How To Shop an Auction

Southern auctioneers at Antiques Roadshow demystify the auction as an easy and affordable way for collectors to find local antiques.


When young pledgers are going out and young individuals are going out to find things to buy, there's a lot of places you can go. You can go to [unk], you go to yard sales and one that often people are scared of is auctions. There are auctions that take place around this country, in small towns, everywhere. I went to a country auction one time and this guy he was all the time auctioneering. He stood on the back of his tailgate of his station wagon. He said, "Folks, if you filled your tank up with gas and you drove all day long, you wouldn't find these many pretty things for sale." And the cool thing about an auction is, it's a time saver. You get a very nice little cross section of what's coming out of somebody's house and it will be everything from the stuff in a storage room off the kitchen and the attic, to the things that are in the living room. I think these people are scared of auctions because they think everything is expensive and more class, when in reality the best majority of items that sell in auction are not like that. You know most auctioneers that are really savvy now are very much hooked in to the internet. So, you can usually preview without even having to go to the sale and then if you see something you like and it's local, you know, you can go to do that. So, you can get in, you can follow the auctions and chase the auctions and understand what a piece that's in a room might look like when it gets to your home. You can really get great buys and bring things home for a lot less than you would maybe in an antique store or from a secondhand dealer or [unk]. We always go in, watch, sit, learn, you'll get used to it. There's great buys to be [unk], things come across the block. Often times most of the buying that goes on to auctions is dealers. The strategy in an auction is pretty simple. You look at everything pretty closely, you make sure that you really like it and you decide what you're going to pay for it and then it's my job as the auctioneer to talk in to pay more.
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