Persistence Pays Off
Spanning two states, the finds at these estate sales were worth the camp outs.
Every spring I attend an outdoor antique fair held on a beautiful farm just south of Greensboro, North Carolina. This market is always on my radar as the feeling of newness is in the air—flowers are blooming and dealers are buzzing with excitement, offering their new and fresh winter finds. As usual, the spring of 2010 did not disappoint. I scoured the grounds for hours, sifting through endless booths of antiques and along the way reminiscing with friends and dealers that I hadn’t seen over the winter. Just as I was getting ready to leave, I found what I would consider an incredible find—a pair of Herman Miller Rope Edge Fiberglass arm chairs. Feeling satisfied, I set off on the road for a marathon weekend of estate sales that crossed two states.
My first stop was Roanoke, Virginia for an estate sale that offered a Richard Schultz petal table—which my wife Tina really wanted. To ensure that I was the first person in the house to grab the table, I camped out overnight at the estate sale. With very little sleep, I anxiously awaited the start of the estate sale the following morning and was first in the door to grab the table.
It wasn’t until I got home that I realized just how amazing of a find I had scored.
By 9:30 am, I was already on my way to Raleigh for some shopping and another estate sale. I headed over to the estate sale for another night of camping out in the driveway. As I pulled up to the house, I quickly saw that I was the only crazy person already at the sale. The neighbors were outside enjoying the beautiful spring evening, so I engaged in conversation with them. To my surprise, I learned that their son collects antique electric fans, another passion of mine. Turns out I had met their son the prior weekend at a regional electric fan meet— small world!
As it grew dark, they went inside, and I went back to my van. I was sitting in the van scoping furniture on my laptop when I noticed another neighbor peering through the blinds to see what I was doing. Soon, the neighbor opened the blinds and made it visibly apparent she was on the phone. I was concerned she calling the police. Within 30 minutes, a car pulled into the driveway—but it wasn’t the police. The neighbor had called the estate sale company.
Ironically, the estate sale owner remembered me from a previous sale as “the guy who made her change the rules on giving out the sale addresses too early.” Thankfully she didn’t make me leave as I wanted to purchase the Eames Molded Plywood Lounge Chair (LCW) that was advertised online.
Folks started to line up throughout the night and early morning, so that by the time of the sale there were approximately 35 buyers. The sale hosts decided to let only 20 people in at a time. The door opened at 9:00 am, and I bolted through the door and peeked in each room until I finally reached the sunroom, where the LCW sat in the corner. I swiftly grabbed the tag off of the chair. With the chair claimed, I began looking for other modern treasures, but it appeared the people in line immediately following me snapped up the other desirable items. I quickly paid for the chair and headed to the van.
It wasn’t until I got home that I realized just how amazing of a find I had scored. The LCW was a 1945 pre-production model and was a definite keeper! In preserving our golden rule—if something comes in, then something must go out—it was evident that it was time to sell our later production model so we could keep our new jewel.