I went to a general auction tonight. These seem to becoming quite popular events again despite the likes of e bay. Maybe it is a reflection of the economy or perhaps it is a luddite backlash against the point and click generation.
There must have been about two hundred people present, most of them intent on buying, or at least bidding for one of the four hundred lots that were up for sale. I wasn't one of the prospective buyers, but I was interested in the outcome of the auctioneer's endeavours in relation to two of the lots. My recent tidying had unearthed a couple of items which I had no interest in keeping and I thought I might as well see if someone would like to give me a few pieces of silver for them, rather than just hoarding them or throwing them out. Accordingly I had left the items in question, a 1950's copper garden sprayer and a map from the 1870's showing the route of proposed railway lines in central Ireland, with the auctioneer earlier in the week. He recommended reserves for both lots and I was happy with the suggested figures.
Would there be any interest from the assemblage? Would my lots reach their reserves? The sprayer was the first of my items to come under the gavel, - lot 265. An initial offer of £10. A pause. The auctioneer going through his exhortations attempting to cajole his audience into increased bids and increased commission. A bid of £12. I looked around the room, willing someone, anyone, to continue the bidding. The gavel came down. Unsold. The £17 reserve had not been attained. Bugger!
It was now 9.30. My second lot was number 379. Should I continue with my vigil? A combination of my back beginning to ache and a rumbling tummy gave me my answer. I would leave the map to its own devices and check whether it had sold or not on Monday morning.