Saturday, December 1, 2012

"Heavy as a Horse!"

Last night, I was browsing through the local estate sales online, and came across a sale which seemed promising.  Since moving to Florida, Josh and I have only been to one sale where we found some good items, and to be honest, we struck gold!  We bought 9, yes 9, “Lord Yo” chairs for $90.  That’s $10 a piece for indoor/outdoor chairs designed by Philipe Starck for Driade.  Insane!  But I’ll save that story for another post…

So anyways, we set our alarm this morning (not too early, who are we kidding) and had some coffee and buttered biscuits before hitting the road.  The sale was down in Pinecrest, a “Suburban Village” just South of Miami, and took us about an hour to get to. 

The whole reason we wanted to go to this sale was because the listing said there’d be folk art for sale.  And obviously we’re total nerds for folk art.  So we get there (mind you 2.5 hours after the sale started) and went immediately into the house to find the pièce de résistance…a Jimmy Lee Sudduth alligator painting.  We didn’t see it and figured it had been sold, but asked a sales-girl if she knew anything about it.  She didn’t, so we asked another woman and that started a whole whirlwind of activity and discussion!

Long story short, all of the folk art being sold at the sale belonged to one of the sales-girls, but she didn’t actually have any of it at the house, save for an amazing primitive horse salvaged from an old carousel which was a tad out of our price range.  So after discussing a couple of the pieces we had seen online, we agreed on some prices and she left the sale to go get them for us.  Meanwhile we were just hanging out in the front of the house like total creepers waiting for her return, when it started raining.  We decided to head back in the house to shop around some more. 

My mom was with us too and she went in to look at some jewelry while we were checking out a beautiful hand crafted frame that looked to be from the late 19th century.  For $20, we decided it was a good buy. 

Detail of Frame | Handcrafted Frame with Portrait of Young Boy
My mom found a great beaded necklace that she was purchasing as our girl, Billie, returned.  She came in with the two pieces we were so excited about in addition to other items she thought we might like. 

The first piece was an amazing whirligig from the 1890’s.  It depicts a woman washing clothes and is fully functional.  It’s missing a blade and possibly a clothes drying rack, but it’s in great shape otherwise.

Unsigned Whirligig - Woman Washing Clothes.
Detail of Whirligig.
Detail of Whirligig.

The second piece was an awesome painted sheet metal dog.  Depicting a Boston Terrier, there's a stake welded to the bottom so he can sit in the yard, but of course we will not leave him outside.  The piece is unsigned, but I believe Billie said her husband, the accomplished artist and famed ad man, Mike Tesch, created the piece from scrap metal he found up North, but I need to verify that.

Front and Back Views - Painted Sheet Metal Folk Art Dog.
As we were digging through the additional items she brought for us to see, my mom walked up to us and hands the primitive carousel horse to Josh and says, “Merry Christmas!”  We were shocked!  The sneaky little devil bought us the horse while she was "buying a necklace" and we were none the wiser!

Antique Carousel Horse.
The horse came from a small carousel ride and is estimated to be from the mid to late 1800’s.  It’s hand painted, handcrafted solid wood construction and heavy as a horse.  Hehe!

Antique Carousel Horse.
At this point, I was so excited!  Aside from the Jimmy Lee Sudduth, we now had everything we had come for.  But as we sifted through Billie’s other boxes, we picked out a hand painted bird from Africa (kind of broad, I know, but I don’t know anything else about it).  We also bought a contemporary South African telephone-wire woven glass bottle, crafted by Zulu people.

Hand Painted Bird - African.
Telephone-Wire Woven Bottle - South African.
And as a thank you, Billie gifted us a small hand painted nativity set she had gotten in India.  She was such a sweet and gracious person and we feel blessed to have met her.  We exchanged numbers and we look forward to meeting her husband and hopefully acquiring some of his artwork in the future.

Hand Painted Nativity Scene - India.


  1. I think you've turned me into an Estate sale goer! It was a lot of fun! Thanks!!!

    1. Yeah, it's a lot of fun and you come across some great things!