Tuesday, October 27, 2015

First Edition Books: What Makes Them So Valuable?

The Value of the Written Word

There is much emphasis placed upon first edition novels because they can capture a moment in time. Not all first editions are created equal and some are more valuable than others. Why? That depends on the author and the content of the book.
Ernest Hemingway is considered one of the greatest American novelist and that is why a first edition of For Whom the Bell Tolls will fetch such a high price. Origin of Species by Charles Darwin caused such an uproar when it was published that collectors love to get their hands on the first edition. This is due to them being able to hold a portion of history in their hands. There are even the instances in which the content vary depending on the revisions. The first edition of Frankenstein differs greatly from the later versions because Mary Shelley had a change of heart.
Aesthetic reasons also come into play when determining the value of a novels. Around the time of the printing press, books were written by hand along with any drawings that were included. These sorts of books are rare and valuable. There are modern novels, such as The Great Gatsby, whose covers are so iconic that collectors seek out first editions.

Estate Sales in Long Island, NY

Selling your first edition novels can fetch far more than you think. If you need assistance with your estate sale, we can help you sell your collection. For more information, contact Full of Surprizes at (516)315-3102. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Illegal to Sell Items

Contraband Items

Over the years, viewpoints and laws have changed so that items that were legal are now illegal. When it comes to estate sales, things can become tricky when said items are put up for sale. Rather than be subjected to the long-arm of the law, you will want to conduct a bit of research on items you feel are questionable.

Goods That Are Illegal to Sell

Items that tend to pop-up in estate sales are weapons, animal products, and tobacco.
Legislation for firearms has changed and there are now restrictions based on the personal ownership of weapons.  Depending on the caliber and type of firearm, there are certain restrictions that prevent ownership of a gun to pass with ease.
In many other countries, living animals are captured and sold as pets. Or their pelts and parts of their bodies are taken and sold freely. In the United States, certain animals are illegal as pets and items such as ivory from an elephant cannot be bought and sold.
The selling of cigarettes without taxes is illegal and certain types of tobacco are illegal to sell in the U.S. Cuban cigars in particular are still illegal to bring to the states unless you are a license traveler and are allowed to export certain transactions.

Estate Sale in Long Island, NY

A good rule of thumb when conducting an estate sale is researching items you may feel wary about. If you need the help of a professional, look to Full of Surprizes. We can help you with all of your estate sale needs. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Art World Done the Millennial Way

Art and Millennials

Many industries, such as the wine industry, are transitioning their business to cater to Millennials. The art world is now in a state of reinvention to tailor to the tastes of this new group. Since their taste are less exclusive and are more willing to take risks.
Even with a limited budget, twenty to thirty year olds have the habit of splurging on certain luxury items and art has fallen into that category. The way they go about finding and purchasing artwork is also different. They are no longer limiting themselves to purchasing works from galleries. They now buy online from credible sites or keep in touch with the artist directly through social media.

Estate Sales in Roslyn, NY

Ultimately, Millennials want to be involved in the process of researching and buying their pieces. They may not have much knowledge about art history but are willing to do the investigating on a piece and prefer art with meaning. If your estate includes pieces of artwork you are looking to sell, our appraisers at Full of Surprizes can help you. There is always a market for new and older pieces, especially with Millennials. For more information, contact us today. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Modern Collectible Dishware- Fiesta Ware

Fiesta Time

Introduced to the world in 1936, Fiesta dinnerware gained mass popularity in the 1980s.  What makes this line of everyday dishes so popular? The answer is simply in its vibrant colors, modern design, and affordability. Since the colors become “retired” that is what makes them so collectible.
In the 1970s, there was a resurgence in the popularity of art deco designs from the 1920s and 1930s. Couple this with baby boomers coming into adulthood, the popularity of Fiesta ware took off only for the company to be discontinued. In the 1980s, plates that were once sold at extremely low prices were now fetching hundreds of dollars on secondary markets. Owners of the companies realized this and started up production once again in the mid-1980s offering a redesign and new colors.
With 39 colors in rotation, not only are the new line collectible but older dishes are highly sought after at estate and yard sales. At Full of Surprizes, we specialize in selling items such as collectible dishware. For more information about our estate services, contact us at (516)315-3102 for a consultation.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Confessions of an Estate Liquidator

We always face those “moments" in our lives where we we're called on to make choices. These are usually choices about our values and the way we want to see ourselves as human beings. I always pride myself and believing that I have a lot of common sense and make good choices.

