Robert Meringolo has been on hundreds of housecalls during his years as an appraiser.
The founder of Antique Appraisers Road Show has never seen anything quite like 839 Bedford Road in Schenectady.
The home, which dates back to the 1920s, is difficult to navigate through the piles of everything from dolls to newspapers to home decor to toys.
“What we’re looking at is a slice of history from the mid-nineteenth century till now. So you look and you’ll see a German doll from 1880 then you’ll see a television from 1950. Then you’ll see a map of the federal reserve districts from the 1920s,” Meringolo said.
Linda Mallard, who resided in the home before she passed away earlier this year, had a habit of collecting things.
“It started off with the dolls because she had a shop in Rotterdam Square and Clifton Country Mall called Heirlooms. So she collected and displayed and, obviously, sold stuff,” said son Mark Matteo.
When he and his brother and sister, started going through the home, it was overwhelming. They knew she collected things but they had no idea it was to such an extent that it would fill the basement, the shed, the attic and most of the rooms in the house.
“You really never went passed this door when you got here,” Matteo said, pointing to one of the doors off of the living room. Well over 100 dolls were piled on top of tables and furniture, and on top of one another.
Mallard collected German Bisque dolls from the 1880s, as well as ventriloquist dolls and marionettes and puppets. She also collected doll parts and accessories. Much of the collection was found piled up in bins and boxes.
“A lot of people with collections display their collections. This one wasn’t displayed,” Meringolo said.
When the Gazette visited the home recently, around 100 dolls had been corraled into one room, though Matteo said there’s more that he hasn’t yet found. In the doll room, there was also an intricate birdcage hiding in the back and a large clock is buried next to it.
“That clock [is] the oldest thing in the collection. [It’s] from the 1840s,” Meringolo said
Meringolo, as well as an appraiser at Albany Heirloom Estates, have been going through the home for the last four weeks or so and Meringolo believes that one estate sale won’t be enough to clear everything out. Thus, the first one will be held this weekend (from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Fri. - Sun.) though there will most likely be others.
“I’m sure there’s going to be just as much stuff the second one. Who knows because there’s bedrooms we haven’t looked in, there’s an attic we haven’t looked in,” Matteo said.
“We’ve only done these two rooms, some of the shed and one of the bedrooms upstairs.”
While things are usually priced out at an estate sale, the sheer volume of objects in the home makes it impossible to do that. Thus, Meringolo is going through the home to discover the most valuable pieces and plans to negotiate prices with buyers.
His expertise is part of the reason why the family hired him as well as Albany Heirloom Estates to handle the sale. Over the years, Meringolo has helped to uncover several surprising finds from sales like Mallards, including an Imperial Zitan chair found in a Lake George home that went for more than a million dollars.
Yet, Mallard’s home sticks out because of the sheer volume.
“It’s unusual, that’s why it’s noteworthy,” Meringolo said. “She collected a little bit of everything.”
WHEN: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Friday - Sunday
WHERE: 839 Bedford Road, Schenectady