Auctioneer Walt Cade browsed Thursday through a 20,000-square-foot warehouse in Longview where local collector Bryan Laird's mountain of antiques and collectibles are set for a Saturday sale.
"We figure six auctions," Cade said, adding that the choice items have been culled for the 10 a.m. Saturday auction in the one-time ice house at Mobberly Avenue and Cotton Street.
"This was in the 1967 movie, 'Bonnie and Clyde,' with Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty," he said, showing off a 1934 Model A — with no bullet holes. "This was used in the movie as part of the police force. This was one that the cops used."
A cream-and-black 1958 Edsel Ranger, complete with fuzzy white dice dangling from the rearview mirror, was near the Model A. Its 400 cubic centimeter, 30 horsepower engine and dual exhaust made a throaty but even rumble when Cade's stepson, Michael Alvis, cranked it up in the cavernous warehouse.
"This guy would go to auctions," Cade said of Laird, who declined to be interviewed.
Cade estimated there are enough old ads, furniture, vintage signs and even a portable hot tub made out of some kind of poly-razzmatazz to plan multiple auctions to follow Saturday's foray into the treasure pile.
"American Pickers," a cable reality show about the treasures hiding in places such as the warehouse in the heart of Longview, claimed firstfruits of the hoard during a February stop.
One of the show's stars, Frank Fritz, left plenty to pick through when the Antique Archaeology van left town.
"They come in, and they'll buy eight to 10 items," Cade said. "And there's tens of thousands of things here."
Fritz left the working player piano, complete with several scrolls of tunes. An Underwood manual typewriter sat regally next to a clarinet with tints of rose in its wood grain.
"This is a working pump jack," he said, stopping beside a smaller, short-well version of the grasshopper-like contraptions that dot the East Texas Pineywoods. "There's several cool pieces. ... We've got signs; signs bring an enormous amount of money. We have, probably, a thousand lots here."
There was a wooden school desk waiting for a right-handed student of the early 20th century, a bathtub, a tanning bed and a 1-foot-tall child's toy carousel — there might have been a ton of antique toys. A marching band hat sat on a high shelf, its feather perhaps not as proud as when it last whipped around a sharp counter-march.
"We're going to empty this room," Cade said. "So, we've got to get this stuff sold."
Saturday's event is a walking auction.
Cade said bidders will follow auctioneers walking past items for individual sale and in piece lots.
"I've got two auctioneers," Cade said. "And we'll sell by the piece, and the auctioneers will move throughout the building. It'll be something to see. We've got people coming in from two states away."