Monday, September 01, 2008

An Old Fashioned Country Auction

On Saturday, a local auction house came to town to auction off the contents of an antique store over by the town library. The owner of the store, and his brother were antique collectors. They bought, and bought with the intent of selling, but never actually got around to the selling part. The building the antiques were stored in had 9 rooms. 9 rooms packed to the brim with stuff. Mostly chairs, and dressers and drop leaf tables. 60 or 70 drop leaf tables by my estimation, and that might be too low a number. Anyhow, the owner passed away at the beginning of the summer, and his 93 year old wife is settling her affairs. They have no children, and no heirs and so to the auction it all went.

Instead of hauling 9 rooms full of stuff, the auction house came and set up a giant tent with chairs. Their crew would hold up whatever was for bid, and craziness would start. Having never been to an auction before, I found it to be great fun. It was interesting to see how much some of the earlier drop leaf tables went for, having perused the website and the store during the preview and knowing that anyone who wanted a table would be able to get one that day. Towards the end of the auction they were going for $20. What a steal. I had no desire to buy one but they did manage to sell every last one. Also sold by lots of 2 or 5 or 10... were chairs. I've never seen so many chairs in my life.

During the preview I discovered they had spinning wheels for bid. About a dozen of them, most were of regular "modern size", 2 were larger "older size" and 5 were what is known as walking wheels. Named so because you have to walk back and forth to use them. I got there and a gentleman in a hat was checking them out. I debated between the 2 older ones. One was 100% intact, and the other was missing the footman, or the piece that connects the pedal to the wheel. I must've asked the boy 500 times, "that is easy to replace right?" because really that was the one that called to me the most. I planned to buy a wheel if it was usable, because I want to learn how to spin, and if the price was under my predetermined amount.

The auction started and 2 of the smaller ones went early. Then they brought out the intact of the 2 I had debated between. I noticed that the gentleman in the hat, and another gentleman were the only ones bidding on the wheels and I got nervous. The Brimfield MA Antique Show is next week and I know that some of the people at the auction were dealers looking to make a steal so they could turn around and sell the stuff higher. The smaller wheels continued to sell at a great price (some went for as low as $40 or $60) and I continued to wait. The owner of a local craft stores and her husband bid on 2, and in between old chairs and drop leaf tables and bed frames and years worth of collected items was paraded up and sold to the highest bidder.

Finally my wheel arrived. I bid first, and from somewhere behind me, someone else bid against me. We went back and forth, and in the end, I won! I got a late 1800's wheel made by Frs. Boudras (that is, Freres Boudras, would be Boudras Brothers in English) of St. Hyacinthe (and, later, St. Charles), Quebec. They were in production from 1860 and 1940 and mine is from the earlier period. It is in fantastic condition and I am thrilled to death to have won it. They sell in antique stores for much more money than I paid ($140), and I have already emailed a few local shops to find out how to replace the footman. I washed her up yesterday and took of layers of dust and grime and she's just gorgeous. Just gorgeous.

I also bid on this painted pine dresser and won if for a measly $10. It has gone into my craft area and I am quite happy with myself. My friend, who I went with (The Boy came also) scored 2 drop leaf tables for her new apartment and everyone went home happy. The Auction House is a family run business, and as I was talking to the son when it was over (my number was marked on someone's drop leaf table and I wanted to let him know if someone was looking for it) and they typically don't do those kind of auctions so it was a great day for everyone.


Laurie said...

How cool!! Rob would have loved that, and would have come home w/ all sorts of "lovely treasures" (eyeroll, as we have enough TREASURES)!

love the dresser, too. you can't get much these days for $10!!

Knit Witch said...

Wow!!! That spinning wheel is beautiful!

KathyMarie said...

Congratulations on your wheel! WOOHOO!! I love when stuff finds the right person to take care of it.