Auction Post Mortem for Thursday 5/9/2024 - Flops, Floats, and Flights

Auction Post Mortem for Thursday 5/9/2024 - Flops, Floats, and Flights

Watch the first hour of this auction here.

Watch the rest of the auction here.

We've definitely been in the midst of a small, but noticeable, early-summer slow down. The flea markets are just starting to ramp up, dealers are hoarding stuff for Brimfield (which happens next week), and competition at the in-person local auctions is heating up to get inventory for the show season. This has limited my ability to assemble the massive auction lineups I had been doing a couple months ago.

Here are some quick stats:

  • The past five weeks' shows have had an average of about 55 sold lots per auction, compared to an average of 107 sold lots for the five weeks before that.
  • The average sold price-per-lot was $40.29 for the past five weeks, and $40.67 for the five weeks before that.

Given these numbers - a dip in number of lots sold, but a steady sold price-per-lot - it should come as no surprise that there's been a little shrinkage happening in the weekly take. The good news, and honestly, I'm just realizing this now as I write it, is this bodes well for the overall health of the auction, which is something I've been a little anxious about.

A couple more quick numbers, if you're interested:

  • The average sold price-per-lot for the current five week period at this time last year was $40.77.
  • The average sold price-per-lot of all items sold through my auction since I started collecting this data in November of 2022 was $41.45

That's some pretty encouraging consistency!

Anyways, lets get to this week. I was hoping with three Sunday flea markets on my radar, a packed antiques auction late in the week, and a bunch of promising incoming consignments, I'd be able to put together a massive show for this past Thursday, and jump start some of the momentum we've lost the past few weeks.

The first flea market I hit was very sparsely attended, due to a morning rain forecast, but produced some fun stuff, mostly from a single dealer. I was totally bummed at this market though, because I narrowly missed a really amazing antique bulldog bobble head for a great price that I think would have been a hit with my audience. The second market was a double header with an indoor antiques show and a brand new outdoor flea market. When I pulled up, though, there wasn't a single soul set up outside, and I didn't feel like paying the $30 early admission fee to shop the inside area, so I rolled right on past. The third market, an hour or so down the road, is pretty hit or miss, and this week, was mostly miss. I attribute that mostly to the forecast, but there were a couple interesting finds.

The auction I hit this week is my favorite local spot, and featured a higher-end antique sale upstairs during the afternoon, and a lower-end junk sale downstairs in the early evening hours. It is pretty wild the high prices some of the stuff at these auctions go for, but also equally surprising how many really, really cool items totally fly under the radar and sell for practically nothing. I left this auction with a car packed to the brim with goods for my Thursday show, and this weekend's barn sale.

On top of all that, I got some really awesome consignments in this week, including a taxidermy cobra, which I thought would pull in some attention. I also was really honored to get an awesome box of consignment goods from a former auctioneer and Memory Hole viewer in his nineties! Its really awesome for me personally that someone with that level of experience in the business would think my show was worth watching and contributing to.

Looking back on last night's show, I think we've definitely got a little bit of wind back in the sails, which is good because Brimfield is next week, and I want to have the confidence to buy like a mad man! That said, I think I have been getting noticeably frustrated during the lives when certain items don't go for what I think they should or hope they will, and I need to do a better job at keeping my cool. I have been forgetting my auction motto - "It all comes out in the wash." I appreciate each and every one of you who comes to these shows every week and gets in the bidding - its so cool to share my love of cool stuff with so many cool people.

Let's get on with some flops, floats, and flights:

Flight: Vintage Cobra Taxidermy

Consigned, Sold $300


Vintage Cobra Taxidermy

This cobra taxidermy was so totally cool, and I hoped that it would really take off. With that said, I had somewhat lukewarm expectations, as snake taxidermy, and taxidermy overall, has under-performed in the past year or so of auctions for me. I hoped this would bring at least $200-$250, so when bidding sky rocketed all the way to 300 big ones.

