How to find yourself in "estate" of bargain bliss

The most recent estate sale I went to with my friend Annie was like walking into a dollhouse full of "what Ever Happened to Baby Jane" lookalikes. The "sale matrons" running the show belonged to another era unto themselves.

This was an authentic estate sale. We had hit our mark. The signs were visible on every piece of furniture and every item down to the Victorian-inspired lace eyelet curtains hanging from the enormous bay window of the mock Georgian home we had entered.

Some sales pass under the guise of estate and turn out to be glorified tag sales where the majority of items are spread out on tables in the front yard, and only a limited amount of household treasures are purchasable. An authentic estate sale is run by a family who opens their own home to the public after the death of a loved one, or in desperation before moving far away, or by a company hired by a family to do its research and appraisal.