For the next several hours, Brad and James rummaged through rooms, boxes, and the like. Most items they laid their eyes on probably weren’t worth much of anything.
A few things despite their wear and tear could perhaps be sold to certain antique collectors because of the age of the items. A shoebox full of 50 to 70 year old baseball cards held such potential.
And, still fewer items held promise of greater return. A three-ring binder contained baseball cards that were closer to mint condition than the shoebox. One card in particular caught Brad’s perceptiveness.
“Hey, James,” Brad called out after seeing the card, “come look at this.” Once James was in view of the card, Brad continued, “This rookie card of Nolan Ryan looks authentic and original. Do you realize how much this might bring?”
James laughed. “That’s exactly the thing I was hoping to find. Good job, Brad. You’ve earned your keep today.”
A little later James entered what had been the master bedroom, a room used at present more or less for storage. Everything was covered with white sheets that weren’t so white anymore.
He pulled off the sheets to find several pieces of luxurious looking furnishings: two matching chest of drawers, a bed frame with an ornate headboard, a nightstand overlaid in gold color trim, and a china cabinet filled with glassware, porcelain and fine china.
He yelled to Brad who was still in the living room, “We’ve hit the mother lode!”
Brad ran immediately into the bedroom and gawked at what he saw. “Oh my word!” At first, he couldn’t think of any other words that could describe the surge going through his body.
In time, he stated, “And, I thought some of the baseball cards were a catch.”
“They are!” James corrected Brad. “You didn’t get that wrong, but these just add to it.”
Brad strolled around the room, getting a closer look at the items. Even on closer inspection, the pieces in the china cabinet showed little signs of a century passing. The chest of drawers had few nicks if any. Did they not ever use these? Brad thought.
He made his way to the headboard, which no longer was connected to the bed frame, simply leaning against the wall. He tilted it forward to test its weight and noticed another sheet behind it. At first he thought it was there to protect the wall and the headboard, but the sheet did not fall when the headboard was tilted.
“James, come take a look at this.”
James came and stood in-between Brad and the wall. “What do we have here?” He thought out loud. He pulled out whatever the sheet was hiding, which turned out to be a picture frame. He let the sheet fall to the floor, revealing a painting.
James didn’t have the best angle at which to view the painting, but Brad got a good look at it. “I think it’s Van Gogh,” Brad stated.
James handed the frame to Brad, and Brad turned it around so James could see it. James cocked his head, peering into the painting. “It does remind me of Van Gogh, but I think I have seen this painting before. It’s probably just a copy.”
“It’s a good one!” Brad exclaimed with wide eyes.
“That’s true.” James nodded. “Good copies can sell for a little, I suppose.” He gestured with a swooping wave in the direction of the china cabinet, which was positioned against the opposite wall. “Let’s add it to the heap.”
Brad and James separated, each searching different rooms. After searching the kitchen downstairs and the other bedrooms upstairs, they met in the living room. James was on his cell phone when Brad walked into the room.
“Thank you, sir.” James bid farewell to the person on the other side of the line and closed his phone. Looking excitedly toward Brad, he said, “That was David from Oxford.” Brad lowered his eyebrows, smirking at his friend, so James added, “Oxford, Mississippi.”
After laughing at his own tease, James continued, “Oxford is about 25 miles north of here. There is going to be a live auction there this coming Saturday. David suggested that we bring our stuff up to the auction house sometime before Saturday so the appraisers can look over everything.”
“They,” Brad added, “should be able to let us know if anything is worthy of an auction and if we will get anything for it.”
“Exactly!” James agreed with a smile. “All we need to do now is rent a truck.”
Brad nodded and then thought of something. “You know, we didn’t check the attic. Since we are going to all of this trouble, we might as well.”
“Okay,” James said, adding, “You can go ahead and do it while I get a hold of a truck.”