavy white vapor at some distance rising fold upon fold. This gradually dissipated, and I looked upon a strange scene. I was able to see in one dimension all of the Estate Sales to be held the week of our independence in the year 2013. Before me lay spread out in one vast plain were lawn mowers and snow blowers, Vintage bottles, like the one I was presently drinking from, old hats, chairs and assorted furniture. I even saw an unsmoked joint from Woodstock. As I lay my quill down and wiped my brow I heard `Son of the Republic' in the same mysterious voice as before, `look and learn,'


At that moment I beheld droves of future Americans exercising their freedoms by carrying boxes and baskets full of items to their SUV's and Minivans. Everything imaginable like the Boston Rocker at Hutchison's sale to the Colonial Dinning room at Jaye's Sunday sale. "The scene instantly began to fade and dissolve, and I at last saw nothing but the rising, curling vapor I at first beheld. This also disappearing, I found myself once more gazing upon the mysterious visitor, who, in the same voice I had heard before, said, `Son of the Republic, what you have seen is thus interpreted: There will be 13 professional and two family sales, set forth on July 6th in the year of our lord 2013. With these words the vision vanished, and I started from my seat and felt that I had seen a vision wherein had been shown to me the birth, progress and destiny of the United States."

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Place for everything.


So, you hit some great sales today. Your car is loaded with things you couldn’t pass up. You haul them all in to your house and look at them, beaming over the great deals you made. But now what? Those precious items you were so excited about acquiring a few hours earlier are now staring you in the face, all asking the same question. “What are you going to do with me?” Buying was easy, but now comes the real challenge. If you have bought things for yourself, you now have the chore of finding a place or a use for your new items. Here is an example of a typical box of items I might acquire on any particular Saturday morning.


Let’s dump it out and see what we’ve got. (First thing I do when I get home.)  Ok. We’ve got an old apron, some balls from a croquet set (the rest of the set long gone), an odd shoe, a women’s handkerchief, a string of beads, an old book, a doll with only one unattached arm and no legs (couldn’t pass up the cute face, even though she was limbless), and several generic looking small plastic dolls. Like many of us, I buy what I like and figure out what to do with it later. Visiting Vintage Creations is a great resource to find ideas about how to use estate sale finds.  Here are 3 examples of ways to decorate with some of the items in my particular box.


 1. The limbless baby. So cute, ... but so without legs and an arm. I decided to place her in a watering can supported by an old handkerchief to keep her from falling over. I made sure to put her on the side where her “good arm” would show, which I gently put in to place. To see more of the room with the appendage-ly challenged baby visit Vintage Creations.   









2. Half a Croquet set. Love the balls, ... very bright and colorful. I put them in an old Hoosier jar I found at a previous sale. If you don’t have such a jar, there is an easy fix. Target sells new jars that are very similar to the vintage ones. A new jar this size will cost you $5.99. The jar comes with a shiny silver lid that gives it’s newness away. But that’s nothing that a little spray paint can’t fix! At Vintage Creations you can see lots of cool things in old jars.



















 
 
3. Shoe, handkerchief, and assorted babies. At first there would seem to be no connection between these items. But ideas quickly started swirling in my brain. I love nursery rhymes and have a vintage print of the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe hanging in my daughter’s room. This inspired me to make my own whimsical shoe full of children. Voila!


The rest of her room can be seen at Vintage Creations.)



I’m happy to report that all the items in my box have now found a happy home. If you would like to see where they live now you can visit Vintage Creations. And best of all, I have an empty box to fill up next week!

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We would like to thank Vintage Creations  for this wonderful entry into our blog and encourage all to visit her site for great ideas and information on decorating with your "Estate Sale Finds"!  To find  your source for these great vintage items, visit PGHESTATESALES.COM to locate area sales, the website is updated weekly. If you would like to contribute an entry to our blog, please contact us.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Our Favorite Video !

