so I went to the estate sale of an opera singer


New member
but it was in Michigan, so 99% of the list won't be interested, because she
- wasn't famous
- didn't sing at the Met

for those of you who are interested, it was great fun for me, and frustrating for 99.9% of the people at the sale, who knew NOTHING about opera.

I actually chased people out of the basement where the records were stored, because a couple of Homers who were looking for 1950s-60s doo wop were dropping and breaking 45s of Marian Anderson on the cement floor.
Almost all the 78s were broken by people who were sorting through everything like pigs at a trough.

I did manage to rescue one Victrola record by Ernestine-Schumann Heink, and a lovely assortment of 45s with the original dust jacket cardboard sleeves in mint condition:
a complete Otello with Toscanini, Nelly, Vinay, Valdengo
about 8 discs of Maria Cebotari, a few of them duets with Heinrich Schlusnus
Gigli-DeLuca duets
3 Freida Leider discs, conducted by Barbirolli
Nan Merriman singing Debussy
Gladys Swarthout in La Perichole
Dorothy Maynor, Leinsdorf conducting
Marian Anderson singing Schubert
Fedora Barbieri in Trovatore
Hermann Prey discs
many Gerard Souzay discs
Jan Peerce singing Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life
Erna Berger - Brahms
Jennie Tourel - Offenbach
Rita Gorr- Les Troyens and La Vestale'
Lucerzia Bori

all of these will get converted to digital and entered into the station playlist.

...and those are just the 45s.
I also picked up full 33 1/3 sets, but not many. The estate sale manager was more interested in what her movie card lobby cards would go for, and would not negotiate at all, so I had to leave behind a LOT of box sets. (sigh)

I also picked up a few large coffee table books of various opera houses and complete collections of sheet music.

It was very entertaining watching the disappointment on the faces of the rednecks who thought they were going to score some antiques to resell.
They left lovely 1920s era evening dresses on the FLOOR of the closet.

All in all, an entertaining day - I wished I had had a listmember with me to share the fun.


Staff member

What a neat find ... and the wonderful things you were able to retrieve from that estate sale.

Sounds as if the organizers of the estate sale were un-experienced at this sort of venue - it takes lots of thought and people to run an effective estate sale like that, just to prevent needless damage as you saw.

I work part time in a thrift store (aka charity shop) and we are involved in a good many estate sales - and the treasures that abound in those are many.

You might return after a few days to see if those other 33-1/3 sets got sold - if not, and if it's at the end of the sale, the estate people might negotiate as they surely don't want to pack all that stuff up again ... and it may wind up being donated anyway.

Kh :cool:


New member
You certainly hit gold. Congratulations. I think Lars's suggestion about a return visit is a good one. You never know what might happen.

Corno Dolce

Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler
Far-out, dude! Congrats on what you were able to salvage after the swine had rifled through the picking'........

John Watt

New member
Corno, Corno Dolce, please, pre-forgive me, but I have to approach this from the resale side.
While I don't have my own television, I see what other people are watching every day.
It seems to be a big, uh, fad, in the disUnited States, for storage locker auctions, pickers, antique hunters, all for resale.
The shows I see that are, uh, disappointing, are guys who are looking for bargoons just for resale,
who can't comment on the items, or take them for appraisal, thinking they could be valuable.
24 hour pawnshops seem to have better traffic and more interesting items.

However, it's more fun to be in the thick of the action than just watching on TV.

And admit it, Corno Dolce, when you saw the burnt Fender Stratocaster lying there,
you stomped on it.

Blatski blatski!

Corno Dolce

Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler
Hi John Watt,

No, I would never stomp on it. And no, I don't pre-forgive, because no offense was taken. MIMF is my "extended family" on the web and I love my extended family.

John Watt

New member
Even if another member visualizes you leaning against a basement wall with your forehead, sobbing,
doing a clutch and release with some musical shards?

I heard Beethoven became a composer after seeing some parchments decomposing in an old zither bench.
Something about a composition by Jubal.

John Watt

New member
Thinking about the recent spate of pickers, auctioneers, and pawn shop shows,
I envisioned a more severe drama called "Claim-Jumpers" for local television.
One of my scenarios was going into the CHUM-FM building to confront an executive,
saying I'll call the cops if you don't donate $10,000 for charity,
because you're promoting the exortation to commit a felony crime.
"If you're going to leave me, leave some morphine at the door".

I wouldn't be pretty, going into Dan Hill's house to buy his gold record for "Sometimes when we touch".
I'm sure he'll cry a little, finally getting to leave that behind.

I heard Corno Dolce has already contacted producers to offer a reward,
for the return of footage showing him over-fondling his upright,
after hearing that modern instruments are as good or better than any Cremona creation.

Corno Dolce

Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler
Br. John Watt,

Hahahaha ----- You joker, you : - D

My upright Bass is made by E.M. Poellmann of Mittenwald, in the German Alps. Every Italian Double Bass that I have ever "Auditioned" before buying has not had the sound I was looking for.

John Watt

New member
I'm glad my my humour came through, but I was serious too.
This big article I just read was about a very scientific experiment involving three Strad violins, with similar ones,
and new ones. They had virtuosos try each instrument with blindfold tests, totally impartial.
Even the person who put the violins out in a row was blind-folded. No interference, a unique experiment.
New violins were seven of the top ten picks for everyone, coming in on top most of the time.
None of them were carbon fibre or any other non-wood substance.
Cellist are already saying no wood can match carbon fibre. Jus'typin'.

Corno Dolce

Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler
Yeah, I read that article too - Pity that the experiment did not take place in a reverberant room - Then one really finds out what separates the strads from the others.

John Watt

New member
Yeah! Considering the value and historic importance of some of the instruments,
it was described as taking place in hotel rooms, laying them out on a bed.
Maybe they had to travel to catch up to the virtuosos.
This reverberates like virtuoso behavior.