Feb 13 Auction…

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and I thought last month was a big auction!

Wow…ok where to start concerning our Feb 13th sale?  Sale lasted 9 ¼ hours and we sold 854 lots!!!  Longest sale we have ever done and the most lots.  Even more lots than we do in Cookstown with two rings and 3 times the space! This was a situation where I had two large consignments that had to be sold, plus several other consignments of furniture that had to be sold.  We knew it was going to be a big sale, but I wasn’t quite expecting it to be this long!  And, I took thirty boxes of items back to my storage the day we were setting up, because there was just no way it could all be put through. We had customers who started buying at the  beginning of the auction and were still buying 9 hours later!  Make no mistake, I realize this is a tough day for all involved…customers, my staff and even me, but we just kept going and people kept buying. Prices overall were strong and fair all day long, despite the length of the auction. For the last few hours of the sale I was selling items knowing that the consignors simply wanted the merchandise sold.  There are situations, and this was one of them, where the directive from the consignors is…”just sell it!”  Of course we had several consignors in this auction, and as always, the sale is planned out in such a way, that the key items and the best items are sold during a certain time frame.  I am not going to have a consignment of high end items, and be selling them nine hours into the auction!   So despite the quantity and length of the sale, I believe almost all consignors, got fair market value for their items. However, hopefully this is going to be the first and last sale I do in Bond Head with this many items.  I had visions of a staff revolt…perhaps Dave, Donnie and Brian wrestling me to the ground, taking away the microphone, and saying…”that’s it…show over!”  lol Now the other question I get from people is….how do you do it?  How do you go for over 8 hours without a break….and how come you don’t have to go to the bathroom?  Truly, I was getting compliments on my bladder control!  Oh well, I guess a compliment is a compliment so I will take what I can get. The truth is, I don’t know how I do it either…but I just seem to be able to keep going. There are a few tricks to keeping your voice strong, and that isn’t too hard.   The bladder thing I don’t understand…I guess I will leave that up to the medical sorts to explain that! So now I start planning for the March sale.  I will try and keep it smaller in terms of volume…but that is almost 6 weeks away (March 27), and maybe I am just better not to promise anything! Have fun on the auction trail! Rob

The Thrill Of Buying Through Auction

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and I thought I was long past that!

Last Sunday I attended a good local auction, and when I arrived I spotted a great piece of furniture, that I was not expecting to see.  The piece came in as a last minute addition to the sale, and I didn’t even notice it in the advertising. I’ve seen, and sold, tens of thousands of pieces through auction, but this particular piece really caught my eye.  Four unit, eight door stacking oak bookcase in great, clean original finish.  I sold something similar to it several years ago, and have not seen anything like it since. I decided I wanted it for myself, which is unusual because I buy very little for myself now.  Don’t have the room, and there are not a lot of pieces that really catch my eye, but this one did! I waited for two or three hours, and finally the piece was about to be auctioned.  My heart started beating a little faster as they got ready to start selling. Me, the seasoned auctioneer and auction goer, and my heart started racing at the thoughts of buying this piece!  This was very unusual. I waited until the bidding started, and like any seasoned auction buyer, I had a maximum  price in mind.  There were two or three of us in the bidding, and then only me.  I thought I had it for much lower than I anticipated…and then someone else jumped in! Grrrrrr! She made her bid, and I hesitated. Then I raised the bid by $25 instead of the $50 increment they were asking, and the bidding stopped.  I got it!  And I got it for $75 less than I was willing to go for it.  Man this is fun! I am reminded again why you people come to auctions! I carefully packed and brought the piece home, and then spent a few hours trying to figure out where to put it.  Finally I worked it in, but wasn’t really happy with the way it looked.  I am by no means an interior decorator, but I have to feel good about the way a room looks.  This wasn’t looking right, and all week I was trying to figure out how to make it work.  Finally, today I tore the whole room apart, re-arranged almost everything, and now the piece looks great! If it didn’t work out, you were going to see the piece in the March 27 auction, but now that isn’t going to happen.  This one is a keeper. It was nice to see an auction from the buyer’s perspective again.  I have been on the selling end of the business for 14 years now, and it was good to relive the thrill of getting a good buy at an auction! So have fun on the auction trail, and I hope you can make it to our Feb 13 auction.  If you have as much fun and satisfaction as I did buying this particular piece, then it will be well worth the trip! Rob

2010 Off To A good Start…

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another record breaking sale!