Not much else to say, just watch this all time favorite.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Estate Sale "EARLY BIRDS"

After attending estate sales for a good many years, talking with others, consulting liquidators and family run sales, there seems to be some confusion over what an EARLY BIRD actually is. Many times in an estate sale classified ad you will see the footnote, "No Early Birds". This generally sends a red flag that this is a private or family run sale. Since professional liquidators realize there will be a line of people waiting for the sale to open, they don't consider these people "early birds". Is it any different than standing in line at a retail establishment on black Friday in order to obtain the best possible position? In spite of this, many times at a sale being conducted by an amateur or family, the situation is quite different. The proprietors can become quite upset if you show up at the location anytime before the stated opening time. This of course is NOT an early bird but rather a person who wants the advantage of being one of the first to be admitted to the house.
So what then IS an early bird? In the case of the amateur sale it would be someone coming to the sale days in advance to try and make purchases ahead of time. In the nomenclature of professional sales the term early bird does not, or rarely has a place, although you may at times see the no presales mention in their ads which is esentially the same thing. One thing Earlybird does NOT mean is a person arriving to a sale slightly beforehand. So the next time someone belligerently tells you that the sale strictly forbids early birds, tell them you are not and earlybird and that you are just waiting for them to open, unless of course you are there 3 days before the sale, in which case you ARE an early bird. Now you're on your own, GOOD LUCK! You know, sometimes the early bird really does get the worm, if not a slammed door. By checking the listed sales on pghestatesales.com you will always know the date and time of a sale so if you are an early bird, it will be of your choosing. One thing for sure, standing in line waiting for a sale to open is not being an early bird, although by positioning yourself to be one of the first in the sale, you just might find that worm. For a complete list of estate sales from the most respected liquidators in the Western Pennsylvania area, visit our website, updated weekly.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ghostly Estate

Driving to the sale in the early dawn hours, sun in my eyes as I traveled east on the old state route.  I could feel the anticipation. The sale was being described as an “old homestead” and I had heard from several sources that the house was packed full of old and interesting stuff. As I drove, coffee in one hand steering wheel in the other, my mind begins to wander off to the house ahead. All the notable antique dealers would be there.  Collectors of books, primitives, tools, and whatever else you can think of.  Junk shop dealers and curiosity seekers as well. I needed a plan of attack. Suddenly, as if coming from another source, a thought in my head said “Bottom of closet”.  Okay I decided, that agrees with my typical hunting style. While dealers and high rollers are scarfing up the “crown jewels” of an estate, I am usually somewhere on my hands and knees or tip toes,  searching for my treasure. Bent over under porches, squeezing into tight crawl spaces, digging through dirty and dusty boxes, it all fits my Modus operandi, so unless I see something extraordinary, it is the first closet I see.  “NO, the upstairs closet, in the hall between bedrooms, and without haste” came another thought.  Is my eccentricity over these sales reaching a point where I am talking to myself?  Without any further deliberation I put it out of my head, rolled down the window to a stream of fresh morning air and continued driving.

Arriving at the sale I could see a small crowd gathered near the entrance to the house.  Parking my car and walking a narrow path I soon joined them. Greetings and small talk ensued and before long more people starting arriving. As the chatter of the group melded into a swirl of one unintelligible voice I drifted off in thought again. A very strange feeling took hold of me.  As I glanced over the house, a slight breeze came up and a few birds flew out from their nest which was situated in, and at the top of a rotting corbel. The house was in an advanced state of decay but beyond the peeling paint and crooked shutters I could see all the glory of years past. Now well into a daydream I looked out over the landscape and could see children playing on an old swing hanging from a tree while adults roasted corn over a fire at some distance.  It appeared in my mind to be about 1910 or thereabouts.  One of the children, a boy, wearing a flat hat and suspenders ran up to me and said, “Hey Mister, don’t forget that upstairs closet” and he vanished into thin air as I felt a hand on my back from the person behind me. “Get moving” they are opening the door, he said as I snapped back to the present.

