Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Trials and Tribulations of Auctions!

We attended the Stair Modernism auction last night, March 12th, armed with a strategy to bid on 12 items. We prioritized, set limits, discussed what would happen if we won everything (see what happens later!), and even discussed what we might do if there was a real bargain to be had. Best laid plans....

But to start with, attending was fun. There was a real neighborhood atmosphere - kids, dogs, wine being served, and lively conversation.

Party atmosphere at Stair Galleries

Not everyone was having a good time!

We arrived earlier than we needed to based on our first item being Lot 279, but we enjoyed getting a feel for the bidding, and there were clearly some people that knew their art deco. For some pieces there was some quite lively bidding.

Our first lot was a dish set and not that important. We lost. The second item was also not that important and we capped at a low number. We lost. The third item our maximum bid was $100, and the winning bid was $2,300. Similarly the next won went for $2,300 and our max had been $500. We were getting a little disheartened at this point. 

The auction was full of highs and lows. More than a few pieces went for well below minimum estimates just to get rid of them - $1, $5, $25. It seems that people can't resist a bargain. Figure out what to do with it later!
Albert Cheuret Tulip Lamps. Est. $500 - $700

When they got to these lamps, the auctioneer said 'clearly we didn't appreciate what these are', and the bidding started at $2,000. The winning bid was $4,000.

We then has three items in a row coming up - some dining chairs, an art deco mirror and a dining table for our new house. We agreed that if we didn't get the chairs, we wouldn't bid on the dining table. I had told my husband that if there was one thing I wanted it was the art deco mirror.

Art deco mirror Est. $100 - $150

The first of the three in a row were the dining chairs. The bidding was lively and we were in the hunt, but we passed our max and gave up. Next was the mirror (above). We had set a max of $300 when we had discussed it the day before, but in my head I had moved it up, but never advised my husband, who had the paddle! He stopped at $300, and it went for $325. You can imagine just a little disappointment on my part!

That leads to a brief word on attending auctions and marital relationships! This created a bit of a strain. I lamented this loss through half of dinner afterward. My husband felt badly. Maybe I wanted him to feel bad! I wanted that mirror and we almost came away empty handed. But, then perspective returned. There will be other mirrors, and it really was MY fault. How was he supposed to read my mind? We resolved to develop a better communication method next time. 

Back to the auction, we had the dining table coming up immediately after the mirror, which we weren't bidding on because we didn't get the chairs.

Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams table with leaf - Est. $800 - $1,200

The opening offer from the auctioneer kept dropping in an effort to get interest. It came down to $250 and we looked at each other and bid. We got it for $325! It's in great shape and it would cost a lot more new. 

Thus our strategy didn't quite go as we planned. I am sorry about the mirror, but happy with the table. Chairs and mirrors are on the list for future auctions, which gives us something to look forward to!

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