Going going gone...(money and common sense)


Do my brains turn to mush at auctions? No matter how hard I try, if my wife and I go to an auction, I manage to find something that I cannot possibly live without. The fact I never knew there were such things as Chinese fire alarm sticks, Japanese tangerine bowls, 1850 suppository machines, or opium smokers headrests is irrelevant. Once discovered, life is not worth living without them. Once I have made that leap, I am free-falling into the money pit that is bidding. Now not only is my life incomplete without Winston Churchill's dentures or silver sugar tongs in the shape of a wishbone, but no one else can have it! Even if I promise my wife a limit at auction, seeing someone else outbidding me is as provocative as a Bernie Saunders supporter at a Trump rally. So I end up triumphant paying too much for something that in the cold light of day is as useful as a chocolate teapot (let me know if any readers have one for sale).

...and another thing

Auctioneers of course are to blame. They come in three distinct flavours.

A) The “come along Sir it’s only another £500,” implying to the audience that I am a man of substance and such an increase is but a trifle. Ego now massaged.

B) The “surely you are not going to let this other person who clearly does not have your taste or judgement out bid you?” The cajoling and the false hope that the auction house is your friend and wants you to have it, unlocks funds and increases my overdraft.

or the deadliest of all

The “nice try but you don’t seem like the sort of person who can afford or appreciate something this special.” This of course appeals to the ‘f*ck you’ quotient we all possess and lights the blue touch-paper to bidding into the stratosphere!

...and another thing

After triumphing in the auction room and certain I have impressed the auctioneer, the other bidders and my wife, I wander off to pay the bill. Well of course on top of the inflated price I have paid for my rare 6 foot tall statue of Mr. Bibendum (the Michelin tyre man) I have to add buyers premium of 25% then 20% VAT on top. Next up is the fearsome storage costs charged every day unless I  want to pay the auction house hauliers to deliver said statue to my home the next day.

“….and just where are you going to put it,” is never far from my wife’s lips at these events.

...and another thing

The most dangerous auctions of all however are at charity events. A fatal mixture of ego, alcohol and desire to support a charity often ends up with me having bid on a ski chalet when I don’t ski, commissioning a portrait of my pet that I already have or attending a dinner party cooked by a famous shouty chef whom I detest!

At one event a dear friend of mine ended up ‘winning’ a horse for flat racing. At least he kept his sense of humour and named it “Don’t tell Sue” after his long suffering wife. (It won its first race)!

You’ll be glad to know that Malta is awash with things I never knew I needed and I was at an auction on the 1st April. The date should really be a warning sign……

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