Treasures abound at the Singer Society's benefit sale

November 11, 2003|by Alicia Notarianni

Christina McDermott, 35, went to the park early Saturday afternoon to feed the ducks. She left with a 1950s five-piece bedroom set, an antique rocker, a shower curtain and a handmade blanket and shawl.

Christina and her husband, John McDermott, who recently moved to Hagerstown from Columbia, Md., said they were in City Park when they saw the Treasure Sale banner hanging at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, and they decided to stop in.

In contrast were the many plan-ahead shoppers who had previewed items at the Singer Society's well-attended Treasure Sale reception Friday evening. These buyers began lining up at the museum door by 8:35 a.m. in the crisp, Saturday morning air, waiting to snatch up prizes they had come across the night before.


"They came in like a swarm of locusts," said Judy Waters, chairwoman of the event. "They were walking three abreast. It's a nice festive event."

Between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, the sale grossed about $12,000 to benefit the museum. The Singer Society is a volunteer organization dedicated to supporting the museum.

Shoppers buzzed about the Bowman and Kerstein galleries with excitement, seizing silver, artwork, glassware, ethnic pieces, rugs, furniture, fine china, gift certificates and more. All of the items had been donated by individuals and businesses.

Jan and Rick Wilkins of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., said this was their first time attending. Jan Wilkins said "the thought of finding treasures" brought her to the event. "I've found some nice pieces of glass at reasonable prices," she said. "We like coming to the museum anyway. This is a nice way to shop and look at the same time."

Charles Groh stood holding his wife Phyllis's stash while she hunted for more treasures.

"This is certainly impressive," Charles Groh said of the sale. "There are a lot of nice-looking objects. My wife will use these for her dried flower arrangements," he said with an assortment of containers in his hands.

"Our family donates to the museum," Phyllis Groh said when she returned. "We come quite often to affairs here."

Dagmar Yount braved the sale with four young men, her son and three nephews, ages 7 to 13. Yount, like the McDermotts, saw the Treasure Sale banner and was curious. After some perusing, her son, Joel Yount, left with a backpack on wheels to use for school.

Fay Wastler, an art teacher at South High, had been to the museum on a field trip with her students when she learned of the event. She made a note of it and decided to attend. Her favorite find was a "pretty picture made in England."

Valerie Bonano, 53, and her daughter, Gabriela Bonano, 25, were encouraged to attend the sale by a friend who had gone in previous years.

"It didn't take much convincing," said Valerie Bonano. She left pleased with a print and a Christmas tray.

Christina McDermott epitomized the excitement of the event. She said the 1950s bedroom set caught her eyes early on, as she has been wanting to redo her guest room. Still, she hesitated to read her husband. Then during the final moments of the sale, all remaining items were reduced to half price.

"I told my husband, 'I'm moving into the spare bedroom.' He said, 'Sold!'" joked McDermott. While John McDermott went to pay, Christina perched herself upon the set, ensuring that no one else would mistake it for a potential acquisition. She held a blanket, a shawl and a shower curtain fondly. "You can't find crafted stuff like this," she marveled.

She seemed to be without regret when she gushed, "My birthday is next weekend. I think my trip to Gettysburg is off."

"We'll be back next year," she said. "Absolutely."

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