Estate sales: Intriguing and bizarre items on display. (PHOTOS)

Collected images.
Aug. 18 2011 3:49 PM

The Intimate and Peculiar World of Estate Sales

A slide show of some of the most touching and bizarre items sold.

1_123125_2065425_2283828_2300891_estategallerypromo

An estate sale has a peculiar way of converting an entire life's worth of experiences into a set of monetary values. Used wedding dress: $50. Smiling passport photos of the deceased: 50 cents each. Everything gets price tags. In turn, strangers often purchase the items and give them a second life.

The term estate sale doesn't necessarily imply the owner has died; they occur for a variety of reasons. As Amy Marguello of Great Estate Solutions puts it, "There are four Ds of estate sales; deceased, destitute, divorced, and increasingly nowadays, downsizing."

In all these cases, the estate sale is a revealing window to a previous life. Regardless of what one buys, visiting is like making a trip to a highly personal museum. The gallery above contains some of the most intriguing items spotted at estate sales in the Washington, D.C., area over the past month, along with their prices.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 9:22 AM The Most Populist Campaign of 2014
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 16 2014 8:00 AM The Wall Street Bombing: Low-Tech Terrorism in Prohibition-era New York
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 9:13 AM Clive James, Terminally Ill, Has Written an Exquisitely Resigned Farewell Poem
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 7:36 AM The Inspiration Drought Why our science fiction needs new dreams.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.