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Estate Sales

One of the Year’s Most Peculiar Estate Sales Is In Preston Hollow

Don’t miss the extensive sale, which is open Aug. 31–Sept. 2. It’s a house of memories, full of antiques and oddities from all over the world.
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Dallas Estate Sellers were brought in to sell off Monk White's vast collection of antiques. Cody Ulrich
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One of the Year’s Most Peculiar Estate Sales Is In Preston Hollow

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On any given weekend, you can shop dozens of estate sales across Dallas. Small ones that are more like garage cleanouts. Or large mansions with enough antiques, ephemera, and collectibles to rack up millions in sales. 

The best kind of estate sales are like shopping a department store, says Dallas Estate Sellers co-owner Stephen King. You can parse all the items into categories, like clothing, furniture, jewelry, furniture, beauty, and even cleaning supplies. 

You’ll be able to find most these items at a traditional estate sale, but Dallas Estate Sellers’ upcoming purge of the Monk White estate, beginning this Thursday, is anything but normal. 

Featured in the July-August 2022 issue of D Home, the Preston Hollow hacienda-style home is akin to a dragon’s horde of treasures and oddities. Expect Venetian lamps, gargoyle rain spouts, religious paintings, centuries-old antique furniture, an Elvis bust, iron bird cages, Moroccan lights, beaded cushions, saddles, a merman statue, and more. You won’t find clothes or cleaning supplies here. “This one is just an eclectic museum type of sale,” says José Tamayo, Dallas Estate Sellers’ other co-owner. 

The man behind this caboodle of riches is Monk White, who spent his career in Dallas as an investment banker. He and his second wife, Pamela Scheffey White, collected their Wunderkammer of mementos while traveling throughout their 43-year marriage. They filled their house with antiques from places like Sweden, Mexico, Italy, and China. “It’s like a story, a living scrapbook,” White told writer Kendall Morgan last year. But when Monk sold his home this past year, he left most of the trove. The new owners brought on Dallas Estate Sellers to clear the place out. 

Tamayo and King will spend a minimum of two weeks working on an estate sale—from cleaning the house and sorting items to the actual weekend sale. For a larger estate, like this one, they’ll need even longer. By the time the sale ends at 4 p.m. this Saturday, they’ll have spent about a month in the house. 

They take their time cleaning and pricing the items, says Lila Soto, who works for Dallas Estate Sellers. They also have to convince their clients that some items, like plastic kitchen bowls, are worth selling. “People are also very jaded by their own belongings,” King says. They see all the items in their home as junk, but “we walk into a house and all we see are dollar signs,” Tamayo says. 

As they sort and price items, they’ll bring in tables, mannequins, jewelry forms, and more to display it all. Everything’s set up in staged vignettes that encourage shoppers to buy more. (Like that lamp on the side table? Better buy both.) They’ll take photos of everything to post to their site and to websites like estatesales.net and publish write-ups and social media posts about the house. 

They won’t, however, release the address until 7 a.m. the morning of the sale. Some estate sale regulars will stalk the house or get in line before the sun rises. Even with the information hold, folks are always looking for clues to discover an estate sale’s address. The team has to list the ZIP code in the event listing, so some people will look up houses that have recently sold and compare MLS photos to the sale images. Others will drive the neighborhood, looking for the house. (“We’ve seen them, Soto says). Some will consult the soothsayers. 

“We even have a group of people who actually go to a fortune teller,” Tamayo says, “and they show them the pictures of the house and the fortune teller predicts the address or gives them the address.” 

No matter what means buyers take to find the house, be it mystic, pseudo-illegal, or just plain patience, at the start of every sale, King will address the crowd. He’ll explain the rules of the day and other need-to-know info. He’ll also give a warning: “No pushing, no shoving, no biting, no scratching.” 

Then the doors open and it’s time to shop.

The sale will be open 9 a.m.­–4 p.m. Aug. 31–Sept. 2. The address will be announced 7 a.m. Aug. 31. Scroll through the gallery to learn more about some of the items on sale. 

Author

Catherine Wendlandt

Catherine Wendlandt

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Catherine Wendlandt is the online associate editor for D Magazine’s Living and Home and Garden blogs, where she covers all…
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