01/28/2018 at 11:16 pm #31470
Spent the weekend shopping the bins and attended our first auction (both a few hours from home).
Had good luck at the bins. The auction though? Man! No big “box lots” like jay and Ryanne and others talk about. All high prices. And nothing I was super into. There were a few things I was interested in but they went too high fast.
It was very interesting and it was a great learning experience for us. There don’t seem to be many auctions near us, but we will try the one closer to home this week.
01/29/2018 at 7:31 am #31485
Huh, I guess some auctions might just be “fancier” and sell items individually. What you want are the ones that are selling off an estate. Basically a house clean out.
Most auction houses post photos of items at the upcoming auction. You can also call ahead. People are usually nice and helpful.
01/29/2018 at 7:56 pm #31596
That’s the funny part tho Jay, it wasn’t high end. And it WAS “box lots” I guess. Like 3 current plastic dolls from Walmart (sold for $25 and they cost about $5 each brand new and you can buy them today). There were some cool things (a lot of old trucker hats for example) but of 30 hats, probably 15 were sellable and another 5 had patches that would be sellable. That lot went for $65. I could have made a profit, but not enough of one to make it worth the time and money to me. Not special hats. Just old man trucker hats (John Deere, gas companies etc…)
01/30/2018 at 10:28 am #31635InglewoodParticipant
I live by a couple that is on the Canadian version of “Storage Wars” and they have a retail location where they auction boxes of pre-collated junk. I’m always surprised that people go to their auctions and bid on a box that has been thoroughly gone through by someone who makes a living picking and re-selling items.
01/30/2018 at 2:45 pm #31650
Agreed. With so many sources to scavenge from, why would you take a bet on items you’ve never seen? We have storage locket auction in our area and people pay pretty big money for them. We’ve been once and it all looked like junk.
01/30/2018 at 4:22 pm #31664InglewoodParticipant
I also feel that some storage businesses “create” lockers with random junk to auction off as a source of income, or “stage” them with a few good items out front, and junk/nothing in the hidden boxes.
01/30/2018 at 4:25 pm #31665
I think that might either be illegal, or at least a very bad risk if getting a dishonest reputation.
That being said, I would think the temptation to go through a locker would be too great to leave it alone before the sale.
02/02/2018 at 1:38 pm #31936kaninekleenupParticipant
I do ok buying units that are up for auction online. I put in cheap bids and every once in a while I win one. You gotta do a few dump runs, but I find a bunch of stuff for eBay..
02/03/2018 at 11:33 am #32018
I think sometimes it depends on the auctioneer too. We have one that does table/group lots at the end of every auction of the remaining stuff he didn’t get to or isn’t in the star attraction list. You’ll purchase everything on the table or in the group sometimes for $2.00. I love those. Sometimes there’s a lot of junk to wade through, but I’ve found a lot of treasure.
02/03/2018 at 11:48 am #32020plightParticipant
My auction that I go to does that a lot as well . I’ve gotten some amazing items that way. Theres always a few gems in each one.
I am now going through my ‘junk’ stuff and am going to create some listings for ‘junk drawer’. Seems to be popular on eBay so the random individual stuff I can’t sell I will put all together and see what happens,. Got to get creative..
Last year I went through my old jewelry a lot of single earrings beaded stuff broken necklaces etc.
I put it all together as a
craft jewelry repair single earrings etc lot and did quite well…
- This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by plight.
02/06/2018 at 11:10 pm #32361
I wondered why I had to be ice_queen!!
How did you get your name??
I’ve never “met” another Ice queen online 🙂
03/04/2018 at 5:12 pm #34382
Wow, another ice_queen, just saw this!! I’ve used this on a few forums. My ex husband dubbed me years ago with this and I just kind of embraced it. LOL
02/09/2018 at 8:37 pm #32621kaninekleenupParticipant
Went to an auction and bought a table lot for 25 bucks. There was a box of ties, and as I went thru them a Gucci men’s watch fell out! Just sold it for 139.00! Tons of other doo dads too. Anyone have luck selling beanie babies?
