So, on Thursday KPlan Kate went to the auctions. She attended not only one auction but two!
The first was in Brentwood- Brentwood Antique Auctions. It was in a tiny little wooden shed type thing with all the lots (about 600ish) and the bidders all crammed in. I had seen from the online catalogue that the furniture wasn’t happening until about lot 500. I had no idea how long each lot would take and therefore had no idea how long I’d have to wait until the furniture came up. I was incredibly disappointed to find that the auctioneer spoke at a normal speed- Steve said I’d been confusing antiques auctions with cattle auctions in my head. I’d got this vision of someone speaking at breakneck speed in some kind of tongues. I think this was why I’d always thought that an auction would be a scary place!
I’d seen a few bits of interest on the on line catalogue but felt very self conscious trying to squeeze past the bidders, negotiating guide dogs to try to find the bits I’d seen online. I could feel mental daggers being plunged into me! I managed to squeeze to the front to speak to one of the auction staff to see what time he thought the furniture lots might start and he worked out that if there were 120 per hour then it would be about 3pm before they got even close. Perfect! School run time! Obviously there was no point hanging around to see how much the Winnie the Pooh figures went for or the milk glass snuff bottle! The man told me I could bid by phone if I wanted to but because I hadn’t really gotten to look properly at anything I decided against it. I guess it was my own fault since they had a viewing day the day before!
One positive note to come out of the Brentwood expedition was that I realised auctions weren’t as scary as I thought they’d be and I probably would be brave enough to bid in the future-so long as the timing doesn’t interfere with the school run!
From Brentwood we set off for the Chalkwell auctions-which sneakily weren’t in Chalkwell at all- they were in a unit at the Temple Farm Industrial Estate in Southend! They had viewing time up until the auction started at 1pm AND they had coffee! It was a lot more spacious and you could wander round and see all the lots properly. There were about four lots I was interested in but again the furniture didn’t start until about lot 430 which would have been after I’d had to pick the girls up from school. Grrrrrr! But then I spoke to one of the men that worked there and he showed me how to bid on line. I’d assumed it would be like ebay where you put your max bid but it’s NOTHING like ebay! It was sooo clever- I am really amazed by it! You have to register but then you log in to the auction from home and it’s live-you can hear everything and then press the bid button if you want to place a bid and it’s as if you were there! The only downside is you have pay an extra 3% on top of the hammer price and the VAT.
I went home and set up an account and saw that it was up to about lot 100. As I left to go on the school run it was on lot 200ish. I was sure I’d miss the one I wanted-lot 432. I dashed to the computer when we got back and I hadn’t missed it! So I dashed upstairs to fold washing then bolted back down to check the bidding- still a few to go, so I ran upstairs and changed my bed, then rushed back to the computer, then sped to the kitchen to make a sausage and tomato pasta sauce, then sped back to the lounge, then sprinted back to the kitchen to put some pasta on, then legged it back to the computer……. we were then just getting to lot 430. I could feel myself getting all het up- not sure why but I felt really nervous and excited as my eagerly awaited lot arrived. I was after four beech dining chairs to go with the table I bought at the Belgian brocante. And I won! For £5 less than I had decided I would bid up to. Then I got all cocky when 434 came up-the South Amercian hardwood side table I had my eye on and missed out by £10. But as the guy at the auction house said ‘there’s always the next sale’!
They had absolutely everything you could think of at Chalkwell Auctions-from Versace trays, to a dead scraggy bird in a glass box-I wish I’d seen whether that sold! There were electric guitars that fetched over £600-I guess they must have been pretty special!
I was really shocked by how exciting and nail biting I found the whole thing. I was also struck by how I stuck out like a sore thumb after thinking about it afterwards. I didn’t really fit in with the auction demographics. Maybe this is because auctions, running a home and school runs don’t really mix so well!