In a new memoir Selling Dead People’s Things: Inexplicably True Tales, Vintage Fails and Objects of Objectionable Estates, Duane Scott Cerny discusses some of the grim and humorous moments from his life as a dealer.
“You just can’t say to the bereaved, ‘I’m sorry for your loss, but are those crucifixes for sale?’ (Well, you can, but it’s how you say it),” he writes.
Co-owner of Broadway Antique Market in Chicago, Cerny has been dealing for more than 25 years. His experiences, including processing the estate of a hoarding beekeeper and disassembling a reputedly haunted hospital, are included in the book, which was published last week.
A total of 25 tales and essays detail house calls, valuations and interactions with collectors, and offer insight into the antiques business.