02/10/2018 at 7:39 am #32627
Those box lots are always going to bean mixed bag. Cool you found the watch! Beanie Babies are the 1990’s Bitcoin.
02/09/2018 at 11:35 pm #32625Marjean28Participant
- Location: Minneapolis, MN
Absolutely no luck with beanie babies. Luck with jellycat brand plush, and old rubber faced dolls
02/10/2018 at 11:57 am #32641GeoffParticipant
I have only been going to auctions for about a year and only somewhat frequently much more recently – but what i have learned so far:
Here where i live there are HUGE difference between auctions in different towns, and different nights. Some auctions will have tons of stuff for pennies, other auctions have people sometimes bidding up to even close to retail. So far in my journeys the two biggest things are: 1) avoid the bar as i am not there for socializing 2) wait for your pitch. It takes a strong man or woman to not bid that extra bid when the crowd has gone overboard at a particular auction. There is always more stuff to source.
One thing that drives me nuts are the phone bidders at some auctions. Waiting for an auctioneer to summons a bidder on the phone he knows wants an item is super frustrating. It should be mandatory that a person has a presence at the auction.
I also require of myself that i have actually previewed an auction prior to bidding in person on site. Sometimes big items will be “for parts” yet that may not be as clear as it could be to the general populace, and i find it helpful to objectively look at value prior to the action. If you have done your homework it will not be intimidating when the action starts and things move fast. I know what i will pay, and in the auction i am just thinking about when i want to enter the bid and watching the room.
I suppose for some who have a lot more experience all of the preparation may not be necessary, but this kind of approach seems to work ok so far for me.
02/10/2018 at 12:24 pm #32643
Preparation is always necessary. Even if its just showing up an hour before to preview.
One time (and only once) we showed up at an auction sight unseen. It was incredibly frustrating to know what we were bidding on. Made a lot of poor decisions that night.
One rule is that it pays to stick around till the end. We often cant make it through 5+ hours of a big auction, but if we do, we always get good stuff at the end because there are so few bidders.
Plus many buyers leave stuff behind. They bought a table, grab what they want, and the rest is free. One guy gave us a table of stuff since he just wanted one item. We made hundreds of dollars off that free stuff.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by Jay.
02/10/2018 at 2:21 pm #32646TemudginParticipant
- Location: Jacksonville FL
I love auctions – I’ve been going to them for upwards of 45 years in various parts of the country. Some good tips here. Geoff, your preparation is spot on. The smart way to do it. Another tip is to look for auctions held during the day on a weekday. Even auctions of big industrial equipment sometimes have good stuff that they’ll sell at the end if it’s a business clean-out.
My pet peeve is auctioneers that beg for bids. They start a lot high, then when there’s no response, start haranguing the bidders. They might wheedle and cajole or even flat out berate us for “not knowing what something is worth”. I’ve walked out in the middle of a few of those, making a big production of my departure if I can.
Be careful with storage locker auctions. You have to assume the stuff has been gone through and that the storage employees are working with bidders for a kickback to tip them off on what’s in the closed boxes. Not to mention the amateurs who’ve been watching too much Storage Wars – bidding up the units and hoping for a Picasso behind all the junk. I’m not saying money can’t be made but know what you’re dealing with. If volume trash disposal is a problem for you, don’t even go there.
Don’t bother with those auctions that attract the bingo crowd. Typically held Friday nights, in a rural area with few entertainment options, salted with a lot of new flea market merchandise and sometimes cheap China antique reproductions, usually feature a good sized food concession and/or bar, sometimes with reserved seating for the regulars with their names taped to the chairs (and the regulars are not dealers), and with no bargains to be had. That type of auction is only good for the entertainment value. (Which can be considerable, but it’s in the crowd, not the auction itself.) It sounds like ice_queen went to one of those.
02/10/2018 at 2:26 pm #32648
Yep, weekday auctions in the middle of the work day are best for us. Almost all dealers and very few collectors who bid up lots. Its all business.
02/10/2018 at 3:12 pm #32650plightParticipant
I agree with Jay about staying to the end. Often at the auction I go to frequently, more than half of the participants leave after the 1st couple of hours then the deals begin. Some people are only coming for certain items and then they leave.
