Bargain hunters unite at police auction
Confiscated or recovered bikes, jewelry. electronics up for the highest bids
Career traders, bargain hunters and the simply curious alike flocked to Luke’s Auctions for the annual Police Bike and Recovered Goods Auction, each of them with a different prize in mind.
Well more than a hundred individuals turned out Saturday morning as hundreds of items — 130 bicycles alone — that also included jewelry and electronics confiscated or recovered by Niagara Parks Police and Niagara Regional Police went to the highest bidder.
“We’ve been doing this for like 50 years,” said Sue Pasmore, coowner of the St. Catharines auction house on Bunting Road, explaining the business partners with police once or twice a year.
She said the police auction attracts regulars and newcomers alike, many of whom come out just for the selection of bikes.
“The bikes are a special auction,” she said.
Richard Airlie was amongst people who came out in the hopes of landing a new set of wheels, after going without a bicycle for several years.
“I’m looking for a beater,” he said, adding, “something I can work on and fix up.”
Airlie hadn’t been to the auction for years, but the prospect of finding a bike he could both fix up and ride drew him out. The repair process, he said, will be part of the fun.
Jacqueline Shaver had her eyes set on a new-to-her camera. She did find herself a little distracted
by the wares on display, musing over a used pair of Kate Spade sunglasses.
“I love the jewelry,” said Shaver, who has decorated a fair share of her home with auction items including end tables, bedding, mirrors and Christmas items.
Bidding on a much-desired item, she said, delivers another rush on top of the deal.
“When you really want it, oh yeah, you get really loud and do your best to intimidate people,” she said.
Tammy Bruce and Len Spurgeon viewed the auction as a moneymaking venture.
“I’m a hustler,” said Spurgeon just before bidding got underway.
“I buy low and sell high,” he said, adding, “you’ve got to make a living somehow.”
He was quick to note turning a profit is no easy feat — product and market knowledge is key. He always tries to check out the functionality of electronics before bidding starts, and stays away from power tools that may be short on a battery.
“The batteries will kill you,” said Spurgeon, adding, “and that’s if they make them still.”
He laughed when asked if he had ever lost his proverbial shirt on a purchase.
“I’ve got more lemons than strawberries,” he said, adding items he can’t sell usually find their way to being donated to St. Vincent de Paul.
He noted, for all the times he’s lost out on his profit margin, there have been big wins at the auction as well. Without hesitation Spurgeon said art has always been the most profitable, pointing to a series of Angie Strauss originals he picked up at $5 a piece.
“They’re on my wall and accruing value,” he said.
For Bruce, who takes in an auction every week, said the effort is about the thrill of bidding, and the promise of a solid deal.
Tammy Shaver examines a ring before the start of bidding at Luke’s Auctions for the Police Bike and Recovered Goods Auction.