The other day MSM came up with the fantastic idea of a “before work date”. He sent me the link to an estate sale in Beverly Hills and said, “We should do this!” Having never been to an estate sale before, I was super excited. Especially since this particular sale was at the home of former Miss America (1959) and actress, Mary Ann Mobley (imagine the tiaras and handbags she must have!!!) and her actor husband, Gary Collins.
Visiting the company’s website PacificEstateSales.Com prior to the sale proved to be the most interesting and helpful to me. The website included a synopsis explaining whose estate this was, a photo gallery exhibiting featured pieces that were available for sale, and contact info in case there were questions about anything. When I called to ask about an Hermes handbag (it was a knock off), Pacific Estate Sales founder/owner, Diana Nichols, suggested we get there as early as 8:30 if we wanted first dibs on things.
We woke up super early, jumped into our cars and hugged the curves along Mulholland drive until we arrived at the beautiful estate perched on its own peak in the heart of Beverly Hills. We parked below the estate (a shuttle was provided to take us up to the main house). Surprisingly by 8:30 am there were already 45 OTHER early birds hoping to catch the proverbial worm. MSM and I both wondered which items the other people were after. We were looking for LP records, books, and artwork. Also we loved a set of chairs that had been featured on the website.
The Mobley estate was seriously gorgeous. Up the drive to the left was a beautiful plot of land that looked like its own park. Across the drive sat the “cute” yellow home, juxtaposed with the contrasting blue water of the front yard pool, all ensconced by a white picket fence. The home and yard seemed extremely inviting, with festive lawn furniture sprinkled around the area.
All that charm aside, apparently people can be so nasty and crazy when it comes to estate sales. First of all, I felt like I was at one of those wedding gown sales you read about. You know the ones- where your smashed against the window with 50 other people until the doors open and you get trampled? Secondly, no one, and I mean NO ONE, had read the bio explaining whose house this was. I honestly don’t think they cared. For me it meant so much that I knew she was Miss America and a philanthropist who, along with her actor husband, contributed so much to making the world a better place. Everyone else? They could care less. They just wanted “cool stuff” for “cheap” – and they made that very evident.
When we finally were allowed in the estate (they only allowed 5 people in at a time) we enjoyed walking around and looking at the architecture and interior design. She had the most incredible bathroom. It was painted a dusty soft blue, highlighted with beautiful white molding and a mirrored ceiling! We peaked in each room and enjoyed taking a moment to breathe in the atmosphere and think what it must have felt like to be Mary Ann and Gary.
What to buy:
The library was extensive, but no books that we really wanted. The record collection was fun- and all at 2$/piece so we picked up a few of those as well as a painting set that we had both admired on the website. No tiaras or handbags of significance (obviously her daughter took those- duh!). We really wanted the chair set but a. we weren’t equip with proper transportation and b. we had to run off to work! So we wrote down the name of the chairs- Marcel Breuer/Wassily, and ventured back into our reality.
During the day we both researched Marcel Breuer and the Wassily chairs. We discovered these chairs were iconic pieces of history and originals! Knowing the providence (and after speaking with my designer friend who said “we will find you a townhome to fit the chairs, GET THEM!”)- we decided they were the gem of the sale. So I called Diana and emailed her to let her know we wanted them and would pick them up ASAP. The sale was three days and Diana was gracious enough to hold the chairs for us 🙂
A word about Pacific Estate Sales:
I must take a moment to say that Diana was wonderful. She is so knowledgeable and passionate about her estate sales and the featured pieces. Going to her sale was like going back in time, and she was wonderful about supplying the historical information needed to really understand where we were standing. I also loved how honest she is (ex the Hermes was a knock off and she didn’t hide that). She was friendly, not snobby, which I really appreciate. Its funny how I’ve encountered so many stuck up self-entitled people that work with but are not actually part of the LA elite. And on the flip side- most of the LA elite I’ve met have been friendly and humble. I’m putting Diana in the latter category.
In sum the estate sale was a huge success. We enjoyed an early morning date that was like taking a trip back in time and amped our energy for the rest of the day. I would definitely visit another estate sale. Its a great way to find unique pieces for your home. Personally I’ll stick to ones that seem historically interesting to me. But hey- whatever floats your boat. If getting “cool s*** for a great price” is your thing- check them out! You can look at Diana’s site (link above) or visit EstateSales.net
What to Wear to an Estate Sale:
It was HOT up in the hills! And all those people in close proximity? We were drenched in our work clothes. Dress casually (I was way over dressed). Also – no hand bags or large over coats. Cash and checks are best. Keep in mind theres a 9% sales tax on all sold items, too.