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    Auction Finds

    Wicker patio furniture for a steal

    I was headed to my car balancing a box of sewing items in my arms when I heard the auctioneer announce the sale of a wicker patio set. I had seen the four chairs and three tables about an hour earlier on my walk-through of the back lot at the auction house.

    The auction staff had lined the pieces at the far end of an eclectic row of stuff that included broken-down chairs, metal garden furniture, tables and two trash cans full of rakes, hoes and other garden tools. Two round wicker chairs that looked like giant exercise balls were the first to capture my eye as I walked the row.

    These two chairs drew me to the wicker furniture at the auction.

    The pieces were clean, bright and airy on a morning that had just come through a day of rain and cloudy skies. They were in very good condition and looked practically new – as if they had just been removed from a furniture store. The cushions were clean and shaped, and the natural wicker material itself showed no wear or body rubs on the arms. The color of the cushions were a bit tame for me, so I would’ve replaced them with a bright color or print.

    I assumed that they had been set out that morning because they had escaped the rain. A beautiful vintage Singer sewing machine in a wooden case wasn’t so lucky. The case had done its job in protecting the machine, but it couldn’t protect itself. It was sitting on the wet muddy ground and its bottom had gotten soaked, causing the wood to buckle and split. What a waste.

    The wicker set looked impressive among the other dour pieces on the back lot at the auction house.

    The wicker furniture, though, was ready to go to someone’s home. But not mine. I had bought a lovely tightly woven wicker patio set about 10 years ago when I first moved into my house. I had seen it at a Crate&Barrel store, and fell in love with the set immediately but not the price.

    I told a colleague at work about it and she convinced me that I should buy it. I kept thinking about the chaise lounge that was part of the set and how great it would look on the glass-enclosed porch of my new home. So, I bought the three pieces for an outrageous price because they were sold separately and not as a set.

    That was before I discovered auctions. I would be reluctant to buy furniture retail these days because I know I can get something I like at auction. It may take a while, but the right piece would eventually show up.

    A chair and a table that needs a new glass top.

    The wicker furniture at the auction would have looked just as good on my porch but it was a decade too late. It did remind me, though, that good furniture can be had for a pittance at auction.

    Like these pieces and mine, wicker patio furniture comes in all styles and colors, and you can buy it from just about any place – from Target to top designer stores. I searched the web for pieces like the ones at auction – curious about how much they sold for – but didn’t find any like them. I saw many other styles, some with prices that reached up to $3,000 and more. One site was selling ottomans for nearly $500, and this was a discount seller.

    Since the furniture is made of wood, it can be used both indoors and outdoors. Outside, I’d make sure to protect my cushions from the elements, though.

    The chair is flanked by two different types of tables.

    At the auction, I stood on the wooden platform and listened as the bidding got underway. I wanted to see how much this furniture would sell for. The auctioneer was selling it as a set, not individually. I wasn’t close enough to see how many people were bidding, but the bids were coming in slow but steady. They begrudgingly climbed – past $20, then past $30, then past $50 and slowed.

    I couldn’t believe that this set of seven pieces would not reach $100 or higher. The price was not even close to that. The furniture sold for only $60. What a steal!


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