Also if you can store furniture and sell it you can get some outstanding buys most go for very little.
I’m guilty often of not previewing and sometimes have gotten things that were broken scratched etc because I did not check it out before hand. I always do the preview on line and if time allows go to physically inspect.
Also if you don’t plan to stay you can ask one of the runners to put up an item early. They are happy to do it so you don’t have to wait if you have seen everything you want.
If an item is not getting interest wave you hand to inform the auctioneer that you want to buy it for half what he is offering. Depending on the item they will do that.
02/11/2018 at 11:01 pm #32716bingbongParticipant
I’m fairly new to auctions, but I have found for me that the best course is to do online bidding or internet absentee bidding. I have two small children and rarely have time to go attend a preview on my own, let alone sit through 6-8 hours of a live auction. You do have to be willing to take some risks buying site unseen, but I’m buying cheap lots anyhow.
I typically look at the online catalog for my two favorite nearby auction houses and make note of items I suspect people won’t bid on. These are almost always towards the end of the catalog and often are things like glass lots, matchbooks, buttons, bathroom/vanity items, etc. I can usually get these lots for $2-15 and sometimes they’re absolutely filled with treasures. I bought a $15 “glass lot” in January that had old German porcelain rose place card holders, Galway Crystal Double Old Fashioned glasses, a 50s petit pointe vanity set, etc. I’ve already made $200 on it and probably could make about $400-500 more.
I agree with the middle of the week thing too. Those seem to be the legitimate auctions. And an added benefit is that as it gets later on a weeknight, fewer people are willing to hang in there and bid on the cheap back lots.
03/03/2018 at 9:07 am #34293KatieScottParticipant
(I edited my post and then it disappeared so sorry if there are 2 posts.)
I went to a new auction last night and it was super different than the one I normally go to.
I got to talk to the auctioneer during the day when I went to go have a look see at all the stuff. He was an old guy who used to own the auction house and antique mall. He was from Oklahoma. He basically sounded like me when I talk about the legal profession – he was like “its just not what it used to be.” He told me lots of stories about the good old days and how much things used to go for. He also was of the opinion that the greatest transfer of wealth that Jay was talking about a few podcasts ago had already happened. He told me about the cycle of certain types of things – like how MCM is in now but that it will go out again and then all that ornate fancy stuff will come back; that seemed a little hard to believe but I’m sure he’s right. My basic take away from him was: research before you buy.
During the auction, there was a lot of jewelry and coins which I don’t really know about. They had lots of old pennies and quarters but also had some pieces of eight coins which were interesting to me after studying them in home school history with my son. The coins seemed to be selling and the jewelry not so much. To my delight, there were tons of table auctions – the auction I normally go to has a few but this one had well over 20. I didn’t buy anything but I plan to next time. I also plan to drag someone, like my husband or son, with me so help me box everything up and put it in the car.
One couple I noticed bought a box lot and then they also bought a lot of travel and suit cases so when they were packing things up they put the things in the suit cases. That seemed super smart. They also brought old bed sheets to cover their table lots while they weren’t right there. It totally seemed like someone could swipe things from the table lots during the auctions and the auction card said something like – we’re not responsible after you bid for breakage or theft – so go guard your stuff.
My other take away is that – there is so much stuff – in the thrift stores, in auctions and estate sales. Humans have made so many things. It is crazy.
03/03/2018 at 9:25 am #34296
Cool. Sounds more typical of the auctions we go to. I always look at their website to see if a particular auction date is specializing. Sometimes its all just coins or guns. We skip those. We like the auctions where its an estate clean out.
And I’ll correct you 😉 “AMERICANS have made so many things. It is crazy.”
03/06/2018 at 1:16 am #34508soniaParticipant
- Location: Northeast US
I finally went to my first auction last friday night! Another scavenger milestone reached!
