Thursday, June 5, 2014

Diamonds in the Rough at Auctions

Continuing “Diamonds in the Rough,” today, I will post about finding antiques at Auctions.

The room is silent for a few seconds until the auctioneer bellows, “Do I have a bid?” Everyone is watching everyone, but the auctioneer waits for signs. A nod of the head, a finger placed on the side of the nose, a tug of the ear. Perhaps in the movies you will see these actions. First come to mind are the James Bond movies and how suave James is as he peruses the auction galleries looking for the bad guy. My favorite is Mickey Blue Eyes, starring Hugh Grant.
As an art-house auctioneer, he finds himself getting in deeper with the mob after learning that his teacher girlfriend is the daughter of a major mobster. Things get worse when a godfather launders his no-talent son's gory paintings through the art house and gets the FBI into the picture. Everything then falls apart when the son is accidentally shot.
At real auctions, people hold up signs with a number telling the auctioneer they are placing a bid. And the pace can catch the unwitting customer into buying something they don’t want or can afford. Welcome to the world of Auctions.  Like crossing a street, you look, listen, then cross. In this case, bid. There is so much information you need to know and understand before you go to an auction if you are going to participate. If not, they are fun and exciting to watch. If you desire, I have included at the bottom of this post several websites that explain every aspect of the auction procedure.

My experience with auctions came years ago when I lived in St. Petersburg, Fl. Now here is a place where a century ago, many wealthy people from up north would come down during their harsh winters and put up second homes. They also traveled extensively on world tours, buying exquisite artifacts from foreign countries, decorating their residences with antiquities. Many years later, as time turn the tides, this generation of people died off, resulting in a treasure trove of fine things that eventually ended up on the auctioneer’s block.

While I lived in Florida, I had a small art gallery. I offered visual art at as well as antiques. I attended many estate auctions looking for items for my gallery. I also found things I kept for myself, like the ring (Ring featured in Jewelry Collection Post) and this solid wood sculpture of a Persian Housegod (guard). 

At some auctions there are listings for “Box Lots.” In a box miscellaneous items would be pretty much thrown together, no particular value given on the items. The fun of bidding on it is getting all the items. And you never know; there may be that diamond in the rough. I found this fascinating original ink drawing of a woman slaying a serpent-like dragon. I have research this for years and still cannot come up with any clues as to who the artist is, or when or where it was created. If you should have an answer, I would appreciate you let me know.  
There are many types of auctions and one that most people are familiar with is the Silent auction. A variant of the English auction in which bids are written on a sheet of paper. At the predetermined end of the auction, the highest listed bidder wins the item. This auction is often used in charity events.

Another phenomena is the recent American reality television show on the A&E Network called Storage Wars that premiered in December 2010. According to Wikipedia, the premise is when rent is not paid on a storage locker for three months in California, the contents can be sold by an auctioneer as a single lot of items in the form of a cash-only auction.

The show follows professional buyers who purchase the contents based only on a five-minute inspection of what they can see from the door when it is open. The goal is to turn a profit on the merchandise. It’s fun to watch and if anything it tells you is that there are a lot of people out there who do not know what to do with their stuff, and instead of taking the time to look through it all in order to save something that may be precious but forgotten, it would behoove them to be more circumspect about how and where they store their treasures.

Online Auction Sales are another source of where you can find, bid and buy antiques. A review by Leah Stone asks why use Online Auctions? She says, “Online auction sites provide a multitude of opportunities for entrepreneurs and bargain shoppers alike. Selling online allows you to supplement your income, or simply save money for that dream vacation. Additionally, thanks to today’s auction sites, finding rare items has never been easier. With Internet shopping on the rise, online shoppers have been flocking to auction websites by the millions and their numbers are on the rise. Our top three picks for the best online action websites are eBay, and eBid. To learn more about them,  you can read our articles on online auction sites.” 
Auctions are fun, entertaining and edifying. But before you go, brush up on auction terminology, manners and mores. Going once, going wide, SOLD to you!
Here are the websites that explain every aspect of the auction procedure.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer Blog: All about auctions and auctioneers, with observations on auction law and common practice.
WESCHLER’S Auctioneers and Appraisers Since 1890
Next Post: Pawn Shops.



























































































































































































































































































































































































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