What’s in the attic?

Published 10:00 pm Monday, March 21, 2016

Beth Troyer (Photo by Linda List)

Beth Troyer (Photo by Linda List)

Searching in old attics, digging in forgotten trunks, rummaging through closets, never knowing what treasures and old keepsakes might come to light, is what led Beth Troyer to open her estate sale business, Frauline’s Estate Liquidation. I’m spending the morning at Foothills Amish Furniture, owned by Beth and her husband Matt, to learn more about the Beth’s estate liquidation business.

My first question is, “Why Frauline’s? What prompted the name?” She smiles and tells me, “When I was young, we spoke German in our home. I didn’t learn English until I entered school. I wanted to bring that heritage into the name. We were Mennonite and it was a small community. My school for first grade was a one-room schoolhouse. Third grade and up was three rooms.”

Beth was born in Pennsylvania. Her family moved to Tennessee when she was very young.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

She relates her story, “When I was fourteen my mother had heart disease and passed away. I was very close to her and it was devastating. For several years I lost my zest for life, sinking into a serious depression. My sister took charge of things.  Eventually I found books and CD’s that helped me look at life in a positive way, looking outside of myself.  At 18 I moved to Ohio and worked in an inn. Matt and I met in Ohio and were married after a year and a half.”

Looking for warmer weather brought them down to South Carolina.

Beth always enjoyed exploring at estate sales.

“It’s something that fascinates me,” she explains. “I never know what I will uncover. Attics are the most interesting part of the house. Trunks often contain heirloom quality dishes. They’ve been passed down for generations and through the years, no one remembered they had them.  I’m able to use the Internet to determine the value of dishes, jewelry, paintings, and other antiques.”

One of her most unusual discoveries was an urn with ashes. “The house had been sold with all its contents, as is. The former husband and wife had both died, so the present owner had no idea whose ashes these were. It was sad,” she remembers. “After all, this was a person.”

Usually the owner isn’t present during the sale. As Beth says, “It’s an emotional time and difficult to see your life’s belongings being sold and carried out. Sometimes the children are out of state. The parents have passed away. They’ve retrieved the items they treasure and prefer to have everything else sold. Other people are just downsizing, or, unfortunately, there might be a foreclosure.”

One of the most expensive items she sold was an Indian chandelier with a mosaic design made of colored glass. “And one time we found an old wood pipe. I’m sure it was quite old. The pipe was all hand carved with very small details. You could still smell the tobacco,” she laughs.

I ask about Civil War memorabilia. Beth recalls, “We had an old green, army jacket but I don’t know if it was Civil War. We also found some Scottish armor and attire.”

Since Tryon has long been an artists community, there is often valuable artwork to be sold. Again, the Internet is a valuable tool to help determine pricing.

“Of course at estate sales, people are usually hunting bargains. It’s a fine line between offering items at a price to sell, but being sure it’s a fair price for the owner,” she tells me.

When things haven’t sold by the end of the sale, Frauline Liquidations arranges, with the owners permission, for a truck from Door of Hope in Spartanburg to pick up what’s left to be donated to the Mennonite Church Thrift Store. Beth advertises her sales in the Bulletin and on Facebook. She’s in the process of developing a website.

She can be reached at 828-817-4756 or FraulinesLiquidation@yahoo.com.