22nd Anniversary Auction Coming Up…A Few Reflections.
Another anniversary auction rolling around….Saturday July 28 2018 in Pottageville, will mark our 22nd year of auctions.
I had an antique store for 10 years, and then decided I would like to try the auction business. I attended 100’s of auctions over the years as a buyer, now I wanted to go to the other side.
I “apprenticed” for 2 years with a local auctioneer, and then decided to go out on my own.
No formal training, no auction school…just a love of auctions!
First auction was in Bond Head, July 1996. It was mostly my own stuff…I didn’t want to accept any consignments, because I really didn’t feel confident enough in my ability as an auctioneer. If I was going to bomb, I was going to do it with my own stuff!
The auction went well, and the consignments started coming in, and they haven’t stopped! I have been very fortunate in that way. We have always done large sales and they have always been well attended.
There have been a few memorable auctions for sure. Some very nice surprises, and some near disasters. After 14 years of auctions in Bond Head, I was forced to find another location. We decided to do summer auctions at the curling club in Cookstown. Prior to one auction, we had torrential rain for about a week. The grounds around the building were a sea of mud. I didn’t know how I was going to get everything in, and then I didn’t know how I was going to get the people in through the mud! With the help of a local construction crew, we build a small bridge, constructed some ramps, and it all worked out. In fact, turned out to be one of my best auctions!
7 years ago I started to do auctions in Pottageville. Our first auction was huge…some of the largest furniture pieces we’ve ever had. It took two days to set up the auction, and at 5 o’clock on the final setup day, I was informed there had been a misunderstanding concerning the hall booking, and we did not have the hall booked for the next day! (auction day). The hall was booked to someone else, and we would have to remove everything from the hall that evening! I panicked…almost had a stroke…and then called all the staff back, and as many consignors as I could, and we started packing. We worked until 4 in the morning to get everything out, and then I had to get up a couple of hours later and spread the word the auction was cancelled. We look back now and laugh, but at the time…not so much.
About two years ago, the power went out in the area, one hour before the auction was to start. We hooked up some sort of power source from the battery of one of our customers truck, enough to power one desk light and the computer. We had to open the doors in the middle of February, to let in enough light so people could see what we were selling. It was dark and very cold, but the sale went on, and we actually had a pretty good sale! Auction goers can be a pretty tough bunch!
The market for antiques has changed over the years. We get half as much on some items, but three times as much on other items, so it all works out. The market is changing and it always will. You just have to adapt to the changes.
On-line auctions are big right now, but we are staying the course with our live auctions. Fewer live auctions, means we are getting bigger crowds for our auctions, so once again, it all works out.
In the last 22 years I’ve sold over 150,000 pieces, and of that, probably close to 25,000 pieces of furniture. I am still selling pieces I have never sold before and learning new things along the way.
I am just as excited, and perhaps even more excited, about my business, as I was 22 years ago. No plans to retire….why would I when I love what I am doing?
Old fashioned, country antique auctions, is what I am all about. I just want to keep making them better, and love what I am doing!