Ever Been to an Auction?
Jun 8
My friend Lori, she of the ongoing kitchen remodel, had some furniture to sell. Table, chairs, light fixture, china cabinet. While these were still good pieces, their days were numbered. The new kitchen was rendering them obsolete. They needed to go.

So, where to sell some nice furniture? Craigslist, sure. But then people come to your house, and you're not likely to get a good price. There's eBay, but that's going to work for local pickup only. 1stdibs.com - you bet, but that's for pretty high-end stuff.

How about an auction house? Lori had bought some of her furniture at O'Gallerie, a Portland auction house, and back it went to O'Gallerie when she was done with it. She suggested we grab a bite and then watch her stuff sell or not sell. I'd always wanted to see an auction in action, plus - shopping? Used goods? Antiques and oddities? For someone who prefers to look at salvage and used options before buying new, checking out an auction house has been on my to-do list for a long time. Time to check it off the list. So what did I see?

- A Bernard Geiser painting, which sold for about $1000.
- A Salvador Dali lithograph - of a thumb - which sold for $400.
- An Edward Quigley painting, though I don't remember the sale price.
- An Arthur Runquist painting of two raccoons. Weird and perhaps even hideous, but it sold for $190. Go figure. (Pic 1)
- Tons of furniture (Pic 2) and Persian rugs, all for amazing prices.
- Guns and animal heads (Pic 3) - as in guns of all kinds, but particularly those with which you hunt, and big animal heads for mounting on the wall. Including a hippo. These were selling. I was super-perplexed by the market for stuffed animal heads, but what do I know? Nothing, apparently, about that demographic. But that was not the group of items for sale that shocked me the most. That would be the dolls.
- Yes, dolls (Pic 4). There were many lots of antique dolls for sale, and there were serious bidding wars over these babies. (Get it?) It got to the point that when a doll got pulled front and center, I sat up in my seat and got ready to watch the action. The highest amount I saw paid for anything in the two hours I was watching was for two dolls: $2,500. Seriously. For dolls.

Now, if you need anything for your house, like furniture or a Persian rug, china or sterling, a stuffed hippo or ibex head, I recommend you take up a new hobby: Auction houses. Check them out online, get the catalogs, attend the events. Get to know the lingo and the hand signals. You can bid online, you know; you don't have to attend to make a purchase. You could be the mystery bidder on the phone, or you could be the lady in row three who took home about seven dolls at seriously high prices. Please, do me one favor? If you get to know the people at the auction houses, keep me in on the gossip. I can tell there's some great stories floating around between the auctioneer and the guys moving the stuffed animals to and fro and the people taking the online bids. There's just gotta be.


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