My Favorite Auction House

In Such Beautiful Deadly Things (and the sequel) the main characters, antique dealers Carol Ann and Lucy, begin their story at "Whickfords Auction House."
Whickfords was inspired by a real place called "Wehrlys". 

One of my favorite alternate Tuesday treats is a coffee at Wehrlys Auction in the company of my aunt, who is also inspired - in her case, for her artwork (check it out Here) - 
by the piles of stuff up for auction.
 We have given up questioning why - as have our therapists and husbands - so we just go with it.

There is a new cacophony of for the offering twice a month. These items often come from estates, as the heirs try to clean out a lifetime of collecting by those who have passed.

This means there can be anything on the shelves from about a hundred pots and pans.

To a life-sized metal parrot.

My aunt and I are particularly drawn to boxes of random old broken dolls. 

This is a sentence my husband loves to hear me say out loud at dinner parties...I'm not sure why we're not invited back.

You never know what you'll see. 
Declarations of the want of beer.

And then lots of beer signs and items to decorate your bar while your drinking that beer you wanted.

There are some things you just know you'll see. Like salt-and-pepper shakers. 
There are always so many salt-and-pepper shakers.

And chickens, always so many chickens.

And books on what to do with chickens.

There are collectibles too. Here is some chalk-ware, which I thought was pretty cute. 

But was corrected by several people who I showed these pictures to who told me the word I was searching for was "creepy."

I guess I can see that. Snow White does appear to have some pretty dead eyes and a big chunk out of her cheek.

Even I did not need to have this lovely thing explained to me as being creepy, or just super-weird (and not in the super-weird way that can be fun, more of a yucky, gross weird).

There are also piles of deer heads, in case you're running low.

The auction house can be a cultural mecca too. You can find such rare musical gems as Johnny Cash's seminal album Everybody Loves a Nut. 

Don't get me wrong, I love Johnny Cash, but maybe not this particular album. 
Although it probably should have been Mark and my wedding song. 

"Box Lots" are fun too. These are boxes of random cra...merchandise piled into a box and sold as one lot, usually for a dollar or two. Here's some things that caught my eye poking out of the boxes.

Happy red clown-dog.

A newspaper cow.

And a little lamb cookie jar.

I myself was loving this old rusted cauldron (you can see my aunt's feet as she also admired it), but I did not have the time to stay until the auctioneer made his way to it. I guess my fresh batch of eye-of-newt will have to wait.

After all these years, it still never fails to surprise me how my step gets a little lighter, my creative juices flow a little better and I just feel generally a bit happier as I walk around Wehrlys. It may have to do with the company of my aunt. It may have to do with the bad coffee. Or, just looking at the crazy stuff around me and knowing other people have even weirder stuff in their houses than I do.

I'm not sure why I get a kick out of wandering the shelves in a place where the flotsam and jetsum of people's lives washes up to be purchased by the next person, I just do. 
And I'm very grateful to have an aunt with the same proclivities so I don't have to wander alone.


Carol Ann's Corner

Carol Ann's Corner
Tips from our favorite shop keeper

Real or Reproduction

As you are hunting around for treasure at yard sales and flea markets, you will come across things that make you wonder if they are original or reproductions. It can be hard to tell.

These are a couple tip offs.

One, does it look a little worn? It should if its really antique or vintage. Even the best kept china got moved around in the cabinet, the doll's vinyl body and hair faded a bit, or the lunch box got a little rust around the hinges. If it looks shiny and new, chances are it is.

Two, are there a lot of them? If you are in a shop or flea market stall and there are ten of the items you've been looking for and haven't been able to find...they have probably been manufactured. Unless you are at a reputable dealer who specializes in that item, then you may have hit the jackpot for your particular collectible.

A good way to gauge if it is a reputable dealer is they will be happy to answer your questions about if the item is authentic or not, and how you can tell. A dealer with a passion and knowledge about that item, will enjoy explaining that all to you. A disreputable dealer, not so much.

Carol Ann Miller
Proprietor, Miller's Fine Antiques

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