Here are some rules we have set out for ourselves that really work and have enabled us to walk away having had a fun day and purchased some nice things. I just started going to auctions a few years ago and I had to learn most of these rules the hard way. Don't make the same mistakes I did...
- Arrive early! I can't stress this enough. If you don't arrive early you can't look over the merchandise for sale and you may end up bidding on something you don't want. We usually give ourselves about an hour to sort through everything and decide what we might want to bid on.
- Be patient. This is hard sometimes. Be prepared to spend all day there if there is an item you really want. Usually the item we are after seems to be the last one on the block. If you don't have the time to spend, don't go. You will just have a frustrating time and come home frazzled.
- Don't be afraid to get in there! Can't tell you how many times I have been too shy to open a box or pick up an item to really get a close look at it. I once purchased a saddle for $250 and lost out badly because I hadn't taken a good look at it. I'm still trying to live that one down. It is an expensive decoration now.
- If you see an item you want to bid on set a price on how high you want to go and stick to it. Don't get caught up in a bidding war. Sometimes items go for way above the sticker price to purchase it new just because people get caught up in a bidding war and don't know when to stop.
- If the auction has lot numbers. (Some do, some don't) Write down the lots you want to bid on and how high you are willing to go. Don't think you will keep it in your head or will recognize it when it comes up. This isn't always the case. Mostly the handlers will only take one or two items out of the boxes and you might not realize it is the lot you want.
- Get your hand in the air! This is the hardest thing for me to do and I often make sure Mountain Man is there to bid for me as I seem to be invisible. I'm working on it! If you are new to auctions just keep your hand up until you get the item or it goes above what you are willing to pay.
- Pay attention! I have a habit of talking to people so will end up in a conversation and before I know it the item I was waiting for is long gone and Mountain Man is looking at me and shaking is head or laughing.
- Be prepared to get the good with the bad. At small estate auctions you can often end up with a whole box of items you don't want just because there was something in there you were after. It comes with the territory. If the item you want is worth the price you have to take it all
- Give it away. I usually give a lot of items away at the auction. If someone has bid on a lot I was after I will often ask them later if they want the items I don't. Sometimes you are after the same thing, but not always and it sure saves taking home things you don't want.
- If you don't get the item you want don't panic! First of all it isn't life or death, so you missed out, no big deal. However, if you really want an item you can sometimes purchase them from the buyer. I've done this a few times when I only wanted one item from a lot and didn't want to go over my price. I offered it to the person who purchased the whole lot and he said sure, he was after something else and didn't want that item. Yeah for both of us!
- Have fun! Auctions can be a lot of fun! Don't stress about something if you don't get it and don't have a conniption if you get caught up and over spend. Chalk it up to a learning experience and be more careful next time.
Here are some of the items we purchased at the last auction.
Mountain Man and I love antiques and have mostly filled our house with them. We were willing to pay up to $65 for this beauty but ended up getting it for $25. What a steal! I've seen them on-line for $250.
OK, I know... Boring dishes right? However, I needed a few of these items and only paid $10 for all of them. The white pots I wanted were worth more than that and the cookie sheets were a bonus because they fit in my oven! Yeah! (The oven on my woodstove is a bit small so it is hard to find ones that fit)
This beautiful antique saw will be used as an ornamental wall hanging but it was only $5.
We love antiques that actually work and this one does! This is one of those mistakes you can make at an auction without even knowing you made one. We clearly thought we had bid $10 for it but then they said sold for $20 and pointed at us! Oh well.... We more than made up for it on the crock!
I know these cream cans don't look like much but Mountain Man has a plan he won't tell me much about, except to say I won't recognize them when he is done, so I guess I will have to wait until his project in completed. $5 for both!
Do you go to auctions? If so what is the best buy you have made?