Bar­gain hunters unite at po­lice auc­tion

Con­fis­cated or re­cov­ered bikes, jew­elry. elec­tron­ics up for the high­est bids

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Front Page - STEVE HENSCHEL

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.

STEVE HENSCHEL NI­A­GARA THIS WEEK

Tammy Shaver ex­am­ines a ring be­fore the start of bid­ding at Luke’s Auc­tions for the Po­lice Bike and Re­cov­ered Goods Auc­tion.

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