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A Picker's Blog

I love what I do.  I love the history and story behind the items that I come in contact with.  I love the story tellers.  People who are willing to share their knowledge and more importantly their emotional stories.  I recently sold an old pull wagon from the 30's that a nice lady bought for her husband for their 48th anniversary. It was an old Davy Crockett browm and gold wagon that was identical to the wagon where they first met when they were toddlers.  She was kind enough to contact me after she gave it to him to share the happy emotions that the family shared when he saw it being brought into the room.  Can't wait to see the photos that she promised to send me.

 But my favorite aspect of the business is the hunt. My heart starts to beat a little more quickly and I begin to get that feeling that a child gets when it is finally Christams morning every time that I head out of our small town on the way to an auction.  What will I find that I've never seen before?  What diamond in the rough will I pick up on that no one else notices?  Will I hit a home run?  Will I be able to outbid thie big hitters?  Will I be able to hit early to set the tone with other bidders?  Other than a nice quiet evening or weekend trip with my wife an auction is my favorite place to be.  Whether it is in a cluttered auction house buzzing with other bidders planning their strategy for the day or an old barn filled with rusty dirty old artifacts there is nothing like an auction. 

I don't expect that many will read this blog as I post about my travels, wins, losses or getting skunked but it will provide a way for me to document my awesome experiences.

January 26, 2014


I often get comments about how much fun it must be to attend an auction.  Go for it!  For those who are new to the idea here are some tips.


1.  Set a budget and take cash.  By taking cash you are forced to stay within your budget plus most auctioneers charge a high fee for credit cards or don't take them at all.

2.  Visit  It is a very intuative site that will allow you to find an auction in your area with a date that works and with items that you have an interst in.  Most good auctioneers will also have photos of many of the items going up.

3.  Get there EARLY!  At least an hour early.  I typically go 1 1/2 hours or 2 hours before the auction begins (if they open that early).  You really want to look at, touch and inspect any item that you may have an interest in...which leads to tip #4...

4.  Never ever bid on an item that you haven't inspected.  I'll do it on occassion but its a real gamble.  Once your number is called as the winner.  It's yours.  No do-overs.  If it has a flaw or ends up being a reproduction or worse yet a repro (an item presented as an original when it isn't) tough luck.  

5.  Get comfortable in an area where you can see and hear well. Take coffee, water or your favorite beverage.  Maybe a pillow for the hard seats. I sit as far in the back as I can get.  I want to be able to see every bidder.  As a neophite it is better though, that you sit toward the front until you get accustomed to the whirwind of activity.

6.  At minimm take a pen and some paper.  Make a list of items that you are interested in and what you are willing to pay for them.  Then you will want to document your purchases to make sure that they match up to what the cashier shows when you check out.

7.  Don't be intimidated.  Pros use intimidation to win bids.  They will walk around, head to the back, head to the front, fast bid and jump bid.  They might even try to get behind you.  Don't fall for it.  The item has a value to you that is a fixed number.  Don't back off before you get to your number.  In the same vein, don't bid over your amount just to beat the other guy.  

8.  Don't try to "bid up" another bidder in an attempt to run them out of money.  Some of us will do that but it is a dangerous game.  They may stick you with an item that sells for way more than it is worth.  You had better be dead certain of how to read that bidder.

9.  Educate yourself on the venacular.  One money, choice, and other phrases can get you into trouble if you don't know what they mean.  Hand signals as well.  Slashing your hand across your throat does not mean out!  It means half the last bid and the new asking price.  Be careful

10.  Visit an auction first.  Get to know the system.

11.  HAve fun!


As always feel free to contact us with any questions or for advice.  We are happy to help!

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