Selling grandpa's old collection of ...

You see this every now and the. Some older person has a nice collection of say antique cars, tractors, toys, furniture, etc… Well when the person goes usually their heirs dont want the collection or cannot keep them so their is this big sale. Often an auction because it’s quick and attracts the best buyers.

Have any of you experienced or been a part of one of these big sales?

I sold my Daddy’s extensive collection of vinyl 78s and LPs, after he died. It took me a year to decide to do It. A friend/ collector knew he had them and hounded me. I made a bit of chump change, but I knew this guy would love them as much as my Daddy did.

I knew, without looking, who wrote the OP. :wink:

I have been to many of them as a bidder. I never pass up an estate sale if I am driving by. At least to take a quick look.


I bought my farm at auction. Granny died and the heirs lived in various places, so they divided up the farm into tracts. I went there to buy an antique trunk and I ended up buying 14 acres and the 170 year old home place. Best $60K I ever spent.


As part of the process of settling my father’s estate, my siblings and I sold his firearm collection. Over fifty long guns and 30 or 35 sidearms. Additionally there were many thousands of dollars worth of reloading equipment, dies and shell components. I don’t even want to get into how much ammunition he had.

I was amazed at how people came out of the woods to buy up this collection. Even after many of the best pieces were either kept by myself or my sisters or sold at budget rates to members of the extended family. Some of the prices that were being paid for relatively common pieces. I don’t get it.

I acquire things for my resale business this way, and also purchase things I can use myself if I see them. Likewise, the library I volunteer at has received a few (okay, more than a few) similar collections, and you never know what people will be interested in.

Someone here said they were at an estate sale a while back, and there was a sign on the checkout desk stating that the decedent had a big pornography collection that was also for sale if anyone (adults only, of course) wanted to take a look at it.

Not exactly the same but my grandmother (who is still alive) moved and downsized and no longer wanted her collection of Little Golden Books (that she had only been collecting for about a decade) so she had me sell them for her.

I cleaned them all up - erasing what pencil marks I could and removed price stickers. I sold the best ones on Ebay and the rest I divied up in to lots and sold locally. I think I made like $300-500 for her, which wasn’t bad considering she bought most of the books for a quarter.

Nice “home place”!

You did good.


Both sides of the fence; buyer and seller. Still have some things of Dad’s because I haven’t found the right buyer or market. (Anyone want a collection of like 1000 Soviet pins for about a buck each?) If you are emotionally attached the best way can be to go quick and turn it over to someone else - the value of the item is rarely worth the memories attached. Wait too long and like me you can still be dealing with it 17 years later. If you are neutral emotionally its easier; take a little time and investigate a few options, pick one, and move on.

I’m going to be. One of these days…

Granpa’s old sex toys. Tens of thousands of them. Some of them unused, some of them with signs of prodigious wear. We didn’t know who would want them but people came out of the woodwork and bought them up. For amazing prices. Especially all the, for want of a better word, ‘horse’ stuff. Grandpa grew up in the depresion so he was used to making do with what one had, so many of his pieces had been hand modified or whittled completely by hand, some from when he was just a little boy with big dreams.

At first we thought we’d give them to the members of his flock but that was before we discovered that the toys frequently exploded in the prescence of holy water… So we hosed the worst of the gunk off them with normal local water (although the local water is admittedly high in chlorides and sulphates, and is slightly radio-active - can’t be helped I guess)

Good work. It did need post #13 to make me realise post #12 is perhaps not 100% factual :).

Same here. I almost posted something about the value of a friends collection of dildos and porn (that goes back into the 1700s) but something in it felt like a wooosh.

That was nice, but vintage books should not be cleaned up in this manner. Pencil marks and price stickers are part of their, if you will, “natural” state.

I saw in the paper that a man I worked with a few times is having a “Living Estate Sale” (his wife died a couple years ago and his house is for sale) and I’m going to stop by. I looked at the Realtor’s photos, and it looks like he has a lot of games, which I can’t use, and books, which I may depending on what he has. He has no biological children, but he has stepchildren and -grandchildren.

Just thought of one, though I think it was the father, not the grandfather. The woman’s relative had lived on the beach for decades, beachcombed every day, built up a collection of small fossil shark teeth that measured in pounds. Sold them in multiple lots on Ebay. I got one lot of them (maybe a half pound? Several hundred teeth.)

There was a thread related to this recently. Around here “old people’s stuff” just isn’t selling as well as it used to.

The biggest antique market near us is closing down. Prices are down at estate sales. Etc.

Well, I still believe you. Got any photos or a link to the auction catalog?


I the voyeur/used book and other stuff dealer went to my colleague’s sale today. Other than the house being really cool, the contents were relatively unremarkable EXCEPT for the large amount of antique medical tools (among other things, he had a box of what I knew were penis syringes, which were used back in the day when Lysol was used to treat male STDs :eek: ) and a lot of old pharmacy bottles and other similar items. Because my space is limited, I didn’t buy any of it, but I did get some books and a few other items I could use.

I mentioned to one of the employees that I had worked with him, and he told me that he had a new girlfriend :slight_smile: and was moving in with her, in addition to downsizing. He added, “He’s a really nice man, isn’t he.”

Antique china and glassware are not selling well unless people are looking for specific patterns.

p.s. There were several large totes of yarn and other crafting supplies in the basement; didn’t buy any of that either although I did mention on Facebook that there was a place where my fellows knitters could get some. There’s a saying I only recently heard, used for crafters and other hobbyists, called “SABLE” which stands for “Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy.” In this case, his wife couldn’t have known that because her death was very unexpected.