I’m a bargain hunter with low impulse control. So when I enter the auction house in Moundville, a neon sign flashes in my head – “Warning, turn back!” – and then I ignore it and proceed to spend billions of dollars (I described the auction experience in the post eBay: The Mayberry version).

I haven’t been back there since last summer for this very reason. I know that when I go, I will buy. Doesn’t matter if there’s nothing I need … the bargain hunter and recovering eBay addict will rack up the purchases with alarming speed.

But this Sunday the stars perfectly aligned to let D and me go to the auction together. I convinced him it would be a fun way to relax and spend non-TV time together after our hectic party day.

For once, D kinda got into it (maybe because I let him hold the paddle), so I can’t accept the whole blame for what happened next. We bought so much stuff the lady sitting behind us tapped on my shoulder and asked if we were related to the auctioneer.

The most shocking purchases were the FOUR Persian rugs. They were so pretty, and they were going so cheaply, and and … I don’t know. To tell you the truth, we felt like we were restraining ourselves only getting four. There were many others we bid on and many more we resisted bidding on.

We only really needed one rug, a large one for the dining room. But suddenly a gorgeous runner would pop up, and no one would be bidding, and I’d say, “You know, that could go in the hall.” We’d bid and win – with me signaling D to keep bidding with a nudge of my knee against his – and then when the next beauty appeared, I’d say, “You know, that one could go in the back part of the hall.”

In the end we did find a rug the perfect size for our dining room and the right colors (I don’t like rugs with a lot of blue, which most of them seem to have). We haven’t unrolled it yet because it will be quite a project moving the furniture; removing the current, paint-stained carpet; putting down the new-to-us rug; and restoring the furniture to its rightful place.

But I rolled out a couple of the other rugs, and for once I have no buyer’s remorse about them. They are just as lovely as they seemed during the heat of bidding.

Here’s my favorite:

Henry prefers the two we haven’t unrolled yet:

While Alistair’s favorite is the cheapest ($70!). My darling bargain hunter boy takes after his mommy:

Of course, we didn’t only buy rugs. Near the end of the auction, we won an Eastlake hall tree, which we both adore. It has these curly little cast iron coat hooks and the original cast iron pans at the bottom to catch rainwater when you store your umbrellas in it. *sigh* It’s so perfect!

Finally, we made several smaller purchases:

Two old tools with wooden handles … augers, I think? (this was a Darwin purchase)
Brass fire screen with a ship on it (I like stuff with ships)
Framed vintage print of a guy playing the violin and little girl in a yellow dress

And last but not least, we bought this framed portrait of a rather dour-looking husband and wife:

(Don’t you just love how grumpy everyone looks in old portraits? Though I guess if I had no indoor toilet and had to cook with a wood-burning stove, I’d be pretty pissed, too.)

The other day when I was getting ready to take a pic of the portrait, I noticed there was only one name on the back, and it was oriented as if the portrait were vertical. I pulled back the cardboard and peeked down inside to discover a second portrait tucked in behind the first!

Meet Kyle Martin:

Behind him, the names of the first couple were written on the back of their portraits. They are Sarah A. Hancock Lawrence (born 1849, died 1908) and Lankford M. Lawrence (born 1850, died 1910), and they are the grandparents of Annie Reed, whoever she may be.

The portraits are spotty with age, but they’re still pretty darn cool.

So, though it pained me immensely to write the check, I’m happy with all our purchases. It helps that D was an accomplice and I didn’t have to come home and confess.

But I think that does it for a while. We’re completely out of spots for rugs, and I already saturated the house with chairs (though that turned out to be a good thing at our party!). We’ve even got some art hung on the wall now, and though I’ve tried, I can’t work up much interest in antiquey do-dads like Depression glass chickens.

That’s it then. I’m done shopping. Stop laughing. I mean it.

posted by K | filed under Auction, Shopping Disease | 6 Comments


6 Responses to “Auction Accomplices”

  1. Holley Broughton on June 7th, 2007 2:18 pm

    I want to go to Moundville with you in August! You’re a pro and your rugs are fantastic! You spotted winners and were smart to pick them up! Congrats!

  2. Ellen on June 8th, 2007 7:45 am

    I think those rugs are one of the really wonderful finds that sustain shoppers for years and years. You will be going to auctions and estate sales for years, thinking “What if there’s something as good as the rugs?” Quite rightly, in my opinion. The hall runner looks like it was made for your space.

    In fact, the thought of finding something as great as those rugs may sustain several shopping adventures for ME, too! :)

  3. John on June 8th, 2007 7:50 am

    Nice haul, really love the carpets!

  4. Greg on June 9th, 2007 2:03 pm

    Moundville has become like some mythical place to me. How can things be soooooo inexpensive there? I want to go to Moundville.

  5. Kristin on June 11th, 2007 1:14 pm

    Greg, many of the customers at the auction are antiques dealers, so you can get stuff at “wholesale” price. Also, much of their stuff is flawed, which is perfect for me because then I don’t feel guilty about using it for its intended purpose.

  6. mindy on June 13th, 2007 7:10 am

    I don’t think I have ever been more jealous. Those are such great rugs, and that hall tree is adorable. I’m going to go off and throw a tizzy fit now. Where in Upstate NY we can get antiques for cheaper than city folks, but not cheap like that!

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