I even saved the page on the Wayback Machine so y'all can get an idea of it. It's a house on a lake, first of all* -- not super big, but nice enough to be like, "Yeah, owner had some money." (*Fact: having 10,000 lakes does not lower the price of property with access to/a backyard view of one).
Second of all:
-So many Steiff. Most of them were the newer-era Steiff from 1972-on, which are very darling but which I would not pay more than regular stuffed-animal prices for, but there were a few older ones in the mix.
-While not Steiff, there was a really cool vintage bear on wheels that was about a foot high and two feet long. He was well over $100, of course.
-In fact, we need to talk about the upstairs. The entire upstairs was just one long L-shaped room, and about 30% of the middle was Christmas stuff or miscellaneous and EVERYTHING ELSE WAS ANIMALS. Stuffed animals of varying sizes everywhere and figurines everywhere else, with the exception of a combination writing desk/bookshelf that had a few books on antiques. It was like...it was like a Stephanie-themed toy store. It was the exact level of magic I felt when walking into a toy store as a kid, that you can't get now because toy stores are full of ugly modern toys, and antique stores mix too many eras, but when you were a kid, you know how everything looked amazing? That is the kind of wonderland nirvana state I was in.
-So much high end plush. We're talking modern FAO Schwartz quality, and they were easily priced at $25-30. I have absolutely nowhere I could put such creatures and probably never will, even I would pay that, but I loved 'em.
-Case in point: that pinto horse in one of the photos was still there; it's literally the size of a mini horse and it's soft and it's SO WONDERFUL. It's got such a big solid neck, you can almost pretend it's real. And if I still want it that bad, you can imagine how much Kid Me would have loved that horse. That's actually the only thing that makes me hope it really does go home with the parent of a horse-crazy kid. Like even if I did feel like paying the $30 price tag, I wouldn't take it.
-One of the big plush dogs, which was seriously the size of a springer spaniel, had a real dog collar on it -- complete with real dog's license and rabies vaccination tag. Awww. There was also an awesomely huge mountain lion.
-The whole garage was full of (smaller) vintage toys. She may have been a dealer, but one does not amass that amount of toys for resale without a genuine fondness for such toys.
-The giant toy tugboat (6 feet long and about 3 feet high) was still there. You truly cannot appreciate how big it is without seeing it. Maybe the price tag of $2700 ("yes, we accept bids!") will help, but I doubt it. (apparently it's got a working gas engine and is remote controlled)
-There was an enormous antique mirror on the wall, with a handpainted mural on top of it, for $595. Yeah. But the truly amazing part is that for as many millionaire-row type prices there were, there were still tons of things priced at normal estate sale prices or even lower than average, like all the books and toys and knick-knacks that were $1-3 and will still be discounted yet. But because big ticket items are more fun...
-The wonderful tin ferris wheel from the photos was still there. To the tune of $145. A bit rusted inside some of the cars, though only visible if you looked for it.
-One whole section of the garage was devoted to model trains, cars and train sets. I am relieved to know that this is one of the few super-popular things I admire for their miniatureness but never actually felt a pull to collect myself. Those things are expensive and competition among the men who do is fierce.
-There was only one closet of clothes, but that closet contained 3 fur coats: rabbit, mink, and fox varieties. They were hundreds upon hundreds of dollars apiece, not that I would ever buy one, but I cannot turn down an opportunity to touch fur. I try to be nice and use the less oily back of my hand, though.
-Every time I opened a box, it would be filled with smaller trinkets. Most estate sales will try to sell empty decorative tins for $1-2, but I opened a $5 tin and found it filled with an assortment of little toys and no fewer than 3 Japanese bone china animal figurines. Honestly none of the items were really that cute, so I let it go, but just the thrill of having a "treasure chest" was enough to to make me want to buy it!
-I think there may also have been a (real) cat at this sale!. From across the room I heard someone talking about something hiding and saw people trying to peer under a chair by one of the sale employees that had fabric hanging to the floor, but whatever it was obviously in hiding for the day. I heard one of the people running the sale say that he was curled up in the stuffed animals earlier and had so blended in that they didn't even see him. It could have been a small dog, which is much less unusual, but usually any dog will make some kind of noise even if not wearing a collar. They are not subtle pets.
We didn't even MAKE it outside or to the "carriage house" (tool shed / garden statues) the latter of which closed early due to the weather, which had whipped up to 40mph winds driving snow. Lake effect! In fact, I was so enchanted by the stuff I didn't even pay attention to the lake view, or even spend very much time admiring the house design. It's a cooler outside than inside, as it is a pretty small house, but the soft carpet of the upstairs seemed like a very cozy fall/winter retreat.
