Heritage Turns $35 Estate Find to a $382.40 Auction Consignment
The estate sale description was impossible to resist: “It’s not every day you see an estate sale from a 100-year-old lady; she has an amazing collection.”
The sale description got my heart pumping. I am an estate sale junkie. You get to personally inspect the items, peek inside a home and find items that are “fresh to market.” You see the term used in many auction consignment descriptions to denote an item that has not been offered to collectors in some time, if ever.
This particular sale was in an affluent neighborhood on Dallas’ southwest side. It was known as a new development in the 1950s and 1960s when major employers such as Bell Helicopter, Texas Instruments and others were transforming Dallas into a post-War boomtown.
Stepping into the house was like stepping into the collection itself. Lined against every wall were tables and tables filled with every manner of 20th century collectible: milk glass, Depression glass, Japanese porcelains of all kinds, Christmas ornaments and used clothing. An interesting and unusual collection of original sketches by artist Cecile Lamb known for her vintage children’s books was laid out on a floral sofa, and a table by a broad window was covered in ceramic birds of all species.
My goals at these types of sales are two-fold: First, I study every pixel of the photographs posted online (it helps narrow your wish list). Second: once inside the house, I find the items I want and then quickly scan each room for anything else that piques my interest.
It was during the scan of each room that my eyes settled on a familiar face peeking out from a corner. It was Mickey Mouse on the cover of an oversized book, smiling and holding a candle in one hand and a Christmas stocking in the other – a copy of Mickey Mouse and His Friends #904 published in 1936. The Platinum Age book was bright and cheery, with 12 full-color pages depicting Mickey and his friends in various holiday scenes.
After a bit of haggling, the price dropped to $35 – a comfortable level – the book was then bought and packed, and I was on my way.
My immediate thought was to see whether or not my investment was worth its $35 cost. I researched the item and saw that a copy similar to mine (of lesser quality, in my opinion) sold for about $170. Ah ha! My next move took me down the hall to our Vintage Comics Department, specifically to Consignment Director Greg Holman and grading expert Jerry Stephan.
We visited HA.com and searched for the title among Heritage’s database of prices realized for previous Mickey Mouse books sold. Records show the book had sold for between $262 and $657 since 2012. The consignment experience had begun – and it was far easier than I ever imagined.
Stephens examined the book and put his years of experience to work: bright cover … chip to the corner … one staple loose. When all was said and done, the book was graded Very Good Plus. Not bad condition for sitting unprotected for 81 years. The consensus was that the book would likely offer a nice return at auction, rather than staying in my collection.
Once I decided to consign, the process was absolutely effortless. A contract arrived within minutes, spelling out terms and seeking electronic signatures – easy enough.
The contract told me in which auction the book would appear, the closing date and when I could expect the proceeds. I didn’t have to lift a finger. The entire process was handled by email and the deal was sealed in just a few clicks. Effortless.
My 1936 edition of Mickey Mouse and His Friends was sold in Heritage’s weekly internet comics auction for $382.40–to be exact. Well worth the time spent hunting and consigning.
Written by: Eric Bradley