Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thoughts on Auctions, Antiques & the Difference Between Saturday & Sunday~*

My parents called us up Friday.  Well, to be strictly honest, they text-ed us up as I hate, despise and systematically avoid talking on the phone.  I have hearing issues. And attention issues.  Lots of issues.


Dad had found an auction.  Did we want to go?

Yes.  Always yes.  Auctions are Awesome.

It was a weekend long affair with viewing times starting at 11 and the auctions starting at 1 Saturday & Sunday.  Or 1ish really.  We are in the south & time is not a fixed point so much as a general guideline.

This was not our regular auction, which is a hoighty operation where we can't afford anything & just go for the previews & the opportunity to touch cool things from centuries ago like our own personal museum.  This was a good ole tin shed & tent affair.  The kind where there is a bit of everything & we can actually buy stuff.

The Saturday crowd was sweet.  Farmers & locals looking for bargains.  Wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, empty chairs & a general marveling at how low things went for.  Our kinda folks.

A Victorian pump organ, functioning & with stool went for $200.  A federal period drop leaf table went for $40.  An ornate clock from Germany went for $60.

Then there was the trench art.  As many of you know, both my husband & I are historians.  I study civil disobedience in American history, my husband studies World War I and the period in Germany that followed (known as the Wiemar Republic).

World War I was arguably the worst war in modern history.  I won't go in to details.  Suffice it to say it was really, really bad.  While waiting to die in the trenches, a lot of soldiers on all sides focused on making art out of whatever they had on hand.  It was an artists war really, lots of writers, poets & artists enlisted for the experience only to find themselves in hell.


We started collecting trench art a while back as an homage to the boys my husband studies & they had four pieces of trench art--in this case, vases made out of mortar shells-- at the auction on Saturday.  One was in original condition, 3  matching pieces had been polished recently by some no doubt well meaning but incredibly stupid person.  All had thistles as the motif (which was popular in the war), all were made in 1917, 3 French, one English.

My husband & I were flipping out.  Of all the treasures we wanted, these were the big ones.  And we had a severely limited budget.  So we crossed our fingers when they were brought out at last.

And we won.  We also brought home a few group photos from the same period.  And my parents bought us a fantastic (and huge) recruitment poster from Newark New Jersey.  Oh!  And I got a calendar plate from 1951 & the California commemorative plate from '52 that I mentioned in a post the other day.

The lot also came with a 1962 Seattle World's Fair commemorative plate that I gave to Mom cos she actually went to the fair.  I'll share all of the treasures in future posts, no fear~*

We were very excited to come back on Sunday.  There were a few things we were interested in & given how low things were sold Saturday & the amount we could still afford to spend we had every reason to believe we might nab a few more goodies.  Some things we just wanted to see what they would go for.

But there were some pieces of ephemera I was particularly interested in bringing home.  A set of postcards from Tom Randall to his cousins from all over the United States.  

Some old ledger books.

And other treasures.

So we got there early & settled in.


Totally different crowd on Sunday.  Rich snotty sorts with plastic surgery'd all ta hell women wearing dresses 4 sizes too small and weasly thin pony tails that grayed men in mid-life crises grow.  L.L.Bean catalog'd, artfully disarrayed wealth on display.  People leaving trash on the floor or on antique tables because they were too rich or too pretentious to be bothered throwing it away.   Icky people.  The people we decidedly are not.

And the prices.  Holy smokes.  It was night and day.  A globe from the late 1990s went for a $250.  Tea sets & silver plate went for multiple hundreds.  Queen Anne tables sold in the thousand dollar range.  A modern reproduction of an 1890s four poster went for multiple thousands.  Bidding wars broke out as frienemies tried to out spend each other.  The whole room was thick with mean-spirited competitiveness.

Our goodies were snatched up at prices way beyond our budget.  Goodbye Thomas Randall's postcards.

We did manage to bring home some chalkware Toby's for ten bucks.

The rest of the time we were simply stupefied by the snot factor.

We do not like the Sunday crowd.  We will not go back.

Saturday, however, we will do any day of the week~*

Have you ever been to an auction?

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  1. That Saturday auction sounds awesome. Congrats on getting your pieces! We used to go to auctions before we had kids and I loved it. But you can't take kids to wait all day for the armoire you want to come up for auction!!

    1. A few more years & your eldest can watch your youngest & off to the auction you can go!

  2. How cool, I've never been to an auction actually. We have some great thrift store in my home town that I always hit up and I know they do occasionally host auctions, but I've always been slightly intimidated.

  3. Love auctions! Looks like there are a lot of treasures at that one. Even though the bad crowd got some of them ;)

  4. I've never been to an antique auction, looks like a blast!


  5. Wow, what a great auction. I love the ephemera it's always so much fun to look through all of that.

    Heidi’s Wanderings

  6. This looks fabulous!! I've never been to an auction, but it looks like a lot of fun, well, the first day anyway, the second sounds a bit ugh....

    Just Pirouette and Carry On...

  7. These are some beautiful items! I've been to a few antique auctions, sadly during the hoighty day... We couldn't afford anything I was interested in.

    Stopping by from the Aloha Friday Blog Hop.


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