Karin Gustafson leads her 15th annual estate sale | sarasota

Karin Gustafson works hard on her collection.

She’s been collecting eclectic items since she was young and her hobby has only intensified in recent years. Gustafson ran the Karin’s Causes estate sale — a three-day event offering all sorts of items and oddities for collectors and customers — in Sarasota for years.

It’s hard to mention what kinds of items are in Gustafson’s collection – it’s probably easier to say what isn’t.

A collection of artwork by regional Florida artists? She has that. Jewelry? A full room.

African sculptures, vintage Americana decorations and Star Wars figurines from the 1990s? Have them, she does.

The items are all carefully cultivated by Gustafson and researcher Rebecca Goldthwaite, who spend months and months choosing items for the big sale. The event has raised over $100,000 for various nonprofits over the years, with last year’s event raising over $15,000.

Goldwaithe and Gustafson hold the sale every year.

After months of collecting, it’s time for Gustafson to put his collection back on sale. The 2022 estate sale will open in the Scottish Rite building opposite VFW Post 3233 from 27-29 January. Gustafson, Goldthwaite and the volunteers are clearly thrilled with what they’ve collected and what they’re going to show people.

A hand carved African birthing chair

“It all sticks to my shoes,” Gustafson said. “I’ve been a collector since I was little.”

Karin’s Causes was born out of Gustafson’s lifelong passion for collecting collectibles and valuables. Goldthwaite met Gustafson while volunteering for the Y Foundation’s real estate division — Gustafson served as president of the organization for more than two decades — and the pair quickly became friends. Goldthwaite, a Longboat Key resident who worked as a museum guide and researcher for years, was already a fan of collecting and selling and took an interest in Gustafson’s work.

“She was having sales in her garage and dealers would come from miles around,” Goldthwaite said. “One day she called me with the idea of ​​asking me ‘Do you think we could take this bigger and raise some money for charity?'”

A decorative vessel from the mid-20th century

Karin’s Causes has grown steadily since, providing money to a number of non-profit organizations each year. This year’s event benefits the Animal Rescue Coalition, the New College Foundation Scholarship Fund and the Scottish Rite Foundation’s Helping Children Communicate program which helps children with communication problems. .

Gustafson and his friend Donna Hardin collect the many objects, but it falls to Goldthwaite each summer to organize the objects and examine their rich history.

“Every Sunday, the barrage of photos (of items Gustafson has purchased) starts rolling in,” Goldthwaite said. “My job is to find hidden treasures and values. I like it and try to go all the way to find out what something is.

His process involves consulting with professors, museum curators, appraisers over the months, and sometimes contacting a specialist when examining foreign works of art. The steady progress of researching, cataloging and uncovering hidden value to sell for a good cause is what energizes Goldthwaite through the endeavor.

A Beatles print

Gustafson tries to keep his selection eclectic, sometimes picking up Energizer Bunny plushes and tequila bottles and other times acquiring thousand-dollar bracelets.

She looks for items at garage sales and consignment stores rather than estate sales, as the latter often overprice. Goldthwaite says they try to apply “out the door” pricing for their items when the estate sale comes around. It’s all money raised for a good cause in the end, for both Goldthwaite and Gustafson.

“The idea is to connect people to worthwhile causes through the sale of items they love,” Goldthwaite said. “We want people to leave here happy.”

A Louis Armstrong-style trumpet

Given Goldthwaite and Gustafson’s passion for fine art, it follows that there is a rich selection of artwork at every sale. The group sourced painted works by Syd Solomon, Kasper Zimmerman, Beth Arthur and artists inspired by the Florida Highwaymen. Gustafson collects works by female Florida artists and brings a few pieces from her own collection up for sale.

It’s exciting to find new gifts and collectibles throughout the year, but the hardest day for Gustafson is when she brings the hundreds of items to the event space.

That day, amid the hundreds of boxes and packages she tries to organize and display before the weekend, Gustafson says she’s usually prepared to never have a sale again.

But once the sale is over – and much of their inventory has been depleted – she feels she’s pulling her head and starts looking for items for next time.

“After every sale, I say I’ll never do it again,” Gustafson said. “But after a month we’re back there and finding things.”

Join the neighborhood! Our 100% local content helps strengthen our communities by delivering relevant news and information to our readers. Support independent local journalism by joining The Observer’s new membership program – The Newsies – a group of like-minded community citizens like you. .

Comments are closed.