Tuesday, June 26, 2018

To Pluto and Back

We just got back from selling at Elkhorn Antique Market in Elkhorn Wisconsin.  Great weather and huge crowd makes Lady Antique Dealer a happy gal.
Elkhorn market takes place in May, June, August and September each year for the last 30-some and is owned and operated by wife and husband team extraordinaire Nona and Skip.  Elkhorn is clean, well laid out and organized to benefit the attender and the dealer alike.  We think we have been selling there for more than 10 years.  Great crowd, easy set up, Wisconsin friendly.

I say this with a smile on my face and fondness in my heart--we have been to planet Pluto and back--and that is the beauty of Elkhorn.

Fellow dealers are pleasant and happy small talk abounds.  The cares of the country and world are left at home--and topics usually include what good  (or bad) shows have you done recently, what are millennials buying these days (or not buying more like) and will the crowd be as strong as last month.

After set up--which for us involves setting up lights and hanging paintings- and advance dealer sales--we head off to Moy's in Elkhorn for chinese food.  But not before a stop in their bar for a drink made by one of two women who have been bartending for more than 25 years.  People in the know are aware you order one entree to split at Moy's. After all--this is Wisconsin Restaurant Portion Land dontcha know.

We used to stay overnight locally--but we now travel further out.  Elkhorn motels inflate their prices on flea market weekend--and Lady Antique Dealer gets nuts when she has to overpay for mediocre.

This Elkhorn, the weather was spectacular and the crowd was huge. The true definition of diversity was developed at this market.  The visual and lifestyle variety of people is worth the price of the modest $5 admission.  Just Off Their Boat Lake Geneva Types  attend as well and Young Families Pulling Junior in the Wagon Eating Popcorn at 8 am Types.  To illustrate--notably striking were the two young women dressed identically in black, one with dyed lime green hair that matched the lime green hat band and purse sported by her friend.  Tattoos?  I'll give you tattoos.  I think I saw the entire Canterbury Tales inked on the arm of one woman--or maybe it was the skyline of Milwaukee--I did not get close enough to be sure.

Gotta love it. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

You Can't Win Them All

I didn't realize how spoiled I was for customer oriented auction houses--and the customer service provided to us from our favourite auctioneers.

Until today.

Dear One is occupied elsewhere,  it is gray and drizzly at the moment, and I ventured out of my usual territory to attend an auction by a company I was unfamiliar with.  I had viewed their site online and saw some wonderful mid century chairs that really interested me.  The drive would be an hour-ish, the auction starting time reasonable and off I went.

I arrived on site about an hour ahead to view the sale--and the crowd was already huge.  It easily swelled to 200 people. 
They were there for all the tools and hardware and traditional man type things.   I was very warmly greeted by the clerk.  She directed me to the one of the auctioneers to answer my question of the order of the sale--I knew that pieces of furniture are usually not the first items that are sold.

Let's cut to the chase.  I really had been waiting and waiting and WAITING.  The drizzle started and my patience was thinning as I heard the auctioneers auctioning choice on a large box of belt buckles.  $2.50 each belt buckles.  It was going to be a long day.

I had viewed the chairs I was interested in.  Strangely, they were in the basement of the house, in a very poorly lit room.  Normally in "these parts" the items are brought out of the house for good viewing.  I was glad I had a strong flashlight with me--and saw the four of nine chairs that I could be interested in.

Waiting waiting WAITING, I decided to double check on something with a couple of the ring men.

 "If I am successful in winning a few chairs in the basement, will you bring them up the stairs for me?

" Ha ha Lady.  We are selling as is, where is, when they are sold they are your responsibility."

"W-w-w-what?  I am by myself and I could not possibly get them up without help.  I can load my truck, but the steps are steep.  Quite a hazard actually."

"Yeah, right. Not my problem  Bring somebody to help you."

And that was that.  It took me exactly four minutes to walk to my car and drive away--to drive away with my eager bidding card and full checkbook.

My interpretation.  This Deadbeat Auctioneer was able to get this estate to auction by keeping their costs down---not much sale set up- which was attractive to the consignor.  This means--sell the stuff in place-- you don't have to pay set up people- and let the buyer deal with it.  I wonder what happens if someone is injured loading stuff out--who is responsible?  The hapless consignor who does not know that they hired a Loser Auction House?   

Live and learn.  How can I still be learning after being in the business this long?

No More Concrete or Cast Iron Please

Dear One  and I spend many good hours wandering around looking for quirky things to sell.  There is nothing that makes a dealer smile more t...