TS15: “The Tiffany of All Garage Sales”

Apr 15, 2015

1tea-500x500It’s touted as “the Tiffany of all garage sales,” and as it’s celebrating a 60th anniversary…

Nearly 60 years ago, the women of the Pasadena Art Alliance burrowed their way into any attic they could to “skim the cream of the crop” for the first “Treasure Sale.” From 1955 until about 1974, proceeds benefited the Pasadena Art Museum.  Once PAM was bought out by Norton Simon, PAA became an independent fundraising organization and its grant program has since supported contemporary visual arts organizations in the greater Los Angeles area, both “established and unconventional.”

Since 1976, PAA has awarded over $5,000,000 to support contemporary art in Southern California, priding themselves “on championing the difficult and nontraditional.”

Treasure Sale 2015 (TS15) will have household furnishings, antiques, paintings, art, books, silver, china, crystal, pottery, linen, jewelry, and “all manner of other fine and unusual treasures.”

The first Treasure Sale of things-you-didn’t-know-you-needed-until-you-saw-them was staged in 1955 at the old Pasadena Art Museum. The last to be held there was a three-day event in 1970, which netted $106,845. “We were our own best customers in those days,” one member said. Later sales have been held in mansions, the Armory Northwest, vacant office spaces and a storefront. The detailed work, the endless efforts, (and) the laughs were exhausting fun. And the fact that the Treasure Sales over the past 60 years raised millions means that millions of dollars have been given to contemporary art projects.
(Pasadena Art Alliance)

Looking through the items at, we’re leaning towards some lovely, detailed rush seat hardwood chairs…





…a Hartmann wardrobe trunk, which looks like this in their inventory pic…



…but may look a tad more like this, though older and more scuffed…



…also, we like what is described as a sidereal clock made by an unnamed astronomer at CalTech…



…and what looks, from afar (from a discolored, misty photo), like Italian Deruta pottery, which is one of our favorite things.



There appears to be quite a few bureaus (from classic to mod), massive dining hutches, writing secretaries, as well as a lovely couch…



Some funky items include this antique baby doll…



…or maybe these quite bright blue doggies (actually Chinese fu, foo, or pho guardian lions)…



We suggest a double or triple espresso, straight up, before descending into this venue of treasures—there is a ton of inventory and stamina is mandatory.




Pasadena Art Alliance “Treasure Sale”
Friday-Sunday, April 17th-19th, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Opening night event Thursday, April 16th; email
345 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena 91101
Free admission; ample parking
For details, visit
Check out some of the items for sale at




Observations by Larry Wilson of the Pasadena Star-News during his before-the-opening tour:

A quick tour around the huge room on South Lake Avenue beneath the Trader Joe’s courtesy of event Co-Chair Alfrida King — Susan Crawford is the other Co- — shows me that there are on the order of 100,000 items awaiting your perusal and possible purchase this weekend, everything from fabulous antique armoires to silver settings to classic Brown Jordan patio chairs to paintings and other artwork from the avant-garde to colonial family portraits. So you’re very much in luck there. Bicycles. A collapsible putter that fits in a suitcase. Fancy whiskey flasks. Hundreds of books, including fake leather hardbacks in which to hide valuables, a gift from the time Russ Kully was on the KCET board. Preppy lobster pants. Prada bags. Children’s clothes, baby shoes, toys galore, a hundred kitchens’ worth of cookware. The late local classical music advocate Estelle Schlueter’s incredible custom dining table and much more this time around that would be perfect for your Mid-Century Modern. A Fender acoustic guitar. Many more books shelved alongside my Neruda, including a ’50s Home & Garden handyman’s guide. Dozens of bird-themed Christmas tree ornaments formerly an annual treat at Judy Kelly’s Santa Margarita ranch.



Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena