Ex­pe­rien­cing an auc­tion for the first time

Some real trea­sures to be had

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

WI’ve al­ways wan­ted to see what it’s like to at­tend an auc­tion. So as so­meone who loves to watch An­tiques Road Show on T.V., and more re­cent­ly, Dis­co­ve­ry Chan­nel’s Auc­tion Kings, I was ex­ci­ted but lee­ry when at­ten­ding my first auc­tion ear­lier this month.

ould the auc­tio­neer speak too fast? Would I in­ad­ver­tent­ly scratch my head, or anyw­here on my bo­dy for that mat­ter, and end up ow­ning an item I didn’t want? Or worse, would a sense of com­pe­ti­ti­ve­ness en­gulf me and cause me to throw cau­tion - and my bud­get - to the wind in an ef­fort to out­bid others in the room?

For those reasons and a simple fear of the unk­nown, I had stayed away from the ma­ny auc­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties we are for­tu­nate to have ac­cess to in our re­gion… un­til re­cent­ly. Achance trip with my­daugh­ter in­to Hud­son Auc­tions’ fa­ci­li­ty had her rea­dy to lay down her hard ear­ned cash on the spot. She had spied a much-co­ve­ted pair of head­phones she wan­ted to give her boy­friend as a gra­dua­tion gift. The lis­te­ning de­vices, Beats by Dr. Dre, sell in stores for much, much more than she was able to af­ford. But when Hud­son Auc­tions’ ow­ner Ga­ry Pe­ter­son told her they would probably sell at his up­co­ming auc­tion for a frac­tion of the cost, she was in. OrI was in, it see­med. Work obli­ga­tions on her part on the day of the Sun­day, Ju­ly 8 auc­tion found me in her stead at the auc­tion house, rea­dy to spend her hard ear­ned cash.

NewEx­pe­rience

For those, like me, who’ve ne­ver at­ten­ded an auc­tion, it goes a lit­tle like this: Ar­rive ear­ly if you want a chance to see all of the items going on the auc­tion block that day. The day I went there were hun­dreds of items scat­te­red around the large, open room, each bea­ring a lit­tle yel­low slip of pa­per with an as­si­gned num­ber.

Anyone wan­ting to bid on an item must first re­gis­ter at the front desk by com­ple­ting a form that in­cludes the buyer’s name, ad-

Going, going, gone

dress and phone num­ber. Clients are then gi­ven an auc­tion form. Af­ter that they can wan­der the room mar­king the num­ber as­si­gned to the items on which they might want to bid.

What struck me most that day was the amount and as­sort­ment of items sche­du­led to hit the auc­tion block. There was a vin­tage, green MGB conver­tible sports car (it didn’t sell be­cause no one would meet the re­serve, or the mi­ni­mum price that had been set in ad­vance), a de­si­gner wed­ding dress (size 10), dia­mond and sap­phire rings, un­cut gem­stones, a wide va­rie­ty of vin­tage and some mo­dern je­wel­ry, a large se­lec­tion of fra­med pain­tings, hand sewn quilts, dishes, an­tiques, fur­ni­ture, pa­tio sets, clothing, high-end skin­care pro­ducts, and so much more. It tru­ly bog­gled the mind. There were brand new items like an­droid cel­lu­lar te­le­phones, touch ta­blets, and the head­phones my daugh­ter co­ve­ted. The auc­tio­neer ex­plai­ned that ma­ny of the items had been sent in a lot to the auc­tion house by a de­li­ve­ry com­pa­ny. The ar­ran­ge­ment is com­mon, he said, when the com­pa­ny is unable to de­li­ver its ship­ments, or if the pro­ducts are ne­ver clai­med, for wha­te­ver rea­son.

Other items are pla­ced up for auc­tion on consi­gn­ment.

Wha­te­ver the reasons, my ex­pe­rience in­clu­ded seeing an­tique, crys­tal desk sets auc­tio­ned off in one lot, and an­droid phones in the next.

When the ac­tion did start, the auc­tio­neer, Pe­ter­son in this case, star­ted off ex­plai­ning the pro­cess and ack­now­led­ging newcomers like my­self in the room. He said he would take his time, which he did. I was hap­py to note that I could un­ders­tand most of what he said. Though there were hun­dreds of items up for bids, Pe­ter­son and his staff kept things mo­ving along at a good clip. He would brie­fly des­cribe the item while a staff mem­ber held it up at the front of the room for people to see. The bid­ding did go qui­ck­ly and it was ne­ver clear to me how Pe­ter­son went up in five or ten dol­lar in­cre­ments. I was sea­ted at the front of the room so had a hard time seeing if ex­pe­rien­ced buyers kept up­ping the price with just a nod of the head. I still have no idea if there is a si­gnal one can give, for example, to in­di­cate that you on­ly want to in­crease the bid by $5 ins­tead of ten.

Af­ter sit­ting through 91 other items, the first of two pair of the co­ve­ted head­phones came on­to the auc­tion block. Be­fore I knew it, the bid­ding had gone from $50 to $100 and hi­gher. I hadn’t even lif­ted a fin­ger, nod­ded my head, or scrat­ched any­thing for that mat­ter, to place my bid. And just like that the item was sold to a fa­mi­ly at the back of the room for their ra­ther plea­sed loo­king ele­men­ta­ry school-aged son.

But there was hope in the form of a se­cond set of head­phones.

And this time no one else wan­ted them. So I jum­ped right in with a win­ning bid that, hap­pi­ly enough, was $20 less that the price paid by fa­mi­ly the first time around.

Heart poun­ding and fin­gers sha­king slight­ly from the adre­na­line rush of the whole ex­pe­rience, I went to pay for the pur­chase.

First ti­mers should al­so know there is a 12percent pre­mium ad­ded to the fi­nal price of eve­ry item pur­cha­sed, as well as all ap­pli­cable taxes. The end fi­gure is de­fi­ni­te­ly hi­gher than the bid price when the ga­vel ham­mers down and should be fac­to­red in­to a maxi­mum bud­get al­lot­ment. And all items are sold “as is,” so it’s a good idea to ful­ly ins­pect any­thing you plan to buy.

In the end, I got the head­phones and my daugh­ter’s boy­friend got a pret­ty cool gra­dua­tion gift that al­so comes with a sto­ry. I al­so got a taste of auc­tion fe­ver and can un­ders­tand why it’s so much fun to spend a day at an auc­tion house. There are trea­sures to be found and for some ve­ry good prices. The good news is there are plen­ty of auc­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties the re­gion. And even if you don’t end up buying any­thing, it’s cer­tain­ly an ad­ven­ture just to ex­pe­rience a live auc­tion for the first time.

Hud­son Auc­tions is lo­ca­ted at 3190, bou­le­vard Har­wood, Vau­dreuil-Do­rion. Its next auc­tion will be held Sun­day, Ju­ly 22 be­gin­ning at 1:00 p.m. Doors open a few hours ear­lier for those who want to stop in to look around.

For a list of items that will be on the auc­tion block, go to: www.hud­so­nauc­tions.com or call 450 458-5766.

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