As many readers will know, one of the great things about rural areas is getting to go to auctions. The local papers in central Hastings County always have a bunch of auction notices, and Raymond – an auction fan from way back – studies them carefully. Sometimes the auctions are to clear out a household; sometimes they’re to sell off everything from a farm; sometimes it’s both.
Today there was an auction of household goods held south of Stoco (one of the five hamlets that, along with the village of Tweed, make up the Municipality of Tweed – the other four hamlets being Actinolite, Marlbank, Thomasburg, and our own Queensborough). Raymond had seen the notice and reported that there was antique furniture and other items of interest, so of course we had to check it out.
Happily the auctioneer was Boyd Sullivan of Sullivan Auctions. Boyd is a very in-demand auctioneer in the area, and we’d seen him in action once before, when the contents of the home of storekeeper and unofficial Queensborough Mayor-for-Life Bobbie Sager were sold several years ago, after Bobbie’s death. Not only is Boyd a first-rate auctioneer, but he’s got a terrific sense of humour. It’s worth a visit to one of his auctions even if you aren’t remotely interested in buying anything, just to watch him in action. You’re guaranteed a laugh or two – and you’ll almost certainly buy some stuff anyway.
Boyd came out with a classic line today when confronted with a bunch of china teacups and saucers that he had to sell. Those of you who (like me) frequent antique malls will know that there are always tons of china cups and saucers for sale, the reason being that no one wants them – because no one needs them. Who uses china teacups and saucers anymore? Anyway, I wish I’d written down what Boyd said because I don’t have it exactly right, but it was something along the lines of: “Cups and saucers. God’s curse upon humanity.” But you know what? He sold ’em off. And he got a good price for them! He is an amazing auctioneer.
Raymond and I bid on several things, recusing ourselves on some after the prices got higher than we were comfortable with (which always leaves you kicking yourself later for not having gone just a bit higher), but coming away with an antique (probably very early 20th-century) chest of drawers, two mid-’60s (my favourite era!) framed prints of scenes of London, England (done in muted mid-’60s colours and featuring funky mid-’60s cars), and a very nice wooden bookcase with a glass-fronted door. That last was the piece we both really wanted, and I’m so happy we got it. It looks terrific in the Manse’s dining room along with our new (vintage) table and chairs from the store Camp Ho-Ba-Chee in Warkworth, Ont., and an art-deco sideboard we bought a few years ago at the antique market in Aberfoyle, Ont.
And let me tell you, it is very handy to have a little red truck in which to transport your finds back home to the Manse after the auction!