Saturday, 7 June 2014

"Two elephants and a pestle and mortar" . . . a day at the auction

I spent much of yesterday at an auction, firstly viewing it with my OH, and then he had to dash back to Carmarthen and I was left to bid on a couple of lots we had noted down.

It was the sort of auction we remember from when we first moved to Wales - an eclectic lot of house clearance stuff, much of it only worthy of £1 a job lot box bid - with some nicer pieces in the mix, and by the look of it at this auction, some stuff put in by individuals in the surrounding area, having a clear out and hoping to make a few bob.  Mostly tat, but some things stand out - those of course, stand out to anyone in the trade who is there to support their livelihood, but that said, there were private individuals yesterday, buying stuff just because they liked it - a pretty Victorian rose-sprigged cheese dish springs to mind.  The buyer was delighted to have got it.

We arrived early to view, and so bagged front row seats by leaving a bidding number and my fleece on them.  It helps to be close to the front as you can see stuff better when it is being held aloft, and if you need to get up and stretch your legs, you aren't hemmed in by lots of people on seats around you.  I had a while to wait before the auction started, so walked up the village to get a little puzzle book and a drink.  Once the auction started though, the microphone was turned up so much, and the auctioneer bellowing out the lots - selling at an incredible speed of 200 an hour - I just had to sit and watch what was being sold, and within 10 minutes had an agonizing headache.  I watched countless boxes of china being sold for a song (with good reason, most folk DON'T want china and it doesn't normally sell at the car boot sales either).  There were pieces which used to be SO desirable - Cottage Ware china, Royal Doulton, Crown Devon, big willow pattern meat plates - all selling for a pittance.  How fashions change.

I had noted a copper and brass Art Nouveau wine jug, and another beaten copper pail, and noted a price for them.  They attracted a LOT of bids and made over £100.  I had put "£35" beside them in my notes!  Must go and do some homework . . .  That said, there were bids way beyond what some things were worth and I think auction mania must have got to one or two folk.  The mere mention of the name "Clarice Cliff" brought on a flurry of bids on a small jam pot, which made a good price.

There was an old and interesting antiquarian book I wanted for my collection.  It needed rebinding and was in a state.  I was the underbidder, and that was fortunate for when I got home I found it was actually available in a reprinted version, and the first editions (1811 as this was) in good condition  sold for less than the winning bidder paid, and so I was fortunate to have missed it.

This beautiful bed throw came cheaply enough though, and came home with me, as did the GORGEOUS Welsh blanket below.  The light from the flash has bleached all the sherbet colours from it but it is LOVELY.

The title, by the way, is a lot description from the auction, if you haven't already guessed!

I have to be out the door any minute, so I will do the looooooong picture-heavy coastal path walk later.


  1. Your auction days do sound fun and really interesting. I love the bed throw - what a beautiful colour!

  2. Yes, I must say that title fascinated me!!

  3. I also loved the title.

    cheers, parsnip

  4. I love that blanket! Auctions here are full of such knowing people - no chance of a bargain even in the old cardboard box lots sadly. x

  5. Also love the blanket, and that pretty blue throw, Welsh auctions look fascinating but it must be tiring sitting around waiting for your lot to come up. x

  6. Glad you all enjoyed going to the auction without all the hanging around! That's the worst part. I had items noted down, 700 and more lots apart but we left with still 400 lots before the end.