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Back To Old Town

Okay, last time, I let myself wander off into a long memory about my parents, their art collection, and Bill Rabbit, an artist who was a favorite of theirs. Oh, and there was also a shameful attempt to cheat us...fortunately frustrated.

And to think, I’ve complained about my life being dull. Maybe, now and then, a little more dullard-ality would be welcome.

Anyway, getting back to my real story. You’ll recall we met Connie Fulwyler in the process of setting up my parents’ estate sale, and she’s been a guide and counselor ever since. She took some of the things that didn’t sell at the sale itself and offered on consignment in her shop. And, for a few years after that, until all the remainders had finally found new homes, we would occasionally get a check from her. A piece of jewelry. A bit of pottery. A silver horse bridle of Spanish make and dating back a century or so.

And, for so long as we lived in Albuquerque, we remained her customers. I joked with her that every dime she paid to us on the commission sales came back to her, and doubled, on what we bought from her. I bought Martha jewelry, again...or, for one birthday, a Hopi badger fetish carving. A couple of things on my walls right now came from Connie’s shop. For instance, right now, in front of me and a bit over my head, there’s a small eighteenth century astronomical engraving showing the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere. It’s small, and not particularly valuable, but I still think it’s very cool, and who knows? Maybe someday it will be considered collectable.

(If I forget, remind me to post a picture or two of it.)

About the photos: Several today. First, a couple of shots of the astrological image which I promised I’d post--a regular shot, and a close up. This piece is on my wall just in front of my desk. Second, Martha having a bite during our San Antonio trip this summer. And, yes, I’ll be writing about that one, too.

Now and then, we also tried to be of service to her. One year, for instance, the church we attended received as a bequest the goods of one of the parishioners. It was an enormous amount of stuff...the woman had been a bit of a hoarder....and the church decided to do a sale of it all in the church’s basement.

I’d been led to believe that it was “collectable,” and I envisioned a vast collection of art and antiques, pottery and paintings, jewelry and objets d’art. So I thought of Connie. I asked the Church council if they’d like me to bring her in as a consultant, and maybe even to handle the sale. They weren’t exactly enthusiastic, but they agreed to a meeting. Then, I spoke to Connie and she said she’d drop by and take a look at things.

The day of the meeting came and I showed up at the church. Connie had gotten there before me and was already in conversation with the committee in charge of the sale. I came into the room and noticed that she was smiling. It was an odd smile.

Then we all went out into the church basement to take a look at what was there...the stuff that had come in from the parishioner. It was then that I realized why Connie was smiling and why she’d had a strained look. In the rooms of the basement, and on the steps, and up the stairs, there was a mountain of...trash. Well, maybe “trash” is a bit strong. Say, “detritus” instead. It was all new brand-named and themed souvenirs.

It turned out that the deceased woman must have been some kind of dealer. She bought unsold goods in vast lots from liquidators and at auction, and then she (I guess) resold them on e-Bay and other places.(*) I saw new Coca-Cola themed toys and decorations. New life-sized “child” dolls (one wearing a World War I soldier’s uniform) standing in corners where they could give real children nightmares for weeks to come. New Star Wars stuff. New “Militaria.” New “Disneyana” (enough Mickey Mice to equip a regiment of rodents). New Breaking Bad stuff. New Reproductions of tin advertising signs (not the real antiques. Modern reproductions). And on, and on, and on...

 Collectable? Well, in a sense. There are people who collect such things. But, this stuff wasn’t going to command high prices. None of it was old. None of it was unique. None of it was really valuable. Oh, yes, if you put it in a storage unit with controlled heat and humidity, and kept it there for 40 years, it might well emerge worth its weight in gold.

But...not... right... now.

Connie and the committee shook hands and went their ways with no hard feelings. I, however, was mortified. I followed her to the parking lot and apologized profusely for wasting her time. “No, no,” she said. “Not a problem at all.” She was forgiving. But it was forgiveness. I really had wasted her morning and her time. Worse, I’d raised her hopes that here would be a fabulous estate to sell. And, fabulous it most certainly wasn’t.

In the end, the church did sell a lot of the stuff that came in, but I’m not sure how much money it actually made in the process. And about half of it didn’t sell and went back to the family of the parishioner. I have no idea what happened to it after that. Maybe it went into storage and will, indeed, be sold someday as antiques. Or...and I’m guessing this is more is all in a landfill somewhere, awaiting the attentions of time or some future archeologists with their little shovels and brushes, excavating the Donald Ducks and Darth Vaders of the distant past.

Ah well.

Well, in spite of this little incident, embarrassing as it was, we remained friends with Connie, even after we moved to Texas. And thus it was that when we made our most recent trip to New Mexico, and realized we would be staying just a stone’s throw away from Old Town, we knew we had to visit her.

And that, in fact, was what we were about to do.

More to come.


*I didn’t even know this market existed until recently, but apparently it is quite active. People buy goods from suppliers on, or they get from liquidators like some of the following:

1) Bstock, this is an online service that runs auctions of overstock and returns. They are are here:

This is also an interesting article which they offer:

2) Rasmus Actions, another auction house,

3) Direct Liquidation, and still another auction group, at

Let me stress that I know nothing about these companies. I have never done business with them. I am in no way offering a recommendation. I am simply posting these links as examples of firms which seem to be in this particular business. So, if you elect to do business with them, exercise due caution.

Copyright©2024 Michael Jay Tucker


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