Auction Post Mortem for Thursday 5/16/2024 - Flops, Floats, and Flights

Auction Post Mortem for Thursday 5/16/2024 - Flops, Floats, and Flights

Okay it's 2:13 am and I am physically and emotionally exhausted... I spent Tuesday and Wednesday rushing around Brimfield trying to find all the best stuff I could afford to bring to my audience, passing on some really incredible, really inspiring finds, the kinds of stuff I aspire to buy and sell... I'm thinking I'll make a separate post with some reflections on Brim. Thursday morning my dad met me early in the morning at my place and we drove two hours down to the Cape to say farewell to our cousin Michael, who passed away last week at the way too fucking early age of 52 after a courageous but typically brief battle with Glioblastoma. Like Brimfield, I have lots more thoughts on that too, but I'll keep this blog focused on antiques for now, and not my musings on mortality, my shrinking family, and my longing for a stronger bond with my fellow descendants of my Italian ancestors. All this is to say - body: tired, mind: tired. That's how I went into tonight's auction, which started with lots of swearing as I struggled with some technical difficulties, but ended up being the fun and wild rumpus I had hoped it would be.

Okay its 2:26 am now, and I want to hit Brim again tomorrow. I have lots more to say, but I'm just going to launch into Flops, Floats, and Flights. Apologies, there wasn't much time this week to photograph stuff, so this blog post is going to be a little light on photos. Use your imagination, or go back and watch the show! I've got Posty blasting, lets do this!

Flight: Vintage La Mort Tarot Card Printing Block and Print

Purchased $150, Sold $670

Hey, I knew this thing was cool. That's what I ponied up a hundred and fifty bucks for the two items, which is more than I typically spend on stuff. But I didn't quite expect this level of enthusiasm, for which I am so incredibly grateful! The huge profit margin on this really helped to make up for some lackluster results on many other items. I had originally intended to sell the pieces seperately, but when the bid hit $500 I thought it was fair to throw the framed print in with it. No need to be greedy. There was lots of interest among the auction audience in buying prints or shirts with this design, so maybe the buyer will make this money back yet! Thanks everyone for loving this, I'm so glad I bought it.

Flop: Solid Cast Metal Spider

Purchased $85, Sold $65

I thought this item had potential to launch into the stratosphere, but it was clear pretty quickly that people weren't into it. The lady I got it from told me she spent $150 on it, and she was asking $100. I managed to get her down to $85, but I probably would have paid the $100 if she hadn't budged. She told me a story, with murky details, about how this was a one-off made at a foundry in the White Mountains of NH. Maybe if I had more details to corroborate that story, I could have got my bidders battling it out. But hey I figured: spider, heavy, metal, unique, rare... that should be enough to get me my $85 back and a few more dollars on top of that. I dunno, I guess I miscalculated - this totally flopped, but I think the buyer got a nice buy!

Flight: Hand Painted Odd Fellows Banner and Odd Fellows FLT License Plate Topper

Purchased both for $150, Banner Sold $350, License Plate Topper Sold $100

This banner was looking for a second like it was going to tank. Fortunately it very quickly got to my $150 break even point, but it would have really bummed me out to break even on something this cool, even with the damage to it. Fortunately other bidders came around and got this bad boy up to $350, which is more than I expected to see it go for, but still, I think, under its ultimate value. The fact that the license plate topper that I bought with the banner went on to bring $100 in its own right made this pickup a real winner. Shout out to the newbie in the auction tonight who said the banner was ugly... what lmao?

Flop: Byron's First Love Antique Lithograph with Hair Mementos

Purchased $75, Sold $65

There is a dealer that sells at Auction Acres at Brimfield that always has really, really cool stuff, and I just really dig his overall vibe. I try to buy something off him every time I'm there, and while I'd love to buy a $1200 wall size painting - which, honestly, was very reasonably priced - I'm not always able to pick something up from him. When he told me this print - which he said was "mourning," even though its really not mourning related - was $75, I was just excited something of his was within my budget, so I quickly said "You got it!" I quickly regretted that I didn't try to haggle a little, because even though this was a cool, hand colored antique print with hair, the presentation was a little sloppy, and I thought that might hold it back. In the end I lost $10, but got to support a dealer I really respect, and sell something cool to a customer I'd like to see in my auctions more often! Lose-Win-Win. I'll take it!

