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Today's Indoor Garage Sale is the perfect location for treasure hunters

Violet Harper sorts through a stack of old Minneapolis News Tribune newspapers at the Sanford Center Friday afternoon in preparation for the Bemidji Pioneer Indoor Garage Sale. Brian Matthews | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — The Bemidji Pioneer’s Indoor Garage Sale and Craft Show is a great opportunity for people turn their junk into another person’s treasure, but for sellers like Violet Harper it won’t be easy to part with their collection.

“I can’t call it junk, Harper said. “But I just don’t have any room in my house anymore. I just have to. I don’t have the room anymore and I am getting up there in years.”

Harper’s home in Cass Lake may be a prime spot for the History Channel’s American Pickers crew and other collectors to rummage through, but for Harper it is a slow process to dwindle down her collection.

Harper has a variety of antiques and pieces of history, which she has collected both through her own antique shopping and through people giving her things over the years.

Robert LaBelle, one of Harper’s close friends and neighbors, gave her a lot of stuff during the last years of his life.

“He was a very interesting man himself,” Harper said. “A great antique collector and he always had stories to tell.”

LaBelle served as the Post Master in Cass Lake and was an editor for the Cass Lake Newsletter.

Harper took care of LaBelle up until his death in 2004 at the age of 82.

Before his death, he gave her some old newspapers dating back to the 1930s. One has a headline referring to the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh Jr., which happened in 1932.

The newspapers will be for sale at the indoor garage sale, along with some old Cass Lake Newsletters. She even has a copy of Paul Bunyan’s Marriage Certificate to his famed girlfriend Lucette.

She said she also has one of the biggest Indian collections in the state, which she does not plan on selling because of its sentimental value.

“I used to go around to different schools, colleges and libraries giving presentations,” Harper said. “I presented one time in Fargo and I covered 30 tables with my collection.”

Harper started her Indian collection when she lived in Chicago, where her husband worked as the Director of the American Indian Center. She used to attend powwows and Indian conferences, some of which had more than 70 tribes represented.

Though her Indian collection is not for sale, Harper will have a lot displayed at the Sanford Center on Saturday.

Other items for sale include some vinyl records, a silverware set and a fur vest that was given to her by a friend that worked as a clothing designer.

 “I don’t want to part with all of it, I love this stuff,” Harper said. “But I would like to have other people enjoy it too.”

Harper said she has participated in the indoor garage sale the past few years, slowly getting rid of some of her favorite items, but some, she admitted, she will not ever part with.

“I have thought about putting some of this stuff up for auction but I think I will just keep it to pass on to family members,” She said.