My mom tried to talk me out of going with her to an antiques auction this past weekend in Manchester, Tenn. “You’ll be bored,” she said. She knows I’m a one-and-done antiques-shopper: I take one turn around the antiques mall/estate sale/antiques shop and I’m done. But she takes her antiquing seriously — and I’ve got a couple friends like that, too. They drive miles and miles out of their way to check a possibly interesting yard sale. Then they take hours and hours to examine Every Single Little Item at the possibly interesting sale. Of course, I come away empty-handed and they end up with bargain-priced treasures. That’s what happened Friday night at the Coffee County Fairgrounds when the contents of a going-out-of-business antiques mall were in the middle of a three-day sale. My mom had been Thursday and found some prizes, so I was intrigued with the chance to see her in action and pick up some secrets when she wanted to go back Friday. So, am I the only person who didn’t know how much fun auctions are? It was like a shopping trip, a history lesson and an evening of entertainment (how can auctioneers possibly talk that fast?) combined. I loved poking around the tables and shelves and boxes full of leftover antiques and junque. Then I sat, listened and learned: 1) Stay calm. 2) Set a bid limit and stick to it. 3) But don’t let anything you really want get away. I was awestruck by my mom’s smooth confidence and discerning eye. She would merely raise her hand a bit to bid. A horizontal slash of her hand meant a half-bid increase and a slight shake of her head meant she was done. But it wasn’t all sitting. My dad and I were the “toters,” grabbing paper and boxes to wrap up Mom’s successes — she likes glassware and linens (much easier to pack) — and then toting them out to the truck. Business as usual for my dad, but I was startled at how much physical labor antiquing demands. I got rewarded, though. My mom won this old McCoy pottery bowl I liked and then gave me one of three white-and-blue china demitasse cup-and-saucer sets she’d bought for my brother. Sold!
Published by Coffee with Cathy
I'm a media coordinator, an editor & an adjunct journalism instructor who also writes about style, history, food and the arts in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. My husband is a newspaper sports editor, and he and I are from middle Tennessee. Older Daughter and her husband, an artist and high-school art teacher, live nearby with our three grandsons. Younger Daughter works in grants proposals & also lives nearby. View all posts by Coffee with Cathy