Hearne: Estate Sale Confidential; Wild Turkey Legs & Charlie Wheeler’s Mink


Kathe Kaul models Charlie Wheeler’s Mink Skull Cap

Helping to hustle Blues Cruise vacations aboard ocean liners for KC Blues Society founder Roger Naber. Pretty normal sounding, huh? Think again.

“The cruises have always been wild, they’re basically blues festivals at sea with people from all over the world having a blast,” Kaul muses. “And doing anything conceivable they thought they could get away with.”

While Kaul’s current gig at Kathe Kaul Estate Sales no longer entails stumbling across triple X-rated activities on the high seas, it can still get pretty intense between Black Friday like showdowns between competing customers battling and embarrassing discoveries while sifting through people’s belongings.

“Let’s just say my client’s secrets stay with me,” Kaul says. “That’s my business; people trust me. But it’s actually crazier now.”

You never know when asomeone’s attic may choke out some sort of incriminating evidence like nude pics, secret legal papers, love letters to famous figures or even the odd bong.

Naturally, with 10 years under her belt in the estate sale game, Kaul’s got her share of stories.

The weirdest thing she’s ever sold?

“A severed wild turkey leg with some dried flesh on it that somebody snatched up in the first five minutes of a sale for $8,” Kaul says.

IMG_2474Kaul cleaned up on local news coverage recently via the sad, sale of the beleaguered belongings of down-on-his-luck, former KC Mayor Charles Wheeler.

“We kind of hit it out of the ballpark on that one,” Kaul says. “It was a virtual sellout. People enjoyed it because they felt like they were taking home a keepsake, a piece of Kansas City history.”

The hot ticket at Wheeler’s sale?

“Cumulatively, the hats were hot,” she says. “He signed an authentication card for every single one of them and he signed and dated the hard hats. My staff told me he signed an average of one card every 17 seconds for about 280 hats. We told him we were pretty impressed and he said, ‘This isn’t my first rodeo.’ ”

How much did Wheeler’s sale raise?

“Oh, we never reveal that,” Kaul says.

Six-figures or more? “No.”

Was Wheeler – who’s on hard times and owes a ton of dough in taxes – bummed at being evicted from his longtime home and needing to part company with his memorabilia?

“He was a little teary, but he realized it was time to let it go,” Kaul says. “But he’s happy in his new place and it’s a relief to be in a low maintenance place.”

And it was Kaul who bought perhaps the weirdest item in the Wheeler estate sale.

“I purchased one his hats that was handmade with mink ears, a mink eyebrow and a mink tail on a green cotton skull cap,” Kaul says. “It was from the Lion’s Club and it was so funny I had to buy it; I buy weird stuff.”



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