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.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Saturday Estate Auction

Yesterday, The Breadman called and asked why I wasn't at the big auction out on the highway.  What?  Big auction? Our Highway?  Me?  There!  So, I headed out that way. 
(Tractor Seat: $35.00)
It has started at 10:00, but I didn't get there until about 1:00. I don't usually go to Estate Auctions very early anyway since they tend to sell the furniture, guns, cars and equipment first anyway.
Watering Cans; $5.00 each, Toys: Choice $8.00.
 By the time I got there, it was down to a trailer full of old tools and farm equipment, a shop building full of old junk and holiday decorations plus another trailer full of miscellaneous household items.  Oh, there was a mess of blowmolds in there!  A huge Santa, three Candles, a Church, a complete Nativity Set, JackOLanterns and some Angels.  I wanted that Santa that was about four feet tall.  But, they decided to auction them all of at once.  ALL OF THEM!  I couldn't have even got them all home, so I left the building.  ;(
Lanterns $40.0-$65.00 each, "Handful" of tools - $8.00-$12.00
The end of an auction is the best - the antique buyers have bought their antique furniture and glassware and china and headed home. What is left is in their eyes is "junk" but I know there are wonderful things amongst that junk.
I liked this old table - it was in chippy and very used shape, made by a farmer years ago and used in the shop.  There was a time, and I have about five of these to prove it, that I could pick something up like this for a few dollars at a sale or at an auction.  I bid on it to $5.00 then bowed out.  I was really surprised to hear it end for $45.00.  I know the lady that bought it owns a shop and will probably put at least twice that on the price tag. 
These auctioneers are locals and kind of friendly with my family.  They know us when they see us out and about in town, so they are nice to us at the auctions.  About halfway through the day, they start getting a little punch drunk and start to say funny things.  At one point, he said, "Oh, I got a nice roll of fencing here - good to keep your dog in....if he's not very big."  As he said that, he was holding up a little roll of cedar garden edging.  He also learns who is going to buy what sort of things and will look right at you when he knows that whatever he is holding is right up your alley.  Yesterday, I was bidder #123 and as he started making a box lot and then adding another to that and another to that - he knew he had me at a $1.00 bid. 
I bid on these old Fisher Price toys, even though they were filthy dirty.  I knew they were in good condition, they just needed to be cleaned up.  As I stood looking at them, a camera phone snuck up beside me and clicked a photo of them.  A minute later, a text message came through and the guy was bidding against me for them.  He was sending photos home, the girlfriend looked them up, then he would bid.  Really, a pretty ingenious plan for bidding strategically.  BUT NOT AGAINST ME. I must admit, it kind of irked me, so I bid about double what I was willing to pay for things, because I knew he was going to outbid me in the end.  Sorry, dude, I spent some of your money for you.  It worked out in the end, because he went to load his truck and I scored ten box lots (or better known as "piles") for a dollar each.
I sorted through all the boxlots, or piles, and put anything that I didn't want out by the dumpster beside the house so I didn't even have to take it home.  As I was throwing things out, I scored that giant basket, a big heavy vintage pitcher, some vintage Christmas ornaments and a big tin stuffed full of vintage embroidery thread by the dumpster that other people had thrown out.  One man's trash is another man's treasure,you know.  The back seat just held the overflow.
The back had the bulk of it.  If you attend an auction and buy lots of stuff, I highly recommend taking a 16 year old boy with you - he sorted, carried and packed the car while I kept on bidding.  Bless his heart.  I know you have noticed that dollhouse in there.  Funny story about that - I had been looking for one of those old metal dollhouses on Craigslist and on ebay recently.  As a matter of fact, I had been on ebay looking at dollhouses when The Breadman called to suggest I go to the auction.  It was the first thing I spotted when I walked up and the auctioneers were rapidly approaching it.  I went and got my bidding number, Lucky #123 and got in the area of the dollhouse.  The crowd was pretty thick and everyone was gathered around.  I was ready to go as high as $15.00 for it, but thought someone would outbid me.  When the auctioneer finished up the previous item, everyone looked down at the dollhouse and left.  Not one person stood there except me.  The auctioneer looked at me and said, "Ya give me $2.00 for it?" and I just nodded.  (I got that FP barn with it too).

It's not perfect, but it's good enough for me.  I have a box full of 1940's furniture that I got at a sale last year, so I am all ready to decorate it.  You may be wondering why on earth I need a metal dollhouse at my age.  I don't!  :D  I WANT it!  :)

As we were loading our things, there was a big pile of items on the flat bed trailer next to mine that I thought belonged to another bidder.  When I got home, I looked through my tickets and discovered that that stuff was part of one of my piles too.  Darn it.  I hate it that I left things and that I left a mess for them to clean up too.

Next time:  What I kept.
What other people think is great.
Why you should check every single thing you buy because there just might be a surprise in there.


  1. What a fun auction! I am a little shy about going to auctions; I think it's because I'm afraid I'll get caught up in the moment and end up spending $500 when I wanted to spend $5! Haha! Maybe this winter I will venture to the local weekly auction where I know some of the people so I can get my feet wet.

    You found some great buys and were savvy enough to get them. What fun you will have decorating the doll house. And good job running up the price on the tag team bidders, too.

  2. I spy another quilt in that car...(So, I am at the flea this morning inspecting a quilt. A lady next to me is inspecting a bat. She says "I have too many bats." I say "I have too many quilts" and she looked at me like I was insane. I should have told her I need a quiltervention!)

  3. Omg, Shara!! My sister and I had that same exact dollhouse when we were kids back in the 80s. It's probably buried in the attic at my mom's place. What a trip down memory lane!

  4. Loved this post! I will not allow myself to go to auctions...I think that would be way too dangerous :) Just the mystery alone of $1 box lots would be too much for me to pass up. The entertainment of going through it is alone worth a dollar!

    Interesting on the tractor seat, we sold one of my grandpa's totally rusted tractor seats at our last garage sale for $10. Oops. What do people do with them?! It was an older guy that bought it so maybe actually for his tractor??!?

  5. I think I would love some of those box lots for $1...look at all the fun you had. I love that doll house!

  6. I always wanted a dollhouse, why did Santa bring me a barn instead? I used it as a dollhouse!!

  7. I still have never ever been to an auction, but it's stories like this that make me want to go really bad! $2 for that dollhouse?!? What a steal! I still have mine from my childhood, and every once in a while I rearrange the furniture in it. We girls never grow up, and that's a good thing!

  8. You totally rock!!I too have to really limit myself at auctions. I tend to get caught up in the excitement. You did really good.I love it when all of the dealers leave and leave us "regular" folks to get the good stuff.

  9. Sounds like a great auction! Can't wait to see what you kept! I got some fun finds in the bottom of my box lots that have renewed my interest in auctions!

  10. I highly recommend teenage labor! We always put Otter to work when we used to go to auctions. The deal was that she would help us load and then she could pick something out of what we bought. Worked like a charm. You got some good stuff.


I love my comments. I'd love to respond to everyone, but if you don't have an email address tied to your ID, please sign your name so I will know who you are! It makes it nice to know who is saying what. Now, leave a comment! Please? ;o)

I Can See You!

Look at my Visitors!

Fellow Junk Followers