search  current discussion  categories  business - sales & marketing 

update: edith's sale.

updated tue 28 sep 10


Kelly Savino on mon 27 sep 10

First, thanks to both of you who posted advice off list about pricing pots =
by well known potters! Edith Franklin had several, some dating to the 50s. =
I found an odd cup in a box of dusty student pots in her garage and called =
her to say, "Is it possible this cup is signed Don Reitz?" "Sure!" Edith sa=
id. "He stayed here!"

Edith's estate sale went beautifully on Saturday. The company that was hire=
d to empty out the house (the sale became final today) knew nothing about p=
ottery or studio equipment, so Edith asked me to get involved and help with=
that end of things.

The well meaning estate sale man really didn't know the difference between =
the pottery and other miscellaneous tsotchkes. He advised me not to bother =
individually pricing the hundreds of pots in the house. "Just put up a sign=
: all pots, three dollars". He scratched his head over the extra zeroes I p=
ut on a grey, crunchy, cracked raku plate (Soldner) and a little saucer (Vi=
vika Heino) and had no idea how many people would come -- and how far -- to=
own even a small pot of Edith's, even a second.

He started to "get it" about half an hour before the sale, when people bega=
n to gather outside the house, standing in the bushes, faces pressed to the=
windows, craning to see the prices on the pottery. The line went down the =
driveway. Emboldened by the crowd, I walked around marking UP everything.

When the doors opened, customers literally RAN into the house, swooped down=
on the pots and started grabbing, filling their arms. There was a little e=
lbowing. The estate sale guy was amazed. One couple came from Michigan and =
were first in line, having gotten the word from Bonnie Staffel -- I helped =
them wrap $1000 worth of pottery they bought in the morning (and they came =
back again later in the day!)

The check out line was ten deep all morning, and people were piling their p=
ottery finds in little mounds with red "sold" tags on them. Edith came by l=
ater in the sale, and ended up in the front room with a sharpie, autographi=
ng purchases like a rock star and hugging former students, old friends, and=
folks she hadn't seen in years. My sons sold $300 worth of boy scout popco=
rn on the front lawn to the people in line, and helped people haul boxes of=
pots to their cars.

Now the old house is all but empty. There are a few shelves of pots Edith w=
ill put in the guild's May sale, and she donated her unsold studio equipmen=
t, chemicals, sieves and tools to the ceramics program at Owens College, wh=
ere I teach.

By the end of the day, the estate sale guy had a whole new respect for pots=
, potters, and Edith.

Now this chapter of her life is closed and a new chapter beginning, in a ne=
w no-hassle place with a bright balcony on the 7th floor of a senior apartm=
ent. Her greenware awaits decoration on shelves, her porcelain cups in my s=
tudio await decoration for my soda kiln, her calendar is full of openings a=
nd shows and dinners, and she's already talking to Barbara Brown about NCEC=
A in Tampa.

Kelly in Ohio
glad it's over ;0) (website) (blog) (store)