What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Weekend in Junk: Auction Edition

On Wednesday afternoon, the local sales paper comes out with all the Yard Sales and Auctions listed in it.  I always read the yard sales and glance at the auctions.  Many auctions start at like 5:00 on a Monday - most auctions I have been to last all.day.long.  So, how late would these go I wonder?  I spotted an auction in the next tiny town over - my tiny town choice for yard sales, home of the Super Cheap Thrift and my very own Flea Market.  I really wanted to go, but no one else wanted to go with me for fear that I would buy a TON and they would have to load it.  It's happened before, so it was an actual fear on their part.  I wasn't in the mood to go alone, so I decided to hit some yard sales instead.

Sale #1 - I bought NOTHING.  Sale #2 - I bought NOTHING.  Sale #3 - I bought NOTHING.  Sale #4; - I got excited when I saw the HALF OFF sign.  Then I saw prices of $65.00, $50.00, $25.00.  I bought NOTHING.  Sale #5:  I bought a huge unabridged Dictionary - it's about eight inches thick for $1.00.  It was honestly almost out of pure desperation that I bought it because I had the dreaded empty hand syndrome.  Plus, believe it or not, that is my third unabridged dictionary.  And, as we all know, three makes a collection and I REFUSE to collect unabridged dictionaries.  So, they must GO!  

After all that discouragement  I decided to hit the Super Cheap Thrift and then do a drive by of the auction.  The SCT only netted me a handful of ugly brown frames to paint, so I was ready for some JUNK at the auction.  By the time I got there, most of the larger items had sold with only a few exceptions.  On the ground there were tarps with piles of bedding, household items and other miscellaneous items.  One tarp in particular had a lot of baskets and bags full of yarn.  I'm in the market for a bunch of cheap yard for a project in have in mind.  I was sorely disappointed when someone told me that everything on the tarp had already been sold.  Bummer.  

On one tarp they had dozens of beautiful vintage handmade quilts in an array of patterns.  They would lay out about six then auction off for "choice".  The first bid went for $85.00 and I was surprised at the choices people made for $85.00.  Then they would re-auction for "choice" again and it ended at $60.00.  They would get their pick and then they would go again.  There was a state bird quilt that went for $50.00 and a really neat feedsack quilt that was just random pieces sewn togeterh with no real pattern - I liked it because it was quirky.  I didn't buy any quilts, because I was dealing with limited funds.  Plus if I like a quilt enough to buy it, I probably won't ever sell it.  

On another tarp there were dozens of handmade crocheted blankets.  Those people were paying upwards of $35-40 each for them too.  Crazy money, I thought.  A big box of doilies like I used to be able to score at auction for a few dollars went for $27.50.  These people were spending like no tomorrow.  I bid on a lot of things outside, but never won any of them.  

I ran into one of the other vendors from the Flea Market and she asked if I had been in the house to see the "rest of the things".  Whaaaat?  MORE STUFF?  Turns out, there were four huge curio cabinets with hundreds and hundreds of hummingbird collectibles in them.  The auctioneer did "choice" auctions again and items started selling for $15.00 each.  Then it went down bit by bit more into my comfort level - $1.00-2.00. 


I bought this hand carved hummingbird for $2.00.

And this carved hummingbird for $1.00.  My Cherokee name is "Walela" which means "Hummingbird."  As a general rule, I don't care for many of the Hummingbird collectibles, but these were hand made and sweet.  My Mom buys me sweet hummingbird things since she gave me my name.

After the hummingbirds had sold, we moved into the kitchen were they opened a cabinet drawer and you bid choice again.  I bought a set of twenty two pieces of pressed glass bowls for $2.00 and a tiny carved peach pit for $1.00.  I couldn't reach the peach pit, so I kept asking the auctioneer to hand it to me - "The carved Peach Pit" I would say.  "The What?" he would say.  "The carved Peach Pit" I would repeat.  "The what?" he would say again.  And, so I would repeat it and he would say "The what?' over and over again.  Finally he said, "Lady, I don't know what in the hell you are talking about.  Come on up here and get it."  When I picked it up he said, "Well, what in the hell is that?"  
  
As you can see, it is a tiny peach pit carved into the shape of a basket. 