Flioapt: Photography

Purchased $500, Sold $780

In an Auction Post-Mortem Blog Post first, I'm giving the category of Photography the overall rating of FLIOAPT, which is a mixed bag of flops, floats, and flights. A gorgeous, super crisp and clean, sixth plate daguerreotype of a nicely posed, beautiful young girl with an off-shoulder dress selling for just $50? Major flop! That one was kind of baffling, especially because I regularly see, and have sold, photos half as good for twice as much. Weird! Okay, but the beautiful ambrotype of three witchy looking women bringing $255, which is right around where I expected it would end up? Let's call that a float! How about the sixth plate dag of a pretty, but rather plain looking woman bringing $180? Flight! Ya, so I don't know, prices for photos were kind of all over the place.

I also had that really interesting photo of a cemetery with three spectral victorian women with their backs to the camera peering into a mausoleum. That brought $75, which I would say is a float all day long, but under the right conditions, I could totally see that photo bringing absurd money.

At the end of the day, my total purchase of photography at Brim was $500, and the combined take was $780. Hey, I'll take a $280 profit any day of the week. Hell ya. At the same time, a 56% profit is a bit underwhelming, compared to the profit swing on other items. Either way, this is a total win. Even more so of a win to get some great photos into some great collections. I'd buy all of these again if given the chance for a re-do.

Flight: Folk Art Kitty Kat Chair

Purchased $110, Sold $235

I love stuff like this... but its not for everyone. The Brim dealer I got this from had a $125 price tag on it, which I honestly thought was super cheap. Still, I was worried it was a bit more than I would be able to get from my audience. I knew for sure that one customer-couple would be interested in it, and they did ultimately end up buying it, but wasn't sure if there would be enough competition to get me into the black on a $125 buy. I offered her $100, but she countered with $110, and I still just wasn't really feeling comfy at that price. I said thank you and passed and started walking down the isle...

... And turned back with $110 in hand and said "what's $10 between friends?" (I stole that line from a buddy).

I had that whacky spider web stool that went nuts a few months back, and this kind of reminded me of that, so I hoped we'd do okay. In the end, $235 is more than I expected. I got to buy something I really liked, and got to sell it for a decent profit to some awesome people. Love it! Let's do it again soon.

Of course both the high bidder and the under bidder live on the other side of the country, so I'll take a little hit on shipping... but hey, what's a couple shipping dollars between friends?

Omg it's 2:58 and I have so much more to write...

Float: 1902 German Silver Ring Box

Purchased $10, Sold $75

This one should really be a flight, because any time you can sell an item you got for $10 for $75, you're celebrating! And I am! But I'm giving this a float, just because I knew it would take off after all the attention it got on Instagram this week. I have to say, posting a couple tightened up reels this week on Insta really helped my reach. I'm going to experiment with doing more of that. But ya, I loved this ring box, and I am so excited it did so well. Fun item!

Flop: Tramp Art Box and Ornate Art Nouveau Candelabra

Purchased both for $175, Candelabra sold $130, Tramp art box sold $90

These were a couple of my first buys when I got on the scene in Brim on Tuesday - I bought them in the first row of booths I hit. I thought I would be pretty safe buying the pair for $175, which was after some relatively easy negotiating with a dealer eager to move stuff. I mean, when I asked the price on the candelabra, I fully expected him to say $250 plus, same with the tramp art box. Still, for some reason, ornate figural metal works always seem to flop in my show. And tramp art isn't something I have a whole lot of experience with in my auctions. The couple times I've had it, its fallen short, maybe just because its not something my audience is super familiar with. In the end, both items went to great homes, and I did turn a profit. But a $45 profit off a $175 buy stings a little bit when I liked the items as much as I liked these.

Flight: "Little Red Riding Hood" Antique Painting

Purchased $150, Sold $200

Okay I know I was just whining about only making $45 off a $175 buy, and now I'm saying making $50 off a $150 buy is a flight... but hang with me for a second. I almost didn't buy this painting at all, but I just loved the dealer's vibe, and when he dropped the price down to $150, I wanted to give him the sale. I turned him down at first, and then we got to chatting, and by the end of the chat I was like, "Ya know what here, I'll take the painting." I just didn't know if my buyers would got for it - mostly because last week I had a Victorian oil painting of a pretty woman that no one wanted to give me a $75 opening bid for. I did put this in the picture advertising this week's auction, but thought that maybe I would end up not putting it up if no one asked. But someone did, so I risked the biscuit and we got into it. Fortunately I had two bidders who really liked it, who volleyed $25 bids with each other until we stopped at $200. So hey, I only made $50, but I kind of expected to lose money. I see this as a win all around. I'm giving it a flight!

