Sometimes I realize needlepointers are lucky in Northern California. We have several ANG chapters here. Many of our members belong to more than on chapter and we coordinate events.
Many years ago the generous donation by her family of a woman’s stash to benefit the Napa chapter, had us selling it off at auction to fund our education programs. Our chapter and the other chapters have been doing this ever since.
Last weekend a local chapter had a much-anticipated auction. I adore these guild-run auctions because there is great stuff to be had and often the prices are amazing.
Usually a guild auction has three areas:
- The Live Auction has higher priced or more coveted items. Usually the number of items is limited and often the opening price is higher.
- The Silent Auction has smaller items. Usually there is a biding sheet on them with an opening bid noted. You will write down your name or paddle number and your bid.
- Buy it now items are sold at a fixed price to whoever picks it up first.
Very occasionally an unusual item might ask for offers. This is usually because they do not have enough information to price it fairly.
You can enhance your stash significantly at an auction, but you can also spend way too much money.
Here are my rules to make the most from an auction.
- Make a budget & get out that much cash. Don’t overspend your budget without a good reason to do so. Since doing this I usually spend less than my maximum. It does help me make better choices.
- Prioritize your needs based on what might be there. One year our auction had tons of thread from a members closed shop. Another year we had lots of old books. You can guess where I spent my money at these two auctions.
Go to these areas first and buy what you want there.
- Review the live auction items. Usually these are displayed with opening bids. Then you can easily decide if you want to bid here and how much you’ll spend.
- For any auction lot, set your maximum price and don’t go higher. I have seen auction items go for 2-3 times current retail price for an item in production. That’s when you know auction fever has grabbed the bidders. That’s a sure way to overspend.
- Know the designers & styles you like and use auctions to pick these up. They are there in your stash waiting for you. Do you have friends who are new or will soon be grandparents? I do and so I bought a “Grandparents make Christmas Special” ornament to make for them when the time comes. My SF heart, pictured here, was an auction find because I loved the mini-sock version I made 20+ years before.
- For Silent Auctions take one of two approaches. Either bid low and hover, upping your bid when needed. Or bid high to discourage other bidders. I’ve done both and had success at both. It’s really deciding what you want to do and how widespread the items are.
Three years ago at this auction, I hovered, but the silent pieces were grouped close together and I bid on lots of them. This time there was only one thing I really wanted so I bid high (more than twice the minimum) so I only checked once.
- Don’t neglect the freebies. Sometimes these are magazines, sometimes favors, sometimes tools. They can be great additions to your stash.
I had tons of fun and came home with a shopping bag full of great stuff I already have finished two small almost complete projects and have plans for a couple more things I got. Everything is organized and out away. I took things off stretcher bars and added to my tack box. I also got, free, some accessories, a book, and a small project. I spent about 55% of my budget and will be a happy stitcher for a long time to come.
Not bad for a Saturday morning!
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
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