The next are was a china hutch full of vintage items, including dishes, souvenirs, a drawer full of junk and cards and stuff, and some flower vases.  The auctioneer started off at choice again and sold a few things.  

I bought this pressed glass serving bowl and twenty two matching bowls for a total of $2.00.  I never buy glass and I'm sure it's not worth much, but I got carried away in the auction.  When everyone has taken their choice, they auctioned off the remaining items as one lot and I got it all for $2.00.  I ended up sorting it out at home and donating a lot of it.  I did end up with about twenty smallish items to take to the booth for a couple bucks each.  So, that paid for my day.

 I bought this "MOM" cup from the top of the cupboards for $1.00.

And the matching "POP" cup for $1.00.

Last stop was a bedroom to auction off the contents of the closet.  There were a lot of plastic containers   - some were empty, but some where full of old office supplies and craft supplies.  Hidden among the random stuff, I spotted this basket.  

Now, you know how I love and appreciate an old handmade basket.  This one was in perfect condition and a nice smaller size.  I had a feeling it would go high, but I had hopes that I could win it.  By this time of the day, it was mostly a bunch of us women buying box lots, so there wasn't much competition.  The auctioneer ended up putting the basket with a plastic tub full of stuff and I won it all for $4.00.  As I was standing there, thrilled to death with my new basket, about five ladies rushed up to me and said, "Look in your tub - we're dying to see!"  I didn't know what they were talking about, but when I opened it, it was full to the brim with jewelry store boxes.  One lady said, "What if they are full?  May I?"  and with that, she started opening the boxes.  They were all empty, but it was fun watching them get excited before they opened each one.  I was just happy to get that basket. :)

Auctions are fun.  I love seeing what people will buy and what they will spend for things.  They sold an older Rainbow Vacuum for $450.00!  That one shocked me.  Another lady bought these cheap made in China birds that you put on glass so they look like they are flying through the glass.  My Mom bought me a set of six a few years ago from a catalog.  This lady was completely smitten with these birds.  The bidding was choice for $11.00 and she bought those birds - ten of them at $11.00 EACH.  Holy smokes lady!  I know they couldn't have cost more that a couple bucks each.  

I know I will be looking for more auctions this summer.  This one wasn't that great for buying, but it was fun just the same.  I even ended up knowing the family that was having the auction.  I wish I would have known about all that stuff before the auction.  I would have loved to gotten my hands on all those beautiful quilts.

Have you ever been to an Estate Auction?

8 comments:

  1. I love estate auctions. Go whenever I can. Fun seeing what there is to sell, and what people are willing to spend. I am usually like you and wait to get something that goes for a dollar or two. Great buys for you when things were going for crazy prices.

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  2. I love auctions and wish we had them around here. We have some, but they don't match what I have been to in Kansas and the midwest. A good auction is one of my favorite ways to spend a day.

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  3. I've never been to an auction and think that one of these days I must go just for the experience! You did get some bargains and I love the Hummingbirds. I always think of my Dad when I see hummingbirds.

    hugs,
    Linda

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  4. Ok, as long as I have known you I did NOT know your Cherokee name. I been to auctions and it is easy to get caught up in the bidding. At one I "ran" up the bid only b/c I heard the lady tell her friend she could score a wooden door for $10-$15 and resell it for $100. She ended up paying $65, thank you very much. I love it when they get tired and start offering "box lots" or "what's on the table".

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  5. Only auction I've ever been to was the one selling off my Gram's things. One of these days, I will get to go to one and I only hope I can score cool stuff for super cheap prices like I see all over blogland.

    Heck, even if you sold that serving bowl set for $15, you'd still make a profit! For that price, I doubt you can go wrong!

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  6. I agree with Heidi -- that set HAS to be worth more than $2! Glad your Saturday turned out to be okay after all!

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  7. I've been to several, that is how we started our eBay business. The yarn was probably a good deal, I'd have been there if I'd known about it! (Probably not really). The crocheted afghans (not quilts) were possibly sold for less than there value, they are not cheap and you are usually paying for the work that goes into them. Love the hummingbirds.

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  8. I have been to estate auctions before in some ways it is very sad it is a family's life on the auction block.
    But there are great deals to be had.
    Cathy

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