About Me

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I'm a communications specialist with a passion for vintage and I run an online vintage business called Vintage Baubles & Bits.

I consider myself a saver of beautiful items from the past and a repurposer of treasures!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My First Auction

After setting up at the Belleville Flea Market I picked the brains of some of my fellow vendors to see how they were able to keep their prices low and still make money at the market. Most of my items had come from estate sales and yard sales, so I thought I was doing well in finding items that were cheap and still easy to sell and make money off of. Apparently I was wrong, even at half off days at estate sales you can't always get the bargains you can get at auctions.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous - I hadn't ever been to an auction, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I was tipped off to the site www.auctionzip.com and I have to say - it's really good. It allowed me to look up auctions within 30 miles of my zip code and I was able to discover that several auction companies have auctions every week at the same location (usually a VFW hall) and they have estate items as well as consignment items, where people will bring in things they want to sell and the auction company will take a percentage of their profits for auctioning off the items.

The evening started with selling "choice" bids on tables with miscellaneous bulk items. For instance, there could be one table with all the linens for sale and you bid against each other for the chance to take your choice of an item from the table. So if you bid $5 and were the top bidder you would pay $5 for each item you took off the table. This allows you to pick up a lot of things pretty cheaply. Normally they put random things in boxes on these tables too, so sometimes you don't know what you're getting.

Political satire magazine
I purchased two misc. boxes for $1 each and a set of six magazines at a dollar as well. Turns out one of the magazines is an issue of Successful Farming Magazine's tip book published in 1934!! Through my job I still do business today with Successful Farming. The tip book is called "How to Save Time, Save Money and Make Profits in Farming and Homemaking" and are tips sent in by readers over three years and then published in their own booklet. Totally awesome find!

Also in my random boxes was a tea cup and saucer set of Noritake China (a good brand), several glass cups and about a dozen white glass vases. Pretty cool for only $2!!

Green glass footed bowl with grapes
After they go through these tables they bid on furniture items. I was interested in a few pieces, but apparently so was everyone else! They ended up going for much more than I had on me and wanted to spend in a night. Oh well...

Pressed glass square bowl
Finally they go through each remaining item that's a bit more high-end. I think I impressed folks who were obviously regulars to this event because I wasn't afraid to bid and I helped drive up some prices. I spent $61 including the 10% buyer's premium the auction charges - so actual costs were more like $56.

Here's a rundown of a few things I picked up:

1970's Sake set in the original box (this was my gift to Chad for sitting through the auction with me)
20 qt stock pot for my canning projects
Amber sun burst bowl
A set of four multi-colored candy dishes
An entire box of jewelry
An American made gold mirror
Three glass bowls
All the amber colored glass being sold (two ashtrays, two small bowls and two large bowls and two goblets) for $2

There's a bit more, but it's hard to keep track of all of the items - especially the random things in the boxes!

Hofbauer German Crystal Bowl

I think this is a great way for me to go, it was cheaper than other options, took less time (I can spend a whole weekend going from estate sale to estate sale) and I got many really nice things!

Mother of pearl etched pins

Blue swan candy dish

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