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Old 04-25-2009, 10:29 AM   #1
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The Auction...LOL

Yesterday evening I attended an auction in my county seat, in the middle of town, population about 6,000. It was a well attended event. I used to frequent local auctions about 15 to 20 years ago, when I was looking to purchase items for me to use. This auction had a large number of people, who like me, were looking for bargains to maybe make a little profit by reselling on eBay. Fat chance. My main interest was a Singer Featherweight sewing machine, a highly coveted, sturdy, mechanically superb, quilters’ dream, machine. They currently are selling from $200. to $600. on eBay, depending on condition of machine and case, year, and number of attachments. This machine was perfect, showing little use, but had no manual nor any attachments, hmmmm. I still was prepared to bid on it. I was standing next to Hope Ketchem, an acquaintance of mine, who I don’t like. She is not a nice person, an elderly (about 85 yo), retired teacher who never married nor had any children. I was at her house once and I was shocked at the condition of the place. It was one of those houses that was impossible to walk through for the clutter. And to add to my dislike of her, she starts bidding on the Featherweight. I bow out at $125.00 but Hope keeps going. It gets down to Hope and one other person, the auctioneer looks at Hope, who simultaneously sighs, whines, shrugs, and shakes her head no, saying she already has two Featherweights. So I’m thinking, watch the paper for Hopes’ estate auction.

There were 9 cast iron skillets to be sold. I looked them all over carefully before the auction; 3 Wagner’s, 4 make in Taiwan and 2 unmarked. The auctioneer says up for bid next are the cast iron skillets which include some Griswold’s and Wagner’s. He handled this bidding by saying the highest bidder would chose which one piece they wanted. He did this 6 times and sold the last three skillets together. These included one DO without a lid, one 4 inch deep skillet and the rest were 8 and 10 inch skillets. The first 6 bids all went to $25.00. Yikes!

This estate auction belonged to a pack rat, as expressed by the auctioneer in his opening remarks. In 2002 when I cleaned out my Mom’s house before moving her into an assisted living, I learned a huge lesson. Get rid of the stuff you no longer use. Over the next two years I concentrated on clearing out and selling on eBay the nice stuff I had but didn’t use. I will not declutter my house again. So I was not tempted by the Weller, McCoy, Hull and Hall pottery she had. Well, actually, I didn’t like any of it. I am always on the lookout for a few items, like, flower vases, wooden picture frames or other pottery that I really love upon first sight. I was interested in several very old carved wooden picture frames, but they were not the size I am interested in.

And the stone crocks……well, one was a stone one gallon jug and the other was a stone chicken waterer. Somehow, the auction listings in the paper always looks better than reality.

Going to an auction is very tiring work for me. I need to go through all the boxes and tables several times before I see almost everything. On the third time through, I noticed a motor base I had not picked up yet. When I did, it said Vita Mix 3600 on the side. Then I remembered seeing a container 4 boxes down that went to nothing. So first I pick up the motor base and look for an electrical outlet. The motor works. On the way out of the house I show it to the helper, a friend of long and a former antique dealer and fellow natural foods enthusiast, if he was aware of the Vita Mix base? He said no, was I going to bid on it?! I told him no but I thought the rest of the unit was in another box and he asked me to assemble it if I could. I have been coveting a Vita Mix for decades, but have never seen one like this one….it was vintage.

Well, with my disappoint with the Featherweight going for $250, and nothing else there that I had to bid on, I left early. I have real trouble at auctions waiting for the small stuff to sell before they get to the good stuff. Auctions take your complete attention and you can not chat with your neighbor. At least once each auction the auctioneer has to ask the audience to be quiet, they are strict about noise. They don’t want any potential buyer to miss the opportunity to buy.

So I came home empty handed. Actually, that is good for me because dh understands I do not buy indiscriminately and will not have a problem when I want to go to the auction next week!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
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Old 04-25-2009, 11:05 AM   #2
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What a wonderful story! I really enjoyed reading that. I can just see you giving Miss Ketchum "the eye." I enjoy hitting the local estate sales, but I haven't been to an auction in quite some time. You have given me the itch.
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:35 PM   #3
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Sounds like you had a great day in spite of not getting the sewing machine. Thanks for sharing the event. I can't wait til you post about next weeks adventure.
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:49 PM   #4
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Sounds like quite an event, Beth. Auctions happen here with great regularity. Buck and I went all the time, especially to add items to our shop and to feed our "habit."

Sorry about the sewing machine. We bought one, in pristine shape with all the attachments, bells and whistles, etc., at a yard sale when we lived in Maryland...for $25.00. I'm running away now.
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:23 AM   #5
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I'm still crying from So I’m thinking, watch the paper for Hopes’ estate auction

"Count yourself...you ain't so many" - quote from Buck's Daddy
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:28 AM   #6
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Well, I just read the listing for this weeks auction and I probably will not attend....it is a local wealthy couple who are downsizing to an apartment....it makes you wonder what they are keeping considering what they selling.....mostly antique walnut victorian furniture, very nice looking stuff....But I am not in the market for any more furniture let alone victorian..our style is mission/arts and crafts/Stickley. The only item listed that I would bid on is a small revolver, and I expect the winning bid to be outrageous on that one!

I'll keep you posted though!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:11 AM   #7
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I have a big pile of old books, catalogs and "paper ephemera" going on the auction block this coming weekend. Specialty auctions of books and paper aren't common below the Mason Dixon line, so it should be interesting to see how it all does.

I just love estate and collectible auctions, and seeing what its like to be the seller should be fun!

Attended an amazing estate auction a couple of years ago. Family had been in the house since before the Civil War; started one of the first electrical companies in the area; had a rifle factory during the Civil war; had documents dating back to the charter days of the state; a local snake collection (dozens in mason jars with kerosene)... just amazing stuff! Historical and fascinating!
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:39 AM   #8
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I do love a country auction--when you have an auctioneer with a good line of patter, it is more fun than just about anything. Bring a lawn chair--the Baptist church ladies or the 4-H or the Boy Scouts sell you your lunch and a soda, and you can stay from 8 am til 2 or 3, when they sell the last lonely cardboard box of jar lids and can openers.

With so many Ebay folks and lots of antique dealers attending them these days, the good things bring high prices, but often you can find lightly used kitchen stuff or non-antique furniture at bargain prices.
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since that house fell on my sister.
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