bidding at an estate auction

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Every other Tuesday, our local auction house, Bunch Auctions, has an auction. Auctions are great because it's how you pay wholesale for vintage & antique store items. Preview day is the day before, and is good  fun to examine everything closely and imagine the households they came from. My friend Anne & I went, with my little boy in tow, to rub elbows with the dealers and check out the wares. This week's email notice showed more textiles than usual, so I was pretty sure I'd find something to bid on.
I have bid on items at the auction before, but not lately. I once bought a big item at auction, a large library cabinet that I use for storing china, and the experience was an incredible adrenaline rush. I had my number card and kept holding it up, just like on TV. Finally it was down to me and one other bidder. Sweat was pouring from my armpits, I was $500 over my limit and I just kept going until the other person couldn't take it anymore. I had to have it. I was shaking for hours afterward, but I do love the cabinet.
Today I wasn't going to get emotional about it. I was going to be business-like, set a limit and stick to it. The best way to do this is by submitting an absentee bid. Not only are you not able to go over what you plan to spend, but you don't have to be there, waiting around for hours before the auctioneer gets to your lot. Minimum bid is $10, so as long as what you want is worth at least that, it's a good option. I registered at the desk, got a number, then a lady with a clipboard recorded my bids and tagged the items so the auctioneer would know I was bidding on the them when the time came. They are very organized about it. I went home, forgot about it, then got a call a day later. I won everything I bid on and didn't max out!
You can sign up to do phone bidding too, if it's a big item. They call you when your item is up and the phone lady bids for you while you're on the line. I don't see myself ever doing that, though.
There was a pile of sweet 1940's childrenswear that I was drawn to, but didn't need to own, so I took pictures. You just have to shut off that hoarder instinct and think about what you really will use.
Such a darling playsuit from the days before onesies, with a button-off skirt and matching bonnet.
Smocking. Love.
Some nice, but not terribly old hand-quilted quilts.
An old one.
A box o' linens. There were a lot of these boxes intended for selling as one lot, but the clipboard lady said I could take what I was interested in out and make a separate lot for a $10 minimum bid, which I did.
I liked this colorful set. Won it!
Won this tablecloth & napkins set as well. Nobody else bid on it, so I got it for $10. The picture doesn't do it justice. I'll show it cleaned up and unfolded at later date.
Boy, did I want this sofa. The hubs would never go for it though. Too feminine.
The little guy found plenty to be interested in too. In addition to a braille typewriter, he found this weird teapot contraption that takes a sterno canister.

Now I'm in the mood for my other favorite pastime: hitting all the local Goodwills.


Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

Oh - wow! Thanks for taking us with you. I've never been to an auction and have been itching to go in the last couple of years. Even just to see (yeah right! Just like "smelling the chocolate is enough"…)

Becky said...

Marsha, you've definitely got to get over there since you're in DE. It's up 202 just past the state line...

Anonymous said...

Now I have just signed up to received info for a bunch of auctions in my area due to your inspiring post! I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, should be fun...

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