Save money by buying at auctions
I’m always astonished at not only what turns up on the auction tables but also at how little it sells for. I’ve watched many times as dinnerware sets go for 5 or 10 bucks, or practically be given away by the auctioneers.
I’ve seen silverware, pots and pans, glassware, gift items, fur coats, clothes, appliances, bedding, tables, chairs, toys, figurines – any and everything you could think of. All sold at way-below bargain prices. I’ve written about dining room sets, outdoor furniture and other items that sold ridiculously cheap.
Seeing all this, I figured that I should let others in on these great buys, especially since so many people are hurting in this economy and could use a break. Auction prices beat out what you’d pay at retail stores. Maybe the auction items are a little used, but a little cleaning will easily wash off the previous owner’s imprint.
Knowing how to buy and what to buy before even stepping foot into an auction house is key. Online auction sites like EBay and TV programs have made auctions very popular, but most don’t show you how to prepare to buy or sell.
We’re inundated with a slew of auction reality shows on TV, and they seemingly have found a receptive audience. My auction-buddy Janet watches most of them – some auctions, some auction-related. The big daddy of them all: “Antiques Roadshow.” Spike TV’s “Auction Hunters.” Discovery’s “Auction Kings.” A&E’s “Storage Wars.” HGTV’s “Cash and Cari.”
One storage auction site noted that the number of people attending storage-locker sales had grown just as much as default by renters.
I love auctions, and I figured that showing others how to participate in an actual sale would be just as much a thrill for them as it is for me. Real auctions can be just as intimidating as entering an art gallery for the first time. But they aren’t, and some of the nicest folks are auction-goers and the auctioneers. This class could help alleviate any fears while helping folks save money, I figured.
I had already written some tips on how to conduct yourself at an auction.
So, I applied for and was approved to teach a class through my local community learning center. Here’s my description of the class, which was offered for a very nominal fee, most of which would go to the nonprofit center:
Save money by buying at auctions
TV bombards us with shows about buying cheap and selling high at auctions. But you don’t have to be a dealer or seller to find great bargains. You can buy inexpensive items for yourself and as gifts for others. Learn how to find an auction house near you, preview a sale, research items beforehand, and bid on an item. The class will also include a trip to a real-live auction.
3 Monday sessions: 2 hours each, 7-9 p.m. The final session will be a trip to an actual auction.
Maximum number of students: 15
The center liked the idea and offered the class in its spring session. Meanwhile, I decided to hold a mock auction at the last session, and enlisted an auctioneer to conduct it. I also told the owner of one of my favorite auction houses that I would be bringing a class. He, obviously, was delighted.
All I had to do now was to wait for the throngs of people to sign up for the class. A couple weeks passed, and two people signed up. The center required at least five students for the class to proceed.
The other three students never materialized, and the class was canceled. We’ll try it again in the fall. Maybe the spring wasn’t the right time of year to save a little money by buying cheap.