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Fun on Wednesday nights

Original post made by Simply Sterling, San Ramon, on Jan 23, 2013

I don't remember now how I learned about the Auction House. I think a friend told me. I can't remember and it's been several months but what matters is that I am totally caught up in the bargain hunting that it offers. From the first time I went I was intrigued by the friendly atmosphere that resembled a country hoedown, a community event one should not miss. So now I don't. I am a regular.

Auction House is located in the former Cartans' store where once children's clothes, toys and equipment abounded. Now it is antiques, furniture, art, jewelry, household goods, and an occasional car or motorcycle. There are always surprises. The items are consigned by their sellers and most have no reserve so whatever is bid will buy it.

To find out what’s going on the block I stop by a day or two ahead and scope out the showroom. I also pick up the printed list that tells the order of the sale. This gives me a chance to research an item ahead of time and establish a maximum bid.

To date I have bought: a necklace, a ring, an armoire, a credenza, a pine chest of drawers, a puppet theater, a hutch, a lamp, a vase, 2 purses, a set of Corelle dinnerware, an overstuffed chair and a framed oil painting. I have also sold some items like the hutch, the vase, a lamp and some costume jewelry. And there were a couple of things that didn’t sell: a small desk and a large desk. Yes, sometimes that happens when no one bids. The commission is reasonable - 35 percent up to $1,000, 25 percent after that and less as you get higher.

What makes it auctions so interesting is the variety of items as well as the variety of people who attend. There are doctors and dealers, sports fans and society sweeties, realtors and roughnecks. You never know who will be in the audience. Auction House is on-line with its own website so it attracts people from a wide area. When I saw the Corelle I knew immediately that I wanted it to fill in my set. There were over 100 pieces which I estimated had a retail value of $400-500. I got them for $100. I have since sold off the extras for $140 and kept the pieces I needed. Not a bad deal.

Then there are the things so unusual that it is amazing they end up at Auction the tractor that was sold a few months ago and the gaming tables straight from a casino - roulette, blackjack and craps, the funky lawn sculpture and the fur coats. There have been dolls and desks, fur coats and floral arrangements, rugs and rings, trains and toys, costume and quality jewelry. If you want a really nice piece of jewelry with diamonds and gold buy it here rather than from a jeweler. The savings is awesome.

As an added bonus, Auction House serves sandwiches and sodas, cookies and munchies, free to their guests making this place the funnest and freest place to go on a Wednesday night. They are open every other Wednesday night so check their calendar to be sure you go on the correct night. Next sale is Jan. 30. Starts at 6 p.m. Go around 5 to eat and see the items up for bid if you haven’t gone earlier. The last items on the schedule usually go up for bid between 8:30 and 9 p.m. but feel free to leave earlier if you get tired. Keep in mind the later it gets, the cheaper things seem to sell for. Some of my best bargains are at the end of the evening.

It is the bargain hunter in me that makes me not want to miss an auction. I find it fun and occasionally quite profitable. Like the Ethan Allen armoire I bought for $200 and sold for $400 two days later on Craigslist.

I invite you to Auction House, 2085 San Ramon Valley Blvd. next to Diablo Motors.

Sadly I will be out of town for the next auction! One can do absentee bidding so I will check to see if there’s something I can’t live without...My bidding paddle is No. 1. See you in February.


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