and one way or another will continue!
The month of July is always a month of reflection for me. It’s my auction anniversary month, and this year marks my 15th anniversary. I have a sale July 16 and July 18 and the July 18th auction will also be our 200th auction.
It is hard to believe it has been 15 years already! I know some of you will assume I must have starting auctioneering when I was just 20 years old, but I was actually substantially older than that!
I had just closed my antique business after ten successful years. The property was sold, so I really didn’t have much choice. However, I was looking for a change, so I started working with a local auctioneer doing sale setup, handling, and a little bit of selling. The auctioneering part seemed to be coming easily to me, so in July of 1996 I decided to take the plunge, and do my own auction. Didn’t take an auctioneering course, but I had attended or worked at over 1500 auctions, so I felt the time was right.
First sale was held in the Bond Head Community Centre. Most of the items belonged to me or family members and friends, because I didn’t feel I was ready to accept consignments, and I also wanted to make sure I had the quantity and quality of items I needed to make sure the first sale went well.
Yes I was nervous, and as sale day drew closer, I was hoping there could be some way I could get out of it!
However, I went through with it, and it all worked out fine. The one comment I received from those working with me, was I seemed so serious throughout the sale! For those who know me now, that may seem hard to believe, but it does take a few times to get comfortable in front of the crowd. The “chant” gradually improves, and the joking slips into the sale a little more.
For the first sales, David Beasley, Mom, Dad and myself, set up the auction. Carol Beasley soon took over the registration and cashiering duties, and my brother Brian was a handler right from the beginning. Mom has clerked every auction except for one. My sister Kris and brother-in-law Gerry have looked after the food booth right from the first auction.
Within a couple of years Don Garner joined us, and about 5 years ago, Charlie McAteer came on board. Dad helped with the setups until he passed away in 2007.
So how have things changed in 15 years? Since day one, we have always done large auctions. Usually 500 or more lots. So not much has changed in that regard.
I think the addition of this website in 2007 has been one of the biggest changes. In fact the internet in general.
When I first started, I typed out the advertising and drove around to the local papers to drop off the copy. Then I started faxing some of the copy, and now all of the advertising is done on-line. I have dealt for years with some of the same people in the newspaper advertising department, yet have never met them. The wonderful staff at the Woodbridge Advertiser, often lament that they never see most of the auctioneers in person anymore. Of course when I drop by the office they are understandably excited…or at least pretend to be.
When I first started, I went to the house, made a list of the items, brought them back to the storage, and then transported them to the hall. Sent the copy to the various newspapers, and that was pretty well it.
Now, most of the items must be photographed, and this is of great benefit to potential buyers, but it is very time consuming to do it the way I do it. However, there are also great benefits to my business, so I will continue to put the effort into making our on-line presence, one of the best.
Prices have also changed a great deal over the years. About 80% of the antique business is “decor driven”. Styles, tastes and demand changes for certain items. That of course affects the price.
The average age of many auction goers is now older, and the young couples are not as strong in the marketplace, so furniture prices fluctuate. Dining room suites and bedroom suites are generally at a 15 year low as far as price goes. Retro items that at one time were almost giveaway, can now be strong in price. Glass and china is mostly flat, but primitives and country can be strong. And the list goes on.
I have seen many dealers, auctioneers and customers come and go over the years, but also I am pleased that we have a number of dealers, customers and consignors who have been with us for ten years or more. And of course there are always new faces at the auction, which is something I work very hard at. You have to keep new people showing up at the sales, and I must admit, the on-line advertising does that.
I am also very proud of the fact that we have pretty well the same staff that I started out with. We have worked together for years, and when I pick up the phone to ask them to work another auction, they always reply yes! I guess I am doing something right, but I have always said I have one of the best, if not the best, auction staff in the business!
As I enter our 15th year in the business, there is some uncertainty hanging over our business. I am not sure if we will be able to continue to do auctions in Pottageville, as the future use of that hall is up in the air. We will not know until September if the hall is still going to be available to us. I may be running all my auctions back if Bond Head if Pottageville is not available, and if for some reason we cannot do our sales in Bond Head….then I really don’t know what I am going to do! However, I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
So I thank you all for your patronage over the years, and for those of you new to our auctions, I hope you will be a regular for many years to come!
Regardless of what happens over the next few months, I am an auctioneer…I love this business, and one way or another I am going to be doing this for many more years to come!
News Flash!!!! July 13
…I was just informed THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO CONTINUE
doing our auctions at Pottageville for the foreseeable future! This is a huge relief for myself and the other auctioneers using the hall! So it is full steam ahead for at least ( I hope), the next year! We now return to News & Views.
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