Auction Post Mortem for Thursday 4/18/2024 - Flops, Floats, and Flights

Auction Post Mortem for Thursday 4/18/2024 - Flops, Floats, and Flights

Thursday's auction was the smallest in quite some time, with only 37 lots, almost all of which were sourced from a brand new flea market that opened a few towns over from me in Southern New Hampshire. This market is trying to fill the void left by the legendary Hollis Flea Market, which announced its closing over the winter. One more cool thing ruined by developers with deep pockets. But luckily this new market, and a few others popping up and growing, are absorbing the dealers and buyers on the hunt for the coolest stuff.

Thursday night was also the night that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band took the stage in Syracuse, NY. Midday I was considering ditching the auction altogether and heading west to catch the Boss. Liza and I saw him in Albany on Monday, and I've been sick with E Street Fever ever since. But I suppose I'll wait until our trip to Asbury Park in September to see him again. Til' then almighty Boss Man!

This past auction was a definite improvement over the previous one, which was a bit lackluster. Overall I thought most items performed well, though there's a definite dip in what things are bringing compared to a few months ago. I feel like the country's collective economic anxiety is catching up with my humble little auction. This poses a challenge, as the prices at antique stores, auctions, and antique and flea markets are inflated like everything else. So its costing more to buy stuff that is bringing less money, and to compound the challenge, that money is worth less than it was when I started these auctions. I'm also finding that certain categories that are usually strong performers - such as funerary, photography, and things like Ouija Boards - aren't generating the interest they used to. I don't really know what to make of these changing tides, so for now I'm going to keep going with my gut and buying the coolest stuff I can find, and hoping that other people think its just as cool!

One change I made last week was figuring out a way to broadcast my auction livestream to both and Instagram Live. There was considerable interest and enthusiasm about returning the auction to Instagram, and I thought that having bids coming from both platforms might breathe a little bit of life into the show. Of course, its easy for someone to tap a button in a poll, and maybe not so easy for them to actually follow up by attending the auction. In the end, we had maybe three to five people watching on Instagram at any given time. That hardly seems worth the effort, but I'll stick with it for now and see how it goes. Its a real challenge growing my audience, especially when the once reliable Instagram is basically useless to me now, with my posts reaching under 200 of my 13.4k followers. Luckily I have the best regulars in the world, which makes every weekly show like a get together among friends. I really appreciate that, and love the vibe.

Alrighty, let's look at some prices:

Flight: All Seeing Eye Pyramid Zippo Lighter; Purchased $20, Sold $260

zippo lighter with pyramid and all seeing eye

I thought there was a possibility this lighter would take off. I could only find one other example of it online, on Pinterest, so I knew it was a rare one. I've had unique lighters do really well in the past, so I thought there was a chance this bad boy might fetch a hundred or so. When it soared past $200, I was thrilled, and that took some of the pressure off for the auction, with such a windfall profit providing some breathing room for other items.

Flight: Spiderweb Shot Glass from Dead Horse Bay; Consigned, Sold $115

spider web decorated glass shot glass

One of my longest running customers, Melanie of VictorianSpaces45 fame, found this little shot glass while digging for treasures at Dead Horse Bay, a body of water in Brooklyn once used as a dump for New York City Refuse. I'm giving this the flight designation, but honestly, I'm not surprised at all that this shot glass did so well. It is a super cool item with a fun backstory, and I am so excited it took off. I wish I had a dozen of these!

Flop: Funeral Coach Chrome Hood Badge; Purchased $90, Sold $55

funeral coach chrome hood badge

Everyone is always asking for funeral stuff, so I am always on the lookout. The thing about funeral home stuff is that it really needs to say funeral, or some variation, on it to get traction. I had some hearse badges a few weeks back that didn't do well, but they just had the name of the funeral home, and were missing the all too important keyword. But when I saw this funeral coach hood badge - which actually says funeral right on it, I thought it would be a winner. We only had two bidders on it come auction time, and the bid stopped way short of what I paid at $55. Funeral stuff is expensive to buy because its so popular, but if I can't get decent results in the auction, I might have to reconsider spending up on items like this. In general, it seems the items I do best with are ones I pay $5 to $25 for. Still, I want to buy the coolest stuff, so sometimes I spend up. I don't want to get spooked, but I'll definitely think of this hood badge next time I see a funeral item this expensive.

Flop: Hasko Mystic Tray Ouija Board; Consigned, Sold $65

hasko mystic tray ouija board

I have had variations of this Hasko Mystic Ouija Board in the past, and they typically bring anywhere from $100 to $200. Dealers that are reaching for the sky have them listed all over eBay and Etsy for $250 plus, but I highly doubt they're ever going to dupe someone into spending that much on what is a relatively common, entry level board. Still, I think the $65 this one brought is way short of where we should have been at. I think that it might be that I have had so many of this variety, that my audience is a bit fatigued, bored by them at this point. Still, $65 isn't nothing, but I would have liked to have gotten my consignor a little more dough.

Flight: Seascape Painting Split Down the Middle; Purchased $10, Sold $40

oil on board painting of ocean at sunset

Flight: Boston Terrier Folk Art Wood Cut; Purchased $20, Sold $75

boston terrier folk art wood cut dog cut out

Flight: Trio of Vintage Halloween Buttons; Purchased $10, Sold $52

halloween vintage pinback buttons with witches

Float: Odd Fellows Assistant Priest's Robe; Consigned, Sold $65

odd fellows button

Flop: Antique Brass Parasol Handle; Purchased $20, Sold $16

antique brass parasol handle

Flight: Cabinet Card Multigraph of Woman; Purchased $10, Sold $70

multigraph cabinet card showing woman in five poses

Flop: Mother of Pearl Opera Glasses with Interesting Case; Purchased $40, Sold $40

Flop: Framed Plate of Snakes; Purchased $20, Sold $20

Float: Lete Art Nouveau Statue; Purchased $40, Sold $75

art nouveau antique bronzed statue of woman

Flop: Seated Lady Clock Topper Statue; Purchased $65, Sold $70

clock topper bronzed statue of seated woman

Flight: Birds Cigarette Dispenser; Purchased $40, Sold $75

Flight: Lot of Harper's Weekly Magazines, Including Andersonville Prison Issue; Purchased in Lot for $5, Sold $120

Flight: Shark Jaw Bone; Paid $5, Sold $52

shark jaw bone

Flop: Wood Carved Painted Bali Mask; Paid $20, Sold $35

bali carved wood mask with bright colors

Flop: Masonite Masonic Symbol Folk Art Cut Out; Purchased $20, Passed

Flop: Lot of Spanish Language Comic Books; Purchased $30, Passed

Back to blog

Leave a comment

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