The Lure of Country Auctions

The Lure of Country Auctions
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Auctions possess a fascination for those seeking a bargain or a rare find. Attended by dealers, non-professionals looking for antiques, people simply needing an item for their home, or the person who finds this a pleasurable way to spend the day, auctions have been a part of the New England scene for decades. From out of attics and barns across the countryside, come items one person calls "junk" and sees as something he can dispense with to earn extra money. However, another person sees them as treasures of value.
At auctions you may come across exactly what you're looking for to enhance your home or your collection, whether it's glassware, china, woodenware, old dolls, tinware, quilts and coverlets, rugs, furniture, silver, barn tools, pewter, and much more.

Determining the Price

Many factors determine the price of an item. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you wander the countryside frequenting the auctions in search of items you desire.

Demand and fads play a large part in the price of the item. When a particular collectible is in vogue, naturally the price will be higher.

So if you temper your purchasing to your own needs and tastes, instead of collecting simply because an article has been publicized, your money will go further.

On the other hand, be open minded. If you set out for one item, but see something else along the line you're collecting, don't pass it up if it's within your budget. For when you do want that piece to complete your set or collection in the future, you may be unable to find it or afford it.

Purchase With Care

Don't purchase indiscriminately and buy everything you see that is older. You'll clutter your home with odds and ends, but have no real highlights to show for your efforts.

Choose a few lines of collectibles and generally limit yourself to those.

Be Careful When Bidding

If a number of people are bidding at an auction, and the competition gets tight, the price is likely to go higher than necessary, simply because one hates to let the other one get the article.

So don't be led into competitive buying and pay more than the item actually is worth. You'll wonder why you ever did it once you tote your purchase home.

Consult Reliable Dealers

Reliable dealers and auctioneers are good people to consult when you desire advice about collecting. Also find books and magazine articles about the particular items you're accumulating.

Get to know maker's marks on old china, glassware, pewter, silver, etc. Study collectibles and learn about the style, decoration, and feel of the articles you're collecting. Visit museums and seep yourself in antiques and collectibles lore.

Fascinating Heritage and History

You'll soon find yourself caught up in the fascination of your heritage and become fired with the desire to enhance your home with belongings of your ancestors' eras.

If historical significance of pieces has little appeal to you, you'll likely be struck by the artistic appeal of some items and collect them for their sheer loveliness or uniqueness.

Value Depends on Viewpoint

Also, what may be extremely valuable from one person's viewpoint due to sentimental value or family association, may not be valued so highly by the dealer or auctioneer.

But this need not diminish the heirloom in the owner's estimation, for true worth (or satisfaction of ownership) need not be solely monetary.

(c)2001 Mary Emma Allen

About the Author

Mary Emma Allen has written "Curios of Yesteryear" for publications since the 1960s. She and her daughter find their trips into the realms of collectibles enjoyable adventures. Mary Emma also writes other columns, books, and travel articles. Her book, "The Magic of Patchwork", takes you into the history of quiltmaking. Visit her web site for more information about her columns and books at

For online auction resources and tips click here


About The Author

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her multi-generational NH home. Check out her new site, Tea Time Notes

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