Thanks to everyone who attended our Jan 23 auction…first sale of the new year, and another record breaking sale! This was the largest sale in dollar value we have done in Bond Head, the longest sale at 8 ½ hours, and the third largest crowd ever for a Bond Head auction! It was definitely crowded and we could not provide much seating for the first few hours, but the bidding was strong and enthusiastic.  I warned ahead of time on this website that we were anticipating a large crowd, and it seemed like people came expecting that.  As the sale progressed we made more room for chairs and by the end of the auction everyone was comfortably seated. When you have a crowd this large, and over 700 items to sell, you have to keep the sale moving.  First three hours we averaged about 100 lots per hour, so that is a pretty fair pace to be selling at! Prices as always were strong on the good and unusual items.  The country and primitive items seemed particularly strong, and I think we have carved out a niche for ourselves in this particular market.  That suits me fine because I do enjoy selling the country items. Furniture prices overall were fair…the small tables seemed a little inexpensive, but the major items were strong.   The dining room suite was low in price (only $400), but that is expected in the current marketplace.  I warn consignors that the price on dining room suites will be low.  However, in this case, the family that consigned the dining room suite also had some other nice pieces that did well, so it all averages out.  That’s the way you have to look at things when consigning to auction. Overall I felt prices were fair to strong, and that’s the best we can hope for.  Not often do I see what I think are outrageous prices on items at auction anymore.  There was a day, but I think the market has corrected, and prices are fair to both buyer and seller. Overall I have to admit I was pretty pleased with our first sale of 2010.  I had some concerns about the amount of merchandise we had to put into the hall, and with a record month for website traffic, I was a little concerned about accommodating the crowd.  We had over 6000 visits to the website this month, so I was a little concerned about how many would show up!  I did not want to be in a position where we actually had to turn people away, and even though it was close to happening, we still managed to accommodate everyone.  If this was your first visit to our auctions, don’t worry, they are not always that crowded.  When we start our summer sales in May in Cookstown, we have over three times the space, so crowding is never a problem there! So once again thank you for a great start to the new year, and I look forward to another record breaking year! Rob

First Auction Of 2010

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its going to be interesting!

Getting ready for what I think is going to be a very interesting auction Jan 23. Just finished loading a thirty foot moving van, and still have to load my van, plus there will be a few more loads from consignors coming to the hall.  This is going to be a large offering! This has also been a record month for traffic to the website.  We had the most traffic ever in a single day this week, and the most traffic ever for a single month.  In fact I used up all my allotted bandwidth by Thursday, and the website shut down!  A quick email to be “web people” and they allotted me additional bandwidth and the site was up and running again. So needless to say I am expecting a very full house on Saturday, and that is typical for January auctions.  This is the time of year when people have time on their hands and not too many auctions to choose from.  Also we just happen to have a pretty good offering! So if you do plan on coming to the sale, please be patient.  It is going to be crowded…probably pretty noisy and a little hectic, but that does make for an interesting auction! For those of you who are coming to an auction for the first time…it is likely to be an experience for you! I will let you know how it all worked out after the Jan 23 auction. Rob

Another New Year….

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how can a year go by in 6 months?

Another year end.  The older you get, the faster the time goes, and I sure believe that! Hard to believe another year has gone by so quickly…let alone another decade! This will be remembered as a year of economic recession, but I had the best year of business ever.  We deliberately did fewer sales, but managed to increase the yearly sales total by 14%.  Simple formula.  Fewer auctions, but larger auctions. The average sale was over 700 lots,  the average attendance at each auction increased by over 30% from 2008, and the average price per lot increased by over 40%. Our website traffic increased dramatically this year.  Over 40,000 visitors to this site.  Many new people out to our auctions, and more younger buyers looking for quality pieces. A good auction still brings in the buyers. Good items still bring good money. I felt a little apprehensive telling people I had my best business year ever, because this after all was a period of economic recession.   I don’t want anyone thinking I somehow capitalized on anyone’s misfortune. However, in looking back over the past year, I don’t believe I had any consignor selling out of economic necessity.  People sold because they were moving, downsizing, changing décor or settling an estate.  This year was no different than any other year.  There just was a lot of good merchandise coming my way, and I was more than happy to sell it.  Coming up 14 years in the auction business, and a solid reputation is paying off. I also tried to contribute to the economy.  I bought a new van (well at least new to me), and we built an all season sunroom onto the house.  I went into as much debt as I could afford, just to help out! In general I think the antique business had a solid but not stellar year. I deal with a lot of dealers and the response I got from most dealers was “business was ok”.  Most continue to buy and sell, and the vast majority of dealers are in the business because they love the business.  Anyone who gets into the antique business thinking they are going to make a lot of fast, easy money, will quickly move on to another type of business! There has been much talk about fluctuating antique prices.  Indeed some potential consignors I dealt with, were very surprised when I told them what I thought their items might sell for.  Many people bought during the peak a few years ago, and now find they are selling for much less than they paid. However, concerning furniture, let’s look at it this way.  If you paid $500 for a new piece of furniture 10 years ago, what would you expect to get for it now?  Almost nothing.  If you paid the same price for an antique piece 10 years ago, got years of practical use out of it, and now sell it for what you paid for, or a little less, in my opinion that was still a pretty good deal. On the flip side, if you bought up large quantities of something when the price was high, and stored it away assuming it would only go higher…than perhaps that wasn’t such a good move. Remember, over 80% of the antique market is décor driven.  Tastes change, demand changes and prices go up or down. Buy your antiques because you like them, have a practical use for them and will enjoy them, and I think you will never go wrong. So this year I am anticipating another good year.  I am going to do everything I can to make sure that happens!  I will provide the best service I can to consignors, and hopefully that will bring out the best merchandise I can find for buyers.  Keep the buyers happy, keep the sellers happy, and that will keep the auctioneer happy! Thank you for a great year, and I look forward to 2010, and wish you all the very best!

