Sunday, June 11, 2006

Auction in Maine

Went to a local auction a couple of nights ago. The hall was half-filled, mostly with local dealers. There weren't a lot of non-dealer people there, probably because it had been raining all day, and a lot of folks just don't want to bother with an auction - even if it's indoors - if it's raining. The idea of loading one's purchases into your car after the auction isn't very appealing if you are doing it in a downpour.

I went with a close friend, also a dealer, more for the entertainment than to actually buy anything. The selling lately has been on the slow side - June is often quite soft for sales. That usually means that buying is going to be limited, since minimal sales means no cash flow to spend on fresh merchandise.

Seems like just about everyone one there was in the same boat. Although everything sold and only 2 or 3 items were passed due to no bids, the prices in general were quite low for most of the items. Apparently, most of the dealers in attendance were not willing to spend a lot of money, and nearly everything went for very reasonable sums.

Being a mid-week evening auction, it wasn't surprising to see the hall only partly full. Folks here in Maine tend to settle in for the evening, and often don't go anywhere after dark. Also, this auction was sort of a run-of-the-mill kind of auction, with no items really unusual or special. Most of the furniture needed some kind of work, either minor or major. The smalls were nice quality, but nothing really fabulous. Overall, it was all merchandise that was nice but needed some attention, or was somewhat common.

I bought little - a couple box lots is all I was interested in. My friend purchased a nice lot of pottery, mostly all in good condition, all nice smalls which she can use in her shop and sell for very reasonable prices.

A few purchases I missed out on - the auctioneer was very fast. He averaged approximately 150 items an hour (he uses an auction catalog, so it's easy to track his selling rate per hour). Even with a bit of good description and jovial conversation with the crowd, he STILL managed to hit 150 items/hour. That's pretty amazing - just think where he'd be if he was really in a hurry!

Unfortunately, that also meant that if you didn't pay close attention and get your hand up quickly on the item he was selling, you wouldn't be in on the bidding. I missed two lots that way, and then began to pay a whole lot more attention to bidding. Once I got into the swing of his fast chant, I finally was able to purchase a few items - I just had to stop socializing and gabbing with friends so much, and take care of business first!

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