Do you know what to bring to an auction? Here’s a quick list that will make your time fun, comfortable and successful!
1. Bring a Chair
Antique or consignment auctions usually have indoor seating. It’s still smart to put a folding chair in your car just in case. Estate auctions are outdoors or inside the owner’s house. There won’t be anywhere to sit! Make sure you can be comfortable and bring a chair. Usually it takes them many hours to go through someone’s lifetime accumulation of items and there will be long periods with auction items you aren’t interested in.
Don’t expect to sit the whole time, though. When the auctioneer gets close to your items you will need to stand up to make sure you know exactly what he is offering. If it’s a good auction with lots of interesting items you will be standing a lot. That brings us to…
2. Wear Comfortable Shoes and Dress for the Weather
In the summer bring sunscreen and bug repellent. In the winter have your boots for mud or snow, a warm hat, gloves and a good coat. Remember, if your feet are not happy, you will not be happy! Be nice to yourself and wear shoes you can stand around in for several hours if need be. Remember, there will be many people milling around and even nice clean grass won’t stay nice. It will get dusty or muddy so best to not wear your favorite white pants or those heeled sandals.
3. Let’s Stay Comfortable
Some auctioneers have a food concession, which usually means weak coffee and overpriced fat bombs. See tip 2 and be nice to yourself. Bring a bottle of water and maybe a sandwich. If there are lulls in the action you care about, you can run out to your car to get it, or take it with you.
Hand sanitizer or a wet washcloth in a baggy are good too. (Porta Potty anyone?) I like to use the wet washcloth to wipe off glass to make sure any gunk is dirt and not scratching or water spotting.
4. Packing Material and Boxes
Sometimes there will be boxes or newspaper at the auction site, but don’t count on it! Bring sturdy boxes and bubble wrap. We take a box of bubble out bags in different sizes, plus paper plates to go between bowls or plates, plus extra newspaper just in case we get lucky and get a lot of beautiful glass!
5. A Book or Repro List for Glass
This one is optional. If you don’t intend to ever bid on any glass in any pattern that has never been reproduced – and you know what those are – or if you don’t intend to bid on glass at all, then skip the book. I take mine, but that’s because I don’t trust my memory. It’s awful easy to get excited when you walk in the door and see tables full of beautiful glass! So do yourself a favor and take along a small pocket guide like this one from Gene Florence on depression glass.
6. Cash, Check or Credit Card to Pay for Your Winnings
Always read the terms before you leave home. I’ve never seen an auction that did not accept a check; some take credit or debit cards and they all take cash!
7. Office Supplies: Pen, Paper, Ruler
Last post I gave my method to figure out what I would bid on, then write down the description and how much I would bid. I do this before the auction starts. It’s easy to get carried away and go a little higher than you intended, and that’s OK, but you don’t want to get home broke, tired and regretful.
I’ve tried packing a small notebook and water bottle in a tote, but that can be a problem in tight spots where the tote will get in the way of everything. Now I put a notebook and pen in a pocket. If you use a purse, be careful you don’t swing it into something.
Another good item to bring is a small ruler. After working with glass for years I’m pretty confident telling a lunch from a dinner plate, but until you are good at recognizing sizes, bring a folding ruler or tape measure.
Last – Bring a Great Attitude!
Auctions are fun. Yes, they are business too if you are buying for resale, but they should be relatively enjoyable.
Don’t expect to get everything you want.
Do expect some pretty competitive bidding.
Be considerate and respectful of the former owner. You are buying what someone spent a lifetime accumulating, and even if it’s junk, try to keep your opinions to yourself. (Yes, it can be very hard when the auctioneer is working on a set of Elvis paintings!)
If you find the auctioneer is a bit shady, or some of the bidders are acting unethically, then leave. There will always be another opportunity to spend your money!