It’s Now Official….

Written by   in 

we have a new location!

I have been hinting there would be some changes coming in the next few months…and now I can make that official! Starting Sat. Sept 25, we are going to start doing our auctions in the Pottageville Community Centre. Pottageville is a nice spacious hall, certainly larger than Bond Head, so we will have more seating…more space…everything is on one level.  Parking is good…it is well laid out for an auction facility. Auctioneers have been using the hall for several years now, so it has become established for that purpose. For most people, you will take the 400 to the Lloydtown exit  (just south of Highway 9), and in a few kms you are at the hall.  You can also take Highway 27 to Lloydtown road and cross over that way. I conducted over 150 auctions in the Bond Head Community Centre, where we started 14 years ago.  The location worked well for us until about 4 years ago. The rent increased by 175% over a two year period, thereby making it an expensive hall to use. Our auctions continued to grow in size, especially the quantity of furniture, and we literally outgrew the hall!  I hear a lot of negative feedback concerning the lack of seating and the difficulty viewing in Bond Head, so for the last few years I have been trying to come up with an alternative.  Cookstown solved the problem for the summer months, and now hopefully Pottageville will be the solution for the rest of the year.  I am very excited about the move! So now the question is….will we continue to do the same type of sale in Pottageville?  The answer….yes…but with a few changes. Pottageville does not lend itself to the “rough and as found” pieces the way Bond Head and Cookstown did.  It is a different atmosphere, so we will scale back in that area, and try to keep the primitives clean and refinished.  Of course we will still have some “as found” pieces, but not to the extent we did before. I am also cutting back on the “low end” glass and china.  Too much handling and too little demand.  There is more work in unpacking and putting out tray lots, than there is in handling and selling “front table” items. However, I will still be keeping it a “country auction”.  That’s what we do best and that’s what I enjoy.  I like the energy, pace and feel of an old style auction.  We will still having people standing and milling around the auction, as well as the section for those who wish to sit.  It will still be noisy, interesting and at times humorous….I don’t want anything to change in that regard! I would also like to maintain and even upgrade the overall quality of the auctions.  There is good demand for interesting and unusual items, and quality still continues to sell. I like to think we have been doing pretty decent auctions for 14 years now, and hope the quality items still continue to come our way.  I think when you create the proper venue; the good merchandise will come your way. So that’s it for now.  I am excited and optimistic about these changes, and of course will keep you updated.  I also welcome any feedback you can provide! Rob TO RESPOND TO THIS ARTICLE OR ANY OTHERS JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK

Two Auctions In One Weekend…..

Written by   in 

that’s keeping me busy!

Thanks to everyone who attended our Friday June25 night auction and the Sunday rug/antique auction. 170 people registered for the Friday night auction, and with two rings running for most of the evening, we sold over 850 lots! Of course prices are always up and down, and some items went disappointingly low, while others went surprisingly high.  The fact is you look at the bottom line when you consign to an auction, and hope it all averages out. Our “primitives’ section was much stronger than the May auction, and I noticed there was a good crowd following that ring all night long, and that was reflected in the prices. Most of the items in that section came from the estates, and there is always a good demand for original, untouched pieces! In the main ring, I felt the prices on some of the refinished furniture were a little soft, but prices on good small items strong.  Dark furniture selling a little stronger than light furniture.  However, that was the case in this sale…next month could be totally different! I spoke to one long time dealer before the auction, and he does mostly shows, so his observations are always interesting.  Basically he told me he doesn’t see a trend….it changes from week to week, show to show.  A little hard for the dealers when they don’t know what to buy, because they are just not sure what is going to sell! In our May auction, we had several items that did not sell…could not even get a reasonable opening bid on them.  All of those items went into the past Friday night auction, and this time, collectively they all sold for over $800 total!  That is the nature of auctions, and that’s what keeps it interesting! Sunday we had the Rug/Antique auction in conjunction we Clarkson Auctions, and it was a big success as well.  Tom Clarkson usually holds specialty rug auctions, and they are only rugs for auction.  This time Tom decided to include some antique furniture, good used furniture, artwork and some new items.  The end result?  We had over double the number of people attending than what we would have at a regular specialty rug auction. So it worked out well for all involved. I announced a couple of times during our Friday night auction, that I would be making some changes in the next few months.  These are changes I think will be positive for all.  I really think I have to scale down the Cookstown auctions….almost 200 pieces of furniture and over 800 lots total….it is turning into a huge effort to do these types of auctions.  The setup is long and at times difficult, and the preparation is taking all my time (and then some).  I would like to keep them at about 500 lots, and focus on maintaining quality.  Too much effort is spent handling items that end up going out the door for so little money, that it was not worth the effort.  As I said before, we have no problem finding or selling quality items…it’s the very low end pieces that create the most work, and of course the smallest return.  If people don’t want to buy them, they won’t miss them if they are no longer part of the auctions!  It is going to take another sale or two to include the low end pieces in with the better pieces, but after that, I hope to have the back log cleared out, and the focus then will shift to the direction I want to go in the future.  And don’t worry, I am not trying to go all “fancy schmancy” on you….  it will be the same type of auctions, but without the items you don’t seem to want anyway! Finally come the fall, some major changes will happen concerning location.  However, until that is 100% confirmed, I will have to lay low concerning any public announcements, but let’s just say…I think you will be pleased! Rob IF YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS ABOUT THIS OR ANY OTHER PAST BLOGS, PLEASE EMAIL ME AT (click on the link).  I AM ALWAYS INTERESTED IN YOUR FEEDBACK!

