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August 12, 2002

Country Auctions

I was pretty busy all weekend in my garden and organizing my garage and basement. I put off cleaning up long enough and just couldn't stand looking at all the empty boxes from my move anymore.

Friday evening I went to an auction with my Grandparents. I saw lots of junk and only a few items were of any interest. I picked up a 40 gal milk can for $5 and that was a steal. It's going outside my front door for now. Eventually it will make a nice planter. As soon as I saw a cooper pot come up I knew I had to get it for mom as she collects copper cookware. It was a steal at $7!

If you never been to a country auction before let me explain how it works. Most of the items at these auctions come from multiple estates of persons that have recently died, or from people that are moving, or just want to reduce their "collections." Then you have similar auctions that will be held at some person's home and will only feature their belongs. In any case, the sellers give the items to the auctioneer to sell and he either gets a flat fee or a commission on the sale. It depends how each auctioneer does it, but in most cases it's based on a commission in the form of a buyer's premium.

Keep in mind that the auctioneer's main goal is to keep the auction moving so he may maximize the number of goods sold. Not so much to get the highest price. Many people will begin to leave the auction after just a few hours even if there is a lot of stuff left. So he wants to bring out as many items (called "lots" at auctions) as possible while there are many of bidders around. When a lot is first brought out most auctioneers start the bidding at an above retail price and will quickly lower it UNTIL someone decides to bid. Here's were the morons come to play. rolleyes.gif

As I just described the auctioneer will keep lowering the price until someone bids. Anyone smart would almost NEVER be the first bidder. So, why bid if he's going to continue to lower the price? Sure it's worth it, if you wanted the lot and were willing to pay anything for it, but, in most cases you can get the lot much cheaper just by waiting for it's price to be lowered and start bidding after the first bid. If you do this, 90% of the time you'll get the lot at half of the first price it was offered at! The other 10% of the time you may end up bidding against someone else who wants the lot just as bad as you.

Often newbies to auctions will bid on the first price he mentions or right after he lowers it only once. Because they started so high it's rare anyone else would ever bid against them so they guarantee they got the too high of a price.

On the other hand some auctioneers will allow the price to go to as low as a dollar or five dollars and then will start adding other items to make it more enticing. Again, if everyone is smart you could wait him out and allow him to add more items before bidding. However there are always suckers that have no patience and will quickly bid on the items he's holding despite him having several items in a box that hes currently looking at adding to the lot! It's maddening when you see this happen and it happens all the time. Why can't people control themselves and wait?!! mad.gif

So when you go to a country auction use some patience. Never be the first bidder. Pick a maximum value you want to spend on a lot before you start bidding and stop at that amount. You do this you'll get good deals and won't spend too much. smile.gif

Posted in Antiques & Auctions by usrbingeek at 2002-08-12 12:17 ET (GMT-5) | 0 Comments | Permalink


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