Greenbelt in 2012

A photo blog about Greenbelt, Maryland in its 75th anniversary year

An Estate Sale

with 4 comments

June 2

The advertisement in the Greenbelt News Review reads: “ESTATE SALE THIS WEEKEND – June 1, 2, & 3. Rain or shine. Entire household including antiques, glass and ceramics, furniture, paintings, bronzes, kitchen items, Depression glass, books and more. Thousands of items. Friday/Sat/Sun, 9 – 4 each day. Sunday is 1/2 price day.”

Tim and Dave chat in front of their parents’ house. Their parents Bill and Stella bought this GHI house in 2000 and greatly enjoyed living in Old Greenbelt. From their home it is a short walk to the Roosevelt Center, library, and Community Center, and they participated in many activities and made many friends. One of the their regrets, Tim tells me, was that they had not moved to Greenbelt earlier. Bill passed away in 2009 and Stella recently in April 2012.

Books are on sale in a tent in the yard. Unless otherwise noted, hardcovers are $1 each and paperbacks are 50 cents each.

Music sheets

The family has four sons. Here, Bill, the eldest son, sits in the living room by a case with some of the more precious items. Bill tells me that his parents were both born in Camden, New Jersey to Polish immigrant families. Her parents came to the United States from Poland and his came earlier before the Civil War. Before they moved to Old Greenbelt in 2000, the family lived in Adelphi in the 300-year-old, 13-room Miller’s House where the four sons grew up. It was in that house that they accumulated the large collection of items that are on sale today.

The house has a first-floor addition.

After his father passed away in 2009, Tim wrote an obituary in the Greenbelt News Review: “He had a great penchant for history and was a long-time member of the Prince George’s County Historical Society. He was instrumental in bringing the Society’s Frederick S. DeMarr Library of County History to Greenbelt, where it is now housed in the lower level of the Greenbelt Library…. He loved Sunday drives, antique shops, nature, historic houses and an occasional roadside picnic and fishing. He always dreamed of owning his own antique shop but that never materialized.”

Michelle, Tim’s wife, checks the price tag on a mirror in a second-floor bedroom.

The second-floor master bedroom

The first-floor dining room

American Sweetheart depression glass was made in the 1930s. This monax (transparent white) set contains cups and saucers, cream and sugar, berry dishes, cake, salad, and dinner dishes. The eBay price is $359 and the asking price here is $300.

This set of Grosvenor 1921 silverware including a serving tray sells for $185.

There are many mirrors and paintings.

On the left is a Mima Mae Wolfgang Classic Chocolate advertising tray.

From left, Joe, the youngest of the four sons, his brother Dave, Joe’s wife Anita, and Dave’s wife Joyce tape up a customer’s selections.

This lamp shade features the historic Carpenters Hall in Philadelphia which hosted the First Continental Congress.

This print, showing a family enjoying a picnic lunch overlooking an orderly town, is featured in Greenbelt: History of a New Town: 1937-1987 edited by Mary Lou Williamson. The caption in that book reads: “A vision of an orderly, tranquil environment, resulting from the masterful arrangement of streets, buildings and open spaces—rendered here as Utopia, a watercolor of Greenbelt by Aurelius Battaglia, an artist with the Special Skills Division of the Resettlement Administration. Courtesy Greenbelt Homes, Inc.”

Tim shows me the description behind the print: “The name of this picture is ‘Utopia.’ It was done by Aurelius Battaglia, probably sometime in the 1930’s when he was working for the Works Progress Administration. It shows ‘…the integration of the environment with the people.’” The description goes on to say that Battaglia contributed to Disney’s Dumbo, Fantasia, and Pinocchio, and his painted a mural in the Mount Pleasant Library in Washington, D.C. for the WPA.

Tim shows a customer how to prop up this folding table by rotating it.

A miniature portrait for $3

Two baseball players check out bags of shark teeth ($2 per bag). “These shark teeth & arrow heads were found in Westmoreland Co. in Virginia along the Potomac.” Tim wrote in his father’s obituary in the News Review: “Family vacations were always two weeks in August, in a rustic tin-roofed cabin on the Potomac near Colonial Beach, Va. Days were filled with fishing, crabbing, beachcombing and hunting for shark teeth. The boys always tried to see who could find more than their dad; they may have found more but Dad always found the biggest.”

Joyce and Anita check two customers out. Joyce tells me that the sale opened on Friday at 9 a.m. and people were lining up at 7:30. They went out and handed out numbers. There were a lot of dealers on the first day and many items have been sold. By now, Saturday morning, she estimates that about 200 people have come through. After the sale, Tim, who lived in town for several years not far from this house in the 1980s, will be the next resident here. He has been staying here to assist his late mother.


Written by eric

June 6, 2012 at 8:00 am

Posted in Greenbelters, Sale

Tagged with , ,

4 Responses

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  1. Which is more impressive — Eric’s insightful photos or his detailed commentary? He has captured a (loving) family’s American experience, and a chunk of Greenbelt’s, too. Like Norman Rockwell, but with harder edges……..very touching…….Thank you, Eric!

    Jim Link

    June 6, 2012 at 9:06 am

  2. I both enjoyed and felt sadness every minute I was in the house because the last time I entered the house, I visited with dear Stella! However, I have her Victorian
    Wicker Fernery all spray painted and ready to receive new plants. PS I hope to learn to keep my African violets alive as well as she did. Love, Beth Lingg

    Beth Lingg

    June 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm

  3. It is very hard to watch the things you associate with people you love go out the door to someone else’s home. It was a long three days and thank goodness so many people came because we were all kept busy so we had little time to be sad. At least, during the sale. I hope everyone who took something home with them, especially the folks who knew Bill and Stella, will treasure it and know it was a part of a family home that will now have a new purpose in someone else’s family home. Thanks to everyone who came.

    Eileen Uber

    June 10, 2012 at 5:41 am

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    July 30, 2013 at 7:50 am

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