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‘Youngest Picker’ to Launch Estate Sales Company with Southern California Sale

by Gregory Watkins (10/02/13).

Connor McCrory’s goal is to be in the antiques and collectibles business. He’s getting a jump on his career by launching his business—Estate Sales by Connor—with his inaugural estate sale in La Canada, Calif., on Oct. 11-12.

Just about every 8-year-old can tell you what he or she wants to be when they grow up: a nurse, a teacher, a veterinarian, a firefighter. For Connor McCrory, his goal is to be in the antiques and collectibles business.

While the rest of his friends are content to simply keep those dreams in the back of their minds while they work on their 3rd-grade studies, Connor is getting a jump on his career, as on Oct. 11-12, will launch his business—Estate Sales by Connor—with his inaugural estate sale in La Canada, Calif. Details about the sales can be found on EstateSales.net.

“I’ve been to about 5,000 estate sales,” he estimates, “so I know how they are run. I’ve been working on it for two or three weeks, taking things out of boxes, looking them up and pricing them. I’m going back out there this weekend to finalize all the pricing.”

Now, if you wondering how an 8-year-old can know so much about antiques and collectibles to run an antique sale, maybe we should step back and introduce the boy who is known on his Facebook page as “America’s Youngest Picker.”

Connor was born with a congenital heart condition called aortic stenosis, which keeps him from doing too strenuous of activities. During physical education at school he spends his time helping the PE teacher. So with his weekends free, he has been attending flea markets and estate sales with his parents, talking with dealers and buyers alike, and filing away information about subject, form and pricing in what can only be called a photographic memory.

“He can recall everything; it’s scary,” said Connor’s mother, Aime McCrory. “That’s how he’ll remember pricing. He can site realized prices from things he saw online months ago.”

His first big picking find came when he was 4, he recalls, when at a garage sale in North Hollywood.

“I found an HO-scale train and asked the guy if he had any Lionel trains,” said Connor, who discovered the iconic electric train line when visiting a vintage toy shop. At the time, he was enamored with Thomas the Tank Engine, but when he saw the classic streamlined look of the Art Deco-designed engines, Thomas was left on a side track.

“He had a couple of rare, rare, rare 1930s engines,” Connor said. “He was asking $200 each, so I said, ‘no way. Would you take $25?’ He said ‘no way.’ Eventually, he sold it to me for $55 and I resold it for $300.”

To help him with pricing, Connor uses an iPad mini given to him by WorthPoint founder and CEO Will Seippel, and he searches for prices using the WorthPoint Worthopedia mobile app.

So he has the negotiating and reselling skills down pretty well. He has also managed to beat some determined pickers to a 1959 second-edition Barbie worth $1,000 at an estate sale and scored a set of Haywood Wakefield lamps that made him a 1,000-percent return on his investment. 

The sale that laid the groundwork for his blossoming estate sale business came about through a friend of Connor’s grandmother, Mo, who was faced with selling the estate of her 97-year-old mother after moving her to an assisted-living facility.

While Mo knew about Connor’s penchant for buying and selling vintage toys, she didn’t realize just how much he knew about antiques and collectibles in general until she listened to an interview Connor gave to Worthologist Martin Willis for his Antique Auction Forum podcast.

“I really didn’t know how deep his interest was. I had a very dear friend who passed away and left me a jewelry box that was full of jewelry,” she said. “I didn’t know if any of it was worth anything. So I decided to see what Connor could do with it.”

Mo passed on the contents of the jewelry to Connor to sell on consignment, and then put it out of her mind until she was handed an envelope containing $900 in cash, representing the beginning of nearly $4,000 profit. That gave her an idea: why not let Connor and Aime handle her mother’s estate sale?

“I’ve known Connor since he was a little boy,” she said. “I just love him; he’s quite a little bargainer and he’s so knowledgeable about what things are and about their values, I feel very confident with both Connor and Aime.”

Now that the weekend of the sale is approaching, Connor—and his team, which includes his mother, father, and a picking friend—are going through the contents of a very large house and a guest house, opening boxes, identifying and tagging items and getting ready for the sale in general.

Connor at work at his booth at the Melrose Fairfax Antiques Market.

“Connor is very task-oriented,” said his mother Aime about getting items priced and the sale ready to go. “He’ll tell me, ‘Mommy, you’re not listening to me. You’re spending too much time on mugs that are only worth a dollar. If you don’t listen, I’m going to have fire you and get somebody else.’”

To help him with pricing, Connor uses an iPad mini given to him by WorthPoint founder and CEO Will Seippel, and he searches for prices using the WorthPoint Worthopedia mobile app.

“It’s totally the best,” said Connor about the Worthopedia. “It’s better than eBay because it has more stuff from auctions and it has better dates and descriptions.” Asked if the app was easy enough that a child could use it, the 8-year-old thought for a moment and said, “probably, maybe a 6- or 7-year-old.”

The address of the estate sale itself will appear on the EstateSales.net listing on Thursday, Oct. 10, and will feature the tangible personal property accumulated over nearly a century of life. There will be a lot of Sterling silver dining ware, fine china and crystal—Mo’s mother liked to entertain, and she had china and crystal with several different patterns, many to match various holidays throughout the year. There are several sets of furniture from a 1920s Hoosier cabinet to Arts & Crafts to 1960s and ’70s pieces, multiple pieces of vintage Llardro and other figurines and vases, several clocks, including a grandfather clock, art, vintage clothing and accessories, and more.

The sale will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct, 11-12.


Gregory Watkins is the executive editor of WorthPoint. You can e-mail him at greg.watkins@worthpoint.com“>greg.watkins@worthpoint.com.

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