Last Wednesday, I somehow convinced Erin to go with me to an auction in Windsor, Ontario. If you’re unfamiliar with the area where we live, Windsor is just across the river from Detroit. This wasn’t the first time one of us had dug for treasures internationally, but it was the first time we had gone to an auction in Canada, so we weren’t sure what to expect. Turns out, Canadians don’t like spending a lot of money at auctions, which was awesome for us.
I reminded Erin to write down some directions since you quickly lose cell service once you cross the border. She obeyed.
I’m particularly thankful that she added this extremely important step: “Straight into tunnel.” I think we might have missed it if she hadn’t written it down.
Turns out, Erin gets the heebie jeebies in tunnels. She kept breathing deeply and asking me if I thought there was too much carbon monoxide in the tunnel from cars idling.
Does that look scary to you? I didn’t think so.
Once we convinced the border agent that we weren’t drug smugglers, we were on our way. When we arrived at the auction, it immediately seemed different than other auctions. Then I realized this was because the auctioneer had a Canadian accent and kept saying DOLEars, instead of dollars.
Here are some pics of the offerings:
Cool table with a built-in ashtray on top that you can’t see.
Erin was obsessed with that hideous chair. I have no idea why or how.
Action shot of me investigating stuff on the stage.
So I really don’t know what this place was, but there was a stage at the front of the room with this rickety old rail-less set of steps leading up to it. The auction started at one side of the room…
…and all of the stuff was on tables along the outer edges of the room. As it progressed, they finally got to the front where the stage was, and Erin was obsessed with watching the employees have to carry these trays of breakable items down that rickety old staircase. It was actually pretty insane.
There’s an example. The woman is holding a tray of breakable figurines that she brought down from that stage behind her. Every time someone had to walk around with one of these trays, it was was like watching a person balance a crystal vase on their head. You were basically wincing the whole time, hoping they didn’t drop the tray.
Here are some pictures of some other items that were up for grabs:
A vibrator. Look how pumped he is to be displaying that thing!
Ok in all seriousness, we both came away with some cool stuff. One of the first things I noticed that I wanted was this vintage wall hanging of a boy eating corn on the cob. I thought it would look adorable in my kitchen.
Of course, I left with this little dude in my possession. It has a little hook on it where we could hang keys, so it’s also useful! And Adam likes it! Double win.
This auction lasted forever because there was so much stuff, and the auctioneer milked every last dollar out of people. He started getting annoyed that people wouldn’t bid high, but it’s sort of like, if you immediately let on that you’re willing to sell things low, why would we bid high?!
Anyway, I also ended up with an old, pretty minty copy of Abbey Road. I thought it might be worth a lot but it’s not a first pressing. If you ever stumble across a copy of Abbey Road that is in good shape and the back cover looks like this, grab it.
The two things of note on this are the “misaligned apple” and the lack of “Her Majesty” listed on the sleeve. Some also claim that first pressings are missing “Her Majesty” on the record sticker. Mine doesn’t have these things, but it’s a really nice copy of the record and I only paid $10 for it so I’m happy.
I also purchased a box of records and one of the best covers was this:
I’m a little ashamed of the quantity of stuff I came home with. A lot of it was stuff that came in lots and I only wanted one thing out of the bunch. Oh well, the rest can go in the garage sale.
Overall, I had a blast at this auction. It was really good people watching and I got some cool stuff. A few of the items I’m going to save for future posts because I love them so much.
Hopefully Erin will update you all about the fight she got in with the auctioneer over a pair of dirty moccasins.
Update from Erin: That tunnel is so scary because it is under water…a whole giant lake of water. One day that tunnel will collapse because you shouldn’t build tunnels underwater. You shouldn’t even build tunnels through mountains. In fact, everyone everywhere: STOP BUILDING TUNNELS.
When we walked into the auction I was excited that there was so much stuff. I instantly fell in love with some old tapestries that were described as “Egyptian.” I don’t know if this is true, but I ended up with them. I paid $15 each, which is pricey, but I knew there wasn’t much else in the auction I would end up buying.
Look at that cute little frowny person!
The next tapestry had a fish design. It’s pink, but I still like it.