Once inside the house I saw the most gorgeous of antiquities in every direction. My eyes quickly darting  across the table I noticed a few things of interest but as I moved toward them, once again, I heard a voice in my head, “NO, NO, the closet”. So turning and heading for the grand staircase I went, thinking by now that I must be going crazy.  As I reached the top of the stairs I looked up and down the hallway for a closet. In typical Victorian style there were doors on both sides of the hall and all but one were open.  I immediately identified the open doors as bedrooms, so the closed door must be the closet. I approached the door and opened it revealing a few old dusty garments and some boxes on the bottom of the floor. Before I could even analyze the sight before me, the hand of a woman reached over my shoulder and with one fell SWOOP the garments were gone leaving me with a clear view of a few old cardboard boxes and a very large book.  Dropping to my knees I went through the boxes, one by one, shoving them out behind me as I determined their contents to be of no interest.  Now left with only a very large book which I recognized as a family bible I thought, “I knew it” I should have looked on the table downstairs!  As I opened the bible I saw a very old photograph between the first pages. I held it up to get a better look and I could see it was a confederate soldier, all decked out In his uniform. Although dirty and faded I could easily distinguish his handsome features. Young but dignified, a wispy thin moustache and piercing but understanding eyes.  His uniform was neat and buttoned to the neck. He was grasping his sword with the left hand. “What are you staring at, sir, have you not seen the likes of me before” he seemed to be saying.  There I go again as I laid the photo back in its place and continued to flip the pages.  Alas! I saw a confederate note, currency, then another, and another and another, as I turned the pages I found one every 50 or 60 pages.
Then, In my mind I hear again, “These bills were mine son, I put them here, Yes ME,  I am the one in the photo! I served in the 1st Confederate Regiment, Georgia.  I moved north years later, they came with me, but no one ever discovered them after I passed”.   Now, when one “hears thoughts” in one’s head, are we to assume that the words are our own since they originate in our own brain? Since these confederate notes certainly were not mine and I had no knowledge of their history, was I just romanticizing their past or was someone telling me something? If an entity or GHOST, were to try and communicate, how, without a physical body, without vocal cords to vibrate air that will strike your ear drum could they achieve it? If they enter the information to you telepathically, how would you be able to differentiate their voice from your own?  Quickly dismissing all of this but keeping it in the back of my mind I picked up the bible and took it to the cash table where I paid for it and put it in my car. Upon returning to the house I made some small chat with the liquidator during which she offered unsolicited information about the sale. She said that the family had originally been from the south and they had come to Western Pennsylvania in the late 1880’s to obtain work and prosperity.  An eerie feeling came over me as I digested this information. Surely now I must be imagining all of this.  Isn't it a reasonable assumption to think if confederate notes are in a bible they came from the south? What is the big deal, purely coincidental! 
There are admittedly hundreds of antiques and old things in the house but nothing else much that would indicate a southern family. Because they would have acquired the bulk of their belongings over the many years living here in the North. " Hey, I don’t see a cotton gin", I laughingly said to myself as I tried to snap out of this imaginary ordeal. “We didn’t bring it, didn’t see a need to” said the voice in my head. HEY NOW, this is getting ridiculous, reminding myself to take a few weeks break from this activity after the sale. 
Now, after having thoroughly investigated the contents of that closet before I purchased the bible, I did not see the need to return but yet I felt compelled to look again. I felt as if I were being drawn to it.  Suddenly again, in my head, “Its in the closet, you haven’t found it”. Now finding myself entering a complete dialogue with this person in my head I retorted, “The closet is empty, there is nothing left, I have searched it to the bare walls”! When I didn’t receive an answer I became even more determined to look once more. The door was open; I looked in, there was nothing. There was no shelf to explore above and the floor was bare. Still I got down on my hands and knees and crept in a little further.  Moving like a dog on all fours my hand struck a short board which teetered up from the opposite end.  Intrigued by this I took the small flashlight that John had encouraged me to carry from my pocket and shined it on the floor. The short board was loose and chipped, and held with only a single nail. I was able to get a finger inside the chipped area and without much difficulty pried the board up. Shining the light into this dark abyss I saw a wooden box. I took it out but unable to open it with my hands alone I set it aside and peered back into the floor again. I could not believe it but I saw more wooden boxes, all the same size. Maybe a dozen, maybe more. The whole floor would have to be pried up, BUT I was at an estate sale! The voice came again, “IT is not yours”!  Of Crouse it is not mine, I know, but what to do? The house has been sold, certainly it belonged to the previous owners but I still don’t even know what the boxes contain.  I put the box back and covered the board. Downstairs I went to see the liquidator.  She is very professional, has been doing this for many years and her clients are her highest priority so I knew I could tell her.  We went to a private area and I began spilling out the whole of the details practically without stopping to take a breath, when she said, “Slow down, what box, what ghost, what board, what are you talking about”.  Once I regained my composure and related the events she came with me to see and brought along a sharp instrument. With this we opened the box, in the dark of the closet and only by the illumination of my flashlight we beheld US Gold Double Eagle 20 dollar gold pieces. One upon the other, shinny and bright as if struck by the mint yesterday! Looking at one another our hearts almost stopped.

