$20 Estate Sale Find Worth $1,000!


S Morani Bookends - Athena - 1914

She picked me up and two hot chicks (or two middle aged moms in a mini van) were off for a day of estate sailing.


House number 1: we circled, we saw nothing, we left.  The day was off to a bad start.

House number 2: an unassuming ranch with a few odds and ends that we scooped up but …

as we went to pay, my accomplice and mini van driver, Jane, scooped up one of these book ends.


Circa 1914 …

signed by S. Morani …

hmmmm, could these be worth something?

$20 dollars later, we were hauling those S Morani bookends out of the house and into the back of that mini van.

S Morani Bookends - Athena - circa 1914

We hopped into our man magnet – we’re cool like that – as I madly googled S. Morani bookends.

A bunch of pics popped up – $125, $150, $250 …

but I didn’t see this exact set so we were left to wonder.

Fast forward three hours as I get a text from Jane showing me the exact bookends for sale on eBay for over $1,000!


Here’s the scoop:

These 100-year-old bookends made by Salvatore Morani are bronze-clad.

The National Metalizing Company of NYC, which later was known as the Armor Bronze Company, produced these pieces. The title of these bookends is “Silence.” The artist’s name: S. Morani is formed into one side; the date 1914, on the other. This set pre-dates Armor’s shield logo, found on later pieces.

Signed bronze S Morani Bookends - Athena - circa 1914

Moral of the story #1:  always scoop up a great deal so you can have your own Antiques Roadshow moment.

Moral of the story #2: leave your deal scoping, amazing score finding, mini van driving friend at home next time!


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  1. I love this! If an item speaks to you, buy it! I found some similar owl bookends that spoke to me. They ended up being worth several hundred dollars but now….as Laura asks…..should I sell or keep?

  2. Woohoo! What a find! How do you find your estate sales? I use estatesales.org. Do you have an amazing source you could share?

  3. What a great find! That would be and entire month’s or summer’s Yard/estate sale money. I would sell those babies and put that money in a jar taking it out a little at a time thanking the book-ends every single time I make a cool new purchase. Great story Kelly!

  4. Ok. I don’t wanna be a fun-hater, and Im sure Im not telling anyone anything they didn’t know, but what sellers as on eBay is a definitely NOT a good way to assess value. People can (and have) asked thousands of dollars for used chewing gum that bears resemblance to… whatever. What really counts is what buyers are willing to PAY on eBay. To find this, use the “refine search” and check off “Sold.” That will give a much better idea of what the item will bring & how often the item is sold… Usually it’s a little disappointing! Especially if you’ve seen them priced high & hope to sell ASAP for a quick profit. BUT, it’s realistic. And definitely not the only way to assess value!

    Maybe I misunderstood and your bookends had SOLD on eBay recently for $1000? I sure hope so!

  5. I’m with M Buck above. I simply go to the left column on ebay and check completed and that will tell you what buyers are willing to actually pay for an item. As a seller, you can ask for anything – but if it doesn’t sell at that price, you can definitely see it’s not worth that amount. It is funny to me that people on ebay will list something at a high starting price when, if they only checked what that same item actually SOLD for, they would see that there is no chance anyone would bid on it at their inflated price. An educated consumer is the best customer!
    I see this all the time at garage sales – the owners will have print-outs of ebay items and say “look, what a deal I’m giving you – it’s going for $400.00 on ebay!” NO, it’s not gong for anything if you check the completed! I love those bookends and hope you sold them for a high price – I will check ebay completed to see! Keep shopping!

  6. That is an awesome find. And $20 too. I’m so jealous. I need to hit up more estate sales. Either way haven’t visited in so long, but I’m so glad you are still updating. Will be back soon.

    -Milla | Design Par Deux

  7. I remember once when I was 25 or 26 (a lot of years ago) and had my kids in the car (still in car seats, my daughter was a baby) and I ran up on this huge yard sale. Turned out that these people were selling the contents of their parents house to close the estate. Apparently, the lady of the house collected a huge amount of art pottery and glass and the prices were all between $20 and $60 Even then, I was a huge fan of Antiques Roadshow (British and American) and I knew what Roseville and Rookwood were, but these people did not. I even tried to tell the woman there that the pottery was worth more than she was asking. She said that she didn’t care, she just wanted it all gone because they had no room for it. The only problem was that it was 2 days before payday and I HAD NO MONEY TO PURCHASE EVEN ONE VASE! I was SOOO upset that day!

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