A Great Auction Coming Up…..

Written by   in 

and I didn’t really expect it!

….interesting thing about the upcoming June 25 auction.  It started out to be what I considered a smaller auction…at least smaller by our standards. I had some good items from two estates, and of course items from additional homes and collections. Bu then the phone kept ringing…and what I thought was going to be our “little June sale”…turned in to what could be our best sale of the year! Almost everything I looked at in the past month was pretty good…and it kept on getting better!  Two estates plus 30 other consignments! Nice furniture…good glass and china…some really interesting primitives…some good toys, collection of clocks…and it just kept growing! Over 270 photos posted on the website, and although that is very time consuming…when you have the right pieces you have to do the photos!  There are times when words themselves just won’t cut it. Usually our anniversary sale in July is one of our best sales…but this year I think the anniversary sale is going to be a little early…as in June 25! So don’t miss this exceptional offering on June 25….I am not sure if I can top it for the July Anniversary sale…but I sure will try!

Our First Sale Back In Cookstown….

Written by   in 

but I think it is time to make some changes!

Thanks to everyone who attended our Friday May 28th auction….our first auction back at the Cookstown Curling Club. I planned a large sale for our first one of the season there, but I honestly have to admit… it did not go as well as I hoped! It was a warm muggy night, and although we had a good crowd…approx. 150 registered bidders…the bidding seemed sluggish for most of the evening.  On many pieces we eventually got a reasonable price, but there were still an awful lot of items that sold for less than what I expected. For the last three years almost, we have been overall strong on furniture prices, and usually pretty good on the primitives.  Glass and china can be low unless it is something particularly good, but the unusual pieces still bring good money for the most part. However, Friday night the furniture prices seemed soft, and the primitive and “as found” items were particularly soft in price. We had over 700 lots selling in two rings and over 200 pieces of furniture combined in the two rings.  Now that is a large sale, but last years May sale had the same amount of furniture and over 800 lots total for the two rings.  Last year’s sale was a record sale for us…but this year…good… but not even close to a record. So I am going to make some changes.  I am putting that in print and you can hold me to it! After much “dissection” of the last sale, I decided we have to reduce the number of items in the primitives section, and try and eliminate a great deal of the really bottom end pieces.  This sale had too much…how shall I say this….JUNK!  Things that have very little potential to refinish or repaint, and other items that simply have very little demand or market value. We had some unexpected items show up as part of some consignor’s loads, and I now am simply going to have to refuse them at the door.  I try and explain to consignors that they must only bring antique or good collectables, and if it is primitive or “as found”, it must have some potential to restore, or some potential as a decorator item.  People seem to love the cast iron, cement patio furniture, painted dressers, washstands and buffets etc, and that is what I want to have more of.  Items with potential.  I can no longer accept items that consignors just want to “get rid of” and don’t really care what it sells for.  They may not care…but I do…and more importantly…my customers do.  I don’t want to waste time and hard work on items that no one wants. So having said that, I am going to make some changes.  I started already, and I know I am going to “tick off” a few people  (that has already happened!)…but I have to steer the auction in the direction I want it to go. Overall I think we do well with quality items…never been a problem to sell or get reasonable money for.  However, I have to clean up and eliminate the low end pieces… some primitives, “as found items” and some glass and china.  It will take a few sales to clean up the back log of low end items that I am committed to selling, but from now on I will be even more particular about what I accept into the auctions. These large auctions are an awful lot of hard work, and at times I feel I am pushing my wonderful staff to the limit in order to get them done. I want them to continue to be fun and profitable, so I will be making some changes. There…now it is in print…I am obligated to do something! Have fun on the auction trail and hope to see you at our June 25th auction. Rob IF YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS ABOUT THIS OR ANY OTHER PAST BLOG, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO EMAIL YOUR COMMENTS TO Just Click On The Link And Send Your Comment!


