Thursday, January 19, 2012

The 3 F's - Future, Family, Furniture

Made a trip to Winnipeg last week; mainly to take my stepdaughter back to her home. With us we brought an antique wardrobe she had purchased from a friend of ours.  The unit is quite large, being about 7 1/2 feet tall. Quite the beautiful piece; exterior components being made with single super-wide planks of oak, 1880s, sporting hand cut dovetails and machine cut square nails. It is likely European (more than likely British) in origin, considering it had evidence of the type of woodworm occupation seen on many European pieces.  Woodworm, of which the sort that this piece shows damage from, does not occur in Canadian made items, due to our climate being less than ideal for that pest to survive in.

Being the loving step-dad, I got to load/pack/secure the wardrobe, deliver it, help unload it, and even repair/re-glue it, etc once it was in her apartment.  Her dad (yes, her dad and I are on friendly terms) supplied the claps and assorted tools I did not have with me. She's lucky to have 2 loving dads and a loving mother, all interested and plenty of experience in the antiques business. That has helped her in various past endeavors  and interests, and will help her in the future. She will realize this more and more as she goes through the years, but at present, she is young (21) and may not realize how much help this support will provide & educate her. No matter, she is on her own life path, and we are here to assist her.

Sometimes I am sure she thinks we are being a pain in the butt, critical, annoying, stupid, or just plain irrational....all of which might be true on occasion! She'll just have to sort out which times are legitimately "nutty" and which are truly our attempts to help steer her in a positive direction.  That is part of life experience, and she's an intelligent sort. As with anyone young & newly "out on their own," the haze created by the glitter, dismay, annoyance, sadness, excitement, anticipation etc, of her current  daily experiences, many of which are fresh and new, will become "ho-hum" and commonplace.

Once that occurs, the fog will clear, and she will see  things far more clearly, and in ways she didn't view them before.

We love her, and wish to see her succeed in whatever she wishes to pursue.

The lives of those in the "junk biz" are quite different from the "mainstream", and thus seem unusual to those who have never been part of this lifestyle. We are the same as everyone else in this world, really.   We have faults, needs, desires, goals, ups, downs, wishes, fantasies, dreams, interests, dislikes, good habits, bad habits, and  all the other long list of positive, neutral and negative attributes which comes with being human. 

So, now that everyone is weeping and feeling all gushy, it is time to change the subject!

This particular piece I had seen at an local antiques auction. I didn't stay for the entire sale, as I didn't need stock, and had bills to pay.  Knowing that it was a good piece, I had no doubt it would sell for $400 at minimum, despite some of is issues.  It was a well advertised sale, and every good item that was being sold received bids that were at retail levels,and most were actually exceeding retail levels. 

Tip, just because it is an auction, does not mean you are buying it wholesale no matter what you pay!

And that includes bidding against a dealer....we collect, too!  We also bid & buy on behalf of friends, relatives, collectors, etc! Plus, we are not stupid...we know when you are just trying to "bid us up"...and that is a dangerous game to may cost you far more than you would think, and I don't mean just in dollars and cents, though you will take a hit in your pocketbook, for sure....if not at this auction, it may be the next.  The antiques community is far smaller than people would think, and with online social networks, your little game may have consequences that reach further than your local community.

No, nothing occurred at this auction to make me venture into that little tirade...just some good, solid advice for those newbies out there who may be tempted to play the games that some reality shows portray. Real life is not like Reality TV.. The true REALITY is that when you find the consequences of your actions coming back to haunt you, affecting you in negative ways, it is suddenly no longer amusing, interesting, nor  entertaining.

So, back to the wardrobe....

I found out later that an "oak" wardrobe at the sale sold in excess of $600. There happened to be two wardrobes at the sale, only one of which was really oak. 

My assumption was that it was the oak piece that had sold for $600+, and I was not surprised. Well worth that, and with a few repairs/restoration, and if assembled properly (the auction company's staff had assembled it with the base upside down!) it could garner $1500 - $2000.

The other wardrobe sold for $50, and it was a local used furniture dealer who purchased it, who we deal with and are friendly with.

I heard another friend of ours bought the wardrobe, and for a still cheap amount of $250, delivered. Good profit for the furniture dealer, and a decent price for the wardrobe, which I assumed was the "faux oak" (see my "Test Time" posting) one. It was maybe worth $450, in my opinion.

When our friend showed it off to us, I was stunned to see it was the REAL OAK one...The "faux oak" one had sold for over $600!

The truly valuable one sold for a bargain basement price of $50!

  I thought that the base being flipped over was quite obvious, but in retrospect, it perhaps  was not obvious to all of the potential bidders. I can only assume that they looked at the (typical) heavy wear present on the upright facing underside's 125+ years of floor contact produced wear as severe what they assumed was portion of the side that was meant to be visible. .

Goes to show that, despite an item being at a well advertised, well attended auction sale (or ANY sale), you well may be the only person in the room that recognizes the true value of that object.

No comments:

Post a Comment