Flight: Modern Art Painting on Board of Naked Ladies Dancing with Snakes Around Flames

Purchased $100, Sold $300

This was another one that was a bit of a risk. A lot of times when I buy something, I'm hoping it has the right juju to bring about some auction magic and get some hefty bids. Witchy is the vibe of like 90% of the ladies that bid in my auction, so I placed a $100 bet that at least two of them would think this wild painting was worth more than the $100 I paid for it. I'm glad I trusted my gut on this one. I picked it up and put it down like 20 times at the market before ultimately pulling the trigger, but, again, I'm glad I did. A+ result!

Flop: O Death Where is Thy Sting Embroidery and Punch/Devil Puppet Kit

Purchased both for $175, Embroidery Sold $75, Puppet Set Sold $100

I had to negotiate to buy these items by having the dealer's friend text the dealer who was on a bathroom break, which put me at a disadvantage. I forget what they were originally priced, but I know the embroidery alone was over $100. But hey, it has the word death in it, and my people love death stuff. And puppets! And devils! So I countered whatever the dealer's initial price was with a $175 offer for the duo, and thought I would be safe there. The embroidery brought about what I expected, but I really thought the puppet set would take off more, especially with the devil puppet. I think in the end the presentation of the embroidery, and the condition of the puppet stage held these items back. I'll be out my 3%+ transaction fee, since I ultimately broke even on these in the bidding, but it could be worse. And, as always, customers I love got something cool, which is always a win.

Other items of note:

Float: Best Wishes for All Hallowe'en Postcard; Consigned, Sold $30

Float: Tintype of Two Men with Crossed Legs; Purchased $10, Sold $30

Flop: Porcelain Hippo Biscuit Jar; Purchased $20, Sold $24

Float: Rosenthal x Versace Glass Stopper; Purchased $10, Sold $30

Float: Victorian Hair Watch Chain / Necklace; Purchased $40, Sold $80

Flight: Glass Tray Assemblage with Tintype, Lace, and Hair Mementos; Purchased $90, Sold $185

Flight: Little Wooden Head Hunter Statue; Purchased $5, Sold $30

Float: Composition Flapper Boudoir Doll Head; Purchased $20, Sold $50

Float: Chas Addams Black Maria First Edition, First Printing Book; Purchased $20, Sold $55

Float: Music Box Victorian Photo Album; Purchased $45, Sold $85

Float: Folk Art Woodcut Cats, Group of Three; Purchased $10, Sold $66

Flight: Gems of Beauty Victorian Engravings and Poetry Book; Purchased $10, Sold $80

Flop: Curse of the Demon 8mm Film; Purchased $15, Sold $15

Flight: The American Hoyle Antique Gaming Book; Purchased $10, Sold $50

Flop: Antique Manual of Surgery; Purchased $20, Sold $25

Flop: 1925 MD Doctor's License Plate Topper; Purchased $50, Sold $40

Flop: Hinged Plaster Jaw and Teeth Model; Purchased $45, Sold $25

Flop: Lot of Two 1950s Cosmetology Notebooks; Purchased $40, Sold $40

Flop: Lot of 21 Carded NOS Gemline Bobby Pin Packs; Purchased $30, Sold $25

Flop: Photo of Funeral Flower Display for Lillie; Purchased $25, Sold $27

Float: Antique Playing Cards Box with Lift-Out Tray and Mini Boxes Inside; Purchased $30, Sold $60

Flight: Brass Cross with Weapons of Christ; Purchased $10, Sold $50

Float: Irradiated 1919 Mercury Dime, Souvenir of the Museum of Atomic Energy; Purchased $10, Sold $22

Flop: Wilton Cast Iron 4-Eyed Woman Wall Mount Bottle Opener; Purchased $25, Sold $30

Flop: Antique Painting of Girl Cleaning Barn; Purchased $25, Sold $20

Okay, I think I'm done. It's 3:39 am. Maybe I'll add pictures to this tomorrow? Okay, good night!

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