An old dental drill powered by a pedal pump sits prominently near the entrance of one of the three buildings in Marlin filled wall-to-wall with antiques, records, furniture, and memorabilia as part of a living estate sale.
Numerous spittoons, an icebox once used to store blood in an old Marlin hospital, baseball cards, and cigar boxes are among the many items.
Doors open at 9 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and will close when temperatures climb too high for the non-air-conditioned spaces to serve customers, said Pat Laverty, owner of Laverty’s Antiques & Furnishings. The collection belongs to Lorena resident Dr. James Bryan, who contacted Laverty about hosting the sale at 138 Post Office St.
“This is what we call a $1 million sale because if we get $1 for every item we’d have $1 million,” Laverty said. “He and I are kindred spirits. We like all things good or bad. He sees the beauty of what could be. That’s neat. He preserves things.”
Bryan, a retired dentist who grew up in Marlin, has a large collection of old dental equipment, including a display of old crowns. Laverty said the pedal drill was often run by a child while the dentist performed the actual drilling.
“Where are you going to find another one?” she said. “I want the people who like this kind of stuff to be here. You never see this much stuff together.”
Laverty said she had known Bryan a long time, and he approached her about the sale as he was ready to shed some of his collection.
Toward the right of the main entrance sits a 50-pound set of Japanese naval binoculars from World War II. Around the corner stands a Murphy bed alongside model trains, lead toy soldiers, copies of Mad magazine, Victrolas, lunchboxes, artwork, books, dolls, a piano, leather medical books from the 1880s, clocks, pots, older model telephones, vintage hats, and much more. As of Wednesday morning, the most expensive piece was $1,200. Laverty said she and Bryan want the items cleared out.
Laverty, whose store has been in Waco 25 years, said she originally feared no one would travel to Marlin for the sale. But before the sale officially started, collectors from Dallas, Houston and other areas have dropped by to buy items, she said.
A few animal skulls have sold, she said, noting a box of animal bones in one corner.
Laverty’s staff has spent the past almost three months organizing and cleaning the spaces Bryan owns as they prepare for the sale. She said they could spend another two months organizing, but at some point, they just have to open the doors. Bryan is in Germany and will miss the sale. Laverty said she wishes he could be there because he loves telling the stories behind each item.
“He’s one of these people that can do anything. He’s done woodworking. He rescued furniture,” she said. “I wouldn’t have done this for anybody but him.”
Unraveling, cleaning and organizing the items has been an adventure in itself, Laverty said. She has had many similar adventures in her 40 years organizing estate sales.
“Every day is a treasure hunt,” she said.
Living estate sales are becoming more common as people move to downsize their home later in life or realize their children will not want all of their belongings, Laverty said.