I’ve been a big fan of auctions for years. In my former life, my first husband and I used to go to the Sotheby’s Parke Bernet Gallery on Madison Avenue and just look at the art. Often, because of the amazing quality of the art on auction, it was like going to a museum. Just the thought of actually being able to buy a Monet was thrilling. Assuming, of course that I had the $100 million! But if I did, I could . . .
Sotheby’s also had a “lesser” auction feature where they would sell items that were not landmark pieces, but just good stuff from various estates. Nice reproduction furniture, good costume jewelry, nice prints, etc.
When they moved to their York Street headquarters, I used to walk over on my lunch hour to just browse. I worked at the Payne Whitney Clinic at New York Hospital, just up the “road.” For the most part, I couldn’t actually attend the auctions, so would leave an “order bid”. In the days before the internet, this was a way to bid on a piece from a distance.
I will never forget the phone call I got from Sotheby’s telling me that I had the highest bid on an etching by Mary Cassatt of a mother and daughter in a gorgeous frame. I think I bought it for $400, a lot of money for me in the 1980’s. I was over the moon. I would actually own a Mary Cassatt. Not exactly that $100 million Monet, but close.
I still follow auctions and am a big fan of Leslie Hindeman in Chicago. This is a smaller auction house than Sotheby’s, of course, but big in the midwest. They often have auctions of designer clothing and you can easily buy a Dior dress or an Oscar de la Renta coat for $100! Really. I’ve not bid on any designer clothing yet — they are a bit too fancy for my life — but I might someday.
I’m on their email list, so get a notice when they are having an auction. There are some amazing bargains. I’m on the lookout for some more dishes and some more silverware, and always looking for interesting art glass or ceramics. And they have some great bargains in furniture. Here are some highlights from their most recent catalogue:
Do the math on those side chairs. At $800, that’s $66 a chair! And these are only estimates, they might go for less!