The $5,000 Auction Challenge
We asked our good friend Mark Gleberzon to participate in a unique challenge.
We asked him: “If you had $5,000 to spend at auction – what would you choose?” With Mark’s background as an artist, seasoned auction participant, and a fab personal style and sense of design, it seemed like a challenge custom-designed for him.
Here was our original conversation with Mark:
Waddington’s – What do you think will be the most difficult part of this challenge?
MJG – I am actually in the midst of looking for a new place to live. I sold and donated and actually even consigned some items to Waddington’s (!) looking for a fresh, new start. Even decor-wise. So, this challenge will be fun. And hey, I might end up bidding on one or two things to keep, for reals. The challenge will be to rein in the crazy! It’s always easy to find items to “want”. It’s more difficult to commit to something I might actually “need”. Unlike a retail store, I can’t return my purchase from an auction house. My selections – even fictional – need to be thoughtful and practical.
W – How about you select a work of your own collection as a starting point, to build around. Perhaps a favourite piece of furniture or one of your own works of art?
MJG – The few furniture items I kept include a mid-century modern credenza and a cozy black-leather chair. And yes, we could certainly include one of my photos or paintings to use for further decor inspiration to draw colours and other considerations from.
W – Do you have a strategy when you’re bidding in an online auction?
MJG – budget and commitment are my two most important strategies when it comes to purchasing from an auction. It’s always easy to see something and fall in like with an object. But reality must be considered. What am I really able to afford and will the object be what I need and will use and ultimately enjoy having in my home?
W – Do you have any words of advice for those new to the auction world?
MJG – I have several words of advice, starting with:
Do your research. Every auction maintains records of what has sold in previous sales. It’s a fantastic resource to see market trends, realized prices and the kinds of items you’ll find in a sale.
Go to the viewing previews. If you’re a stickler for perfection, look at the object you covet in person. Hold it. Feel it. See if there’s a connection between you and it. Don’t only go by photos. If concerned, ask if there’s been any restoration. And hey, sometimes you can learn if the prior owner was a noted collector or someone famous.
When there’s the opportunity to, attend a live auction, go. Perhaps first watch how people bid and even the kinds of people who are bidding. You will see seasoned buyers and collectors who love the small victory of their winning bids as well as seasoned bidders who may be dealers or designers, looking to re-sell or buying that special something for their client’s home. Auctions can be somewhat slow but if you have the right auctioneer and bidding gets fierce, they can be rather entertaining.
When it comes to online bidding, watch how bids are placed and the increments at which prices go up. And if you take that leap of faith and bid yourself, be mindful of your budget!! That can’t be stressed enough. Keep in mind you’re not only paying the price of the winning bid but also the auction house premium (a pre-assigned percentage, usually) as well as those dreaded taxes. It’s easy to get caught up in a bidding war. Unless the item is that unique or the opportunity too personally important to let the item be purchased by someone else, you may just have to show restraint and put the paddle down (in a live auction) or not press the ‘bid’ button (if you’re bidding online)
W – Thanks Mark! That was a great primer for anyone new to the auction world.