It wasn't your grandmother's yard sale but if you searched hard enough you may have found some items from Uncle Junior's house, or maybe Tony and Carmela's house.
Bargain shoppers and die-hard fans lined up Tuesday outside a warehouse in Queens, N.Y.
They hoped to buy props used on the set of HBO productions, including a few from "The Sopranos."
The furniture included lamps, housewares and trinkets that once decorated the sets of numerous HBO shows.
Shoppers were disappointed to discover few familiar props from Tony's house or the "Bada Bing" were sold at the yard sale.
James Gandolfini's stand-in also went to search for memorabilia.
"The stuff I wanted was all shipped off to L.A. The house stuff, the kitchen, the wall clock which I had my eyes on since day one, episode one, eight, nine years ago. Didn't get that," Donald Metzger, "Tony's" stand-in, said.
The majority of the well-known props are now in Los Angeles for safekeeping until Time Warner decides what to do with them.
By Edward M. Eveld
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Ah, summertime garage sales - the perfect opportunity to gather up all that idle stuff, disgorge it and make a little pocket money to boot.
Selling can be tricky, though. Some items languish, unable to lure a buyer. Maybe you priced them wrong. Maybe the right buyer is out there but never happened along.
Judy Widener knows what comes next. For years her Volker neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo., timed its summer neighborhood garage sale to coincide with a "bulky item pickup" day. That way, unsold stuff could go right to the curb for quick removal. Convenient but bothersome for the recycling-minded.
Let's not send it to the landfill, she thought.
That's when it hit her: Hold a follow-up event, like a garage sale but without the money part. The idea immediately inspired a name: a "Free for All."
Unsold items from individual garage sales in the neighborhood would be amassed in one place, and people would take what they could use.
"It's free, for all," Widener said, whether you live in the neighborhood or not. "It totally describes itself."
Widener knew that many garage sale leftovers had appeal. Hadn't bulky item pickup day generated a parade of extreme bargain hunters who arrive in advance of refuse trucks to shop the piles at the curb?
ST. LOUIS - John Jennings arrived early, sporting a ball cap that read "Senior Citizen: Gimme a Damn Discount." He wouldn't need that bargaining chip. After a half hour of scouring a yard sale on Hummel Avenue in southwest St. Louis, Jennings departed with a cute - his adjective - little tea set.
The $2 price tag seemed more than fair.
"Well, you have to buy something," Jennings said of the set destined for his granddaughter. "Why stop and look at a yard full of merchandise, then walk away with nothing?"
Jennings, a retired warehouseman and regular garage-sale visitor, is part of an army of bargain hunters who frequent the makeshift markets that pop up during the warmer months. In an age of Internet commerce, these old-fashioned, face-to-face transactions are holding their own against online auction sites such as eBay.
"All the eBay-ers are out there looking for finds, so that has really magnified things," says Bruce Littlefield, author of the new book "Garage Sale America." There are roughly 500 million garage sales a year across the country, he says, with an estimated $3 billion (in small bills) changing hands. Also coming into play: an increased awareness of reusable resources.
"Garage saling is the greenest thing you can do," Littlefield says. "It's the ultimate in recycling."
Recycling is just a trendier term for "getting rid of all of this extra stuff," which is how Gloria Barber and daughters-in-law Jen and Natalie described their mission on Hummel Avenue.
The three combined their clutter at Jen's place, where eclectic merchandise filled the yard, the garage and spilled into the driveway: Tupperware bowls stacked beside a trampoline; a New Kids on the Block video; vinyl pressings of polka king Frankie Yankovic; a wedding dress (worn once?); a Christmas tree; a salsa and chips dish in the shape of a sombrero that played "The Mexican Hat Dance" at the push of a button; a barber's chair.