I went to a clearing auction on the weekend. There were boxes of everything from a household lot. It saddened me on one level to see that for whatever reason, a house lot of goods had to be sold. On the second level, watching the people pick through the goods trying to find a bargain lot also troubled me. The items were in cardboard boxes sprawled out over a grass lot.
The advert in the paper which drew us to this clearance sale claimed it had a mantle clock. We never found it. There were other items mentioned in the advert that we never saw either. Was it false advertising or were they nicked or previously disposed of? who knows.
What I did notice was an old-fashioned suitcase with a bunch of vintage children’s books. I guess they were around the 1940/1950 vintage. A lot of women were interested in this suitcase and its content and I observed a woman shut the case and put a cushion on top to hide the contents from others who might be interested in the suitcase contents.
The weather was foreboding and just as the auction was about to start, the rain began and so did the auctioneer. He picked up a plastic bar stool; held it up high and shouted out “Who’ll give me $10?” Silence was the stern reply. “OK, how about $5?”. No nibbles. “How about $2“. Someone put up his hand to accept the bidding offer*.
Apart from not seeing anything we wanted to buy, the rain well and truly set in and anything that could get rain damaged, such as books, wasn’t going to be worth bidding for, so we headed back home.
The example (shown above) is of a typical illustration of a 1950s/60s children’s annual. In this case, the illustration is by G.P. Micklewright, an artist and children’s book illustrator who also drew many crime fiction and mystery dust jackets. This illustration entitled ‘Sheila to the Rescue’ is from the annual, “Stories of Adventure for Girls“.
*As for the guy who bid $2 for the plastic stool; we ran into him after the auction and he was not amused; he had to pay $5, because the auctioneer claimed someone else bid “$2” before he did, and therefore he had to ‘knock it down to him for $5’ – C’est la vie!
“Is It Art?”