About that estate sale you missed today


Well, you missed it. You decided to take a bike ride, or go to the coast, or pick some blueberries. You missed the tiny placard at the bottom of a traffic sign on South Commercial, or you saw it and never imagined that treasures could be so modestly advertised. You drove on by. You missed out. On… the… chance… to…

Comb through the accumulation of a life!

We were late to this party ourselves. By the time we arrived at the estate sale of a former Willamette music professor, who had worked at the university for four decades, there wasn’t  much left — just enough to hint at what this sale might have looked like when it opened on Friday.

This man, who clearly had lifelong fascinations with art and objects and music, was a collector — pipes, rubbings, old Playboys, photography materials, carved wooden objects, tools, 50’s-era Christmas decorations (see above), antique toys and trains, costume jewelry, hats, phonographs, old LP’s,  music instruments — whew!

I picked up:

Chenille tablecloth
Gingham tablecloth
Wooden marble ramp
Carved tobacco pipe
Four fuzzy Christmas reindeer
Box of roughly 3,567 toothpicks
Halloween basket
Swiss Army knife
Bag of 14 rolls of ribbons

For just $38, I’m ready for the holidays.

Estate sales can be sad affairs. But not this one. This one was a celebration of the curatorial spirit! A grand explosion of a life accumulated in madeline tins, antique cuckoo clocks and a single pair of lederhosen (actually, add that to the list above)!

This is how people live — in a mess of items bought one-by-one over a century. You can’t get this aesthetic in a catlog.

How do you find out about good estate sales in Salem?


8 Responses to “About that estate sale you missed today”

  1. roro Says:

    Where’s the fourth reindeer?

    • Emily Grosvenor Says:

      Roro, don’t you know about the rule of thirds??

      Actually, the fourth is missing his antlers. Perhaps an attempt to feminize one to create a nuclear family? These reindeer are made in Japan. Obviously, the Japanese know nothing of reindeer…

  2. Katie Says:

    Reindeer are of course, by nature, Arctic animals. And one knows that the complete family includes 2 male and 2 female! I love the Gingham tablecloth!

  3. Melissa Says:

    I am infatuated with estate sales right now too (see the Adams Family couch in my bedroom). What are you going to do with those toothpicks?

  4. Jeff Says:

    There were some similar items among Irene and Harold’s stuff. They may have been saved. I will check. (Foy thought the fuzzy red creatures had kitsch value. I thought they should bed down in the donation box.)

  5. Emily Grosvenor Says:

    Kitsch is great – it’s all about context! I love old Christmas stuff… as long as it’s the right era!

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