I have to admit, I thought auctions were like the one in the movie The First Wive's Club where you are buying really expensive antiques and artwork or Faberge Eggs. I was wrong! There are all types for all different price points and anyone can go.
Auctions are on anything and everything. From livestock to jewelry to tools to collectibles to guns, to really anything you can think of. I have gone to a few different ones that have mostly furniture and was very surprised by how incredibly interesting and totally different they were.
Derfler's in Pine Grove, PA was the first auction I went to. It is in a huge building that can hold 400 pieces of furniture. When you arrive you need to register. They take a copy of your driver's license and then give you a number that is hand written on a card. You can bid by raising your hand and when you win you show the auctioneer your card for them to get your number to write on the item. I was a bit shy at first, but everyone who works there or attends is so nice that they helped with any questions I had.
Everything is arranged in neat rows and two men walk around with the auctioneer and hold up or point to the item that is currently being auctioned. The auctioneer does that crazy auction speak that is hard to understand. You follow the auctioneer around the room as they go and you can remove your pieces as you win them. There are a bunch of high school boys that move everything to the loading dock for you. You pay when you are done (you don't have to wait until the end).
There are some pretty amazing pieces of furniture. They come from people's houses that are looking to sell all their stuff at once. The auction will even pick it all up. This is a popular auction, so if you are looking to sell your stuff there, you can expect to get a decent amount of money for your items. Although some stuff does go pretty cheap.
They have anything you can think of that you would use in your home. Bedroom sets, dining room sets, kitchen sets, chairs, cabinets, dressers, end tables, mattresses, rugs, couches, recliners, decor, washers/dryers, frames, lamps, mirrors, artwork, etc. Some are sets, some are individual. Brand new or antique, perfect condition or not so great condition. You should inspect the items you are interested in before you bid because all sales are final.
The auctioneer is great, he has been doing it forever and cracks me up. He calls the bedroom suites suits. I was there for four hours! And it felt like only an hour. It was so unbelievably interesting to see how much things sell for. They moved very quickly, but the sheer volume of furniture just takes that long to sell.
Some sets of furniture sells into the hundreds. A Grandfather clock went for almost $800! But then other pieces can go for $1! I couldn't believe that it happens, but it does. An entire waterfall bedroom set didn't sell. They were going to let it go for $5, but no one wanted it. It killed me not to get it, but I just didn't have the room for it!
The types of people who attended the auction were regular people looking to get a great deal on some furniture for their house, people like me who are looking to buy a few pieces to redo/resell and furniture dealers. The furniture dealers are the ones who buy almost everything. The auctioneer knows them by name. But they don't want to stand around for the four hours it takes to go through all the pieces, so towards the end you get a chance to get a really good deal.
Also, you don't have to get there when it starts and stay for all four hours. You can come and go as you please. It just depends on if you wanted something specific and need to wait until they get to it. I just went to see what I could get and hung around the whole time because it was awesome!
I have been to this auction twice so far. They hold one every few months depending on when they get the building filled. The haul for my first auction was four pieces:
They charge a 10% buyer's premium and also tax. I spent $19.72 total for all four pieces! I was very patient and made sure I didn't go crazy or fall in love with anything to be able to do this well. I plan to paint and sell all these pieces.
The second time I went I did even better and got the following three pieces:
I have been to a few other auctions held by different auctioneers and I will give you the lowdown on those as well. I highly recommend finding a local auction to see what you can find. No matter what, the furniture will cost way less than buying it new at a retail store. Even if you don't buy anything, it's a fun afternoon out.
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