If you are crazy mad over Mad Men, you will looooooooove this!

If you've never been to an auction, it should be on your bucket list...and not just stopping in for a few minutes and checking it out.  You have to stay for at  least a few hours to get the full effect. Seriously, like right now go get a pen and write "Go to an Auction".  It is such a fantastic peep into the life of someone born closer to 1911 than 2011.   A slice of life through the turn of the century, a look into the entire stock of kitchenware from 1952, music from the 60's and clothing from the 70's.    You have to go when it starts, stand in the rain,watch the {sometime crrrrazzzzy} people going nuts over a piece of blue glass or a Longaberger basket (Is anyone as over those as I am?  I don't get it.).  You especially have to check out anything coming out of the barn or garage.  Insanely cool tools and buckets and baskets and metal things and wooden things and bins and tubs and a fire extinguisher.  (Yes, I bought a fire extinguisher...)

The strategy?  Never pay more than a quarter for most things, and NEVER pay more than a dollar.  You should come at the beginning of the auction because that is when all the {crazies} are having fun and bidding each other up on old pillows and sheets, but you should BID nearer to the middle and the end of the auction when everyone else has already spent all of their money.

For example, I bought a pile of sheets and blankets for 25 cents.  The previous 10-15 stacks of linens went for $6, $8, $4 and then started to work themselves down until everyone had bid themselves out and I got a stack I wanted for a quarter...lovely....

...also lovely is the look people give you when you get something for pennies that they paid dollars for.  It is priceless and funny and another reason you should put "going to an auction" on your I NEED TO DO THIS NOW list.

Another quarter buy was a basket full of stuff -- some of which headed to the trash, some to the burnpile, and the mouse traps to the basement.  The real reason for the bundle though were these bottlecaps.  A wonderful golden-green-brown in a shiny finish with a matte texture and cork on the inside.  There will DEFINITELY be a fun project ahead for these babies.

...annnnnd back to the baskets.  I grew up around Longaberger baskets.  Everyone had at least one, some people had hundreds and they paid SOOOOOO much money for them.  The ultimate gift was a Longaberger basket.  The ultimate Bingo win is a Longaberger basket.  I just don't get it.  I really don't.  I recognize that they are very nicely made baskets.  I recognize that they are strong and pretty.  ...but they aren't THAT great.  They aren't $30 for a tiny little basket great.  So at this auction the bidding went sky high for a bunch of Longaberger baskets...bidder after bidder "winning" basket after basket for a boatload of money.  Then this long, flat basket with a bunch of other stuff comes piled on top.  The basket was wrapped in yucky, dusty plastic, but I saw the shape and saw a piece poking through and decided it was ok to not get it because surely it would at least be bidded up to 3 or 4 dollars.


Happily, everyone was staring blissfully into the eye of their {overpriced} Longaberger baskets, and nobody bid on this lovely.  SO I did.   ...and I bought it for a quarter. 

Absolutely perfect for taking photos of tiny newborn babies...AND for piling throws.  AWESOME.

By the way, when you are bidding, you have to wait for your moment to get the quarter deals.  The auctioneer will usually start at $1 for smaller things and then start making crazy loud pseudo words like:

I gotta dollar, anybody give me two, whada whada, ba--ba--ba-- I gotta dollar, dollar, dollar TWO!  Anybody Two?  Two?  I gotta half a half, whalalalala, loppa, loppa, wha-wha-hwa- half, anybody HALF?  I'll take a quarter, anybody quarter, botta-botta- I HAVE A QUARTER!  Now someone give me a half, 50 cents for this lovely beeeeeeautiful basket, BIG basket, going for a quarter BOP-BOP-BOP-BOP  roll the R'ssssssss....SOLD!  25 cents to the girl in the green.  Number??  992!

I TOLD you it is fun...ebay has NOTHING on auctioneers...NOTHING!

...but the deal is hard to wait for because you want to bid a dollar and if someone else does, they might get what you want for just a dollar and yada-yada-yada.  you just have to wait.  Be patient and hold out for the quarter and as SOON as he says quarter you have to jump on it!   Raise your paddle and yell "right here" if he doesn't see you.

...AND remember that a quarter for junk is a quarter wasted, so don't bid if you don't really want it.

Of course, if your husband goes to the auction, he might want to buy something for a quarter that you think is ridiculous.  He might want to purchase a DECORATIVE NUT BOWL.  I'm not kidding.  A nut bowl.  That comes with nut crackers and scrapers (?).  A nut bowl that he says you should do a blog post about...

At least it was only a quarter.

Two more 25 cent buys included a radio (and fire extinguisher) for our garage to listen to while painting and playing with bebes on the driveway, as well as a giant metal bin (not pictured, but it's AWESOME) filled with a bunch of wood scraps.  Most of the wood scraps were actually little projects that the homeowner had made and the boys turned them into accessories for THEIR FORT.  See that table and chair there?  It became a steering wheel.  The bench?  ...for "little friends" that come to visit the fort.  ...and those black straps?  They are attached to a piece of wood and make the perfect shield or secret entry knocking board.

One of my favorite times at an auction is the very, very end when the auctioneers are tired, 
there are only about 10 people still there and bidding and they decide that everything else is free.  
PERFECT time to pick up an old rusty bucket for your garden...
I don't usually think rust is pretty...

Time to stop admiring my rusty trash bucket...time to start mucking out a chicken coop...or maybe just gathering a few flowers...

...but only put a few bucks in your pocket!


jude said…
I was right there with you....you have a great way with images! Been to an auction, but never from beginning to the very end.....putting that on the list!! I too love those bottlecaps you scored!!! Cannot wait to see what they are transformed to in your loving hands!!
jude said…
Oh....and kudos to your man for scoring that awesome nut bowl! a full set of six picks, *two* crackers AND bark on the wooden bowl....!!! That seems like nut bowl nirvana!! Enjoy!!
stacey said…
Oh, fun!
I need to employ your only a few dollars in the pocket strategy, though... I tend to get carried away.
I love the surprises you can find when you get those baskets of what seems to be random stuff.
Fun post!
Becky Jane said…
Your so funny! I've been to a couple of auctions and I'd love to see you at one! Smart girl!
Hope your having a fun Memorial Day!
You are killing me with this post!! That nut bowl reminds me of my Papa. He had one like this on his coffee table at all times. I used to love cracking pecans with him as a kid.

I've been to auctions but it's been many moons ago. I should try again sometime!
LisaWeidknecht said…
Hopped over to follow you! Follow me too? Weidknecht.blogspot.com
Summer said…
I once found a Longaberger with great leather handles in a garage that hadn't seen the shine of headlights in YEARS! I think the date on the bottom was 198-something. I also love auctions! I always find some great stuff. However, my husband once spent $30 on a huge collection of junk; for some reason he HAD TO HAVE the 4 computer printers he saw in the pile. They all ended up at Goodwill.

I'm a new follower from the hop!
Come check me out when you get the chance:
Carolina Summer
Great post! I've always wanted to go to an auction, but can't seem to find them in my area.
I only went to one when we lived in Nebraska...they have many auctions weekly in PA...it must be a very regional thing. They are so very much fun though...call me if you're in PA and we'll have an auction date!
Great post, Amy! And, like you, I don't normally go for rusty...but I love that bucket!