Under the hammer

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Derek Jones

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Going to an auction is a bit like a day at the races. It doesn"t mater how well you"ve studied the form anything can happen on the day. To quote an old colleague, trading through an auction house is a "numbers game". If you"re selling you want it as busy as hell. If you"re buying, you want it like a graveyard. There are bargains to be had and if you’re not doing it for profit then you can easily outbid the dealers. In fact, if you"re looking for a fixer-upper the floor is pretty much yours and you can grab a bargain. The last thing a dealer wants to do is pay a restorer to fix up his "barn find".

www.woodworkersinstitute.com

I did precisely that yesterday and came away with a very nice rosewood chiffonier. It doesn"t need a lot of attention. There"s a wonky foot, a loose knob and some silk to replace but that"s about it. When it"s looking pretty it can go back under the hammer and out into the world again.

www.woodworkersinstitute.com

There were a couple of lots that caught my eye. This roll-top desk had a lot of potential, but was probably too big a project for my "shop right now.

www.woodworkersinstitute.com

And this very nice Victorian what-not. Intact it would have been a single tower of shelves and quite desirable. Unfortunately, it had been cut down to make a couple of tables. There wasn"t a single bid so it remained unsold. If you can make small dowels and find your way around a tin of paste wax then this is the sort of project you can expect to find. I"d already hit my limit of one piece by then.

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