Flop: 1893 Mourning Print with Photo of Baby

Purchased $100, Sold $205

1893 Mourning Print with Photo of Baby

I was so excited when I found this at an antique store I hadn't been to for quite some time, and even more excited when I was able to get the price down to $100. The previous owner had attempted to disguise the damaged gesso of the frame by melting wax over the wood, which I think detracted from it more than just the wear and tear would have. I'm giving this item the flop designation more so because of an overall lack of interest from my audience than because of the $205 it brought. I barely had any bidders on this item, which was surprising given that mourning stuff is usually so sought after. Luckily, at least two people were interested enough to get the price up to the point of being worth the effort of lugging this around, packaging, and shipping it. That said, I would have liked to see this hit at least $250, but I doubled my money, so what do I have to complain about?

Other Items of Note:

Float: The Dore Bible Gallery Book, Illustrated by Gustave Dore; Consigned, Sold $70

The Dore Bible Gallery Book, Illustrated by Gustave Dore

Flop: Full Plate Tintype of Woman with Lace Collar; Purchased $5, Sold $10

Float: Grouse Taxidermy Mount; Consigned, Sold $60

Grouse Taxidermy Moun

Float: Antique Ring with Square Cut Mercury Dime; Purchased $15, Sold $30

Antique Ring with Square Cut Mercury Dime

Float: Leatherette Case with Antique French Dice; Purchased in Lot, Sold $27

Flight: Daggetts Chocolate Box with Dried Flora from Medford and Somerville, MA; Purchased in Lot, Sold $45

Float: 1940 World's Fair Underwood Typewriter Bank; Purchased in Lot, Sold $35

1940 World's Fair Underwood Typewriter Bank

Flight: Pair of Antique Brass Advertising Stencils; Purchased in Lot, Sold $40

Flight: Bundles of Letters from 1920s Texas; Purchased $20, Sold $50 Per Lot

Flight: Little Green "Not to Be Taken" Poison Bottle; Bot in $10 Lot, Sold $50

Flop: Pair of Antique Owl Andirons with Glass Eyes; Purchased $80, Sold $120

Pair of Antique Owl Andirons with Glass Eyes

Flight: Radiation Area Caution Sign; Purchased $20, Sold $50

Radiation Area Caution Sign

Flop: Deer Paw (Hoof) Knife; Purchased $20, Sold $15

Float: Arteology 1990 Chalkware Skull with Wings Wall Hanger; Purchased $25, Sold $55

Arteology 1990 Chalkware Skull with Wings Wall Hanger

Flop: Pair of Gothic Andirons with Faces; Purchased $5, Sold $50

Pair of Gothic Andirons with Faces
Pair of Gothic Andirons with Faces

Float: Lot of Metal Bits and Bobs; Purchased $5, Sold $45

Lot of Metal Bits and Bobs

Flop: Victorian Hand Blown Glass White Hand Vase; Purchased $20, Sold $20

Float: Clear Glass 1876 Centennial Hand Vase; Purchased $20, Sold $40

Clear Glass 1876 Centennial Hand Vase

Flight: Antique Knights Templar Presentation Sword; Purchased $30, Sold $130

Float: Antique "To the Young" Framed Calligraphy; Purchased $40, Sold $80

Antique "To the Young" Framed Calligraphy

Flight: Brass Rams Head Jewelry Box; Purchased $20, Sold $50

Brass Rams Head Jewelry Box

Flop: The Bath of Psyche Antique Print; Purchased $20, Sold $50

The Bath of Psyche Antique Print

Flight: Larger Malachite Art Glass Vase with Cherubs; Purchased $20, Sold $75

Larger Malachite Art Glass Vase with Cherubs

Flop: Massive Ephemera Lot with Trade Cards, Valentines, and More; Purchased $40, Sold $60

Flight: Large Snapshot Photo Lot with Early 1900s Children's Baseball Team, Edison Advertising Card, and More; Purchased $20, Sold $95

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