The auction/ sofa report. Part II.
Last week was the first time in my blog’s history that I did not write a post that was WAY longer than anyone wanted to read. I even managed to leave out what I paid for the sofa I bought at my first auction– $200.
That was exactly my top bid. (Actually, a little over once you factor in 10% buyer’s premium and tax.) The other guy stopped bidding, so I cannot say for sure if I would have stuck to my price or if I would have merrily plowed past it.
I started writing up some thoughts on auction-prices in general, and how they compare to Craigslist. But then I decided that I should probably go to more than one auction before proclaiming myself accredited.
Fortunately, this should take NO TIME AT ALL, seeing as how I plan to do nothing else.
I think $200 for the sofa was a good price. I am not sure if I think it’s a great price. (Probably because I have purchased the portal to Narnia and a Kingdom Mirror for nearly the same amount.) But I am very happy with it. The upholstery is in great condition and excusing myself from a DIY-upholstery project that I will never finish is pretty much invaluable.
There are a few problems – the back of the decorative piece at the top is rubbed to bare wood in about a one-inch section (it was probably against a wall).
Also, the auction company piled chairs on top of the sofa and crushed the velvet in a few spots. After vacuuming with the upholstery brush, it is much improved, but not perfect. I am hoping it will kind of work itself out. But even if it doesn’t, I am fine with it. On the spectrum of condition-I-would-have-bought-this-in, this is excellent.
I also bid on another sofa (the blue one above, which I took no photos of, but the upholstery and veneer were in great condition.) I liked it, but did not HAVE to have it… I figured if I could get it for dirt cheap, I would find a use for it.
I set my price for that one at $100 and was outbid— I have to say it was WAY easier to stop bidding on something I was not in love with.
I can see that the auction-mindset is going to be a problem for me: the way you get ramped up or blinded by adrenaline/winning/confusion-because-you-cannot-even-understand-what-is-being-said/uncertainty-that-you-are-even-bidding-on-the-right-item.
It is kind of surprising I did not go home with some random piece of crap that I bought accidentally. (Or some glorious piece that I bought on purpose, but told Paul was the result of scratching my ear.)
I will show you photos of the sofa in place, once I get the room in order (update, living room photos)— we are getting ready to go to the beach (amazing Victorian houses in that link) at the end of July, and I am using the living room as a collection area for the ungodly amount of stuff we take.
Plus, I still have the sofa it is replacing shoved in there, on top of – surprise! MORE STUFF I BOUGHT AT THE AUCTION THIS WEEKEND.
Here is a hint. (And no, it is not the vanity or the scale.)
Now. Two things.
Last week’s comments are a must-read if you want some excellent advice from experienced auction-goers who (unlike me,) actually know what they are talking about. The comments are essentially a mini training-manual… how to find an auction near you, how bidding works, 50 other things that I would have benefited from knowing before I went.
Thanks to all their suggestions, I now need some kind of sophisticated algorithm to manage my auction-schedule. I am not sure how I will find time, but I suspect grocery shopping will be the first casualty.
Elvis appreciates all your words of admiration… but she has asked that I recirculate the memo for those of you who missed it– Elvis is a lady.
July 15, 2014 @ 10:06 am
Oh Victoria, you wrote another brief post. I’m now certain someone has kidnapped you and this is your way of letting us know.
July 15, 2014 @ 10:07 am
The sofa is beautiful! I think $200 is a good price for this piece. The wood is gorgeous. I can’t wait to see your room!
July 15, 2014 @ 10:10 am
Is the rice cooker going? Remember to leave a little bit of room in the car (or pack plenty of bungie cords) in case you find something fabulous you just have to have.
It only dawns on my now why you have such regal taste; you’re named after two queens. Queen Victoria Elizabeth has a nice ring to it.
July 15, 2014 @ 10:13 am
V, What fell off your couch and crashed to the ground in the video? -DB
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
July 15, 2014 @ 10:14 am
It was a chandelier. (An ugly one.) It was yet-to-be-auctioned, so it wasn’t something that had been sold… I’m not sure how they would have reimbursed the seller?
July 15, 2014 @ 10:15 am
Victoria, I love reading your blog. It’s always very interesting.
Two thoughts, the first on auctions: Be very careful not to bid against your own spouse. I say this from experience. Needless to say, we won, but paid a lot more than we would have if we’d just stood next to each other rather than across the room.
Second, and this one refers to your video where you brought the bed in through the upstairs window: I am about to purchase a vintage 25 drawer flat file cabinet from Craigslist. It’s going to be a very tight squeeze down the hallway and through the door into my studio. Imagine my glee when my husband mentioned the possibility of bringing it in through the window. He has no idea how badly I want to video this feat if we attempt to do it this way.
Thank you for being such an inspiration and enjoy those auctions. They can be very addicting!
July 15, 2014 @ 10:18 am
You bought another mirror! I just know it! Looks amazing too, from what I saw in that sort video clip.
Auctions are an acquired taste, and one I can easily do without, to be honest. However a plethora of people all over the globe disagree with that sentiment, I’m sure.
