Joan Didion’s estate sale, which ended on Wednesday, has become the most talked about auction event of the year. But what exactly happens at a sale, and are they taking off in the UK?
In a private home in Cheviot Hills, Los Angeles, Amy Byer is playing the piano wearing white leather gloves and a gold 1960s chinoiserie robe. The walls behind her are full of mid-century artwork. In the kitchen beyond sit stacks and stacks of antique china.
Byer is the founder of Handled Estates, a glossy estate sale service which packages up the contents of homes across California – like this one, where a sale took place last weekend in LA – and posts them on Instagram to drum up attention before they open their doors.
Each sale usually spans several days, but can be as much an opportunity to peek inside the gilded lives of the wealthy as they are to find a treasure.