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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Not so long ago, auctions came in two basic flavors: the snooty, rarefied auctions that sold precious jewels and Van Goghs, and the country auctions that sold off someone's belongings or estate lock, stock, and barrel. Thanks to the amazing popularity of online auctions in the last few years, the auction world now includes hundreds of thousands of people who never pictured themselves bidding at auction but now turn down dinner dates because there's an auction coming up at 8:18 and they want to "snipe" at the last moment. As the founder of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in the Midwest, the host of two auction-related shows on HGTV, and the founder and CEO of Eppraisals.com, Leslie Hindman knows both the traditional and online auction worlds very well. You would expect her book, Adventures at the Auction, to deliver the auction basics for beginners, and it does so very professionally.
Hindman starts out by dispelling the most common fears of buying at auction: that only the experts can get good buys; that the hammer price equals the final price (usually a buyer's premium, plus sales tax, is added on); and the beginner's biggest fear, that scratching an ear or waving at a friend will be mistaken for a bid by the auctioneer (highly unlikely!). She reviews the top criteria that determine value, from authenticity and provenance to historical significance, and gives practical advice on how to read a catalogue, evaluate the merchandise, and bid at auction.
Although traditional auctions don't seem to be bargain-hunting capitals, I was intrigued by her perspective on the ten auction areas where bargains still exist. They include large pieces of furniture (not everyone has the space), chandeliers (they don't display well at auction), upholstered furniture (that ghastly purple fabric can deter a second look), and monogrammed items. Hindman also encourages all brides to seek out their silver flatware, dinner service, and stemware at auction, where these items should be available for a fraction of what they'd cost elsewhere.
Online auctions are covered thoroughly for both buyers and sellers, with sections on bidding, sniping, giving feedback, settling disputes, and dealing with fraud. The book concludes with collecting basics on such popular categories as old books, ceramics, dolls, oriental rugs, silver, timepieces, and quilts. (Ginger Curwen)