Going once, going twice

A few days ago, we received a flyer in the mail advertising a PUBLIC AUCTION OF SEIZED ASSETS FROM LAW VIOLATORS. It included tiny photos of a bunch of fancy artwork and jewelry and, of course, a smattering of Rolex watches with names like “The Presidential”.

Yesterday we didn’t really have anything to do in the morning, so we decided to bike across town to the country club where the auction was being held. We’d never been to an auction, especially for SEIZED ASSETS FROM LAW VIOLATORS, so it seemed like it would be interesting. Sure enough, the guy running the show was pretty chatty and entertaining as he prepared to start the auction. The room was actually packed– I was surprised to see so many people there. La and I walked around and admired some of the stuff.

There were a lot of bronze sculptures, ranging in size from the kind of thing you set on the coffee table to the ones you put in your front yard.

She said she liked this painting, which was doubtless by someone I’ve never heard of:

Finally it was time to start, and the guy launched into his spiel about the history of these items. I was interested to hear that many of the works of art came from, in his words, “one of the biggest art heists in recent history” somewhere in Los Angeles. What doesn’t make sense to me is why they didn’t just give the art back to the original owners after they recovered it from the heist. But anyway, he did his best to generate some excitement and interest around completely unknown artists.

We stayed for maybe 20 minutes, just to see how it went. There were a few breathtaking necklaces– and by “breathtaking” I mean “wow that’s a lot of diamonds and sapphires, but my wife would never wear something like that”. The most expensive item someone bid on was a necklace for $6,500… a different one that was apparently worth $37,000 retail had a starting price (“reserve” as they say in the business) of $19,000 but no one bid on it.

So all in all, it was a fun little experience. Now we know what an auction is like, and we also know what sorts of things we’d never buy for our house.