15 September 2013

On the block

Life here in Connecticutistan has offered us some unique experiences. We stumbled into another one of them last nights when we found ourselves at an antique auction. In. A. Barn. Wait...what?

We joined another couple for dinner last night. They, like us, are fairly recent transplants to our little corner of New England. We each have three children and their ages are almost identical. They too have just become grandparents for the first time. So there is a lot in common and we've enjoyed our friendship. They had told us previously about an antique auction in town that had to be seen to be believed. We are not antique collectors nor are we auction junkies but we thought we'd check it out with them.

When you think 'auction,' you may think something swanky, like Sothebys. Our auction experience has been limited primarily to silent auctions at charity events, like the American Heart Association Ball that we attended for a few years in Beverly Hills. Let me assure you we couldn't even bid on one of the used napkins from the dinner there, let alone any of the items on offer.

The Canton Barn
This is where we wound up, the Canton Barn. It is exactly what it looks like. Inside we found a crowd of people inspecting all that was on offer for the evening. And there was a lot on display. Everything from little creepy Hummel-eqsue figurines to some pretty interesting furniture items. In the back, they were selling hamburgers that the staff was cooking on a Weber grill and homemade pies. It was a slice of Americana that seemed really unique to this part of the country. For the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and me, there was not much of interest, although it's an amazing place to find furniture. What was a kick was to see the auctioneer, the staff, and the interaction with the bidders. It was a reality TV program. It really was a good night.

The auction did get me thinking about the value we place on things. It was fascinating, and even a little mind-boggling to watch how some items that literally looked like junk or proof-positive that most people's taste is only in their mouths, quickly escalated into bidding wars and sold for prices that made absolutely no sense. Truly, one man's junk is another man's treasure. I'm not sentimental enough to understand the attachment that some people have on antique items but I'm glad that there are people who do. It preserves memories and gives us a reference to what was valuable in times gone by.

That said, it still doesn't mean I'm going to start making the auction a part of my Saturday night plan. But shoot, I'm actually regretting not bidding on a couple of funky French chairs. This is how it starts, right?

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