Immediately she evacuated the house and halted the sale. She called her two strong helpers to the closet with crowbars. They hastily tore up the rest of the boards and one after the other the boxes were removed and opened. Each one the same, full to the top with beautiful 20 dollar gold pieces, all dated 1860. Because she feared the new house owners may try to claim the treasure which was rightfully that of the great great grand daughter, her client, the news media was called in. Huge crowds gathered, the police department came and had to block the road leading to the house. The flashes of newspaper photographers taking pictures for the daily paper. It was organized bedlam!  After nearly an hour of talking and answering questions, having been identified as the one who found the treasure, I got into my car for the drive home.  I looked at the bible which was quite the treasure itself on my front seat. I thought I should return it but as I opened the book and saw the photograph of the soldier again, I heard the voice “Keep it son, it is yours”.  I closed the book and was about to drive away when I looked toward the house one last time. There on the front porch, amidst all the people still milling about. I saw a man in a confederate uniform and a young boy with hat and suspenders. They were beckoning me to come forward. I saw them very clearly, very vividly but everyone else seemed oblivious to their presence. Getting out of my car I went toward them. As I approached them all of the people around stopped what they were doing to watch me, silently now, I walked right up to them and they did not disappear. The world seemed to have stopped, time stood still. He began to speak to me, his lips pursed, and he said Buzzz, Buzzzz, Buzzzz, I reached over and shut off the alarm. Swinging my legs over the side of the bed I thought, 5 am already! Time to get up and go to that estate sale over at the old homestead!

Please visit Pghestatesales.com for a complete list of all Western Pennsylvania's estate sales conducted by the area's important liquidators, the website is updated weekly 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Estate sale, or NOT


Early this spring, as I was walking along damp grass from freshly melted snow I saw a box of moldy books, nearby a plastic laundry tub of McDonald’s and Burger King toys. As my eyes broadened to a wider view I beheld baby car seats, Avon products, a rusty toaster, a Mr coffee without the decanter! I was aghast!

I wanted to attend an estate sale, but looking around; this doesn’t look like one, am I really at an estate sale?  Checking the address against the classified ad, I was convinced I was at the wrong house. Nope, this is the address. I’ve been Had! Have you had this happen to you? Have you ever arrived to a sale conducted by a business or family and felt like you had been duped into coming as a result of false advertising?

Let us take a look at the anatomy of an estate sale, what is it and what does it look like? Webster’s dictionary defines “Estate” many different ways. Definitions can include a large piece of property with a house, i.e. the Hermitage as Andrew Jackson’s estate. The Webster’s definition that our interests are associated with is; "the assets and liabilities left by a person at death." Dictionary.com puts it this way, “the property of a deceased person, a bankrupt, etc., viewed as an aggregate.” So now, one would think that estate sales would contain most of the ordinary items people possess at death but can’t take with them. Sandy Dodd of Allegheny South Estate sales recently told me she has never seen a hearse towing a U-haul. Most times personal items like photographs, cards and letters, cash and securities are retained by the family and not included in the sale. Rare and/or unusual antiques & collectibles, historical documents and similar items are liquidated through other means prior to the sale. Raise your hand if you ever found a Tiffany lamp at an estate sale. I didn’t think so! Remember the family may have removed these items even prior to an agreement with the liquidator, and even when that is not the case, the liquidator still has an obligation to their client. The estate sale industry has changed quite a bit from the 30's through the 50's. In those days people lined up or made an appointment to attend the sale of a wealthy industrialist or businessman who passed away. The items could include exquisite jewelry, expensive antiques and art.



Decorative items that exuded wealth and personal effects that only the rich could afford. Those attending these sales were usually, and for the most part, legitimate antique dealers, art collectors and museum curators, many were there by invitation only. The items of ordinary people at death were happily bequeathed to the surviving, who in many cases patiently waited years to inherent them, or as people would say “Hand them Down”.  Back then, the items left behind by those less affluent would have hardly been called an “estate”.

 Today most professional liquidators handle moving sales, downsizing sales, and the “entire contents of home” for any number of reasons, including but not limited to, tax liability, moving into an assisted living or nursing home facility. Even “going out of business” liquidation sales are not unheard of. Most of the knowing folks in today’s “estate sale community” understand and accept this. You will even see the words, household liquidations, estate transition and before you move, in some of the very company titles or ads of today’s liquidators.

