Estate Sale: Warehouse Clean Out


When John Favors was a little boy in San Francisco, he started messing around with his grandmother’s decorative items and playing in her jewelry box. Later, as a self-described hippie, he became fascinated with everything from rusty cans to antiques while under the influence of mind-altering drugs. I don’t know what kind of substance gave him his aesthetic eye, but if it could help me put together a collection like his, I’ll have what he’s having. He’s staging a warehouse sale in Oakland this weekend, and it’s the kind of thing scavenging dreams are made of.

Let me be clear about about the magnitude of this sale: Favors, who conducts in-home estate sales in California and Oregon, has accumulated the odds and ends of more than 60 households in his warehouse (he calls it the Yogurt Factory, as it is the old Pavel Yogurt Company building). Before the economy nosedived, he would have one of his larger warehouses open in a monthly event that featured his stuff and the goods from some of San Francisco’s heavyweight antiques and vintage dealers. With money being tight, it all ground to a halt and Favors found himself struggling to save his business.

He’s back on his feet, and this will be the first warehouse sale he’s had in more than a year. Let’s hope it’s a sign of an improving economy. That, and some of the goodies he’s selling, should have you singing “Happy Days are Here Again,” like they did after the Great Depression. For instance, check out this sculpture:

The 62-inch-high steel structure was made by Carmel Valley artist Ellen Beinhorn in 1965. Back in the day, it was outside of a tennis club in Aptos. Favors loves big stuff, and this is just one of the larger items he’s selling. He also has this wall clock, which is seven feet tall:

Maybe because of its size, it didn’t find a home after a wonderful estate sale in Pacific Heights. It was made by Howard Miller in the 1980s, and its chime settings allow you to choose the bell patterns of famous churches around the world. When this item was new, it would have reportedly sold for nearly $10,000.

Also on the warehouse floor: Art Deco bronze-and-glass elevator doors with an Asian motif. These beauties weigh in at 150 pounds each, so bring your truck.

Several items are left over after a recent sale in Mill Valley, where the homeowners had spent a lifetime collecting Chinese furniture:

Another category that’s well represented could best be described as hippie folk art. Favors is a big collector of this genre, and is planning on opening a hippie art museum in Oregon. He told me that his selling strategy is to put the more traditional pieces in the front of the warehouse and save things like this, a bottle-cap artwork, for the back:

That’s the beauty of a Favors sale. You find armoires and pianos like these…

…alongside items that fall into the so-bad-they-are-kind-of-good category; like a pair of 1970s black velvet paintings (note that the headdresses, bracelets, sarong and shield patterns are actually cut-outs that were illuminated by twinkle lights) or the atomic age marlin lamp made of copper:

In short, there’s something for everyone here.

The sale takes place at 683 26th St. in Oakland this Saturday from, in Favors’ words, “10 a.m. to whenever.” If it doesn’t rain on Sunday, he’ll take it all to the Alameda Point Antiques Faire, where he has something like 10 booths. If it does rain, find him in the factory, same hours.





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