Shortridge, one of America's top architects, who passed away in 2014, built a house for his parents in the tony enclave of Seagrove, Florida in 2001. After his death, and a protracted period of time, the house was eventually put up for sale, along with its goods and chattels.
For estate sale enthusiasts (along with some of our staff), this was one of those diamonds-in-the dark scenarios, where a chance occurrence of turning down the right street, at just the right moment, led to some great buying opportunities. The estate sale wasn't particularly well marketed, and as a result, most of the attendees tended to be passersby, who had seen the street signs, or were locals who came upon the "viewing" by chance while out walking their dogs.
While these types of lightly advertised estate liquidations are a great opportunity for those who manage to inadvertently stumble across such sales, they're also a fine example of what "not to do" when conducting an estate sale.
The goods being offered, while not primarily antique, contained many Mid-Century Modern pieces of the highest caliber. The prices were well below market value, and provided astute buyers with an opportunity to purchase top quality pieces at deeply discounted prices.
As an estate sale liquidator, knowing the value of items is key to being successful. Without this knowledge you're not only doing your clients a disservice, but yourself as well. By being certified as a professional-level appraiser, it can go a long way in alleviating a clients concerns in regard to the placement of correct values on goods and chattels.
For those seeking to enter into the estate sale liquidation business, this should serve as a stark reminder of why a thorough and formal education within the antiques (including Mid-century Modern), and collectibles field is so important - since it can often mean the difference between conducting an estate sale that makes a small profit, or one that can help sustain your business for months or even years to come.
While the Shortridge sale eventually ended up well attended (along with some first-day prices likely being achieved), it still had that unmistakable air of a sale that could've been more - with much larger crowds - and by extension, the realization of far greater prices. As with most businesses in the antiques and collectibles field, understanding who and what your clients have to offer is going to be paramount to success in this type of endeavor.
For readers seeking more information on the antiques, appraising and estate sale training program being offered by the Asheford Institute, they can be contacted at: 877-444-4508, or on their website at: www.asheford.com