I appreciate these because 2 years ago I took a weaving class and it was so hard. I made a tapestry that was about 5 inches wide and 3 inches tall and it took about a month to finish. Oy.
I was laughing so hard at the workers carrying huge trays of breakable items because it reminded me of Food Network Challenge. If you aren’t familiar with the show, then this joke is lost on you. Basically, on that show, people spend about 8 hours making huge elaborate cakes, and one is chosen as the best. However, before the cakes can be judged, they have to be carried to the judging table. The whole thing is unnecessary, but the precariousness of it all creates some mega drama. Here’s a clip:
So anyway, a while into the auction, Sarah and I were super thirsty. The problem was that neither of us had Canadian money to buy drinks (we planned to pay for our purchases on our debit cards). The snack bar didn’t take debit card, so I decided to go cash out all my purchases, and while doing so, have the cashier tack on the cost of 2 drinks to my total. She did this, and then handed me the following:
I looked at her confused. What the hell is 2 pop? And why is it on this paper? Of course, this was my token of sorts to go collect my beverages. Very funny. Also funny is that “2 Pop” was Sarah’s rap name in high school.
I got my 2 pop and joined Sarah back at our seats. Now, this part is important: Because I cashed out, I no longer had a bidder number. That was ok because I didn’t plan to buy anything else, that is, until some great old moccasins went up on the auction block. I had obviously overlooked them. I didn’t take a photo, but the moccasins were similar to these I found online:
The auctioneer started at a price of $30 for these moccasins, but no one bid. He then went down to $20, and still no one was bidding. At that point, I chirped out a, “$10???” asking him if he would sell them for $10 since no one was bidding. Now let me say, that ALL NIGHT LONG people were doing this sort of thing. The auctioneer would be stuck at $10 with no bids, and someone would yell out, “$5?” and he would accept their offer. He even went as low as $3 on many items.
In my case though, he looked at me, ignored me, and then continued to repeat, “$20? $20? $20?” Still no bids. I scrambled to get Sarah’s bidder number from her, and then I raised it and said, “I’ll take them for $20.” I said it like this because he was looking away from me, and I was trying to get his attention. When he heard me, he set the moccasins back on the table and then snapped at me, “TOO LATE.”
I was so angry. This was super rude and idiotic. All night long this auctioneer was milking extra dollars out of people. One person would be bidding at $5 for something and he would incessantly repeat “$6? $6? $6?” This drew out the auction process too long, and the crowd was getting annoyed. The auctioneer was apparently also annoyed, considering how he reacted to me.
I approached the auctioneer after the auction was over. I first said to him that I was very sorry if I offended him by offering $10 for the moccasins, but that I did so because other people were making offers all night. He claimed that he didn’t even hear my offer, which is strange because later in our conversation he referenced me making this exact offer. Whatever. I asked if I could buy the moccasins and he said no (of course) and I explained that it was sad how spiteful he was acting. He told me that the moccasins are “worth WAY more than $20” and I reminded him that that was HIS price he tried to auction them for.
It was clear our conversation was going nowhere, and I knew from the get-go that he was not going to sell me those moccasins now, or ever. I let him know one more time that it was sad how an item that would be cherished by someone was now going to sit unsold, and that I’ve never seen someone make it so hard for me to give them money.
He said that he will auction these moccasins again in the future if I want them, but I don’t know if I will go back. Actually, who am I kidding? I will probably go back. GIMME THEM MOCS.
Hard to Resist: Jewels Bag, Masks, and More!
It’s time again for a “Hard to Resist” post, featuring all sorts of great items we just had to leave behind while out at sales. First up is this box of arguably racist Halloween masks:
You can be an Asian person, a gypsy lady, or a…um, not sure what that is…Native American wrestler? Anyway, we passed on these because I already found a Charles Manson/Rob Zombie mask at a previous sale.
Need a place to keep all of your valuable jewels? What about a bag that is clearly labeled “jewels”???
Oh wait, you think it might be totally irresponsible and risky to keep your jewels in a bag labeled “jewels”?? Yeah, maybe you are right. What I do know for sure though, is you can’t stop the cake machine…
Don’t even try to stop the cake machine.