Monday, September 12, 2011

getting ready for auction

Way back in March I wrote Auction 101, part 1, about how to find an auction, and promised more posts on the nuts and bolts of auctions. So here's part 2---how I prepare. I've only been to the auction house I'm going to tonight once before. It's small and content varies a lot but tonight looks good. Also it just happens to be close to Hull, one of my favorite beach towns, so I am going to sneak out early and go for a walk on the beach.

The beach at Hull. In fact the very first post I ever wrote was about Hull, and I have a feeling I'll be writing another one later this week.

All auctions have previews, a time when you can go and view the merchandise. Sometimes it's an hour, sometimes a full day or even two. If you are serious about buying, previewing is essential and will save you mistakes and money. Tonight, I am previewing not just for myself, but for my son and a friend. My son moved into a new apartment and needs a table for dining and working. There are a couple of drop leaf tables I have my eye on. And the friend had been looking for a big old butcher block and there's one up tonight. I can't figure out how to post individual pictures, but here is the link to the pictures from tonight's auction. I like the fall front desk, green bench, and all the cupboards, especially the green one. (You know me and green.) Also the canoe sign, yellow ware and wooden bowls. And what's the deal with the 2-door oak church archway with stained glass at top??? Not that it would fit in my car. Which brings me to my next point.

This well-worn diagram and measurements of the inside of my car is very important. I take it (and a tape measure) and consult it every time I go to an auction. During the auction I sketch out different configurations of how to fit what I want to buy into my car. Renting a van is always an option, but not cost-effective. Auction houses will usually hold items for a few days, and I have occasionally made a second trip when I couldn't fit everything in my car, but since most auction houses I frequent are an hour or more from where I live, and then I have to take everything from Massachusetts to the Catskills, so I've only done that a couple times.

When I get to the auction I take one of my beloved Field Notes notebooks and a pen or pencil and make notes of what I want to buy. Sometimes I use stars and question marks. I usually mark the maximum I am willing to pay and sometimes what I think I can sell it for. And sometimes random stuff.

I'll let you know how tonight's auction goes.


  1. looking forward to what treasures you come up with ! Good luck at the auction !

  2. Best of luck, can't wait to see what you get!

  3. Jen,
    OMG! We are so on the same page! I LOVE that green cupboard, bench and especially the canoe sign which is probably my favorite thing of all! It looks like they had a lot of great things, can't wait to see what you come home with and hopefully what things went for, especially the above items! Sure wish I was closer, looks like a lot of fun! The auctions around here haven't been to good lately.

  4. That sounds like fun!! I really like the grain bins.

  5. I love auctions. There is a great one close to where I live. You never know what will be there - the most bizarre things imaginable sometimes! I nearly always end up spending more than I intended but have had some great buys. Hope you did well. M x