The Art of the Auction


One of the advantages of the end of the Holiday season? AUCTIONS!!! Most of the ones I attend close down, but several start their year with a sale on New Year’s Day.

Learning the art of the auction is a science in itself, and I mean this in a funny way. The more auctions you attend, the more you learn. Some places will only start bidding at a certain amount. Others will patiently let a $1000 item get down to a $10 opening bid and before you know it, the item sold for $2000 anyway. Others aren’t very honest and will put people in the audience to ” pretend bid” so they get a higher price. If you see that happening, make a mental note never to go back. Some sell their items in numerical order so you can plan a rough time to bid. Others will just take things from wherever the staff brings them out. Technology has even introduced the internet bids, phone bidding and bids left by email. My best advice is to go see everything in person and bid in person.

So on January 1st. 2013 at 12:00 p.m. I took the hour drive north to preview what would be my first day of owning more stuff for the hew house. As I walked into the gallery, right in front of me was this gilded, carved wood and crystal chandelier.


There was no way somebody else was going home with it. I was searching for this exact type of chandelier for my bedroom The Auction Angels had answered my prayers. It fit perfectly in the back of my car.

Then there was this mirror…020

A French Trumeau. Hand carved wood, hand painted mural, perfect condition and about five feet tall. The detail is so well done. The sheep made it extra special.



This mirror also went home with me for the mere price of $200. AND it fit into the back of the car.


Sometimes, when attending an auction, there may be a small random item that catches my eye. It may be the colors, or the attention to detail or the fact that someone, somewhere, sat for hours creating such a beautiful piece of art. That was the case one day when I purchased a framed piece of needlepoint. The thing that made it stand out was all the beads incorporated into the threads. No one bid on it so I think I got it for about $20. Months later I saw another one and decided to buy it to keep the other one company. This is how a collection starts. So now that I own two, every time I see one, I feel like I have to buy it and bring it home to make friends with the others.


This one was sitting on the back of a shelf at the preview. Once again, when it came up for bid, no one in the audience but me wanted it, so…..SOLD!  Of course no problem at all fitting into the car.


These andirons are hand crafted and are aged to perfection. They are over two feet tall and have the look I wanted for the fireplace in my husband’s office.

Sold and put in the car.


Next was an office chair for myself that didn’t look like it came from a catalog. What made it so appealing was the original aged white paint and hand carving. It also is much narrower than a big bulky leather chair.


The upholstery is in excellent condition, but I plan on replacing the paisley with something more vibrant. Once I get my hands on this chair the arms and legs will have gilding on the detail but I will keep the white finish. This chair needed a second trip because there was no more room in the car. It was worth it for $275.


The following piece was not bought at auction, but at a shop owned by a lovely man I have dealt with for years. He goes to France and brings home containers full of stuff and has a great eye for detail. I have purchased some very beautiful things from him. For my office, I wanted a small settee to have a place for someone to sit and he had this perfect piece. White finish, nice carved detail and ready to get my hands on for some gilding and gold striping.


Tulip prints and the color blue are two things not allowed in my house, so this piece will be getting a fabric redo to go with the office chair. Although it is not a valuable piece, it completely fit for what I wanted.

And, as you may have guessed, it also fit in the car.


So I have to say that from an Auction point of view, the New Year has started out very well. Thank goodness for these projects because at the rate the house is going, I have plenty to keep me busy. It really is hard to believe that someday all of these pieces will be in their own specially designated places and I will have completed my project. OH how I long for that day!



3 thoughts on “The Art of the Auction

    • Linda, I thought the same exact thing! Which gave me the great idea of pulling out the ol’ prtfolio and doing a segment on all the designs we did til 3a.m. Send me some good photos and I can put some of your stuff or if you want, I’m more than happy to highlight all of your textile creations?


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