My First Auction

Tonight I participated in my first ever, non-online auction at Waddington’s.

I prepared by doing tons of research. Waddington’s has a page of advice for noobs on how to bid and set price limits in advance. I also went to the previews and examined the merchandise, if you know what I mean.

Another piece of advice I got was to not bid on anything expensive your first time out and limit the number of lots you’ll bid on. Yet I still managed to bid on and win a lot of costume jewellery that I hadn’t meant to bid on. And I lost out on three of the four lots that I had selected in advance. The good news is that the lots that I did win cost less than the estimates (although you have to remember that there’s a 20 percent premium on top of the hammer price).

Anyway, live auctions are a kooky way to spend an evening. If you are my age or less, you will be the youngest person in attendance. There’s a clubby atmosphere — I recognized a couple of dealers from the St. Lawrence Market and everybody seemed to know each other. And there’s free water and coffee!

Stuff moves pretty quickly — which is my excuse for bidding on the wrong lot. We moved through over 80 lots in one hour. When some old bank notes were being auctioned off, things got truly exciting! A collection of bills from 1935, with an estimate of $350 to $500 went for $5,500. All eyes in the room were glued to the silent back-and-forth between the bidders — a bearded guy leaning against the back wall and two 30-ish dudes. When it was over, the room was abuzz. Not about the amount of money spent (most of the bidders appeared to have deep pockets as they were bidding on multiple lots), but just because of the drama of it all.

Anyway, I got some lovely objets (and a couple of weird things like an atomizer with 80-year-old perfume still in it). I’m still sorting through everything but will report back on anything super awesome.