Saturday, May 2, 2009

Auctions and Antiques -

First I apologize to my followers - this blog got off the ground and then "life" happened and it's been neglected for a month. I'm intending to not let that happen again.

How many of you have gone to a real life bonafide auction?
NO? You'll love it. eBay is nothing like a real life auction.

I'm gonna talk about my favorite kind of auction - general merchandise or household first. This is where someone breaks up housekeeping or moves or gets new furniture and wants to eliminate "things" from their house.

So there's an auctioneer, who does the "calling" (a singsong chant they practice in auctioneer's school) and his "helpers" who are called spotters sometimes. They hold up the particular piece or pieces or point to them and take them to the winner or to the "holding pen" where winners pick them up after they pay.

When you register at the auction (which you normally have to do)they give you a bidding number. Sometimes it's a little card the size of an index card, sometimes it's a paddle (looks like those old paper fans from Church pre-air conditioning). Every time you bid, you wave that frantically in the air. When you win, they write down your number and add that amount to your bill.

At the end of the auction, you go pay the cashier and they give you some form of "accounting" of what you bought. At one auction I go to, they used to use little coupons for each item. They write on the coupon what it was and how much your winning bid was. All your coupons where sorted by your bidder number and totaled up. Check, cash or credit ponied up and you get to take your winnings home.

The trick for me, has always been to go early and "preview" the auction and decide what I can't live without. Then while I wait for the auctioneer to start I decide how much of a hit my budget can stand for that item.

Once he starts taking bids, I wave frantically til I win. WALA, it's mine.

now some auctions will let you pick up big stuff (sofas, pianos, trucks, lawn tractors, book cases etc.) tomorrow or later next week. Some will pack your items. SOME take online bids and will ship to the winning bidder. (no on eBay anymore Thank God, but on several other sites, which we'll discuss later).

How do you find an auction you ask? Put in your zipcode and they'll tell you all about the auctions near you. My local newspaper also runs auction ads, primarily on Thursday in the one paper and Saturday in the other. Sometimes papers have a whole section devoted to life-style and will have an "antique" column where they will feature the antique or general auctions (as opposed to industrial, real estate, and automotive). So there you go. Check out auction zip and try your first "household" auction. You'll like it, I'm sure.