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Caroline Ashleigh Associates Receives 2013 Michiga...
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Where to Sell, Donate or Recycle Those Once Loved Items and Feel Good About It

booksSergey Nivens


If you can't muster the enthusiasm to get up at the crack of dawn and stand in the hot sun or rain and haggle with bargain hunters at your own yard sale, here is some good news that is a win/win for everyone...

Discover a dozen strategies for shedding that stuff that allows you to make extra money or a tax deduction for your donation, and allows you to find a good home for your things you can't use, and provide for those in need. By recycling and reusing good items, it also helps the environment by keeping them out of land fills.

To find out great ways to get rid of otherwise hard-to-get-rid of stuff, contact for creative places to go when saddled with art; books; designer clothing, shoes, handbags; electronics; large household goods and more.





Caroline Ashleigh Associates Receives 2013 Michigan Excellence Award in Business


The Small Business Institute for Excellence in Commerce (SBIEC) has selected Caroline Ashleigh Associates, apart from all its competitors, for meeting and exceeding industry benchmarks for customer service, product quality and ethical practices.

Caroline Ashleigh Associates receives 2013 Michigan Excellence Award 

October 21st 2013 - Caroline Ashleigh Associates has been selected for the 2013 Michigan Excellence Award amongst all its peers and competitors by the Small Business Institute for Excellence in Commerce (SBIEC).

Each year the SBIEC conducts business surveys and industry research to identify companies that have achieved demonstrable success in their local business environment and industry category. They are recognized as having enhanced the commitment and contribution of small businesses through service to their customers and community. Small businesses of this caliber enhance the consumer driven stature that Michigan is renowned for.

Caroline Ashleigh Associates has consistently demonstrated a high regard for upholding business ethics and company values. This recognition by SBIEC marks a significant achievement as an emerging leader within various competitors and is setting benchmarks that the industry should follow.

As part of the industry research and business surveys, various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the selected companies in each category. This research is part of an exhaustive process that encapsulates a year long immersion in the business climate of Michigan.

About SBIEC:

The SBIEC is a leading authority on researching, evaluating and recognizing companies across a wide spectrum of industries that meet its stringent standards of excellence. It has spearheaded the idea of independent enterprise and entrepreneurial growth allowing businesses of all sizes to be recognized locally and encouraged globally.

Particular emphasis is given to meeting and exceeding industry benchmarks for customer service, product quality and ethical practices. Industry leading standards and practices have been developed and implementation of the same has been pioneered by the dedicated efforts of the business community and commerce leadership.

About Caroline Ashleigh Associates:

Caroline Ashleigh Associates provides a broad range of appraisal and auction services for buyers and sellers. Some of the comprehensive services provided include advice on purchasing, selling, collection management, and investing in art and antiques. Caroline Ashleigh and the staff at Caroline Ashleigh Appraisers and Auctioneers have earned the company a reputation for convenience, quality, expertise and ethical practice. 

More information on SBIEC can be found at

How to Hunt for Your Own $1M Dollar Find
My Heritage Auctions and Antiques Roadshow friend and colleague, Nick Dawes, tells you how to hunt for your own million dollar estate sale find.
Auctions are like sporting events; pundits and punters predict the outcome but never really know what will happen. Triumphs and record breakers tend to make art press headlines, while upsets are quickly swept under the nearest Oriental rug.

The performance this week of a Chinese Ding bowl, bought for $3 at a yard sale and sold at auction in New York for $2.2 million, is the latest result in a string of successes for "undiscovered" Chinese porcelain at auction. It began in earnest in the 1970s and reached a climax on November 13, 2010, when a porcelain vase from the reign of 18th-century emperor Qianlong took a staggering 53 million pounds from a Chinese bidder in a tiny suburban London salesroom, the kind where bidders sit on sofas and chairs that are part of the estate auction.

Both pieces sat unidentified, and unappreciated, for generations, rekindling the flame of hope that burns dimly inside all antiques enthusiasts, whether or not they care to admit it. Flea-marketeers and yard-salers openly acknowledge they live in a world of false hope, spending countless hours, like fishermen who catch nothing but the smallest fry, or nothing at all in most outings. Most hopes that live on are commonly dashed by the first encounter with a professional. The floor of an "Antiques Roadshow " taping set is littered with broken dreams -- and sometimes broken porcelain in emphasis.

