A live auction, once the caller gets to chanting, is a spirited affair. It’s upbeat and lighthearted, peppered with humor. Bidders chase their bargains. Gawkers surround the give-and-take, whispering recollections of auctions past.
There’s always a somber undertone to the proceedings, however — estate, farm or business, the worth of goods is reduced to what someone is willing to pay. Whether acquired by way of hard work or passed down through the generations, the value of a thing is fixed when the hammer falls.
Our friends’ household auction today was by choice. They’re retiring and, of informed necessity, they’re downsizing. Though sad to see them let go of things that mean a lot to them, it buoyed us to know that the exercise clears a path to the next chapter of their American Life.
Deb and I each won a couple of lots. At one point she thought she was bidding on a fox pelt (seriously) but ended up buying a whole table of, um, stuff for two bucks. Her best “get” was an old Regulator wall clock. By the end of the day she was out only four dollars.
I hovered over a few farm wagons piled high with tools and assorted hardware, winning a genuine Hi-Lift jack ($22.50) and a light-duty post driver ($5). Both will be put to work on The Mountain.
The day brought a couple of particularly heartwarming moments, the first coming when a couple of shotguns were up for bid. Reflecting the insanity of the firearms market these days, an ordinary Savage Stevens pump-action 12-gauge sold for $375 (about $150 more than a new one would cost), and an H&R single-shot .410 closed at a mind-numbing $625. Both went to the same bidder.
I found out later that the buyer turned both guns back over to our friend, the seller, so that he could pass them down to his grandson. Incredibly generous and touching.
In yesterday’s post I mentioned two ATVs that’d be sold today. When the auctioneer arrived at the first he asked the owner to start it up, and as soon as the engine fired I heard a yelp, then a bark — the family dog, a sweet old shepherd by the name of Maggie, dashed over and jumped up on the seat.
She smiled a big ol’ dog smile, waiting for her ride. It’s been her favorite thing since she was a puppy.
Oh, and what did those quads sell for? Let’s just say that my prediction came true — the 21-year-old Yamaha brought $4,500 (versus a book value of $1,500) and the 24-year-old Honda went for $4,900 (book value $1,200). Absolutely ridiculous.
So it was a good day for our friends and a good day for us. We ran into folks we hadn’t seen in years and drove home with a few useful items that’ll follow us to The Ozarks.
One year ago today: After waking up to a chilly bus and dead house batteries, we rolled west on I-44 to St. Robert, Missouri and Uranus Fudge Factory — every bit the juvenile giggle-fest you imagine it was. We settled in Springfield at Cook’s RV Motor Park, where we’d spend several days before diving deeper into The Ozarks.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.