Weekend Estate Sale: An Academic’s Treasure Trove


Is collecting an inherited trait? Judging from the astounding depth and breadth of the goods offered at an estate sale this weekend in Los Gatos, the answer is “yes.” In this family, grandmother was a collector and her daughter and son-in-law continued the tradition. The beneficiary is you, when you venture into this house that’s better stocked than some antiques and vintage stores.The sale is staged by Martin Codina’s Fine Estate Liquidation company. Codina has been running estate sales for 15 years, and what he doesn’t know about antiques, art and collectibles may not be worth learning (check out his blog, and you’ll find out a lot about, well, a lot).

Where to begin? This family, a pair of academics, loved to buy items ranging from the fine to the esoteric. The staggering display of wares (at first, I mistook this as a sale combining the estates of several people) includes great art, antique furniture, fine tableware and good rugs, as well everyday items like kerosene lanterns and rocking chairs. Be it a rare piece or a more common item, this husband-and-wife team liked their decorative arts and housewares in multiples.

“They loved art, and over the years the came to know and be friends with many of the artists they collected,” says Codina. Among the pieces for sale is a stunning pottery sculpture by David Gilhooly, an artist whose work Codina says has been bringing in high prices at auction. “The piece is a bit over the top,” he says of the frog encrusted, four-inch-tall artwork. “We’d expect it to sell in the $5,000 range.”

Also for sale is a broad range of Mexican and Southwest pottery and art, including a seven-foot-tall sculpture by Tammy Garcia. According to Codina, Garcia is a “hot” artist whose work is going gangbusters at auction.

This couple evidently believed in taking care of what they owned, because their dinner services are amazingly complete, and include pieces that are usually lost or broken over years. Check out the lovely set of Johnson Brothers pink-transfer China that includes not only the pitcher and the creamer, but also the soup bowls with their delicate, easy-to-break curved handles intact. Also for sale is a large collection of contemporary Wedgewood China.

Perhaps they learned to care for things from the grandmother who, as I mentioned, collected clocks. “There are more than 60 clocks in this sale,” says Codina. “They are very old, but they are in wonderful condition. I think that most of them still work.”

Among the more rare pieces is a large, Essex crystal brooch decorated with an image of a jockey on a race horse. “I have never, ever seen a piece of Essex crystal at an estate sale,” says Codina. “It’s a very unusual item from 1890s England.”

The furniture and rug collections include a old four-poster rope bed (made in the days before box springs when criss-crossing lengths of rope provided support), a very early Heywood Wakefield seat and a Windsor rocking chair. There are so many rugs, most of them contemporary, that they are stacked high on the floor. “Most of these are Turkish, Moroccan and, I’m guessing, Pakistani,” says Codina.

The sale is located at 14550 Shannon Road in Los Gatos and starts Friday and runs through Saturday, from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. each day. If you love the hunt, this is the sale for you.




More news: