Thursday, June 30, 2011

Auction Time!

So last weekend, I went to my first auction.  I have wanted to for years, even before all the auction shows came out.  I had no idea what to expect, but my friend Cathy and I decided to check it out.  The kind of auction that we attended was a combination of antique and household.  It was in Minnedosa, about an hour away from where I live.

How I initially found out about this particular auction was through ebrandon, who had the article listed in the classified section.  When I clicked on it, it led me to a North American wide auction site that specifically zeroed in on the auction I was interested in.

Pictures that peeked my interest, though I wasn't necessarily interested in all items, were:

What looks like a buffet table above is actually a convertible table that adjusts up to about 12 feet long.    An idea of how it works, is shown below.

Old stove with porcelain; really in beautiful shape!

Quite pretty stove!

Old dresser-maybe late 30s, early 40s?

Old table, 50s era?

After an early start on a Sunday, we arrived.  The viewing was before the actual auction and it allowed everyone to view the articles going up for bids.  What surprised me was that there wasn't labels or anything catalogued.  We didn't know what went together or what would be auctioned off first.

We probably sat down a 1/2 hour before the auction began, because all of a sudden there really weren't any chairs left.  The auction started off on time, with two auctioneers.  We were a bit taken back by two, but it really did make things go quicker, or so it seemed.  We were a bit confused that at times they would up three objects of the same kind of item and we thought they were being sold as a lot, only for us to find out they were being sold individually.  But there were other items that were sold as a group.

From where we were sitting, we could see some of the items and the auctioneer (we were sitting in the second row).

As the auction went along, I got more into it, learning little things to help me bid.  There was a set of enamel pots that looked like they had never been used that I had my eye on.  Unfortunately, they went at double the price I was willing to pay, though they were sold as a set with another pair.  At least I had broken the ice and bid though.

What was interesting was how people bid.  Some were vocal, some nodded their head, and then some like me just raised their hand with their paper.  I noticed that once you bid, the auctioneer automatically came back to you to see if you were interested.

One piece that I was really interested in was an antique sideboard.  It was beautiful and I had been in love with them for a couple of years.  I was told to expect it to easily go for $100 or $150.  To my amazement, I was able to get it for only $50.  I was shocked and excited.  Even the auctioneers mentioned that they had never seen them go for that cheap.

My friend Cathy and I had a blast making fun of things.  We couldn't believe what people were purchasing.  People were getting in bidding wars over ugly ceramic roosters, and then the things of quality would go cheap.  By the end we were giggling throughout, especially as we got more comfortable.  Cathy ended up making a bid on a zebra settee, which she got for $16.  It was so different and so funny that we were laughing nonstop.  The plus side of the zebra settee?  It came with a big stuffed dog.  It made us laugh harder.

Doggy not shown in this picture

The auctioneers helped us load our stuff in the truck (first major haul!) along with another bidder.  We kind of think it was because we were girls, but we appreciated nevertheless.  The truth was is that I hadn't had so much fun in ages.  I hadn't laughed like that in a long time.

So while I am no expert, here are definitely a couple of hints that I picked up that I'll share with you all:

  1. Be patient-I found that when the auctioneer started the bidding, he started at a high price.  My sideboard started at $100.  When nobody raised their hand, he lowered it to $50 and then finally $25, which is when I started bidding.
  2. Set a limit for what you're willing to spend on an item-stick to it, unless you really feel it's worth it.
  3. Watch the bidding wars.  Some people just bid for the sake of bidding.  I've learned that sometimes you can make side deals if you stop bidding (I had one person approach me, but I didn't understand what she was doing at the time)
  4. Expect the unexpected.  Even the auctioneers told me this when they were helping us load the truck.  You can never expect anything.
  5. Get there early to get a seat-the bidding part of the auction was 4 hours long.  You definitely did not want to be standing for that long.
  6. Take snacks-there isn't always a canteen and sometimes you just didn't want to get up for fear of an item coming up that you liked.
  7. Take along your sense of humor.  Enjoy yourself and have fun!
P.S.  Stay tuned for this weekend for when I share my photos of what I got!

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