Merry Christmas!

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it really can be a wonderful time of year!

I hope all is going well for you during this holiday season. This is a quieter time for me (and almost everyone in the antique auction business), and I have to admit…I am enjoying it! I still do pick ups, photos and planning for the Jan and Feb auctions, but also have plenty of time for Christmas shopping, socializing, and just plain relaxing! I actually look forward to the winter months.  I don’t ski or snowmobile or do much with snow other than shovel it. However, I do find this time of year relaxing, and I look forward to the lazy mornings, and quiet comfortable evenings.  It is quite obvious I don’t have a house full of hyperactive kids, or a mile long Christmas shopping list! I hope you all enjoy a wonderful holiday season.  I thank you for your support as both buyers and sellers during 2010, and I am planning for an even bigger and better new year! More about that coming later….for now, have A Merry Christmas. Rob

Most Of My Consignors Are Very Nice People…

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but not usually this nice!

Just a quick anecdote. The other day I was picking up the antique contents from a Toronto home, for our Jan. auction.  The daughter in charge of disposing of the household contents is a very nice woman, and very easy to deal with. She had to leave before we finished packing, and on her way out, she told me to charge her whatever I wanted, and take any of the liquor in the house that I wanted!  13 years doing auctions and I have never had anyone say that! I guess my Christmas shopping is now complete. Rob

Final Sale Of The Season

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and I am a little relieved!

Thanks to everyone who attended our final sale of the season…Saturday Nov 21. I wanted to wrap up the year on a high note…and we did exactly that!  Our best November sale ever. For some reason I did not have a good feeling about this auction.  I worried we had far too much stuff, and we simply would not have the buyers for everything.  I had visions of trying to move truckloads of merchandise back to my already crowded storage! Fortunately my concerns did not pan out, and we sold every piece of furniture and only packed a few boxes of small items. November auctions are usually the toughest for me.  Weather is always the concern, and in the past years we have been plagued with snowstorms, freezing rain…and that is tough when you are doing an evening sale, as we used to do in the past.  Never had a disaster, but there were a few sales that came pretty close to the line! So it was a relief to have dry weather, sunshine, and a large and enthusiastic crowd! Last month was the first time I did a Saturday sale in Bond Head.  For the past 13 years they have always been Friday nights.  Last month we did not have any other local sales, so we had a good crowd and a good turnout.  This month, we had three or four good sales within a one hour drive of ours.  Realizing we had more competition this time out, I anticipated perhaps a smaller crowd than last month.  We actually had a little bigger crowd, and sales were higher than last month.  Just proves you can never figure it out 100%….and if ever the time comes when I can, I am gonna make a lot more money! This past sale was one of the largest we have done in Bond Head for a few years now.  Not in dollar value, but in quantity.  We were selling upstairs and downstairs at one time, and sold over 700 lots in total, in a 7 ¾ hour sale.  That is a lot of handling and setup work…and of course a lot of selling!  I keep promising my weary staff that I will try to make the sales smaller, and they keep rolling their eyes.  It’s true…they’ve heard that time and time again. As large as this sale was, there are still approx. 30 large boxes of small items that never even got unpacked, and they will have to go into the Jan and March auctions.  I also had to tell several people the sale was full and their items would have to wait for a future date. So my resolution for the new year…wait for it…somehow try and keep the sales a little smaller and more manageable, but maintain the same dollar value, in order to offset the increasing cost of each auction.  Yeah, let’s see how that works! Since this was the last sale of the year, I will thank you all for a wonderful year….but I will do that in more detail in my next posting.  Right now there are hours of paperwork to get started on, and I really can’t delay any more.  There are consignors waiting for their cheque! Have fun on the auction trail! Rob IF YOU WISH TO COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE OR ANY OTHER ARTICLE YOU CAN EMAIL ME AT robs@robsageauctions.com   YOUR COMMENTS WILL NOT BE MADE PUBLIC