Nothing beats the excitement of an auction room. The atmosphere is thrilling and excitement is in the air. The scene can also be intimidating, especially for newbies. If you want to take the plunge at an antiques auction but don’t feel confident, read on to learn how to win and feel confident at your first auction.
One of the first keys to doing well at an auction is being prepared. You will want to take a look at the auction before you even think about bidding. Go for a viewing before the day of the auction if you can. While this will take time, you will be prepared on the actual day and you will perform better.
When you are looking at items, don’t rush and be sure to take notes on any pieces that interest you. Make a plan. You can even take a piece of paper and map out a route so you aren’t just wandering around the auction wasting precious time. Not being prepared could cost you a bargain.
Get a copy of the catalogue and check off any pieces you are interested in. You could try color coding your marks. Green marks for items you are serious about and yellow marks for things you don’t want. Red marks can be used for items that are a definite no. To avoid overbidding in the heat of the moment write down the top price of what you are willing to pay. No mater how intense you feel at the moment, stop bidding when this price is reached. Some people get carried away by passion at auctions and don’t think with their heads. They end up paying more than the item is worth!
Everything is sold as is at an auction and it is important to examine each piece very carefully to make sure there aren’t any flaws. You might even want to bring a magnifying glass so you can look carefully for any serious flaws like tears, cracks, or scratches. Be extra vigilant if you are buying a box of something because the broken pieces often end up on the bottom. While you explore the auction be sure to check under tables because sometimes pieces are hiding there.
If you are planning on bidding on furniture you need to know the right way to inspect it so you don’t end up with flawed pieces. First, you want to check out the back and underside of the piece. Look for wood worm, damage, and bad repairs. Open drawers and look for dovetail joints and look underneath to find out the name of the maker.
If you are buying glass or china, look for cracks and chips. Tap the piece and if you hear a clunk, the piece could have a hairline crack. If the piece you are interested in is small, it might not be out on the floor. Ask the auctioneer if you can view the pieces. Ask if there is a reserve price because if that price isn’t met, you can’t buy that piece.
Stay in control in the sale room. Your adrenaline will be pumping and it is hard not to be affected by the frenetic vibe. Do your best to stay calm. Scan the room to see who your competitors are. Here is a trick that the auctioneers often pull to drive the prices up higher. They will pretend to accept a bid even though no bid has been placed. To avoid getting taken by this don’t go beyond the price you wrote down in the catalog.
Above all, have fun. Attending an auction is an experience and it just takes a few visits to get a feel for how it works. Soon you will know what you want to bid on and you will know what price you want to bid.