Friday, September 01, 2006

Auctions -- Going, Going

I am in the process of trying to select an auctioneer to handle the bulk of items of my Mom's that I now have in two storage units in Massachusetts. I have, with the help of my dear pal Sandy and her husband Jim, gone through 80 boxes and catalogued the contents. I am not done yet. There are maybe 20 more boxes or so, and a lot of furniture, some of which with full drawers to go through.

But the most of it is sorted out between what I will auction and what I will keep. Now to find the auctioneer. Sandy and I have been checking them out and may have found one, but we are not done with our list. This has meant actually attending these auctions, and I am surprised at how much I enjoy that.

There are sites on line like that will show you lists of some auctioneers and auctions in your state. No matter how many you thought there were, you have probably underestimated. There seems to be a never-ending stream of people auctioning off a never-ending stream of merchandise. Add this to ebay and suddenly an entire below-the-horizon economy emerges. Who says Americans don't recycle?

The auctions that I remember from my childhood usually took place in the home of someone who had passed on -- whatever the children did not take was auctioned off by the auctioneer on-site. He would set up a small tent, some folding chairs, maybe a small hot dog and soft drink stand on the lawn, and the auction would go on. The goods would form a picture of that person's life and times.

Today's auctions are indoors in regularly scheduled events that combine the goods of multiple homes. I do not know how it is done in all states, but in Massachusetts there is a difference between an "estate auction" which is pretty much anything ...and an "antiques auction" which has strictly antiques and is full of items that command a higher price and more retail interest. Both are collections from multiple homes or consignors.

Auctions are odd places. It is easy to spot the dealers -- they don't bid the high numbers and they usually buy a lot of stuff. I did bid on a few items, but have long ago lost the ego need to win at my own expense. Not so the man in front of me who spent far too much for something because he didn't want to "lose it" to someone else.

The problem with auctions is that it is easy to impulse-buy. After all, when will you see a 3 foot long wooden sauerkraut slicer again? But one item that did catch my eye which will be sold at an upcoming auction is a beautiful portrait on silk of the Buddha and the 100 bodhisattva. The only problem is, that it was easily 10 feet square. But where would I ever see it again? (you see? Auction fever.)

It is a combination of good luck and judgment to select the right auctioneer -- one who is honest, who will aggressively promote their sales, who has a fair price, a high-dollar audience, etc etc ... and I have never had to do this before. I sure would like your prayers and best wishes that I figure out the best way to make this all happen.


Blogger samtzmom said...

Prayers ascend for the auctioneer extraordinarie to materialize and be just the one to adequately showcase your treasures! Hugs to you dear friend!

6:25 AM  

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