Category Archives: Auction Block – If the Price Is Right

What it is like to attend a local country auction from the bidder point of view – rookie to veteran.

When the caged bird sings

We opened a lot of boxes during the auction preview. You never know what’s inside and can never assume they’re empty. We looked at the box of Christmas ornaments, lifted up the typewriter covers, looked inside the cardboard boxes full of bottles and opened an old wooden box to make sure there wasn’t something more valuable inside.

When I didn’t get the high bid on the typewriters and ornaments I realized I’d been boxed out. Knowing what was in the bottle box and seeing them go too, I knew I needed a dose of Moxie to get a winning bid.

What I really wanted was one of the stained glass mission style lamps. However, I wasn’t willing to bid high enough and it was lights out for me.

My brother-in-law said I was shut-out.That’s when I decided to be a shut-in with really nice handcrafted baskets from Africa. The only problem was that everyone else in the room had been shut-in all winter too.  I didn’t get the baskets either.

Don’t get me wrong, you can always win auction items if you bid high enough. I’m just too cheap. I suppose that explains the winning bid I did get.

This cheep-cheep bidder won the white bird cage…for a song.


The Flight

Charles Lindbergh was in Sterling, not St. Louis this evening.  The auction had a photo of him in Paris but the top bid was too far away.

Indians and Civil War items were before our time and – after everything was said and done, not winning bids for us either.

The auction was a drag until we realized my Heywood Wakefield ashtray could be used for my candy cigarettes.

We flew out of there early, since our bids got smoked, and called it a night.


Time Traveler

I decided to stay at the auction this week, so I don’t know where I thought I was going after it started.  Evidently, wherever I had planned to travel it required a wooden suitcase and Brooks Brothers canes. Not winning those bids, I stayed in my metal chair.

Then I bought a round basket to store any additional impulse bids.

The railroad items went on the block next. I did like the Hartford signage but I’d gotten past my grandeurs of travel. The books, prints and models went quickly.  Railroad lanterns were sold in a lot for more than a little.

It seemed appropriate that the last train item was a “1 Track” sign. The guys that didn’t win it decided they had a one-track mind. The vintage girlie magazines were next and they created a bidding war.

I was interested in a different type of girl item. The Granny clock sold amongst the furniture. It was so short I called it my Meme.

Reflecting on my grandmother won me the Eglomise mirror.

The auctioneer was only halfway around the room at that  point. So,I decided to buy some  dinner at the fundraiser window. Ironically,  I bought soup as I lost out on the Norton crock.  It was probably best that I spent only $2 instead of $85.

At that point, my brother-in-law left to get to his trivia night. I went backward in time and waited for the Christmas items to go up for sale.  A lot of dealers had already left so needless to say, I won my Christmas items.

My candle trios will light our home during the holidays.  The elves will sit on our mantle. There’s no reason for them to travel any farther.

Preview starts 5:30

In response to this daily challenge:

“Haven’t they ever seen a unicorn before?”

We had arrived for the start of auction preview but several dealers were already there.  As they migrated to the next display, we evaluated the table and the Cybis collectible they were inspecting.  We wondered what their confusion had been?

Mark continued, “I know his head is turned sideways but this rendition still looks like a unicorn.”

I agreed with his auction 101, “Of course it does.  It has a horn sticking out of its forehead!”

We laughed as we looked at the other animals.  I was drawn to the owl.  Mark  seemed to have nostalgia for his aunt’s collectibles.

“Their house had some gorgeous Cybis in their living room.  Many pieces were a LOT larger than what is displayed here.”  He had a personal history or in-depth knowledge about many items that went on the block.

We both learned even more each week and tonight there was a large variety of items.  Seeing the habits, personalities and rivalries of the dealers was an added bonus.  For me, the fundraiser kitchen was the icing on the sometimes served cake.  This was all my coveted hobby even if it was just a local town auction.

I looked over at Hank, our auctioneer and realized this was just a job for him.  He does this week-after-week and has to move a lot of breakables and not-so-valuable shit to get to this point.  He looked sickly and lethargic.  I thought he’d better get his game on if he wanted to get some healthy bids.

I told Mark that the statues weren’t really my thing and moved over to the vintage toys.  I started to look at the Fisher Price and he inspected the Hess items for our 10-year-old-nephew.  He still needed the 2001 helicopter truck to complete his “collection of the century” as he called it.

The vintage clothes were next so we could inspect them for any expensive buttons.  That’s when I noticed ruddy little Rudy inspecting his billfold.  We all come here with cash but every week he seems to open his billfold extra wide at some point during the night.

To me showing your wad is just stupid ass.  It’s like showing your hand at poker, is unprofessional and says something about his insecurities.  There’s an expression for little man complex;  he adds to it by revealing his wad too.

As the room filled up, I noticed several textile dealers had shown up.  That meant there was something good here.  I keep promising myself I’ll learn more about 40’s hand towels, samplers and hand-stitched quilts.