I didn’t end up getting anything. I was hoping to get these 3 box lots of vintage Crabtree & Evelyn things, but it was done in a “bid for choice” style and the person who got them paid about $35 each for them, which was a little too rich for my blood. What was interesting was that the auctioneer kept saying “you guys are getting such great deals bc not many people showed up b/c of the storm”, but to me, most of the ridiculously great deals were on furniture, which is not something I am ready to handle (carry, load, unload, etc) and re-sell at this time. So, if typically the prices are much higher than they were this time, this may not be the auction for me. There are a couple of other places for me to try, though, so we’ll see if another works better for me. Problem is that they are all 30-40 miles away. But I guess the lack of any traffic makes up for the distance!
The dealers there (I assume they are dealers by how much they were buying) were a bit intimidating and impressive at the same time. To be able to tell what will sell or not from such a huge variety of items is mind boggling. I guess one just keeps on learning little by little.
03/06/2018 at 9:58 am #34518KatieScottParticipant
Sonia – I agree – if you have a way to transport and store furniture – it seemed like the best deal.
03/07/2018 at 12:11 am #34615
I like the idea about covering things with a bed sheet. I lost half a table full of stuff just going to get my truck one night.
My MIL was with me and said she’d keep an eye on stuff, but she wandered off to talk to someone. She also hi-jacked a huge bin full of linens I won when I was unloading her stuff later…LOL
Still got way more than my money’s worth, but that seems to happen a lot around here.
Lesson learned…bring sheets, keep a close eye on the MIL.
06/27/2018 at 3:29 pm #43748bcfol440Participant
Posting to an old thread, not sure the rules here, BUT..
I attended my first auction today! Was not planned, I drove by and stopped when I saw it was about 12 buyers and 4 auction staff. Not too intimidating.
Very small home with lots of stuff set up around it. I got my number and just kinda hung out. I accidentally bought a can of rusty nails, had to ask some awkward questions about check out, and went home with some junk as referenced and also a 1960s plant pot. Great learning for $11.
The items that went for bigger money: old farm stuff (feed bags), shabby chippy painted wooden things, bushel baskets, sleds, wooden crates with wheels, tool boxes. Items nobody wanted: plates and glassware.
My tips for future would be to bring a hat and sunglasses, cash and checks, patience, and a smile.
There are tons of auctions in my area (midwest), so it’s time I stepped up my game.!
06/28/2018 at 8:29 am #43798
Cool! Some people never learn to enjoy auctions. There’s a lot of waiting around and they can be long. We see auctions as a fun community event and make a day/evening of it.
The key is to show up at least an hour early and go through what’s on sale. Make a list of what you want. Then be a robot and bid strategically on those items.
06/28/2018 at 10:38 am #43825Retro Treasures WVParticipant
It feels like such a waste of time to spend an entire day in hopes of getting something good. Then when the thing you’ve been waiting hours to buy – selling it in your head several times over during the wait – sells for more than you would have listed it for on ebay. I’d rather spend an entire day in a larger city visiting all the thrift stores picking the low hanging fruit.
Different strokes for different folks, but I like my pricing and availability up front. The numbers either work or they don’t and I move on.
My opinion on auctions may be slanted due to the quality of auctions in this area. Much like Estate sales, they are overpriced junk.
06/28/2018 at 2:51 pm #43878
Ha! It’s definitely an acquired taste to attend auctions. Personally, auctions saved our interest in scavenging because we learned to hate going to Goodwill. Nothing could be more boring than going through rows and rows of clothes. Auctions are where the action is for us!
Also, when scavenging at a thrift store, the chance of finding a $100 items for cheap is relatively low. It happens. Maybe 1 in every 50 items if we’re lucky?
At an auction, we always find $100+ items. Usually buried in boxes. Its because of auctions that we can find items that sell for $500.
That being said, I’ve hit some auctions in WV. There can be some super junky auction houses. Like scavenging at thrift stores, you have to go to the ones that are run well.
06/28/2018 at 12:05 pm #43837bcfol440Participant
We have a weekly retail arbitrage auction house here that is all damaged freight/overstocks/all NEW stuff on big pallets. I’ll be checking it out this summer as well. RA isn’t my jam, but ya never know.
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