"It's nice to get something with a seminotorious pedigree," gloated a bargain hunter yesterday as he checked price tags on the office trappings of former White House aide Michael K. Deaver, whose fall from power as a high-profile influence peddler to a convicted perjurer has left him owing an estimated $1 million in legal expenses.

Several hundred others snooped, elbowed and squeezed their way through the three-story Alexandria row house where Deaver's lobbying firm threw open its doors for the first of a three-day, $100,000 "garage sale" to defray some of Deaver's mounting debts.

Within the first hour, a third of the 250 items had been bought, including a $3,500 Chinese screen that Deaver picked up on a trip to the Far East in the fall of 1985. Bids were offered on a number of pieces, including a 19th-century English partners' desk Deaver bought in England. The asking price is $20,000. By nightfall, the top bid was $15,500.

William J. Sittmann, a longtime Deaver aide acting as a roustabout for the day, said none of the sale items was bought while Deaver traveled on White House business.

"I can honestly say I don't think Mike had anything that wasn't bought after he left the White House," said Sittmann.

Deaver left the administration in May 1985 to set up his own lobbying firm. In the seven months he was at his zenith, his billings to clients -- including the government of South Korea, Boeing Co. and Trans World Airlines -- totaled more than $3 million.

Only a few of Deaver's friends were at the sale yesterday, and they came and left early, according to William G. Hodges, the Alexandria antiques dealer handling the sale. Most of the shoppers were the curious, souvenir hunters and people looking for office equipment and furniture.

Deaver was reportedly out of town. A U.S. District Court convicted him on Dec. 16 of three counts of lying to a federal grand jury and a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 25.

Hodges said Deaver checked over the sale inventory a week ago to make certain his personal mementos were not included.

"The only things he kept out were political items -- which I don't think would have been in good taste to sell at a public sale -- and personal memorabilia, like a picture from the Reagans, which is signed," said Hodges.

Asked if Deaver seemed nostalgic or sad, Hodges said that "anytime you are in this situation it's not an optimum time. It's a ticklish situation."

Hodges said there never was any thought given to staging the sale out of town to spare Deaver embarrassment. "I don't think he's embarrassed, and there are many good reasons for that. I think there are enough legitimate buyers around and personal friends to make this sale a success."

Among the staff providing customer assistance was Deaver's brother William, though he declined to identify himself when asked.

"I just work here," he said.

For bargain hunters with practiced eyes there were good buys, said Tess MacGregor of Alexandria, who bought two prints of hunting scenes at $75 apiece.

"My home is England. We did a lot of hunting over there and we have friends here who hunt. It has nothing to do with Mike," she said of her purchase. "It just reminds me of home."

But some shoppers grumbled that the big-ticket items weren't realistically priced.

"I think they're misrepresenting what he paid for things," complained one shopper who declined to identify himself. "I can't believe that Mike didn't get discounts on this furniture."

Deaver, in fact, had received price breaks on items he bought from Hodges, who got to know Deaver four years ago while doing some work at the Old Executive Office Building.

"I sell wholesale. I'm not a retail seller. I sell primarily to dealers and museums and other people who can get in the door," Hodges said, adding that several of the pieces had appreciated in value since he sold them to Deaver.

Hodges said commissions usually run 33 percent but that he cut his "very substantially" for Deaver. "I think he's had enough problems, and I thought he was due a break."

The merchandise ranged from the impressive, like two Audubon prints at $2,740 each and a pair of 18th-century Chippendale armchairs at $4,000, to the mundane, like a brass pot for $10, a half-dozen napkin rings for $6 and a $4 mug stamped with a U.S. Senate seal.

Office equipment ("You can see where he chintzed on all the backup office stuff," groused one would-be buyer) included a couple of $30 calculators, several $350 typewriters and an $85 check-writing machine.

The telephones Michael K. Deaver and Associates used for the three calls the firm made on behalf of Trans World Airlines, which paid it $250,000 during its halcyon lobbying days, were still there, but not for sale. Deaver's "little black book" was nowhere to be seen.

"We've had a number of good offers for the Rolodex," Hodges said. "That's a serious item that took years to build."

He estimated that about 100 people were waiting at the door, in their cars or at a nearby coffee shop when the sale opened yesterday morning. He said several hundred people called throughout the week.

"We had a gentleman from the Redskins come yesterday and ask if he could get in. I hinted it would be a good idea if he brought {playoff} tickets," Hodges joked.

The sale, at 121 N. Henry St., continues today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hodges said successful bidders on items whose tag prices were not acceptable to them will be notified by 1 p.m. tomorrow.