Auction Horrors
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Thread: Auction Horrors

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  1. #1
    Charter Member

    Aug 2019
    Formerly Ohio, now south
    247
    312 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Auction Horrors

    Post your bad auction experiences here!

    I have a lot of them. It was a good way to learn about human nature go to enough you see it all.

    To start:
    I will start where I started. It was the first auction I went to without my father. I drove to a small town for an old household that looked interesting. I was interested in history, particularly books and it advertised old books.

    While looking around found a box of very old rare and valuable books. I was relatively new and didn't know much but when I saw a book about Texas printed in 1835 with a big fold out map I knew this was something.

    I'm watching this box like a hawk afraid it will get up and run away. An old farmer came along. He had the shakes really bad. He went through the box and pulled out the Texas book. He pages through it very roughly and I knew he didn't see anything about it that he liked so was calming down. His shakes made me nervous but no damage so everything is ok. Just then he tosses the book back in the box from about four feet away. The book lands on its spine and gets sprung. It's canvas cover rips. The folding map flops out. He kept walking. It could have been my first auction fist fight but he was old and in distress so what could I do other than pick it up. A shadow of its former pristine glory.

    Auctions!
    Hillbilly Prince and sandchip like this.

  2. #2
    us
    Apr 2009
    Cornfield, IN
    F-22, cheapo pinpointer
    1,236
    916 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Geez. That's a shame and outright disrespectful to treat another person's property in that manner.

    I don't really have any horror stories, other than getting outbid by people with more money than sense.

    Here's my worst auction story. I was driving past an annual auction with my father-in-law in the passenger seat. He knew that my wife had bought me a canoe for my birthday and as we drove past, he said, "There's a canoe out there if you need another one." I said that I wouldn't mind having a second one, so that I could take friends out, but he knew that I'd be working all day and wouldn't be able to go to the auction. A friend of his called him from the auction and said that the canoe was coming up and asked what I was willing to pay. All I knew was that it was green, since I'd only had a glimpse of it at 50 mph. I said that sight almost unseen, it would be worth $100, as long as it didn't have any holes in it. My father-in-law came back a while later and said that his friend had bought it at $175. I said, "$175? I said $100." He said, "I know. Let's go get it." We showed up in my truck to pick it up and there was a large dent in the front where it had been rammed into a tree or rock and a crack about 2.5" long and split so that there was a hole/crack about 3/8" wide. I just shook my head and said, "And it's even got a big hole in it." My father-in-law said, "Don't worry about it, I'll pay for it." I paid the hundred and he picked up the $75, because he knew beforehand that his friend was a little bit of a loose cannon.

    It was a Coleman Scanoe with a flat back. My guess was that someone had a motor on the back and rammed it pretty hard into a log since the crack was pretty low on the front, splitting the keel. I took a heat gun, warmed it up until it was pretty soft and pushed on it with a piece of bent sheet metal until I had gotten it back into shape. I then took a panel off the back and plastic welded the crack on the inside and outside until it was water tight, which took a while. I then layered up some more plastic on it to give it a better weld and once it cooled, I layered Gorilla Tape like shingles on the outside and inside, just for good measure (This was before Flexseal came out or I might have tried that or the Flextape stuff). It's been on the river several times and a couple of lakes and I've still got it, so it worked out, but dang... going over the cutoff price and buying it when I explicitly said no holes.

    Moral of the story: Be careful about who you pick to be your designated bidder if you can't attend the auction yourself.

    Kindest regards,
    Kantuck
    Last edited by Kantuckkeean; Oct 25, 2019 at 12:09 AM.

  3. #3
    Charter Member

    Aug 2019
    Formerly Ohio, now south
    247
    312 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Some of the best advice I got from my father was "if you can't be at the sale don't bid on it". He was right.

    Almost every time I did otherwise I've got a bad result one way or another.

    My main pet peave is that every time I have left a bid the price always goes to the top of it or over. I have never got a bargain in that way.
    Kantuckkeean and sandchip like this.

  4. #4
    us
    Dec 2012
    lower hudson valley, N.Y.
    safari, ATPro, infinium, old Garrett BFO, Excal, Nox 800
    2,731
    3078 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    So did you get the rare TX book or not? Would have been a good score no matter what condition it was in.
    Ya won't find nuthin' if ya don't hunt

  5. #5
    Charter Member

    Aug 2019
    Formerly Ohio, now south
    247
    312 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Oh yes I got it and the whole box of books it was sitting in. I still remember the auctioneer calling me out as some sort of maniac because I called the first and final bid of $100 It was long ago and I traded it for something I can't remember.

    Wish I would have kept it, but at the time, being a teenager, I remember thinking "sure this book is great but what do I need a book about Texas for".

  6. #6
    us
    Deep1

    Dec 2018
    Carolina Lowcountry
    Nox 800, Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II, Poor ole wore out Fisher 1266 that still finds stuff.
    271
    614 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Not a horror story but, kinda funny and not so funny.
    Went to an auction couple months ago.
    They had a golf cart I wanted.
    Had one of the spotters standing beside me signaling my bids.
    I won, showed my bid number, shook spotters hand.
    A little while later they asked me to move cart.
    Went over, moved cart out of way of auctioneer's truck.
    Was sitting in it when some guy comes over and tells me he's gonna load it on his trailer.
    Told him it's my cart.
    He starts yelling and getting hostile toward me.
    Thought I was going to have to slap him upside the head.
    I didn't say a word, walked over the the office, with him following me.
    He watched me pay for cart.
    He starts yelling some more about the auctioneer and how this has happened to him before.
    He takes off across the field after the auctioneer and starts yelling at him while he's in the middle of bids.
    He's end up getting booted.
    sandchip and releventchair like this.
    If it's old, I'll dig it, dive on it, detect it or sometimes when I get lucky just bend over and pick it up.

