Let me begin by saying that estate sales are serious business. If you have never personally gathered with a hoard of "regulars" in the early morning hours before an estate sale begins, you may not believe it. But take it from me, these guys mean business. Yes, there are casual shoppers that show up at estate sales, too, but I can guarantee that they are often disappointed. Because the serious shoppers, the "regulars", have gotten there hours before the sale opens. They've gotten their number, secured their place at the front of the line, and then probably gathered for coffee at a McDonald's while you are still drooling on your down pillow, with visions of estate sale treasures dancing in your head.
I know this, because at my first few estate sales, I was puzzled as to why I kept finding myself at the end of a long line when I was showing up right on time. It turns out that "on time" for an esate sale just means you'll be the first one to get to pick through the leftovers. The antique dealers, serious collectors, and local estate sale junkies will have come and gone, taking the good stuff with them, before you even make it in the house. This I am still learning... I am not one the "regulars" at estate sales yet. But occassionally, when I find an ad for a local sale that looks good (and I can sweet-talk my hubby into giving up his one day to sleep in), we gird up our loins and join in the competitive treasure-hunting ritual of an estate sale. Such was the case this past Saturday.
It all started with a big beautiful ironstone pitcher. You all know how much I love ironstone, and I found a local sale advertised on Craigslist - with lots of pictures of the contents of the house - and lo and behold, I spotted a beautiful ironstone pitcher in one of the pictures. Score! I wanted that pitcher. The sale started Saturday at 9:00 am, so I set an alarm with plans to get there by 7:30. Well, we showed up closer to 8:00, and sure enough, we were handed numbers 56 and 57. Boo. Not great. Let's hope there are 55 people here who don't care about antique ironstone. With an hour to kill before the sale began, we ran down the street to McDonald's, just like the pros.
When we got back to the house, the crowd was beginning to form. Many of the eager shoppers knew each other, and were swapping stories of their recent finds and comparing numbers. I heard one of them mention that he had gotten there at about 5:50 that morning... and he had gotten number 11. (Note to self!) At a few minutes before 9:00, the front door of the house opened, and one of the ladies running the sale stepped out. Like sharks that smelled blood in the water, the crowd took a huge collective step forward. She began calling numbers, and the hardcore early birds were off and shopping. Hubby and I loitered at the back of the crowd, certain that we would have to wait. But, she kept calling numbers. She called all the way up to 50, paused, and then... miracle of miracles... she kept going! The first batch of people allowed in the house went up to number 60. We were in!
With strict instructions to keep an eye out for that ironstone picture, hubby and I fanned out. I bounced in and out of the first few rooms rather frantically, until I saw it... The table beside the fireplace where the ironstone pitcher had been in the photo online. The empty table. Ack! A few steps more into the next room, and I spotted a happy lady... carrying my pitcher. Boo again. I had missed it! With a sigh of disappointment, I adjusted my focus and kept going. Through the crowd, into the little back bedroom with some folding tables full of trinkets. And then I spotted IT. On the floor, leaning against the leg of a table. No, not ironstone. Better than ironstone...
Something that I have always admired online, but have never seen in person...
Something that normally sells for way more than I'd ever be willing to spend...
Probably one of my favorite finds... ever.
The most amazing thick slab French style antique bread board.
At an estate sale in Lincoln, Nebraska, of all places.
For $20. Eeeeekkk!!!
Just look at that old wood!!!
LOOK AT IT!!!!!!
Needless to say, I left that estate sale a happy girl... even without a single piece of ironstone!
So hopefully this inspires you to roll out of bed a couple hours early on a Saturday... You never know what you might find!