Written by   in 

…but it is all good!

Forgive me for not updating this blog for awhile….however, I do have a pretty good excuse.  It’s an old excuse…and maybe a tired one…but this is the truth.  I have been too busy! This past month I have been absolutely inundated with items for auction….I don’t know if it has ever been busier than it has been in the last month. This is the time for moving, downsizing, settling estates, and I’ve  had it all.  Now, don’t think I am complaining, because I certainly welcome the business. I also plan to do whatever I can to make sure the business keeps coming too! However, I have had to make some changes to accommodate the growth in business.  I rented another 20’ x 10’ storage unit.  I felt pretty confident that would handle the additional business.  I filled the unit to capacity in 5 days!  So I am still struggling to find enough storage space, and I filled up my backup storage, in addition to the extra unit, so a few things will pile up in my kitchen until after this next auction! I now have to plan two sales almost simultaneously…working on the upcoming sale and also the June sale at the same time, so my organizational skills have also been put to the test. However I have developed new operating procedures….in other words…getting better organized!  And it does work. What does this mean for you?  Simply put….a lot of good “stuff” coming your way, and I am thankful we are in the Cookstown Curling Club for the next sales, because believe me, we need a big facility like that! Speaking of the Curling Club.  I say we will be there for the next few sales, but I am not sure we will be there the entire summer.  The Curling Club may be undergoing some extensive renovations this season, and that may interfere with me holding auctions there for this year.  It is work that has to be done eventually, and of course the summer is the off season for the Curling Club, so understandably, that is when the work will have to be done.  We will be there for May and June, and we may have to work around some equipment etc being brought in for renovation work, but I can live with that.  I really would like to get the entire summer and early fall in at the Curling Club, but if we can’t, I will work out something.  There are always other options….I hope! So I hope you can make it to the May 28th auction…it is going to be another good one! Rob YOUR COMMENTS ABOUT THIS BLOG OR ANY PAST BLOGS ARE CERTAINLY WELCOME.  YOU CAN SEND YOUR COMMENTS TO

Monday April 26 Auction Wrapped Up

Written by   in 

…and now we get ready for Cookstown!

Thanks to everyone who attended last night’s auction.  This was the final sale of the fall-winter season in Bond Head, and I think we wrapped things up on a pretty good note. This was a smaller sale this time out….88 pieces of furniture and a total of just over 400 lots sold.  Sale wrapped up by 10:30, so by our standards, a short sale! Overall I thought the prices were fair to strong.  Furniture prices were good for both buyer and seller, and once again our primitives were strong in price. We didn’t have a lot of good glass and china this time out….fairly standard items, and of course that was reflected in the price.  I had a backlog of glass and china to clear out, and hopefully I am almost caught up.  I swear the glass and china seems to multiply in my storage! Again a lot of new faces to the auction, and I am very encouraged by that.  It seems we made a few good impressions, and I would like to pass on excerpts from a couple of emails I received. “I was at the auction last night and thought it was fabulous. Not only great quality goods, but fabulous service as well!! I was very impressed…” That’s always nice to hear, and so was this one…. “I just wanted to tell you what a great time we had last night at your auction.  It was I think the best auction I’ve been to and you do such a great job of making sure everyone is happy and having a good time, as well as being fair.  I just want to thank you and your staff.  A special thanks to the older gentleman… who helped my husband and countless other people out of the building and into their vehicles with large, heavy pieces….I don’t know what we would have done without him.  Please tell him how much we appreciated his help” The “older gentleman” was Charlie, and I will pass on the message.  I do have a great staff, and I don’t know what I would do without them! So now I start getting ready for our first auction of the season in Cookstown, and it looks like it is going to be another good one! The phone is ringing, and there are a lot of consignors lined up for this sale already.  I know several of them have been waiting for the first Cookstown auction, so items are literally coming in by the truckload! This is an extremely busy time of year for us.  People moving, downsizing, estates to be settled, etc.  I am looking forward to another very busy and interesting summer! Hope you can make it to our upcoming auctions.  If you have never been to the Cookstown auctions before, you should make a point of checking them out.  They are an auction and a half, to say the least!

