Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Going Once... Going Twice... Sold!

Hey there! Sorry for the radio silence. It's been a busy week!

I thought I'd tell you about the auction that I went to last Saturday. It was an estate auction, which means someone was selling the contents of his or her house. Sometimes the house is even for auction, but many times it is put on the market and sold traditionally. The people who owned this estate were retiring in Virginia, and they could not take a good deal of their stuff with them, so they contacted the auctioneer to sell it for them.

Auctions may seem a little intimidating at first, but they really are a lot of fun, and they are a great place to score some deals. I won’t reveal the company whose auctions I usually attend, because I don’t want to increase my bidding competition! But search around on Google, Craigslist, and even your local newspapers for auctions near you. I find that I have the most luck with estate auctions, but there are other types of auctions, such as consignment auctions, where the auctioneer is auctioning lots of items for various sellers. If you are not sure what type of auction is being advertised, the easiest way to tell is by the location of the auction.  If the auction is at a house, it is probably an estate auction. If it is held at an auction hall, a community center, or some other venue, it is probably not an estate auction.

You saw a peek at the items that I bought in the picture of my auction card on Monday. That card is what I used to bid on the items. The number on the card was registered to me, that way the company can keep track of my tab, and if I skip out without paying, they have the info on my driver’s license (they make a copy of it when registering), so they can come find me.

So let’s take a look at what I got!

The largest piece, and the piece that I really wanted after scoping out some pics on the the auction’s website, is this double serpentine dresser.

It was made by Dixie Furniture, which is now Lexington Home Brands. It is mahogany with dove-tailed drawers, and it is in really good shape. The stain is uneven in a few places, so I think I will need to rework the finish. I’m going to see if I can restore it instead of having to sand and refinish, because I like the color.
Although this dresser was made for a bedroom suite, I put it in my dining room. I don’t follow the “rules” when it comes to furniture placement. I don’t usually go for a matchy-matchy suite of furniture in any room (though I might consider a dining room suite if I had the $$), and I use furniture wherever I like it, regardless of its original purpose. Using furniture for unconventional purposes adds interest in a room. Plus, being flexible in purposing furniture can help widen your net when you are shopping to increase your chances of finding a piece that works in your house and also fits in your budget.

So you saw the buffet that I originally had in my dining room.

Since I put the new dresser in the dining room, the buffet had to go somewhere else. I’ll save the details about where it ended up for another post. Did you notice that the lamps on the buffet are naked?


I stole the lamp shades from my brass lamps for the dining room post. I’ll get shades for them when I rewire them.
Some other items I got that also ended up in the dining room are this vase and clock.

The vase is blown glass. It is very pretty. It really helps tie in the orange from the rug and the lamps. I got it for five dollars. The clock was $15. It is solid brass, and it is a winding clock. The thing weighs like 10 pounds!

I also got this mirror.


It was $7.50. Are you kidding me??? You can’t get a mirror from Wal-Mart for $7.50. That’s a crazy good price! It looks very similar to this mirror from Ballard Designs for $250

Bella Mirror Medium

or this mirror from Horchow, which is $2600! Twenty six hundred dollars? For a mirror? I think I’ll take my auction find.

Oversized Beveled Mirror by John-Richard Collection at Horchow.

This cute little chair was another fun find.

It has a caned seat, and I’m digging the black paint with the gold accents for now. I’m thinking about repainting it, but the black works for right now, and I already found a place for it. Here it is “styled.” Haha!


This little chair works great as a by-the-back door chair. We use our back door to come and go from our house, and it opens directly into the kitchen. I have a banquette in our kitchen (which I’ll show you in the kitchen tour -- coming soon!), and it usually becomes the dumping ground for coats, hats, and bags. But this little chair is perfect for setting my purse and my work bag on when I come home. That way I don’t forget my laptop because it’s hidden away in another room (I am NOT a morning person, and I have been known to make it all the way to work before I realize my computer is at home!) Plus, I have a place to stash my bags when the boys (aka Hunter and Henry) come running to greet me in the evenings.

I got the chair for $22.50. It was a little steep for me, and I was initially having buyer’s remorse, but when I got it home and found a place for it, I was glad I bought it.

So here’s a listing of all my auction purchases:
Dresser: $150
Vase: $5
Clock: $15
Mirror: $7.50
Chair: $22.50
Total: $200 

Not bad considering all the loot I picked up.

I’ll share with you a few tips based on my experiences in going to auctions.

Rule 1. There are no rules.
You can never anticipate how much money items are going to bring. It all depends on who is at the auction and what they are there to purchase. So don’t psych yourself and skip an auction thinking you can’t afford things. You never know when you will pay $5 dollars for a dresser or $7.50 for a mirror.

Rule 2. Scout it out.
Many auctions have websites with pictures of some of their items. Go to the website or get to the auction early to scout out the merchandise. Look at the items you are interested in closely. Remember, you are buying as-is, so factor the cost to fix any damages into your bidding strategy.

Rule 3. Set limits.
The act of bidding on an item can be very exhilarating, and sometimes egos may get the best of you when  you are bidding on something. So set a maximum amount you are willing to pay for an item. That way you know when to get out when the bidding war heats up and you don’t spend more on an item than you are willing to pay (or more than it’s worth).

Rule 4. Know your competition.
Dealers frequent auctions as a place to get inexpensive merchandise that they can mark up in their stores. They often have deep pockets, so if you suspect that you are bidding against a dealer, you really need to stick to your spending limit that you set in Rule 3.

Rule 5. Know  the market.
Maybe you are the only one at the auction who is looking for upholstered furniture. If that is the case, be prepared to score some really awesome deals, because you won’t have much competition bidding against you. By the same token, if you and everyone else at the auction wants the really cool artwork that is up for auction, the prices may get out of hand quickly. Pay attention to the items the other auction-goers have purchased as a way to determine what the hot commodity is that day. It changes from auction to auction.

Hopefully these tips will help you navigate auctions and you can find some really cool stuff for a great price. Just don’t come bid against me!   (I kid!) 
(But seriously…..)

Is anyone going to take these tips and find an auction to go to this weekend? Or are you already an auction pro? Anyone want to share their best auction finds?

1 comment:

  1. Great post and wonderful tips