Our First Auction

The House on High Street

Early this week, Scott and I experienced our first Auction, together.  I didn’t know what to expect, but aside from trusting my friend’s recommendation, I had fairly high hopes that we would find something for The House on High Street.

We visited the auction one day prior as there was a 3 day “Preview” in order to view all the merchandise. There was an enormous warehouse filled with about 75 lots of merchandise; mostly from Estate Sales. These items ranged from paintings and valuable keepsakes (like coins and vintage treasures) to fur coats, jewelry, kitchenware, and furniture.  Some things were old or damaged, while other things looked like they were in near-perfect condition.


In addition, there were about 100 lots of paraphernalia outside on blacktop. These are the kind of items you would see at a garage sale, although it’s not impossible to find a hidden treasure. Aside from motorized equipment or an occasional automobile, these items typically go very quickly and inexpensively.  Sometimes, the auctioneer will group together a few useless and/or junky pieces with something more valuable, so you are bidding and getting more than you bargained for (while helping the Auctioneers by taking it off their hands).  But, hey, you’re getting what you wanted for a steal, remember?

Outdoor Lots at the Auction
The Outdoor Lots at the Auction

It was a super hot day, but we scoured through every lot, contemplating, deliberating, and determining which items were worth returning for.  It took us a few hours to do this.  I took pictures of the items we liked along with the lot number.

These are the items we decided to bid on the following day.

Antique Curio
Antique Mahogany Curio
Two Beautiful Arm Chairs in Perfect Condition...that Scott and I did NOT Get.
Two Upholstered & Embroidered Arm Chairs in Beautiful Condition. Scott and I did NOT get these.  Oh, well.
Antique Brass & Marble Lamp
Antique Brass & Marble Floor Lamp
Historic Painting
Historic & Equestrian Paintings
Copper Pots
Antique Copper Pots
Yes, it was built in the 1700's. Yes, it works!
George Baddeley Grandfather Clock. Yes, it was built in the 1700’s. Yes, it works!

Overall, it was an extraordinary experience!  We are grateful that we heard about this one and took the time to participate.  I’d say we made out very well.

Here are a few things we learned and experienced at the Auction:

  • Definitely go to the Preview! That way, you can take your time to determine what you really want/need and how much you are willing to bid for. Scott and I decided upon spending thresholds for each item.  Yes, you may go over that…when you are in the heat of the bidding war.  We did this several times but only because we got so many items for much less than we planned for!
  • Arrive early. Dress comfortably. Bring food and water!  Scott and I packed some snacks. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring a hat to wear outside in the hot sun. Many people bring their trucks, crates and newspaper to pack up their items, Coolers with food and drinks, umbrellas, etc. Consider this a field trip worth preparing for. You should enjoy it! Otherwise, this may not be for you.  Also, most of the items are dusty and so for those of us with allergies need to bring tissues.  (I sneezed like every 5 minutes we were there.)
  • You will get used to the Auctioneer’s language!  A few times, I asked Scott, “What just happened?  Did we get it?  AWESOME! For how much?!”   After a few times, we learned the lingo!  
  • Don’t get upset if you lose out on an item. We backed out of those beautiful arm chairs, and we will NEVER KNOW if we could have gotten them for just ten dollars more!  But, we ended up getting something else for a much better deal that we loved just as much.  We also missed out on this painting that I really wanted because there were three auctioneers working simultaneously.  It’s best to set up a strategy, but be prepared.  You will not get everything you want. Get over it.
A beautiful painting we missed at the auction!
A beautiful painting we missed at the auction!
  • Check everything you are interested in as best as you can! My dad suggested for us to even smell anything that can carry an odor (like fabrics).  I know that may draw the line for some folks, but some merchandise looks a lot nicer than it really is.  You may even want to bring a magnifying glass. Scott and I bought two smaller items that ended up having some cracks we didn’t notice beforehand.  Not a huge deal, but again, it’s always best to check things as best as possible.
  • Don’t be intimidated by the Store Owners looking for merchandise to sell in their shops. The truth is, their spending threshold is at least half of the consumer’s.   They are figuring in what you will pay AFTER they mark it up.Scott and I got the Grandfather Clock against a gentleman that owned a clock shop (He hauled off every other clock that was there that day, and we were happy for him). But on this particular one, we just kept going…without going over what we felt the clock was worth to us. And, we got it! Sorry Mr. Clock Shop Owner. This clock was made for The House on High Street.
  • Know the terms of the auction beforehand.  There will be a service charge (say 10-15%) added to your total.  Ask about hauling and storing options.  We bought mainly BIG pieces (which, by the way, tend to sell for the BEST deals because most people do not want the trouble in hauling them). We didn’t exactly have a plan in mind (aside from borrowing dad’s truck). Thankfully, the auctioneers offered free storage for a full week.  Also, we have wonderful movers that charge a very reasonable price to carry and move everything from one location to another. So, we made out very well.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as Scott and I enjoyed this experience. Please know that ordinarily I have no problem in supporting small retail business owners!  However, The House on High Street is EXTRAordinary.  So, this is just another example of something out-of-the-ordinary that I am pleased to share.

EXTRA Ordinarily Yours

  • July 12

    That actually sounds like a really fun time. I am glad you were able to get some items you were hoping for. It is a good thing I don’t live around there anymore or that I don’t know about something like that out here. We would go broke!

    • July 12

      Thanks, Joe! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. (I admire brave men that are not afraid to read posts on a blog called LE Woman.) I think most people would spend more than they intend at an auction. My advice is to go only if you have something specific in mind. You could also just bring cash, and leave your checkbook at home! LOL

  • July 11

    I feel like I was almost at the sale with you! What fun to watch, love that curio and all your other treasures. You also summarized all the auction tips for anyone who’s going to their first sale. Now you know what auction fever is as well as the thrill of snagging a good buy from the jaws of an antique shop in Cape May! You DO know he as a sale almost every month, haha….and they almost always have something you just WANT! xo

    • July 11

      I’m glad you enjoyed the video & post! I can see how this can become addictive. Personally, I would only go if there is something that I need, because I know I’d end up getting things I’d regret! That’s just me, though. xo