Sunday, February 15, 2015

How Not to Have an Auction

Today we headed out to Lancaster Ohio to an auction hosted by John B Auctions. It was a three hour drive, but from the pictures and description it appeared it would be worth it. A large collection of Roseville, Weller, McCoy, and Van Briggle among the usual other antiquities.

The first sign of trouble came when we entered Lancaster and realized that the only address given in the ad was E. Fair Ave. Certainly the auction could not be at an entire street. Searching through the ad we found that it was actually being held at the fairgrounds. Okay, not a major problem. But upon arriving at the fairgrounds, we learned there was also a gun show. A few small dirt roads twisted around several buildings, and every parking spot within sight was filled with pickup trucks. We drove around in circles for a few minutes looking for either a parking space or a sign to indicate which building was for the auction, but neither presented themselves. So we parked far out in the distance and checked each building until we found the one with an auction. The frustration was only beginning.

The pottery and glass was presented together on one side of the room across a multitude of tables. Interspersed between them were a few rows of steel folding chairs, perhaps 25 or so. Looking around the room, it appeared that there were well over 100 people milling about and looking at things, and at least 25 people in line to register. My wife went off to wait in line to register and I tried to get close enough to the tables to inspect the pottery. Indeed, there were a good 20 pieces of vintage Weller pottery, but it was mostly common pieces easily found at any large antique mall. Many were cracked and chipped, but a few cheaper pieces appeared in nice enough shape to possibly drop a bid on. The Roseville for the most part was either chipped, cracked, restored, or simply undesirable. The Van Briggle was decent enough, a good selection and that would make it worth sticking around.

Unfortunately, my wife returned with some disturbing news. John B Auctions has a policy of accepting only cash or in-state check. Being from out-of-state, our business checks have been universally accepted by every other auction house, but here they refused to even consider it. Setting a policy such as this may be one of the stupidest things any auctioneer anywhere has ever done. It appears that John B Auctions feels that out-of-state buyers should go to the bank on Friday and withdraw thousands and thousands of dollars in twenty dollar bills and then wander around in a room completely packed with strangers and no security guards within sight. And we were perfectly prepared to spend thousands, just as we often do. But we are not idiots and we refuse to expose ourselves to that sort of risk.

It appears that John B Auctions simply does not want our business, and we will not be returning to any auction he hosts in the future. His client lost money because we packed up our stuff and left before the auction even began.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Belhorn Auctions, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Last week there was really not much going on as far as Weller pottery was concerned.  A piece here, a few there, but nothing really attention-getting. Things are looking up this week. The Belhorn Auction in Ann Arbor, Michigan will be drawing collectors and dealers from all over. They have listed a few pieces of vintage Weller already, and it appears there may be more by the time the auctions starts on Feb 07, 2015 at 12:00 noon. Here is a little taste of what they have in store:

Nice Weller Marvo Jardiniere

There are enough American art pottery pieces there to bring any serious dealer, including some interesting Rookwood and Roseville. The Kings Fortune is considering making the trip to check it out!