Enjoy your auction world experiences. I have no doubt you will be an expert in no time, Victoria! After all, the amount of interesting stuff at those events is mind blowing!
Have a great break at the beach!
July 15, 2014 @ 10:18 am
The color is pretty fantastic! I’m dreading my first auction and saving money, as I take after my father who once spent $500 on a 11×14 non-valuable drawing just because he hates losing. I might need to be in handcuffs.
July 15, 2014 @ 10:19 am
*short video clip- wish we could edit these replies ha!
I meant also to say that I love Elvis’ new sofa- it suits her regal self most aptly!
July 15, 2014 @ 10:24 am
Victoria…I went to my first auction a little while ago and just bid on box lots…one suggestion I have as well as not to bid against your husband…don’t go with a friend either…my friend and I wanted the same things…not good…
The sofa is gorgeous!
July 15, 2014 @ 10:27 am
I’ll be thinking of you as I get to volunteer this weekend at ANTIQUES ROADSHOW! It’s already a bit frustrating though, as I won’t get to BID on OR bring home all those other people’s goodies. But it’s going to be a FABULOUS experience – almost as good as keeping up with your blog 🙂
July 15, 2014 @ 10:39 am
My inner child is dancing for you… she’s certain you bought the mirror. I keep telling her to calm down and wait for you to tell us. She doesn’t do wait well. Love the photo of Elvis; she is regal. Have a great time at the beach. Looking forward to your next post and pics. Carry on.
July 15, 2014 @ 10:54 am
Love the new sofa, I would have bought it too. Re the flat spots in the velvet, something in the back of my mind says you can do something about that with a steam iron, and I’m sure there’s someone on here that will know how to do it.
Further to someone’s comment above about bidding (and winning) at an auction against their own spouse, I was at a house auction once and someone got so excited that they BID AGAINST THEMSELF. Really. Luckily the auctioneer pulled them up and let them take the bid back …
July 15, 2014 @ 2:32 pm
Yes, you could try to steam the velvet & brush the nap back up while the fabric is damp.
July 15, 2014 @ 11:36 am
Ohhhhhhh another mirror!!!! What did Paul say lol can’t wait for that story lol gorgeous
July 15, 2014 @ 11:47 am
You may want to place a damp pressing cloth over the impressions on your sofa and hold a steam iron fairly close but not touching the pressing cloth and see if that doesn’t lift the indents — similar to what one would do to indents on carpet. You wouldn’t want to place the iron directly on the fabric because it will definitely leave an impression!
July 15, 2014 @ 1:23 pm
you might also-if you have a very soft brush-brush the nap as you apply the steam. I always just held a steam iron back from the item and brushed in the opposite direction of the nap. You might want to try this on a very inconspicuous spot on the back-the sofa is old and if it has dust not obviously visible I don’t know if hot steam and dust would make an attractive combination. it’s the prettiest antique sofa I have ever seen. You are the Queen of fancy finds @ fantastic prices!
July 15, 2014 @ 12:09 pm
Love the couch! To remove the indentations in the velvet, use steam either from a fabric steamer or a regular steam iron, but don’t let the iron touch the fabric. If the steamer has a brush attachment, gently coax the flattened areas up with the brush while you apply steam or just use an old toothbrush to do so. Make sure you keep your hand holding the brush out of the steam! Allow the fabric to dry and it will look like new!
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
July 15, 2014 @ 12:18 pm
I will try this tonight!
July 15, 2014 @ 12:49 pm
That’s just what I was going to say about the velvet: steam, no contact with the iron. It’s never failed me.
You are WAY more adventurous than I–I have always wanted to go to an auction, but I have never had the nerve.
July 15, 2014 @ 12:11 pm
Victoria, your blog is always so amusing and your writing always so smart that I wish you would publish something daily! Even just some idle musings! Yours is always the first email I open. A kindred spirit perhaps, as last week I purchased some emerald velvet ribbon on a wooden spool and spent the next 7 hours rearranging things to find its perfect new and conspicuous home. Yikes, that even sounds crazy to me as I write it! Enjoy the beach.
July 15, 2014 @ 12:39 pm
When you go to stay in a Victorian house, it’s not considered “down the shore” — you “go to the beach?”
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
July 15, 2014 @ 12:50 pm
I kind of thought “down the shore,” might be a regional thing? I do not know anyone outside the tri-state area who uses it? I thought it might make more sense to a wider audience to say – going to the beach.
July 15, 2014 @ 3:46 pm
I’d say you’re right. I’m just 2 hrs west of Philly and haven’t heard “down the shore.”
July 16, 2014 @ 10:05 am
oops. Only meant as a playful joke about local slang. Guess I proved my point. Love your blog. You have great taste.
July 15, 2014 @ 12:56 pm
What were they THINKING piling stuff on that gorgeous sofa?! It’s still beautiful though and practically a steal for $200. Congrats on the great find!
July 15, 2014 @ 1:56 pm
I have easily removed dents in carpeting by placing ice cubes in them. As they melt and evaporate the dents disappear. Maybe this would work for upholstery too? As long as water wouldn’t affect it.
July 15, 2014 @ 2:04 pm
Elvis wears her pearls nicely!