I do not believe anyone has ever statistically plotted the chances of turning up a valuable object at a yard sale opportunity, but expect such a number would be too small to register on any scale. Before any attempt to uncover a dream, it pays to think strategically about what it is you are looking for. Like finding the perfect partner, this may involve a process of elimination but depends largely on common sense and good powers of observation.

The essential ingredient in determining value of an art object is no secret: supply and demand. I suggest those on the way to an early-morning yard sale repeat this over and over in the van. Rarity may therefore be a positive factor, but if something is rare, or perhaps unique, and no one wants it (your grandfather's homemade table lamp perhaps?), it has no value.

On the other hand, an object may be plentiful, even mass-produced, but have even greater demand and therefore value. Some years ago I sold a Lalique perfume bottle at auction for a little more than $200,000. Its owner had purchased the bottle at Saks Fifth Avenue in 1937 (where it was marked down 50% on sale) for $25. There were plenty more waiting to be sold at the time.

Quality is sometimes but not always a factor in value. Most baseball cards are extremely inexpensively made, and mass-produced, making all cards from any given series fundamentally the same, except of course for the subject. Most cards, even those a century old, are worth a few dollars at best, and a pitiful percentage rise into the hundreds individually, but a few are valued into six or even seven figures. The economics of supply and demand work powerfully when applied to the subtleties of collecting a set.

It is not coincidental that most remarkable numbers lately have been put up by Chinese objects. The year 2010, in which China overtook Europe to become the second-largest art market after the United States, has been described as an annus mirabilis for Chinese art collecting as wealthy Chinese from all levels of the new society chose art and objects as tangible assets, suitable for investment, trading and bragging rights beyond simple display. The demand is as large as the Chinese population and economy, and supply of exquisite objects limited, thanks to most being in Western museums or private collections.

A fundamental awareness of Chinese porcelain may be a big help in your hopes of finding the same success as the owner of the Ding bowl, but serious knowledge is an area of immense expertise shared by an elite few and respected by the trade above all other areas of understanding.

If you rely on luck, however, Chinese porcelain is a fairly good bet. The Ding bowl looks quite ordinary to most of us. It is monochrome, with an extremely subtle pattern, and does not have a mark translating as "valuable Ding bowl" stamped on the bottom, making it look like a bowl found in Pottery Barn (and more commonly found at yard sales). Good luck in your search. The only other comparable example is in the British Museum.

Perhaps a hidden treasure may be closer than you think. Heritage Auctions offers an example of the insanely rare 1913 Liberty Head nickel in April. The last one we offered sold for $3.73 million. It looks pretty much like any other nickel to most of us, and there may have been others in circulation. Check your pockets.

Estate Sale Find Goes for 22 million at Auction



A Chinese bowl that a New York family picked up for $3 at a garage sale turned out to be a 1,000-year-old treasure and has been sold at auction for $2.2 million.

The bowl — ceramic, 5 inches in diameter and with a saw-tooth pattern etched around the outside — went to a London dealer, Giuseppe Eskenazi, at an auction house in the United States.

The bowl was from the Northern Song Dynasty, which ruled China from 960 to 1127 and is known for its cultural and artistic advances.

The auction house said the only other known bowl of similar size and design has been in the collection of the British Museum for more than 60 years. The house had estimated that this one would sell for $200,000 to $300,000.

The seller was not identified, but the bowl was put up for auction after consulting with experts. The family bought the bowl in 2007 and had kept it on a mantel in the years since. There weren't any additional details made public about the garage sale where they had purchased the item.


The Art of Estate Sales©

by Caroline Ashleigh, AAA, USPAP



We’re Americans in the twenty-first century. We have more stuff in basements and attics and back rooms than we can ever use in a lifetime. Or three. The problem is compounded by the fact that we’re living in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, and even as we know we should be winnowing, we are wallowing. It’s hard to let go of objects because they are full of stories: our stories, our families’ stories, or, if we’ve been haunting tag sales, the antiques mall or flea market, other people’s stories. They speak to us, as Yeats once said, of what is past, and what is yet to come.


We can, in fact, never be free of our stuff until we have dealt with the stories it carries. In the end, it does indeed tell us something about who we are. And it’s what we make of it, and what the future owner makes of it and does with it - one quilt, one pickle fork, and one cookie jar at a time. Will the new owners create their own history for these objects of our affection, and will their legacy live on?


Everyone is a winner at an estate sale. All the wonderful things that are sold at an estate sale will have a new life. Some other baby will sleep in the wicker cradle and some other mother will rock it to sleep in the rocking chair.


“It is in the spirit of recycling, recreating and renewal that estate sales find their greatest meaning.”




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