Things We Got
My parents got:
-A pair of nice small blue cereal bowls, "Calvin Klein Khaki Collection," for $1 each.
-A "terrifying face pitcher" (TM Me), or to my parents, a small yellow ceramic creamer with a smiling, "man in the moon"-esque face protruding
-A set of 5 pewter gnome figurines in various poses, a few inches high, stamped Sweden on the back, for $6. My dad is utterly delghted by them because he loves gnomes, but is very picky about what styles he likes so that they're not too kitsch, meaning it's hard to get him any as presents. It's much easier if he comes across them at estate sales.
Meanwhile, I managed to lay my hands on a book within 60 seconds of entering the house -- and I really was trying not to get more books -- because it was only a small children's picture book, but damned if didn't have full color plate illustrations by my favorite animal illustrator Diana Thorne. Each story is 1-2 pages long and features either a dog or a wild critter. I paid $2 and was OK with that.
I also wandered into the beautiful master bathroom, mostly to marvel at the nice glass-walled corner shower, the luxurious 6-foot built in tub on the opposite wall, and the lovely enameled-glass doors on the cupboards over the marble-topped vanity, but I ended up picking up a lovely little glass box, standing on 4 metal legs, full of random beads and shiny things to make it decorative.
It's so unique, I'll have to photograph it. I just am so enchanted by it because it looks EXACTLY like one of the little staging objects I've been drooling over in all the interior decorating books I've been obsessed with little. $2 and a free book of matches tucked inside.
Things I Am Considering
First of all, I was always planning to go back on Sunday for 50% off items under $50 day (30% off items over that), but they said tomorrow is gonna be 20% off, and I'm seriously considering going back tomorrow too, because there was just so much STUFF, I don't know if I could really see/appreciate/remember it all. I wanna hang out in the giant upstairs room of animals again before too many more get sold.
But here are some things I'm keeping in mind. This is what I like having the time to do with estate sales -- I let myself have a certain $ amount or number of things on day 1, and then I seek out other things that I would like, but could live without, and leave it up to chance. If nobody else wants them bad enough to beat me to the punch, I deserve to get them, but otherwise, they should probably go to someone else. And sometimes when I see them the next day I still go, "You know, on second thought, I really don't need this at all" and still let it go. Or sometimes I see neat things I didn't even see the first day, that now cost less money, and get those instead.
Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe The Next Day:
Special color text is for things likely to sell tomorrow, and which I in turn am most suspecting I would be annoyed not to end up buying.
-A $5 basket of 3 tiny celluloid dogs, each the size of a thumbnail, which may or may not have included a larger flocked Dachshund that was in the basket but not marked separately
-A vintage book on Minnesota communities.
-A couple of postcard books. More careful examination of a crowded area of "little things," which are never of dire importance but sometimes have cute trinkets.
-The $5 tin I mentioned earlier
-A cute rubber blue and white bear the size of a My Little Pony that looks like an MLP. I know it isn't, but the styling is very similar, and it looks like the adult version of a baby panda that is an MLP. It was $1 and I almost got it but it has a small spot where I'm not sure if it's a scorch mark or just dirt. It's not bad, but I'd like to pay under $1 if I decide I want it.
[edit: OH MY GOSH, here it is! "Moon Dreamers." Never heard of it, but yay Tumblr! Aw dammit, among people who know what it is, ebay is selling it at $10. Like there's a bid on it. Granted, it's in better shape, but I bet it's worth $1]
-A pair of suede hybrid moccasins/short boots with faux-fur around the opening. They are really not very attractive...and they are defenseless against snow...but oh god they're warm and my size. Hide the fringe under boot cut trousers and they'll look fine. Didn't see a price, though.
-A basket of handsewn plush bunnies. It is the only Easter decoration I will ever need.
-Some small (football) sized bear/dog plushes, $5-6. I didn't examine them too closely
Definitely Only If I Can Get Them For Half Price
-A vintage (50s?) flopsy dog, with a slightly stiff head, with "Flexy" on the tag (can't curently find an example online) that claims it is easy to wash, and very soft poodle-like curls. $10. This is probably the least acutely cute animal I like, and yet also the scamp I find most endearing.
-A realistic Schnauzer-type stuffed animal, also $10.
-A soft polar bear plush, easily the size of a chunky Cocker Spaniel...$25. (meep) (but he's so sooooooft and a polar bear. Polar bears are relevant to my interests.) (OK I'm almost definitely not going to get this, BUT...)
-The Steiff penguin. Or one of the other cute Steiffs; I think some will go down to the $15 range. Which is still pricey, and very self-indulgent, but how often do such beautiful things come up.
Honestly, the more I think about it, with the snow coming down when we left and everything...it really had a magical Christmas feeling to it. This is definitely going to be a sale I remember.