Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bidding Blizzard

One week ago today Chicago blizzardiness coincided with the estate/antiques auction I like to go to. I have the luxury of living a five minute bus ride away, whereas many of the even-more-regular regulars didn't consider it worth battling over a foot of snow to sit in a warehouse for seven hours just to get a shot at a good deal on a 12' piece of an old airplane wing or a cement casting of a cow skull.

I got the cow skull.

I got an incredible amount of stuff. With competing bids limited to die-hard dealers and warm-blooded, well-seasoned Chicagoans (What, this? It's called snow. Suck it up) gorgeous rugs went for hundreds instead of thousands. One woman could barely suppress a giggle as she bought one after another as the bidding climbed beyond my "dammit, I just don't have the capital or the knowledge" range. I still made it out of there with two Chinese and one Sarabend rugs for less than you could buy their knock-off versions at Walmart.

I knew I did well on the rugs. Everything else had me a bit worried; I always go in with a list of, " If it goes low enough, I'll bid on it" items, but those always end up selling for a few billion times my budget. This time, I ended up with a box full of 20s-60s era hats and purses, the cement cow skull, a tilting mirror, this huge fabulous atrocious black and gold oriental vase, a very mid-century lamp with more scratches than I'd like it to have, more friggin' china (in case I don't have enough to get rid of already) and more art than I intended.

I've finally almost caught up with photographing everything I had before this auction, so very soon, my little chickadees, you will get to see the causes of all this excitement and fear. But even without visual aids, I can tell you that after my last two days of research, I did even better than I thought. I have to be vigilant and actually sell things to people (money can be exchanged for goods and services, I hear), but researchland makes it seem like I made sound investments (if you can call a vase that could eat my dog an investment) and I just might get to eat next month after all.

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