People often ask “How did you get started in the antiques business?” The answer is really very simple – there wasn’t a time in my life when antiques were not a part of it. So for me, it’s as deeply ingrained as another person’s love of football or cooking. Most every Saturday morning my mother and I would head to rural auctions in the Washington/Madison Counties area of Northwest Arkansas. My mother’s golden rule of auction buying was “go early and stay late.” The best buys occur in the first few minutes and last minutes of most any auction. I also learned about buying box lots. Many times, great buys were hiding there. I was allowed to bid and purchase items on my own, usually buying box lots. Now, what’s a 10-year-old boy to do with all these items? Not a problem!
Enter my magical Aunt Hazel. Most anyone traveling on old Hwy 71 heading to Fayetteville for a Razorback game or holiday drove past one of her famous yard sales in West Fork. She was the undisputed Queen Of The Perpetual Yard Sale. I would bring her a box of things I purchased at auction, she would rummage through the box, and after a deep inspection she would say “What did you pay for this box?” Roy: “$8.” Aunt Hazel: “Ok see this picture — let’s tag this $8 so when that picture sells, your inventory is paid for. Now let’s tag and price everything else and when everything sells from this box, that will be your profit.” Economics 101. And just to keep life lessons real, Aunt Hazel charged me 20% to sell my items!
My mother and Aunt Hazel are no longer with us, but every day I use lessons these great ladies taught me. My late mother instilled a love and appreciation of antiques in me. Her excitement, curiosity, and enthusiasm were infectious and a true joy. My Aunt Hazel inspired and motivated me to take a fun hobby and redefine collecting into a business — the very foundation of Roy Dudley Estate Sales.