GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE, GONE!
Think auctions are intimidating? We have the insider secrets to put you at ease.
These insider secrets will make you feel right at home when you go to an auction.
IF THE IDEA OF ATTENDING AN AUCTION immediately brings to mind visions of intense bidding wars over Van Gogh’s paintings and Ming dynasty porcelain, think again. While events at Christie’s or Sotheby’s make headlines with record-breaking sales, your local auction house is a far more casual and approachable environment.
It’s also one of the best-kept secret sources for bargain vintage furnishings and accessories. Much like estate sales, auctions can be clearing centers for a lifetime of accumulated goods.
In the first of this two-part series on auctions, we spoke to professional auctioneer Neil Webster (CAI and CES) to get the insider’s scoop on everything you need to know about auctions and why they deserve to be in your regular lineup for treasure hunting.
WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT AUCTIONS?
You know that antiques store where you fell in love with the cute displays and perfectly imperfect furnishings? We’ll let you in on a little secret… These items are probably sourced at auction! With hammer prices often far below market value, vintage vendors and antiques dealers frequently purchase at auction for resale in their shops, booths or online.
Home decorators and collectors who are willing to invest their time in the process can also take advantage of these deals and snap up one-of-a-kind items before they make it to a boutique or an antiques mall. Unlike at those boutiques and malls, however, your choices are not going to be attractively curated before you enter.
Instead, you have the full variety displayed and available for picking and choosing, according to your taste. “There is always the excitement of discovering new things,” Neil says. “I’ve been working auctions for 20 years, and I see something new every week. Buy directly from the auction and you get to look at everything that’s available, not just what a particular dealer decided to bring.”
Here’s everything you can expect to experience and some additional tips to help you succeed.