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By Sunday, the Sid Hartman estate sale featured markdowns on everything, including half-price clothes. The question for buyers: Does a food stain make it worth more or less?

MICHAEL RAND • mrand@startribune.com,

Rand: Buying or browsing, Sid's estate sale is a steal

  • January 12, 2014 - 10:19 PM

On Sunday, there was this curiosity: What kind of person attends an estate sale for a living sportswriter instead of watching a perfectly good NFL playoff game happening at the same time?

To answer that question, of course, meant becoming exactly the kind of person who attends the estate sale for a living sportswriter — a colleague no less, albeit a very famous one — during an NFL playoff game.

As many of you clearly know — at least a dozen people asked me if I was going to go — our own Sid Hartman had an estate sale on Saturday and Sunday. He’s downsizing … that’s how it was explained to me. The Great Man himself was in attendance at the sale Saturday, reportedly delighting the crowd gathered at a nondescript building in St. Louis Park.

At 1:30 p.m. Sunday, many of the items had been clearly picked through. What remained was an eclectic mix of sport coats, autographed books and — personal favorite — one space featuring, side by side, a fur coat and an autographed Al Jefferson jersey from his Timberwolves days.

I shuffled along among 30 or 40 curiosity seekers making their way through the sale (there were items not from Sid for sale as well, but that wasn’t the draw). Most folks seemed content to buy a piece of Sid-themed memorabilia or to just touch the clothes of a legend. One Twitter follower said: “I paid $30 for a suit jacket, with a couple of food stains. It was well worth it.”

The coats, pants and shoes I have seen roll through the Star Tribune offices for more than a decade looked strange with price tags on them. The clothes were marked down 50 percent by the time I arrived, bringing rise to my dream of buying an entire old ensemble of Sid’s and wearing it to the office to see if he noticed. Alas, let’s just say Sid and I are not the same size.

I ended up leaving empty-handed, but my curiosity was satisfied. The kind of person who attends a Sid Hartman estate sale is the kind of person who needs to have his or her curiosity satisfied.

I approached my car as a woman was heading in. “Anything good in there?” she asked. I told her there was some decent stuff. “Is Sid in there?” No, but he was on Saturday. She laughed and made her way in to join the rest.

The message: The NFL playoffs only come once a year, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime event.

MICHAEL RAND

© 2014 Star Tribune