Sunday, November 24, 2013


I find it fascinating what people buy at auctions--not the dealers--but people in general. A friend was determined to acquire a family memento and after a bidding battle, she won the bid. I said that the other bidders might be collateral family members and as she's been tracing her family history, I told her that she should ask them if they were relatives. I think she was too peeved because she felt they "ran up the bid", and I said, "I'll go ask them; they might be your cousins!" The other bidders said they weren't members of that family. When I told my friend they weren't relatives, she asked, "Why were they bidding then?" I told her I didn't have the nerve to ask THAT!

My brother told me that it was almost irresistible NOT to run up the bid when one's been outbid. I asked, "Is that a testosterone thing? Isn't it crazy? You might get stuck with stuff you don't want!" He said, "Yeah, but you just have to show them; you just CAN'T let them have it!" WTH!

A woman sitting beside me said she was going to bid on old feed sacks. When I asked her what she did with them she said she made purses from them. She quit bidding at $10.00. She said she couldn't make any money if she went any higher. I said, "You'd have to be like Vera Bradley; if you were like me and had them as clothes when you were a kid, you wouldn't want a purse!" Another woman paid $35.00 apiece for the five feed sacks which were imprinted with a feed company's name from Greenfield, Ohio. I was touched when I learned that the feed sacks came from her family's business and she was going to give one to each of her siblings. The woman beside me sighed and said, "Then I'm glad she got them!"

A man sitting beside me told me that his passion was books about science. I asked, "What's your greatest acquisition?" He told me that he'd been at an auction at Case Western Reserve University and he'd acquired a document from The Manhattan Project at Los Alamos. I squealed with delight, "Did it have Oppenheimer's signature?" He immediately knew he'd found another aficionado but told me it didn't have Oppenheimer's but it did have Teller's signature. I rattled off other names: Fermi, General Groves, Niels Bohr, and Szilard, but he said it was from Teller's section and his name was the only one he really recognized.

I was interested in several items, but fortunately, I have good sales resistance. I have been to few auctions, and as I do not know how to bid, I always depend on whomever I'm with to bid for me. On one item, I said to my friend, "I'll bid $10.00." When the bid went to $12.50, she asked, "Don't you want to bid higher?" I told her no. When the winning bid was $15.00, she said, "You could've had that for $15.00!" I said, "But I wanted it for $10.00--it isn't worth $15.00 to me!"

At the auction, I had an interesting encounter in the women's restroom. There are two stalls in the restroom and four women were waiting in line and during a conversation between two of the women, a third woman asked one of them, "Who are you?" I was the fourth person there, and although I was not a part of that conversation, I naturally interjected, "I'm nobody! Who are you?" Two of them looked shocked, but a third exclaimed, "She quotes Emily Dickinson!"

That made my day!

Of course, I recited the remainder of the poem although it was my turn to go into the stall!

by Emily Dickinson

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody too?
Then there's a pair of us--don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now you need to start a list of the strangest places you've quoted Emily Dickinson! ML