Hunt for treasure at the senior center

October 1, 2013

By Joe Grove

Volunteers are at work preparing the Issaquah Valley Senior Center for its biggest fundraiser of the year, the annual White Elephant Sale.

The center is 35 years old, and Executive Director Courtney Jaren said something like the White Elephant Sale has gone on from the beginning to supplement the budget. This is her fourth year overseeing the event.

Jaren said the sale is “a little more of a treasure trove than a garage sale. We have people in their 80s and 90s who are downsizing from an entire lifetime of collecting and donate items to the sale. Everything being sold is a donation.”

She said the most unusual thing she has seen at the sale was a vintage, antique Frederick & Nelson hand-carved, three-drawer bureau with the tag still on it.

“It happens often that antiques show up,” she said. Among those this year is a baby crib donated by a man in his 80s. It was his crib when he was a baby, and he believes it was also his father’s crib. There is also a wooden, standalone medicine cabinet with an oval mirror and the original porcelain knobs and shelving.

Another unusual antique is a working pump organ donated by one of the center’s members. The organ has a high, carved back with a mirror and Victorian looking trim.

“We will probably let it go for the best offer on the sale weekend,” Jaren said. “Only the very dear will be sold that way. Most things will have a price on them. We like to remind people this is a fundraiser, so don’t come in thinking you are going to barter down to a dollar on something that elsewhere would be 5 or 10.”

For collectors wanting to get a head start, a pre-sale is going on. The center has a large glass case stocked with antiques and collectibles already priced and available for presale, items such as a set of antique Noritake China from occupied Japan, a full set of Regency service for 12, a beautiful 42-piece set of National Silver Co. flatware, Norman Rockwell figurines, Lennox pottery, English tea cups and flowered china pieces. The inventory is refreshed as items are sold, as they have many antiques and collectibles stored off the premises, Jaren said.

Volunteers are setting up for the sale, which will include crafts and baked goods. The main dining room will house sporting goods, crafts, and miscellaneous antiques and collectibles. The crafts include knitted and crocheted items, quilts, mittens, children’s knitted caps, scarves sweaters, blankets, kitchen towels and baby clothes. Many items were made by the center’s Happy Hookers crocheting and knitting group.

The card room will have tables of priced household goods. Linens, purses, accessories, soft goods and jewelry will be on display in the pool room.

Most regular activities at the center, except for the Tuesday and Friday lunches and mobile activities, have been canceled for the week leading up the sale and will resume Oct. 8.



if you go

White Elephant Sale

Issaquah Valley Senior Center

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 5 and 6

75 N.E. Creek Way



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