Updated: Jun 1, 2022
UPDATE: Click on the front door to enter this estate!
It's been so busy, that I didn't even want to take a look at another job. But after being nudged by a client who insisted this mansion was not a place to pass up, I decided the bigger risk, was not checking this one out.
After all, I'd been told it was a mansion with 13 rooms of antiques & mystery! In historic Salem, MA! The accumulation of the estate was bequeathed to the sole heir from his mother who'd passed. She was a life-long collector. I was also assured the rooms were large and full, so...
Upon parking Moby (my big white Ford T-250 van) in front of the house, the building seemed to emanate a presence that suggested my efforts would be well rewarded. If the job didn't result in a lot of great picks, there at least had to be a story!
I passed through the large white metal gate and saw that the huge pink and white Victorian Lady and the property it sat on consisted of about a full city block. That's a huge piece of land in Salem MA.
The front door was heavy and solid with a bronze lion's head knocker. It seemed to be saying, "wait until you see the secrets in here!" This is what I was made for!
The owner a nice chap in his mid-20s (a scientist) who'd been left the home after his mother passed last year, met me a the door.
The grand foyer boasted gorgeous oak hardwood floors and piles, yes piles, of antiques, and debris. Looking to the left, the parlor revealed the same and the art on the walls told me I'd be here a while. A glance to the right at the dining room suggested that piles of treasures fighting debris, would be the norm in every room, and it was the case.
I walked around boxes filled with random items, to inspect beautiful, hand-carved furniture. I saluted as many as 10 "Gone with the Wind" on my way by one of the most beautiful pieces of art nouveau furniture I've ever seen. It was a 68" long hand-carved, art nouveau buffet/etagere.
The dining room had two fully arched, built-in Gothic corner cupboards that stood like sentinels. They were bulging with goodies and seemed to be throwing down a dare.
The dining room was where I sat and hashed out a deal that the owner and I both thought was fair for "picking rights." I love to purchase picking rights because it means, I could take anything I want in the house (with a few exceptions) for a certain price.
I half-jokingly asked, "Is this place haunted?" The manse felt like it should be, it just had a presence like a lot of old houses do. He said, "it may be now, that brick wall that surrounds it was stable for years, but shortly after my mother passed, it started falling out towards the street"
Then the young man asked me a question, I get all the time: "How do you know what to pay for a job this random and this big?" My answer is, "I go with my gut. I've been doing this a long time, and I just kind of know." Most of the time it pays off well enough to keep the lights on. There are some boo-boos along the way but hey, even Mickey Mantle didn't bat 1000!
Because I live for the "hunt" picking rights allows me to "Sherlock Holmes" my way through old buildings, finding things that haven't seen daylight in years, sometimes decades, on rare occasions, more than a century! What would these 13 rooms of antiques and mystery in Salem MA be hiding? I couldn't wait to find out!
There were old rugs that were ruined, and Persian rugs in fine condition - depression glass, sterling silver, old newspapers, fine china, jewelry, vintage toys, antique toys, vintage clothing, stamp collections, an arcade-style scale that would print out your weight for a penny. It just went on and on for 13 rooms, plus the attic and basement!
Moving the contents out would be at least a 3-week affair with the other obligations on my plate. I'd use Moby for most of the hauling, my core crew of go-to helpers, ramps, dollies, and a lot of boxes. Oh yeah, masks and gloves too. But not for covid, for dust!
I started by bringing all the packing materials in the house, then clearing paths because there's no sense in stepping over everything as I'm sorting. Then I began to make the cut, determining what's a treasure, and what'll be left to the ghosts.
Next, I plan what goes on the truck first, and who I'll use to load those items. The planning here also includes figuring out, which items will go to which venues.
My options are:
My Vintage Yard Sale
Specific collectors and private sales
We've been working like mad to remove the treasures from this home and at of the time of this post, we're about 1/3 of the way through. But the items will haunt our auctions and yard sales for years. An estate of this size renders many
hundreds of pieces, and they'll be filtered into upcoming sales as early as our next Vintage Yard Sale, then our next Maxsold auction
It was an incredible experience to go through this house and see all of the amazing things that were hidden away inside. We are looking forward to sharing the contents of this house with our customers and giving everyone a chance to own a piece of this Salem MA history.