Regardless, the auctioneer woke up, decided he needed early money and started at the table with the vintage clothes.  His runners are hams.  When the lot of period hats went up, Tom fashioned a pillbox hat for the crowd.  Not to be outdone, his counterpart modeled the hula skirt and medicine mask.  They did keep the night lively.  Modern day Abbott & Costello meets sluggish boss and cheapskates.

The myth of the evening ended and I don’t recall the unicorn’s high bid.  I did get the 1963 Fisher Price Huffy Puffy.  Even though its caboose was turned just so, I still knew it was a train.



The bad news is I didn’t preview the auction. The good news is I didn’t bid.

The bad news is I didn’t bring a pen and paper. The good news is I took mental notes:

The coin dealers were in their glory doing their mental conversions. I bet half of them didn’t even like basic math in grade school.

Early in the evening I did reflect on buying one item. However, the beveled mirror went to someone that saw a winning bid.

A video camera didn’t have view to any bids until one lady said, “she’d give it a shot” for $5.

When the hinges went up we knew who’d win. It’s hard to beat the hardware guy.

One of the dealers next to me tried his hand at a $15 stack of cards.

The woman in front of me bought the vintage clothes. Now she’s outfitted with advertising hangers and porcelain buttons.

There aren’t many places you can buy four items for $5. The Sebastian collector knew the auction was one of them.

Evidently, you can find eyeglasses there too. They’re helpful if you can’t see what President is on the paper weight you’re putting on the block.

There was one other item on the block I got hung up on. The phone rang in at a high bid of $45.

I’m in my 40’s too and thought about the 40’s linen. I didn’t bid when I remembered I have my Nana’s at home.

Everyone honed in on the retired auctioneer when the whale oil lamp was presented. People look up to him for a reason, he passed knowing it had a crack.

The bad news is I think I’m cracked. The good news is I got to talk to Mike at the end of the night.

  • The bad news is he’s married. The good news is I’m all talk no action!

Sack It To Me

I grabbed my bag and walked into the local auction. I wasn’t planning to fill it, or my belly, I just wanted a present from the auctioneer’s Christmas sack.

I thought the locale lore cat’s meow decor would be cool to own. I wanted it because it was part of my childhood. Spag’s was where we played with toys in the back of the store while our parents did the rest of their shopping. It doesn’t exist any more but the Amber alert does.

There were plenty of Fisher Price toys there but I have enough inventory and didn’t need to be storing more airports, garages or boats. Although I could’ve found room for the castle. It bid too high to make good money, so instead I bought a Panzer Blitz game for my husband’s castle.

I was tinkering with the idea of buying something else. I considered bidding on the Christmas Carol books. I had literally used one in the 70’s. Instead I ended up leaving with the Tinker Toys for a song.

My bag had turned into a Christmas sack and I had filled my belly with Moose Munch from the auctioneer’s bag.

This And That

If you saw me writing under my student lamp right now, you’d know that I need a stenographer because my thoughts come quicker than my hand can write. I wanted to tell you about the box of enamelware I won at the auction but I cannot stay focused.

Hold on. I have to put my glasses in the dishwasher and my table scraps in the composter.

Sorry. Sometimes I try to do too much at once and I’m like a sprinkler on the fastest setting.

Speaking of which, I also have to clear the table and be sure to properly put away the carving set.

Actually, it’s getting late and that’s why it is hard to focus. I think I’ll just shut off the light and dream about my $5 auction bids.

Auction Blockhead

(1) a person that has their head so far up their new camera lens, they don’t see the following yellow ware being auctioned off for $5, (2) a group of people talking during the auction who don’t notice a vintage wooden tool box get a $5 bid with no counter offer, (3) a rookie woman spending so much time admiring her own jugs, she doesn’t see the giant smiling Santa go to the woman in front of her, (4) an auctionee heckler that gets payback when the runner doesn’t deliver her Shawnee pottery, or (5) an auction attendee that presses past the budget just to get a tray.

By definition of it, I would never do any of those things. I suppose I shouldn’t lie in front of my Holy Family winning bid though. People who buy wooden houses shouldn’t throw stones. That’s why I put my paddle down and just went home sweet home to my sledding hill.

Head Case

I can make a case for my father-in-law any day of the week. I just hope he appreciates my defenses as much as I appreciate him.

Tomorrow is Thursday, so I’ll have his back as he does most of the cooking. I’ll be especially grateful since it’s Thanksgiving. That doesn’t mean I can’t give him a hard time when he takes forever to make my gravy.

Tuesdays are auction night. So what if I only bought a cookie jar with no lid? My father-in-law would tell me I made something out of nothing. I love that about him. That’s why this is his host gift tomorrow.

Monday I was at work and someone asked me why my husband’s name was Richie, if his father’s name was Dickie? First of all, the two of them are similar enough as it is. Secondly, I’d stated that if they had the same name, it would make my father-in-law the big Dick. I don’t think it came out right.

I did make a case for him though. I defended him to the end. The end of my gravy.