Last weekend, Full of Surprizes Estate & Tag Sales of Long Island, did a large estate sale in Huntington New York. We were swarmed with people who loved the 5 acre home on Long Island, in horse country. Everything was selling, including three automobiles, (2 Mercedes and a Lincoln Navigator), two rugs, sofa’s, wall units, furnishings, clothing, jewelry, teak patio pieces, snow blowers, bicycles and cement pots), to name a few.

At the end of the second day we were all pretty exhausted as there is been hundreds and hundreds of people that flowed through the property on this exceptionally warm weekend. After counting up all of the money together, the homeowner counted out my commission for two of the three cars and put it on my fanny backpack to be put away. I didn't even look at it. Usually I count everything, but in this case, there had been so much camaraderie with the homeowners that I just smiled at her and put it in the bag.

So you can imagine my surprise the next day when I sat down to count the money for bank deposit and I discovered that there was $1000 too much in the bag. (I wasn’t remotely naive enough to think that she had given me a generous tip). So, I started texting her at 10 PM last night, only to discover it was her birthday and she wanted to wait to talk with me until today. But I figured this would be a great birthday gift, to tell her what had happened. She couldn't stop thanking me. And my response was, "of course" as in what other decision is there to make but the right one? It was a win-win situation. I really believe that the most important thing is to live a life of integrity. How about you?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Whitney Finds a Home

In Manhattan’s Meatpacking District

On May 1st, the famed Whitney Museum of American Art opened the doors of its new, highly anticipated home atop Manhattan’s High Line in the Meatpacking District. The new digs have generated much intrigue, and is being hailed as an architectural marvel with admirers proclaiming it as an art piece itself.

Lack of space was the motivation for the Whitney’s move from its previous location on the Upper East Side where it spent the last 40+ years. The museum’s collection has grown extensively in that time, forcing trustees to look elsewhere. The new building doesn’t just boast display rooms, but performance space, classrooms, restaurants, terraces, and windows galore.

The new Whitney certainly doesn’t hold back on the aesthetics. A feature that art aficionados will appreciate. However, there are critics who claim that the grandeur of the building takes away from the art. Whichever way look at the new Whitney, the fact remains, this is where it’ll stay for years to come. Go see it for yourself!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Clarice Cliff – A Life of Ceramics

Honoring one of the great artists of the 20th Century

When it comes to ceramics and pottery from the 20s and 30s, there is no bigger name than Clarice Cliff. For 40 years, she honed and developed a vividly-colored, hand-painted, art-deco style that is truly unmistakable and unique.

A pioneer for ceramicist and women

Cliff’s impact cannot be understated. She made a name for herself during a time when women were not given nearly enough opportunities that men were. She was able to take her small role at a ceramics company and turn it into a full-fledged art career, serving as the foundation for her greatest works.
It was here that she cultivated her famous line known as “Bizarre,” the Art Deco inspired pottery that played with shapes and color in a way that never had before. Everybody wanted to get their hands on here “Bizarre-ware,” helping to propel her status as a ceramics virtuoso.