Ok then, we understand this, so what is NOT an estate sale? A person who has accumulated “estate items” and is selling them in his or her home or yard is not conducting an estate sale. Simply put, they are selling estate items in their home or yard! No matter how adamant they are about it, it is not an estate sale. It is not even a liquidation, unless you consider they are liquidating their own items, which of course is what every person conducting a yard, porch or garage sale is doing.

None of this is to say that you can’t find something good at one of these sales, to the contrary, we have found some great things at garage sales. Treasure is where you find it! However, one should have the correct information to consciously choose what sales he or she wishes to attend. At www.pghestatesales.com, the listings are those of legitimate estate and household liquidators who are members of our network. They all stand on their own good reputations and their sales are generally entire household contents or they will state the nature of the liquidation otherwise. When attending an estate sale in Pittsburgh, you can be confident in making your choice from our list of member only ads. You probably won’t find a Tiffany lamp or a Picasso, (remember the liquidator’s obligations to the client?) but you will find lots of great items.
The website is updated weekly.

Pghestatesales is thankful for this contribution, if you would like to write an article for this blog please contact the webmaster from the main menu bar on our website

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dreaming of those Great Sales!

Written by " A short contributor "

Yes, but do I have to wake up and leave ALL THE TREASURES & GOODIES I JUST FOUND IN MY DREAMS??!! We've all had them, right? You know, the dream where you found an attic full of Grandma's Victorian textiles and Antique dolls. Oh, & Uncle Al's old trains and wind-up tin toys from the 1930's. Or how about the basement full of fabulous old primitives & guy stuff.  Not to mention the kitchen with its original built-in cabinets full of great old yelloware & Art Deco pottery, & graniteware (lavender swirl, no less). And Jeeze, we just might be able to get that cupboard off the wall with the help of another picker friend. If you've been at this for a while, you know what I'm talking about, & being a little younger, you just might be looking for those great old toys & games from the 70's & 80's, or the mushroom canisters. The "THRILL OF THE HUNT", isn't that what it's called? How about "Boy, I bet I could get at least $50.00 for this on Ebay". Things really haven't changed much since the mid 1980's when we started, it's still the best fun you could have for folks like us. It's still a kick to find something to add to a favorite collection, even when you're trying to downsize. And can we really do THAT? I guess when we get tired of tripping over the boxes & bags attempting to wash clothes ... that's when we begin to think "I've got to get rid of some of this stuff". That's what motivated most of us to start selling in the first place, right? And haven't we met the nicest people along the way.  We've all learned by "doing", & from the price books we bought before we had computers. What about the estate sales that are on your list of the best ever: "You should see the ton of neat old stuff I got at an estate sale last week. I was there by myself for an hour before anyone else came, & I filled the kitchen with all my goodies. And they only wanted $50.00 for it all!" We all have that list, & if you're lucky, your list is a long one. One of our favorite estate sales was run by a fellow named Russell, a nephew of the deceased. The house looked to have been unlived in for a while, & as luck would have it, the inhabitants
NEVER THREW ANYTHING AWAY! You name it, it was there, & we bought it. We filled the truck, came back with the car and filled it too, a couple of times.  We climbed over bags, under beds, through shelves, inside the bowels of cabinets, and I almost got lost walking on top of the contents of the garage (my head was almost touching the ceiling, & I'm under 5 feet tall). And Russell, bless him, seemed to know that what he had was a house full of treasures, but his task was to empty the house as soon as he could. And he was grateful to anyone who carted the stuff out, & charged accordingly, which is to say, cheap. We spent most the that weekend there,  we've enjoyed some of the treasures from that sale for many years, and have sold some too. Yep, Russell's sale is near the top of our "all timers". Living in Pittsburgh, we're all lucky that folks around here tend to hang onto to things. Makes it fun to see "our people" in those lines, & for all of us to keep hunting. And don't be jealous of the treasures that other buyers find ... just be glad that someone rescued it from the dump, or worse, from someone who will turn it into a lamp, a Gee-Gaw, or heaven forbid, that lady is going to use that chenille to cover her sofa when she paints!! So, get in line, have your coffee. ("Gee, I wonder if they'll let me use the bathroom?) and maybe Russell will open the door and say "The house is loaded, come on in, and watch your step".

Pittsburgh Estate Sales thanks the author, who is a regular with us and although a SHORT we do hope "REGULAR" contributor. Remember, all the area estate sales can be found on our website. Updated weekly.