    "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result" Winston Churchill

  7. #7
    us
    Feb 2008
    Great Lakes State
    dirtfishing
    10,854
    2802 times
    silver surfing
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    Got caught up in bidding frenzy sitting there as a greenie, ended up paying almost twice melt value for a big lot of mercury dimes. That hurt.
    releventchair likes this.
    Spider-Man, Spider-man...does whatever a spider can...

  8. #8
    Charter Member

    Aug 2019
    Formerly Ohio, now south
    247
    312 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by fistfulladirt View Post
    Got caught up in bidding frenzy sitting there as a greenie, ended up paying almost twice melt value for a big lot of mercury dimes. That hurt.
    That reminds me. At the height of the last boom when silver was I think at $34oz I went to an auction that had a large amount of Morgan silver dollars all worn out. Just bulk silver.

    A guy bought the whole case of them, probably 70-80 coins at $33 apiece. It sticks in my mind like it was yesterday.

    At least he didn't have to pay tax on it.

  9. #9
    Not a horror story, but funny. I was about 7 years old and Mom and Dad took me and my younger brother to a farm auction. We were in the front row. I saw everyone else raising their hands, so I did the same. Mom and Dad just bought their first Cow ! Luckily the auctioneer stopped the bidding and my dad was able to communicate to him that my "bid" didn't count, so the auctioneer laughed and the auction continued on. Boy did I get a talking to ! Loved auctions ever since.
    hill_billiez and sandchip like this.

  10. #10
    us
    Jan 2017
    Western ny
    equinox 800, Whites mx sport, Garrot carrot, bounty hunter time ranger
    3,236
    5080 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    was at an auction in town a few years ago at a place that was a sleigh shop during the 1800s to early 1900s. So many old hand made runner sleds and all sorts of stuff. I watched a lot of 30 of them go for $100....another lot of 10 go for $50 Find out from a friend in Aspen that some of the rich people collect them and also use them as decoration in their vacation homes up there and other places out west. Guess what they pay......100-350 a PIECE for them. I should have bought every damn single one of em, including the full sized 1800s horse drawn sleigh.
    sandchip likes this.

  11. #11
    Charter Member

    Aug 2019
    Formerly Ohio, now south
    247
    312 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by Tpmetal View Post
    was at an auction in town a few years ago at a place that was a sleigh shop during the 1800s to early 1900s. So many old hand made runner sleds and all sorts of stuff. I watched a lot of 30 of them go for $100....another lot of 10 go for $50 Find out from a friend in Aspen that some of the rich people collect them and also use them as decoration in their vacation homes up there and other places out west. Guess what they pay......100-350 a PIECE for them. I should have bought every damn single one of em, including the full sized 1800s horse drawn sleigh.
    That's why you go to auctions. Eventually you will hit what you are looking for.

  12. #12
    Charter Member

    Aug 2019
    Formerly Ohio, now south
    247
    312 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Here's an auction con I got hit with when I was just starting out. I went to a sale in Plain City with my father. It was a good mixed sale with a lot of antiques. Some really good early furniture.

    Well the sale was just starting to come to the end of the first hour. The auctioneer said "lets break to furniture for a bit" this is unusual but I didn't think anything about it at the time. They go up to a early Victorian secretary and pull open the bottom drawer to show the merchandise. Whoa! it just happened to have the bottom drawer totally full of old documents. "Well lookie here folks we didn't know this was here"

    Very few people knew they were there as old paper buyers seldom look at furniture and fewer yet open all the drawers of furniture at all. Well here was a whole drawer of documents nobody knew were there. On the top was a group of Spanish American war documents and leafing through it quickly as it sold there was some interesting things there. The lot sold to me for $800. I saw a few things that led me to believe that on closer inspection I would find more. Other people were bidding me up they must have looked right? Well its was almost total junk. I realized everybody bidding assumed the other guy knew something was there.

    They threw a bunch of junk in the drawer and set up a speculation frenzy on the spot. I still have some of that junk in a box somewhere. A lot of it got thrown away.

    Another lesson

  13. #13
    Charter Member

    Aug 2019
    Formerly Ohio, now south
    247
    312 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Now that I think about it I never did tell my dad I got conned. That was my secret I didn't want to tell him.
    fistfulladirt likes this.

  14. #14
    us
    Oct 2010
    Georgia
    Teknetics T2SE
    3,258
    4544 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    The only auction horror story that I can think of is about a bottle that a friend of mine bought for his collection. There is a pontiled medicine embossed, "Dr. J. Dennis / Georgia Sarsaparilla / Augusta, Ga." that is pretty danged rare in aqua, but here there was one in a box lot at this country auction in a deep teal color and in attic mint condition. As far as I know, the only colored pontiled medicine from the state of Georgia (except for the G. Harral Druggist, which is in a class by itself). Well, the handler or runner or whatever you call the ones that bring the stuff out (I call him a bozo), sets this box of bottles down roughly, badly cracking the only good bottle in the lot. Crying shame that something can make it 150 years for some idjit to come along and ruin it. My buddy wanted it anyway, because it is a stunning bottle even with the damage.
    fistfulladirt likes this.

  15. #15
    Charter Member

    Aug 2019
    Formerly Ohio, now south
    247
    312 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Yeah a lot of careless damage occurs along the way of things trading hands when it isn't a first person sale.

 

 

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