Sunday, September 1, 2013


This business, like many others, looks easy from the outside in.  It seems a simple recipe: you get a bunch of interesting stuff together (art, furniture, antiques and the like), advertise the sale, mix them all together in a hall and sell it off to a mob of people.  It always looked this simple when I attended sales.  Technology seems to make this process even easier.  Throw some pictures up online and get an even bigger crowd!

When I embarked on this career, I had no idea of the complexities and frankly the hard work which goes into this business.  As this idea took form in my head, I didn't even dream that I would spend entire days with a digital camera, solving problems like: How do I photograph a mirror straight on without a reflection of god forbid me in the picture (I am still trying to solve this), or spending twenty minutes removing lint from a black background.  Another action which never entered my dream was six hours of stickers.  That's right, six hours of placing lot stickers on 300 items, from jewelry to rugs, from furniture to paintings.

This seemingly endless work does offer a compelling reward: an endless treasure hunt!  From a basement in New Bedford akin to Silence of the Lambs which yielded a dozen early 19th Century books, including a rare "History of the Hawaiian Islands", by Jarves, published 1848 in Honolulu and a salty looking "American Ship Master's Guide", by Francis Clarke, Boston 1838.  These books looked to have been in situ since the 19th Century, when square rigged whalers ruled that seafaring town.  This call demonstrates the wonderful diversity I see, as the books came along with a stunning Peter Hunt sideboard and four chairs.

Another reward in this business are the simple challenges.  Climbing a rickety ladder and removing a Deco light fixture, cutting through fabric wrapped wires strung in the 30's all the while praying, "God I hope I cut the juice on the correct switch in the Medieval looking fuse box".  But when the fixture is freed, I am thrilled just knowing that it will become another great lot in our next sale.  

Every call I go out on is completely unique.   Some calls can be frustrating when I find nothing of merit and calculate the dinosaurs burned to get there and back.  Sometimes the people I meet are the best part of the experience.  Often the people can make an everyday object exponentially more interesting by telling the story behind it.  I'm not talking about the Hummel that was Grandma's favorite, I'm talking about the gentleman handing me the 1st Marines uniform he personally wore on Guadalcanal fighting the Japanese in 1942.

All the hard work which goes into every sale is laid bare for all to see on auction day.  Our team is made up of truly talented and hard working people and I am grateful for them.  I am so lucky to do this for a living, I love my job and can't wait to see you on September 10th at 6:00 P.M.