From Humble Beginnings to the “King of Estate Sales”

Mark Williams began his life in 1964 wrapped in a blanket and left on a curb on the cold streets of Izmir, Turkey.

A fireman found him and took him to the hospital and later to the orphanage. No one was sure how old he was, but the staff guessed he was one to two months and settled on a birthdate of January 4, 1964. Six months passed at the orphanage until being adopted by a United States military family who named him Mark Allyn Williams.

Over the next six years Mark and his family lived in Turkey, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy until moving to the US and landing in Virginia. Mark’s father, then a U.S. Army Colonel, was stationed in the Pentagon as part of the Joint Chief of Staff. In 1974, the family’s final move was to Georgia. Mark’s dad retired at Fort McPherson as a 1-Star General.

Military Service

At age eighteen, Mark enlisted in the U.S. Navy and travelled to many places including Singapore, Australia, Africa, New Zealand, and Indonesia. Mark was a firefighter during his time in the U.S. Navy and he earned many medals and accolades. He was deployed in the Gulf of Oman during the 1984 – 1985 Iran Iraq conflict onboard the Aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk which was Battle Group 7. Mark loved being a firefighter and loved serving his country.

After being discharged from the military in San Diego, California in 1986, Mark was on his way back home to Georgia when an old buddy asked him to stop by Palm Springs, California.

Mark loved Palm Springs and decided to stay for “just a little while” and relax from being in the military. One of his first jobs was working as the Nightclub Manager and DJ for Sonny Bono at the namesake restaurant, Bono’s, on Indian Canyon.

Mark’s Estate Sale History
The Inspiration

One Saturday morning, Mark went out for donuts. He stumbled across an estate sale and just wandered around the house knowing nothing about antiques. He bought an ashtray he fancied for $5 as well as a painting for $30 thinking they would look good in his apartment.

As he left the estate sale, a lady stopped him and said, “Great ashtray and painting, would you like to sell them?” Mark was reluctant at first to part with his new purchases, but the lady introduced herself as “Ilene” (one of Palm Springs top antique dealers.) Ilene offered Mark $75 for the ashtray (which turned out to be Murano Glass from Italy) and offered him $600 for the painting (which turned out to be “Paul Grimm,” a well-known desert painter.) Within 5 minutes, Mark had just made $640! Before parting ways, Ilene told Mark “you have a great eye – here’s my card and if you find anything like this call me and I’ll buy it from you.”

From that Saturday morning in 1986, Mark was hooked and began going to estate sales, yard sales, garage sales and flea markets just learning the business. Over the ensuing years, Mark attended many seminars and classes on jewelry and jewelry grading, taken courses in antiques and jewelry appraising, and received certificates and diplomas from Universities and Jewelry Schools.

Over his professional career, Mark…

  • Has conducted over 850 estate sales

  • Has been in more than 30,000 homes buying and selling items

  • Has become one of the top antique dealers in the Greater Palm Springs area

  • Has become a qualified appraiser

  • Has won various Palm Springs Business awards including “Best Estate Sale Company in the Desert.”

Mark is simply the best at his craft. He has mastered his profession and knows the business inside and out. He has passion for what he does, and it shows in his work. With his high morals, integrity, and ethics, Mark represents the best Palm Springs has to offer when it comes to conducting your estate sale.

And about the Tattoos? It started in the military and has continued for the next few decades. Each one has a story.

P.S. Although Mark has never met his birth mom, dad, or any blood relatives, he’s sure they would be proud of him. Hopefully one day they will meet. Stay tuned.