Monday, May 6, 2013

An Interview with the Next Generation of Auction Hunter

Jonah Martin age 12 loves auctions. Every time he comes to an auction he has a smile on his face and is always enthusiastic. His energy is contagious. So how did a 12 year old get interested in auctions? We had his mom interview him to find out:

Q: Why do you like to go to Auctions
A: “I like to meet new people and find lots of cool treasures that tell about the past.  I once bought a stock receipt from 1849 and I also purchased fractional currency there. We went online and learned the history of fractional currency after that”
Q: What is your favorite part of the auction experience?
A: “I like the bidding, the satisfaction of winning a bid, and learning about the history of items being sold.”
Q: What have you learned from going to auctions?
A: “I learned about fractional currency, Japanese “Mickey Mouse” money (Japanese government issued Philippines Peso). I've also learned a lot about the business side of selling things. I want to own a store someday
Q: What would you say to someone who has never been to an auction?
A: “Come out to an auction even if you just want to watch because it’s fun to watch and meet new people. I would also tell them not to spend all their money”
Q: Why should people go to auction?
A: “You can meet new people, learn a lot about history, and get things cheaper than they are in stores”
Q: What were the  best things you ever bought at auction”
A: “My favorite items were 1837 fractional currency, my knight’s shield, and a gumball machine”
Q: What made you want to start going to auctions”
A: “I like to watch auctions on TV and it’s more fun to be there in person. My favorite auction is the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction- I hope to see it in person someday”

Our thanks to Jonah! We love seeing him at our auctions and hope that he will be an avid auction fan for years to come!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Food for thought

These past few weeks have been incredibly busy, back to back to back auctions make for long weeks and little free time to update the blog. When we experienced some “technical difficulties” with our server this week, I found this to be a perfect time to tackle an issue that is always in the back of my mind.

This issue is embodied in Ron Lawson’s blog post on Antique Auction Forum (which you can read here)  This article was written almost a year ago to the day. At that point, I had really just begun to get a handle on working in this industry and didn’t really know enough to agree or disagree. One year later, I revisited this article while looking through a folder marked “blog ideas”.  After reading it again, I was offended.  Perhaps, it’s because I’m a 20 something, or because I care about preserving antiques and their historical value, maybe I’m an anomaly… but I don’t think so.

The type of antiques Lawson expects  20-40 somethings to collect, or have interest in include Baroque and Nouveau period items, as well as, Tiffany and other high end antiques. Is this really practical for someone in their 20s starting out? Is it practical for a young family (also in that 20-40s range) to own Baroque period furniture? (Talk about a baby-proofing nightmare). Not to mention that many of those period antiques are out of our budget, while many turn of the century and mid-century modern items are well within our grasp.

I agree with Ron that the “Ikea mentality” is something that is pervasive in most of the “20-40” something generation. However, I think he tends to gloss over the fact that vintage has made a real comeback in the past 10-20 years. I think far more people care about “vintage” than Lawson gives them credit for. Vintage is IN. Have you planned a wedding lately, or looked at home d├ęcor? Things that are labeled as “vintage”, “rustic”, “antique” are always highly sought.

I would argue that the move to an “Ikea mentality” is not a lack of appreciation, but a lack of opportunity and education about buying antiques. Not all antiques worth collecting are Baroque or made by Belter. Although Lawson may not be an elitist, as he claims, it is this elitist attitude that is dangerous to the next generation of collectors and it’s one that our industry should fight against. The “Ikea mentality” is a default because many 20 something are unaware about the quality of items that can be found at a local auction or flea market. They go to Ikea because it is inexpensive and convenient—not because they are looking for an item they can replace in a year.

Lawson’s argument is toxic to the future of the antique industry because it perpetuates the stereotype that collecting antiques is only for the wealthy who can afford to buy high end big name items, and that simply isn’t true.  What we should be looking to do is change that perception and then I think you will see a greater volume of young people interested in collecting antiques, attending auctions and taking an active role in the preservation of history. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Auction Hunting: No License Necessary

Required to carry a license while hunting? Not so if you’re auction hunting; especially for collectible hunting and fishing licenses which date back to the 1940s and earlier or paper licenses dating from the early 1900s.


More than 500 of these collectibles will be sold at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 23 at Gateway Gallery Auction, 643 Kriner Road, Chambersburg.

This collection, amassed over a life time by one gentleman, includes hundreds of Pennsylvania hunting and fishing licenses, vintage shotshell boxes, as well as Winchester Prints. “This auction is a one owner lifetime collection of Hunting & Fishing Licenses including some rare pieces you don't see in other collections. The auction will be a fine opportunity for the collector or dealer to add to their inventory. These items are fresh to the market!” Said Bob Abraham, Jr. consultant for Gateway Gallery.

In addition to the licenses, the auction will feature a large amount of various hunting and fishing related items and uncataloged traylots.  The auction will also be available on Auctionzip Live for internet bidding.
Doors open at 8 a.m.; preview is from 4 to 6 p.m. March 22 at the auction. For more information, visit

Thursday, January 10, 2013

An Auction fit for a Wedding

If you read our blog with any regularity you have probably figured out that I am getting married soon (hopefully, if all goes smoothly), and I have weddings on the brain.

So now I am thrust into wedding planning, and unlike most little girls I really had no vision about how my wedding should be. I keep hearing the words "vintage chic" thrown around when referring to wedding style. "Vintage" style weddings seem to be all the rage these days with budget savvy brides everywhere. Just take a look at all these real wedding that come up when you Google "Vintage Chic Weddings"

Inspired by modern thrift store trends, these weddings all seem to have elements of vintage mixed in with modern contemporary styles to create almost a soft romantic feel. Some feature vintage items, calligraphy, mason jars, etc. Pinterest is full of ideas of how to use those vintage and upcycled items in your wedding.

I know if I decide to go the "vintage chic" route for my wedding, I will definitely be looking in the secondhand market for some of my items. Mason jars for example have become big time decor items.
Lucky for me we sell the by the box full, and adding a little home made decoration can give you a truly one of a kind touch to your wedding. 

Another thing we always have is milk glass. I actually really like these milk glass centerpieces (although Better Homes and Gardens has it listed under Christmas decor) 
Via: Better Homes and Garden 
So as far as my wedding decor, I know where I'll be looking. These items and many other great ones will be available in our January 21st auction. As the wedding planning progresses I'm sure I will inspired with many other vintage and antique ideas with items I see come in the door every day. Has anyone else used a secondary market for the wedding? We'd love to hear your stories. Feel free to leave us a comment below.