Rich Schell had his arms loaded Friday with vintage clothes, including a Bill Blass gown of embossed taffeta.
He was one of many estate sale goers mesmerized by the offerings at 12 El Encanto Drive in the Old Broadmoor area.
The items he chose will be given to a designer friend back east, Michelle Workman, who likes to dress in vintage clothes, and whose clients include Jennifer Lopez.
The dresses were just a tiny taste of the thousands of items being sold at the home by Aether Estate Sales Co.
A 1910 Charles Carmel carousel horse placed inside the front door greeted the crowd. But from there it was hard to know where to look first - walls, tables and floors in the large two-story house were awash in antiques, collectibles and everyday items. One can't begin to describe all that is there for the buying - obscure items such as a 10-inch by 6-inch folk art tulip painting for $1,200 or a huge collection of snow globes, some for $40. Jacob Parsons, an owner of Aether Estate Sales Co. of Denver, said it took he and eight others a week and a half to catalogue and price the items.
The list is 57 pages long.
Parsons refused to name the family whose items were being sold.
But the El Paso County assessor lists the property as the estate of a longtime Colorado judge, the late David William Enoch and his wife, Ellen McEwen Enoch, who died in August.
He was appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals in 1969 and later was Colorado's chief judge, according to a 2008 obituary. He was the first president of the National Organization of Chief Judges of Courts of Appeals.
He was a member of the Pikes Peak Range Riders, loved climbing Colorado fourteeners and was an expert needle pointer, the obituary said.
His wife Ellen, known as "Lady Ellen," was active in community organizations in Denver and Colorado Springs, including serving on boards for the Fine Arts Center, the McAllister House Museum and the Broadmoor Garden Club.
Schell, who was a friend of the couple for more than 28 years, said, "She had a style that was unique. She had auburn hair, she was an autumn girl as you can see by her clothes collection."
Besides the elegant clothing, Schell, of Rich Designs Home, bought a tiny Russian box. "A memento," he said. On the bottom, is the judge's name.
Parsons, of Aether Estate Sales, said the sale "is aggressive" with price drops each day through Sunday.
When Parsons first viewed the estate, he said, "It was jaw dropping. Everywhere you look there are exciting things." Unlike many estate sales conducted by some companies, the items are tagged with bar codes so exact prices can be tracked by sellers.
Parsons and his brother have offices in Naples, Fla., Chicago, Denver and Indianapolis
Parsons said he got his love of the business from his parents who collected antiques. He began collecting mechanical robot toys as a kid, and sold them at age 18 to take a trip to Europe.
They have billed the sale as "A lifetime of antiques in the shadow of Cheyenne Mountain." And while some items, such a centuries-old portrait may eventually go for $12,000, not everything is expensive. One sheep figurine was $15.
Many items were bought in the 1940s and 1950s, Parsons said. But there are also antiques dating to the 1700s.
In one bedroom, a huge doll collection is spread across two twin beds. There are doll clothes in boxes, including tiny socks and shoes, and a rare 1910 Simon & Halbig German bisque prototype doll priced at $5,900.
One large storage room is filled only with holiday decorations. There is a large inkwell collection. One, which features a charming gilded cherub, is $60.
The items are eclectic: a Boy Scout uniform from the 1937 jamboree; a bracelet with gold sovereign coins priced at $2,900; framed handpainted birth and marriage certificates from centuries past; 4,000 books; a set of Hadley hand-painted dishes in a running stallion pattern for $2,500 (or less by the individual piece); several saddles; everyday kitchen items; garden tools, even mops.
Connie Schatz was browsing the estate sale Friday for the second day. Thursday, she bought a mother-of-pearl adorned Bible from Bethlehem for $20. Friday, she was searching for the Simpich doll, handmade in Colorado Springs, that she had seen the day before.
She said she looks for unusual items, not necessarily expensive ones.
She goes to lots of sales. "I rate this one a 10. It has topped them all in unique things, and the staff is especially nice."