Auction Post Mortem for Thursday 3/28/2024 - Flops, Floats, and Flights

Auction Post Mortem for Thursday 3/28/2024 - Flops, Floats, and Flights

Watch the auction here.

Every year the warming temperatures of early March trick me into thinking that winter weather is behind us, and every year a snow storm arrives late in the season to remind me that I live in New England. That is what happened this past Saturday evening going into Sunday when a surprisingly impactful ice storm hit us, knocking out power for many of our neighbors, and making the early Sunday morning commute to the flea market treacherous. One of the two scheduled markets for Sunday was canceled outright. The other, later one, was on, but honestly hasn't been producing merchandise to make it worth the effort, so when I woke up l decided to stay in and avoid the icy conditions.

I like to have the next week's auction's worth of stuff in the bag by Sunday afternoon, but this was a rare occasion where the sun set on Sunday without a single item on my table. With no worthwhile auctions or picking prospects for Monday or Tuesday, the week was looking bleak. I spent those two days doing a lot of moping around the house contemplating going to the same picked-over antique stores I have been to a million times, ultimately deciding to stick around home.

I don't like to put all my eggs in one basket, but my hope was that a promising looking Wednesday auction at one of my favorite spots would yield enough interesting stuff to justify my Thursday night auction. One full day of shopping, and then unload it all the next day. I've been to plenty of stinkers at this auction house that leave me with little to show for my efforts, so it could have been a crap shoot. Fortunately, this wasn't one of those cases. There was plenty of cool merch that I was able to pick up for prices with plenty of meat left on the bone to make a couple bucks. With a seven page auction receipt by the end of the day, the Thursday show was saved.

I took a holistic approach to bidding at this auction. Because prices were generally low (I think the most expensive thing I bought was a lot of ambrotypes for $50) I didn't focus on the prices I was paying for individual items, but instead trusted that for every item I slightly overpaid for, there would be an item I got for way under the money to pick up the slack. This allowed me to buy the stuff I liked somewhat indiscriminately, and I think I only dropped out of bidding on a handful of items. I knew I would be selling everything I bought on Wednesday in my show on Thursday, so as long as the total paid for the lot of stuff was less than the total I ultimately sold the lot for, we were in business. And it worked out just like that.

I polled my Instagram followers to see if there was any interest in doing an all-surprise auction with no preview, but the vote went overwhelmingly in favor of having a preview. Ya'll are no fun! So I got home and got to work photographing and posting the dozens and dozens of items that had come in just a couple hours earlier.

There were no real block busters in the mix, but instead a whole smorgasbord of fun and intriguing, sellable smalls. I always say that my favorite thing to do is to buy something for $5 and sell it for $25. Thursday's auction was a whole lot of that - the average price I paid per lot was around $7, and the average sold price of each item was just over $25. When you do that 128 times in one night, like on Thursday's 128-lot-marathon, you've got a winner. What started out as a week with nothing on the table, turned into a great success.

Because there were so many items Thursday, I'm not going to go too in-depth into price results for specific items, but here's a few (purchased prices do not include the 15% buyer's premium I paid). Quick reminder that a flight is something that outperforms expectations, a float is something that essentially meets expected results, and a flop is something that falls short of what I am hoping. Just because something is designated a flop doesn't mean that it wasn't profitable, or that I am not super grateful for the sale, just that I expected a little more from the item. On with it!

Flight: Boyertown Casket Company Clipboard; Purchased $25, Sold $190

Flop: Framed Photo of the Class of 1904; Purchased $5, Sold $25

Float: Alabaster and Brass Horseshoe Inkwell; Purchased $10, Sold $65

Flight: Empty Celluloid Photo Album in Great Condition; Purchased $20, Sold $100

Flight: Abraham Lincoln Antique Framed Print; Purchased $10, Sold $75

Flop: Ornate Bronze Handles; Purchased $35, Sold $25

Flight: Heart Shaped Frame with Mirror and Photo of Man; Purchased $20, Sold $100

Flop: Large Framed Photo of Victorian Woman in Gold Frame; Purchased $5, Sold $50

Flight: Teeny Tiny Playing Cards; Purchased $2, Sold $35

Flop: Antique Print of Girl Holding Kittens; Purchased $5, Sold $5

Float: 1885 Godey's Lady Book; Purchased $5, Sold $58

Flight: Victorian Woman's Jacket; Purchased $5, Sold $120

Flop: Do Right and Fear Not Embroidery Motto; Purchased $5, Sold $25

Flight: Uranium Glass Hobnail Pitcher; Purchased $20, Sold $75

Flop: Florentine Art Religious Triptych; Purchased $35, Sold $60

Flop: Restored Turnbull's Family Scale; Purchased $20, Sold $60

Float: Pair of Slag Glass Decanters; Purchased $5, Sold $35

Flop: Halloween Noisemaker; Purchased $25, Sold $20

Float: Antique Photo of Ossining Hospital, Ossining, NY; Purchased with $5 Frame, Sold $27

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.