The Early Bird May Get The Worm… But The Bird That Stays Late Gets The Feast!

04/05/14 9:58 PM

Thursday, I spent the evening at one of my favorite pass-times, auction antique shopping!

One of my favorite locations is Alexander’s Antiques in Midlothian, Virginia. I have been there several times and you may remember all the fun I have written about. But the one thing that I like about going here is the later you stay the better the price.

I generally start by coming in before 6:30pm to preview the items. This gives me a chance to really look close at something before I decide if I want to bid on it. But sometimes, even that isn’t enough to determine it. Some of the items tend to be “boxed” in so you can’t get a good look at it. So you have to wait until they bring it forward to look at it closer. I don’t think this is their way of hiding anything. It’s just lack of space. But there have been items that I thought I wanted that when brought forward weren’t all that I thought they were.

After I select an item, I will write down the item number for reference later. There has been times when I thought an item was what I looked at only to realize when checking the reference number that is something that looks like it. I may even take a picture of the item to remind me of what it looked like when I first saw it. And of course to share it with you.

Once I have previewed all the items, I may go back around a second time. There have been a number of times that I went back only to find something great that I missed the first time around. After the second review, I will reserve my seat. I try to get as close to the front as I can. This way I have time to really look at something that is brought forward before they start bidding on it. Sometimes, because of the distance I have to travel and the time I could get away, I may not be at the front. No worries about that. As the crowd thins, I just move forward. By the end of the night, I will be on the front row.

When the bidding begins at 6:30pm, I sit back and watch. I never bid. When an auction opens, the crowd is at it fullest. It is also when the emotional level is at its highest. You never want to bid with your emotions. You always end up paying too much for something.  If an item that I have selected comes up, which happens often, I just note the price that it closes at. Again, I never bid. Even if it is something I really want. I have learned that that one item I really want will show up again at later auctions or stores. I have saved so much money doing this.

I generally won’t start bidding until after midnight. I know it sounds crazy. But by this time, most of the “high spenders” and “emotionally spenders” have gone home for the night or they have run out of their funds. This is when the prices start coming down to earth. And this is where I get some of my best buys. By 2am, things are beginning to be grouped together and sold as a lot to move the auction along faster. This is when you really want to be there to take advantage of the savings.

This week was no different. This week I scored a front row seat on arrival. After my preview, I even had time to run out and grab a bit to eat.  The auction ended at 4:30am and it took an hour to load my car. In fact, it was so loaded that if I had bought one more large item, I would have had to come back to get it. Thank goodness I stopped when I did.

But are you ready for this?

How much did I spend?

Take a look at the items I previewed and the items I finally won. Then take a guess. Believe me, you will be shocked!

These are the items we previewed and thought about bidding on.























These are the items that we won!

If you don’t see an item from the first list, the item went too high for us to bid on or it came up to early in the auction.


Not on the preview list. But we loved it! It will be going between the sinks in the Turner Bath.


This is one of the preview items! It came up for bid around 3am


I love the base of this lamp. It is going on the Grand Hall sideboard.


This lamp wasn’t on the preview. It came up just after the above lamp.


The base is really beautiful. It will be going on a small table in the upstairs Grand Hall sitting area.


These were on the preview list! They are a medal urn with a black marble base. We have them in the library.


This was not on the preview list and I can’t believe I missed it! But it came up around 3am and I was so glad to get it. It now graces above the fireplace in the Small Dining Room.


This was not on my preview list. It was such a great deal I could pass it up. It is an oil painting in a beautiful gold frame. It is pretty large and will be going on a side wall in the Formal Dining Room.


When this came up, I had to act quickly. I had missed it in the preview and had to get someone to measure it for size.


To my delight, Sarah Elizabeth in the Conway Suite fit perfectly!


This was not on my preview list. But we were in need of a mirror in our personal bath. At this price, it was perfect.


This was not on my preview list. I have been looking for some plant stands to add to the rooms for Boston Ferns. This one is now in the library. After looking at it in there, I am not sure if I want a plant on it or a statue.


This chair was not on my preview list. When they brought it forward, I kept thinking about how it would be perfect for the Turner Bath Dressing Table. Currently we had a small chair that wasn’t as nice as this. Today, the Turner Bath has a great dressing chair!


This chair wasn’t on my preview list. It was brought forward at the same time as the chair above. Just like the other chair, I kept thinking about the Madison Bath Dressing Table. This now sitting in the Madison Bath.


These were not on my list. They came up together and I could just see them sitting in the Parlor. Guess what! They are now end tables by the “Lincoln Movie” settees!


This item . . .


and this item . . .


and this item were not on my preview list. They came up as a lot offering. I really just wanted the tray, but who could refuse the silver craving set and a handle server too!


This was not on my preview list.


But when I saw it . . .


I kept thinking about the Fruit Bowl James and Dolley Madison had. So I got it.

Okay . . .

You have seen our found treasures . . .

But . . .

How much did I spend for it?

Would you believe I spent less than . . .


Yes, that is correct!

So the early bird may get the worm, but I would rather wait until later (much later) and get a feast!!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History | 2 Comments »

2 Comments on “The Early Bird May Get The Worm… But The Bird That Stays Late Gets The Feast!”

  1. Ann Evetts Says:

    Antiquing 101 with Michelle! Good lords of light, woman! $200 for that haul?? I’d have thought the chairs and the frame for Sarah would have run you almost that much!

  2. Michelle Darnell Says:

    Thank you! Practice makes perfect. I can’t wait until my next auction!