On a crisp Saturday morning, down a winding rural country road, sits an old country home. In the front yard are rows of saw horse tables covered with all the treasures that have been amassed on the farm for the past three generations. As the crowd starts to roll in the ladies gather around the tables searching for treasures and reminiscing, making sure they find a spot in the front row. The men flock to the tools and hunting supplies before snagging a piece of homemade pie served by the local church ladies. At last the hour approaches and the auctioneer steps up to the tables and the social event of the weekend officially commences.
Many years ago this was the typical weekend scene for many, including Opal Ellison. Opal was an avid auction goer, collector, dealer and legend from Hallsville, Missouri. Opal was born in the early 1930s and she grew up in a small Missouri town, one of 16 children. She spent more than 50 years buying, selling, and collecting antiques she obtained from country auctions all over Central Missouri. Opal was always in the front row. There are urban legends still being told today about the little lady who was always on the front row. “Little” because Opal stood a mere, but mighty, 5 feet tall. She might have been tiny physically, but she was big in so many other ways.
Opal Ellison’s legacy
Opal’s knowledge of antiques was enormous. Auctioneers would often ask her to identify an item before they would sell it, because inside this tiny lady was a huge encyclopedia of every genre of antiques. Opal passed that knowledge down through generations giving her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren lessons when they came to visit her. Family knowledge of antiques was obtained from the “School of Opal.”
Opal Ellison kept and treasured the best in her huge collection. She kept the best 10 items for her personal collection from every country auction she attended over the past 50 years. Some may say she was a bit of a hoarder, but unlike others, Opal was not a hoarder of trash and ordinary stuff; she hoarded true treasures. It was common for ladies’ clubs to meet at Opal’s house as their social outing, to tour her vast collection. Over the years her home became a museum of spectacular, extraordinary, and unique antiques.
Opal’s heart was large and full of love. A love for antiques, but most importantly a love for her family and friends. She shared her love for antiques with those she loved, quite literally. If she overheard you admiring an item it was very likely you would receive that item as your next Christmas gift, or find it nonchalantly left for you with a quaint note.
Treasures ready for new homes
In June 2018, Opal Ellison went to be with her Lord Jesus leaving behind many who loved her dearly and a life-long collection of antiques. Though Opal would probably prefer to bring out the saw horse tables under the shade trees in her front yard, her collection is due a grander venue. Nestled high atop wooded bluffs overlooking the Missouri River sits historic Boonville, Missouri, one of Opal’s favorite small towns. With a lively, stimulating cultural scene combined with small-town charm and hospitality Boonville seems the perfect setting for Opal’s big event. On Nov. 1-3 the best of Opal’s lifetime collection of antiques will be sold at auction at the Isle of Capri Casino & Hotel, 100 Isle of Capri Blvd. This is will be the first and the best of her collection, but there is still more to come.
Additional auction details are available at MartinAuctionCompany.com.