Estate Sale: Godly Goods in Historic St. Joseph’s Church


I really love estate sales, and sometimes I’m so enthusiastic about the goods I think I frighten the organizers. Perhaps it’s unnerving to have a stranger call up out of the blue, say she’s going to write a blog about your sale and then proceed to get all exercised about the wares. But people, I’m talking about a sale in an abandoned church featuring religious items and vintage designer clothes! Whose voice wouldn’t raise a few octaves?

I got very excited when I saw that there is an estate sale going on in St. Joseph’s Church at 1oth and Howard Sts. Friday and Saturday. The building has been closed for many years (the woman organizing the sale thinks doors have been shut since the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake). Here is a photo of the church in happier times, before the quake, I believe:

And here is the interior today: dusty, yes, but also full of deals.

The lovely old Romanesque building was built in 1913 and is currently on the National Historic Register. It’s worth it to go if only to see the interior. But while you are there, check out the religious remains. For sale are stained glass windows, altar tables, pews, communion rails and religious artwork.

And, my favorite, massive candleholders that have been the scene of untold numbers of heartfelt prayers.

Of course, most churches have a community center and office aspect to them. St. Joseph’s was apparently no different and the offerings include card files, encyclopedia sets and diner-style plates (potluck anyone?).

Now, when I discovered this sale and started talking to the woman running it, I started to get really charged about the vintage clothes and accessories. They were not church property, but she’s added them in to make a great event. Maybe I came off as too eager about this 1970s Lanvin dress from I. Magnin, because she excused herself before I finished the interview.

But, really, wow! Take a look at some of the goodies: 1940s pumps, bench made in Milano; wonderful vintage dresses of undetermined provenance; funky old jewelry and leather bags in good condition. I’m in heaven.

So, although I didn’t get to quiz her fully, I do know this: The sale is on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The goods are going fast, so make sure you get to the church on time.

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