Cliff’s costly collectibles

Following Cliff’s death in 1972, her widely respected, already-distinct flair reached even larger popularity. “Bizarre-ware” has skyrocketed in value over the past 30-40 years and collectors have caught on.
Something as small as a teapot can go for almost $2000, as long as it was handcrafted by Cliff. And that’s coming from a seller who fortunately realized that he even HAD a genuine Cliff piece. There are stories of sellers who didn’t know, letting a Cliff ceramic go for $90.
For the seasoned antique hunter, Cliff’s work isn’t hard to track down. The style is so unique, it can be spotted in a second. If you haven’t heard of Clarice Cliff before, get familiar with her work and keep your eyes peeled! You never know when you might find one.
At Full of Surprizes, we appreciate quality collectibles like Clarice Cliff’s. As experienced estate sale specialists, we can spot items just like it. If you need to hold an estate sale in Long Island, there is no one else contact. Visit our website or call (516)-315-3102 for a free consultation! 

Monday, March 30, 2015


The final installment in our 3 part series

For the conclusion of our foray into the status of once-popular antiques, we focus on a pair of famous figurines and a prominent brand of handcrafted baskets, whom like the others, have declined in popularity for a variety of reasons.

Precious Moments

A market crash, combined with overproduction, led to a decline in value over the years of these sweet statues. That hasn’t stopped admirers who continue to accrue massive collections of the charming children, especially now that they can be purchased for roughly $10 a figurine.


In recent years, these German-made, childlike statuettes reached the same demise of Precious Moments. Soldiers brought them home as souvenirs from World War II, only to become another victim of over production. However, they are a bit pricier than their American doppelganger, selling anywhere from $20 to $100.

Longaberger baskets

At first, handcrafted is always a great feature for a collectible. That’s precisely what appealed to fans of these intricate wooden baskets. However, the release of pricey limited editions, and a market crash, did a number on its value. They can be now found at swap meets for roughly $40.
Even though these items have fallen out of favor, there is always a chance they can bounce back into popularity. Trends in the antique world rise and fall just like every other industry. At Full of Surprizes, we follow the culture very closely and are always aware of fluctuating fads.
Visit www.fullofsurprizes.com or call (516)-315-3102 to find out how we can put our knowledge to use at your Long Island estate sale.

Friday, February 27, 2015


Continued insight into once-popular collectibles

Welcome to the second installment in our series of collectibles that have fallen out of style. This time, we highlight the fading interests in items labeled limited edition and everyone’s formally favorite dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids.

Limited edition goods

The phrase was coined in the 70’s to describe certain batches of items that were limited by amount. Collectors purchased in bulk as an investment, only to see the values drop in the 90’s. The kicker is in the packaging. When the original box and paperwork is included, then you have something. However, those aspects are often missing.

Cabbage Patch Kids

If you happen to own one of the original “Little People” dolls, handmade by art student Xavier Roberts in the late 70s, then you have a collectible. But if all you own is one of the mass produced Cabbage Patch Kids that were made when Roberts sold his company, then what you have is merely a toy.

We, at Full of Surprizes, can spot a genuine collectible very easily. Your estate, or the estate of a loved one, may be chalk full of them. When it is time to liquidate an estate on Long Island, we can help sift through things and figure out what is a hot item and what isn’t.

Visit our website or call (516)-315-3102 for a free consultation!

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Some collectibles have dropped in value

Believe it or not, but there are trends within the estate and tag sale culture. Frequent shoppers realize when certain buying or selling tendencies emerge and know how to act on them.

One such trend involves the depreciation of particular collectibles.

Beanie Babies

The Beanie Baby mania ended in 1999. For a few years, there were retired dolls, dubbed valuable and hard to find, mostly with a high asking price. But now Beanie Babies are mostly sold in heaps, well below the insane asking prices. 

Thomas Kinkade Paintings

Kinkade’s famous oil paintings were once prized. But the incessant reproduction and licensing of his goods put the artist and his work into a commercial limbo. To many stores began to sell “Thomas Kinkades,” and before you know it, the value dropped. Now you can hardly tell the difference.

At Full of Surprizes, we are aware of these rising and falling trends. We understand how to correctly tag and market a particular item so that it is properly liquidated. If you need to hold an estate sale in Long Island New York, we can help.

Visit our website or call (516)-315-3102 for more information!