During college I worked for auctioneers in Los Angeles and here on the East coast. It was a great way to make some money and to learn about American art pottery and metal, and quarter-sawn oak Mission furniture, among other sundries. Those were fun days. Long hours, physical strain, and no shortage of sexual innuendo in a male dominated business.
It took only one auction to throw my sense of the dollar out of whack. The November 01993 auction sold one piece of pottery for over forty-five thousand and another for over sixty-three thousand—USAmerican dollars. The antique shows, dinners and traveling for the years after did nothing to set me straight. But five years into a career ‘transition’ has worked wonders and now understand dearly—one dollar equals one hundred pennies.
This weekend I returned to R’s auction to take phone bids. In honesty, it felt like going home. Some of the old faces are still around. The mythic and legendary—in his own right—DL from KC is still kicking. And still smoking cigarettes. When folks talk about those with nine lives, DL has somewhere around sixteen. The story goes he picked up an extra seven when Jimmy Hoffa lost his. Then there are others who are not around—no extra lives to revive bad credit, bad cancer, or a bad case of Angelina Jolie. Also in one fell swoop, my comprehension of the dollar may have faltered again. Can you say hammered copper candlestick, original patina, marked, for one hundred twenty thousand USAmerican pesos? Can you also say one square tile for ninety-five thousand USAmerican pesos? Those are just hammer prices and does not include buyer’s premium or tax. I’m hoping if symbolism has its way with me, perhaps an era of more USAmerican pesos is hiding around the corner again.
In the meantime, what is around the corner for me, or on the menu for the coming nights is salad, salade, ensalda, and insalata—in that order. I have for certain fallen off the prandium wagon. An anorexics appetite* which suddenly returned a few weeks ago is now raging out of control. Doughnuts, bagels, crackers, chili with cheese and sour cream, baked ziti with meatballs and sausage, candy, more crackers, cereal, popcorn. I am sure I could conduct an accurate food recall diary of the past forty-eight hours and indeed drove back to Gotham making a mental tally, but the truth hurts. My belly aches.
So with that I have added to the editorial calendar for the upcoming months, Auction eats. If you’ve ever been to a country auction, perhaps you’ve enjoyed a fresh, hot slice of Angela’s apple pie, or Vera’s own top secret chili recipe. Don’t turn your noses up. Some auctions, and especially some flea markets serve up the best guilty pleasurable eats around. This will also be a great excuse to get my butt out of bed before the crack of dawn as spring and summer arrive, and enjoy evenings in the country shushing peepers making all that racquet.
Since I was working for the man, his wife and daughter today, here is the one pic I snapped—before gastric inhalation and after a two hundred lot run calling bid increments. I did manage to get my snail of a phone bidder to buy a few extra lots than he planned—including one original Tiffany table lamp. Ca-ching!
As they say in the biz, happy hunting..
*The term is used in the literal sense referring to loss of appetite or an inability to eat, and not the disease state suffered by millions in order to attain an idealized weight.