March Auction Under Our Belt

Written by   in 

and a few observations

Thanks to everyone who attended our March27 auction.  Another good crowd, and overall good prices, so hopefully the 24 different consignors involved all were pleased.  Some did very well, others maybe just “ok”, but of course that is the nature of auctions. It always surprises me how prices can fluctuate from month to month and from one auction to another. Last month we sold a certain piece for $220, and this month another very similar piece for $120.  I couldn’t really see much difference.  On the other hand, we had one piece that was purchased at another auction two months ago, and we got 10 times the purchase price in our auction! Another thing I noticed rather quickly, was the prices on some of our primitive and country items seemed lower than previous auctions.  Primitives have been our strong selling items and I thought this time they seemed a little flat.  The dark formal furniture was stronger in price, and Royal Doulton figurines, which have been very low lately, were stronger in price than previous auctions. This auction we had a smaller crowd than we had in our January and Feb auctions, but I expected that.  We had some good auctions happening on Saturday, and as we get into the nicer weather, Saturdays become very busy, and a little harder to draw the big crowds.  This was our last Saturday auction until October.  Our next auction in April will be a Monday night, and then when we get back to Cookstown in late May, the sales will be Friday night in May and June. I actually wanted a little smaller crowd than the last couple of auctions, and deliberately had fewer items to sell. Feb was over 700 lots and this sale was cut down to just over 500 lots, so it was a shorter sale with a little more breathing room in the hall!  Previous sales this year were actually too big and too crowded so this past one was a nice break for all involved! Another observation was the number of new faces to the auction.  This is very encouraging, because as much as I value our regular customers, it is still very important to have new buyers.  Also I noticed many younger buyers, and that is important too.  It just proves that not everyone under 40 shops at Ikea! So now it is time to start doing the paperwork, and start lining up merchandise for the April 26th auction.  It is the time of year when people are moving, downsizing and settling estates, so the phone keeps on ringing, and hopefully there will be some great items coming our way again!

Life Between Auctions….

Written by   in 

more than just watching Oprah!

Our last auction was Feb 13, so by the time the March 27 auction rolls around, it will be 6 weeks between auctions. That’s a little longer than I usually run between auctions, but some scheduling conflicts made it necessary. I don’t mind…this is a nice time of year to have a little more time to do some interior work around the house, and just relax a little.  But there is not much relaxing. Quite often people will ask, “what do you do with all the time off?”.   Well, there is not as much time off as you would think! Almost every day is spent working on the past auction or the upcoming auction. Each auction usually has about 20-25 consignors.  Most cases I have to go to the house, look over the items, haul them back to my storage, photo them, in some cases research them, and then process the photos and post them to the website. For every auction I spend about 40 hours just setting up the photo shoot, processing and posting the photos. I am particular about the photos, and it has become a very time consuming part of the business.  A few years ago you just made a list and sent it off to the local papers and Woodbridge Advertiser.  Now it is a little different.  The technology has actually created much more work! However, I do like doing the photos, and it has become an important part of the business.  Buyers expect to see photos, and consignors like to see their items promoted effectively.  Photos do this. When it comes to promoting the auctions, I set the bar at a pretty high level, but it is worth it, and I believe it has certainly paid off.  Every auction brings out many new faces, and I think that is the key to successful auctions.  A good regular following, with a nice mix of new buyers each auction. The phone rings every day with possible consignments for auction, so I have to meet with the consignors.  I explain the auction process to them, and make sure they are realistic about the current value of their items.  I will not accept consignments from someone if I don’t believe we will get the prices the seller is expecting.  Quite often I will encourage them to try selling through some other venue, and I will even direct them to other auctioneers, if I think that would be in their best interest.  Every auctioneer seems to do well with at least one type of item, and it is a matter of placing your items in the right auction, with the right auctioneer.  There are times when I don’t believe we are the right auction for certain items, and I am upfront about that. Usually I transport the items to my storage, and then do whatever is necessary to ready them for the auction. I then have to get the print and website ads ready, and that can take another full day. After each auction there is usually almost two days of paperwork to be done.  It takes about 8 hours to process 20-25 consignments….statements have to be made out, and cheques have to be written.  It is not my favourite part of the business, but I am adamant in making sure the cheques are sent out within 7 days of the auction. And of course I then have to start getting ready for the upcoming about two months from now. With the spring and summer months approaching things get even busier, but I am ready for it! It’s a great business to be part of, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.  I don’t complain, but occasionally I will inform people, it involves a little more than two days a month work! Have fun on the auction trail. Rob