Center of Attention

To say that auctions are the center of my world on Tuesday is an understatement. In the morning, I think about packing a pair of jeans to change into after work. While eating my lunch, I look on the internet for what’s on the block. On my way there, I decide how much I’m willing to spend. When I get there, I realize I’ll be the center of attention when I make a bid.

Yesterday was no exception. It was antique night (versus a general sale) so I was deciding I could spend more than usual. I can flip more than a dime nowadays, so it’s only a short investment. The budget is just an issue when I start finding items for myself or our house. That’s when I have to decide how much of the phone and utility bills I want to spend.

It was more of the later (vs the ‘ladder’ from a previous post) this time around. There was a gorgeous table on vintage wheels with beveled glass surround that was cornered off like a travel trunk. I’d never seen a piece like it. I wanted it to display my collection of vintage toys. We all knew it was worth hundreds or more but local auctions are the source of great deals. By we, I mean the other guys that bid together well past $300. The beveled turn-of-the-century guilded carved mirror didn’t sell for much less. So, I decided to focus on the smaller item I liked, the Goebel nativity set. I also became more reasonable with my budget and decided my target high bid was $50. It sold at $65. While each of the three were diappointing, Mark and I knew what I was really holding out for that night.




…Mark and I knew that what I really wanted was the bronzed angel fireplace screen. I really thought my husband would be okay with a $100 selling price if I won the bid. – That was a big if. – It sold for a still great final bid of $150. Just not to me.

The remaining strategy is usually that of the auctioneer. He usually holds off on putting a few great pieces up on the block. He intentionally kept these nicer items aside until nearly the end of the night. He needs to keep the interest going, the house full and the bids hot for as long as he can. He just can’t keep everyone out all night either because in this business time is money.

I provide this Auction 101 lesson because after the great pieces go, there are usually a remaining few items that are not of great interest, quality or value.

That’s when it got dangerous for me. I still had my paddle and the desire to walk away with SOMETHING now. I hadn’t won a nice addition to my house. That didn’t sit well with me. So much so, that when a filthy glass I don’t even know what, because I hadn’t noticed it in preview, went on the block and nobody bid – I did.

I didn’t even want to look at it. I was mad at myself for making an impulse bid and not having the will to just walk away. It was only $5 but I didn’t need it and it certainly didn’t look like anything I could resell. Mark was interested and asked me what the cover was for as he helped me to wrap up this very fragile filth. Our best guess was that it was used as a tureen and it had to be for the ladle. I didn’t really care.

We paid. We packed the car. We went our separate ways.

I came home. I washed it. I thought of a way to use it.

I had been the center of attention when everyone wondered why I bid. I hadn’t seen it in the pictures. Because I was in my jeans, I had wrapped it up in my black dress slacks.

Now it was a beautiful white centerpiece full of Christmas lights.

The hole in the cover was obviously for the plug.

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