Saturday, June 11, 2011

Estate Auctions are all kinds of HOT fun!

One of my guilty pleasures is attending estate/personal property auctions.  I absolutely love spending the day out in the country, listening to the cadence of the auctioneers, watching the people around me, and seeing what treasures are unearthed. I don't even have to buy anything to have fun.  Of course, part of the fun IS The Hunt.  There is a huge adrenalin rush when I spot something interesting, and there's a delicate balance in looking very carefully for flaws and trying to avoid having dealers or others be able to tell that there's something I want.   The auctioneers in my part of the country are pretty well-informed, but they're not infallible.  Lots of times they'll point out as they sell that something is Roseville or Fostoria or a particular type of wood, or that it's a rare antique toy or collector's item.  After all, they make money depending on how much money an item brings.   Often, there's no rhyme or reason for what brings big money, and what sells for a dollar.

The weather was scorching hot, but thankfully the auctioneers had put up a giant tent with lots of folding chairs.  I always keep a folding chair in the back of my SUV, because sometimes you have to bring your own chair if you want seating.  Over time, I've gotten to know several of the "regular" auction attendees.  Some, like me, are individual collectors, looking for specific items.  Others have stores, or booths in antique malls.  There are always new or different people that attend, too. Lots of times there will be friends/family members of the sellers  (so, I'd be very quiet about any comments about the "stuff" you see.  You never know who will be sitting near you!)  or sometimes people come to bid on one specific thing.

Even watching the way people bid can be entertaining.  Some are very direct and shove their bid card HIGH in the air (remember that kid in 2nd grade that always knew the answer when the teacher asked?  THAT's exactly how it looks.  Some flap their arm around, like they're on a float in the Rose Parade.  Some barely flick their head.  Others point or tap their hat brim. Sometimes they're so subtle, I can't tell from where I'm sitting who actually bid.   One gentleman says, "HUP!"  very loudly on his first bid and then waggles a finger when he raises the bid.   Me?  I sorta flick my bid card forward on the first bid and either nod or shake my head after that.  

I had the pleasure of attending a huge sale this week...  I've never ever seen so many items in a single estate.  I can't even begin to fathom where they kept all the stuff.  I came  home with a few treasures:  some silverplate, a couple of McCoy pieces, a box of linens, and an antique end chair that MATCHES my dining room chairs!  The needlepoint seat is different, but I don't mind that!

There are all sorts of sales, too.  I've attended everything from very high-end antique sales with glossy catalogs to truck overstocks to plain old country estate auctions.  I have to admit, though... I really do love the old country estate sales most of all .  There's a HUGE mix of items, literally anything someone could have in their house, and the mix of people is just as wide.   I took a couple of quick pictures with my phone and meant to take more, but well...I got distracted looking at "stuff".  These photos are from one side of the house, and there were three more sides, just as full as this! 


  1. Wow! I love estate auctions as well - so much fun!

  2. What a great sale, E! The Blue Ridge setting is so beautiful. I look forward to seeing your finds.

  3. WOW! I would so kill to have sales like that! Looking forward to pics of your treasures!!!!

  4. Amazing! My friend, Sam, would have gone crazy for the McCoy pottery.

  5. I used to go to these sales all the time when I lived back East. I wonder if they have anything similar here. This would have been so fun to attend.

  6. I can't wait for the day when Sid & I can start going to the old country estate sales again. They are a blast. Great topic E.