It’s Thursday, and do you know what that is? Ramsay Cornish Lane Sale Day!
For the last two weeks I have gone to this auction held on Thursdays in the Ramsay Cornish parking lot. Their web site says their building is an 18th century former wine warehouse.
The auction kicks off at 11am, but you can arrive prior to that to look over everything. You can touch and pick up any of the items being auctioned. They have items out for viewing as early as 9:30am. Items are put in three long rows, with smaller items on tables, so people can walk on both sides of the tables down each row. Larger furniture items occupy the last row and a half. It seems to be an eclectic mix of items, from truly vintage to modern junk. Make sure you open that old suitcase to see what’s inside, could be trash or treasure! Often times it’s some ok vintage fabric and clothing. Even the modern items can be of interest, today there was a telescope.
At 11am the auctioneer comes to the end of one of the rows and begins the bidding. There is no registration to participate, no bidding numbers, no paddles, just someone nodding or giving a verbal indication that they want to keep bidding on an item. Bidding on many of the small items starts at 1 pound ($1.30). He will sometimes group similar small items as well. Many things sell for 1-4 ($1.30-$5.30) pounds each. Last week, a big section of carnival glass sold for just 12 pounds ($16).
He works his way down. He is efficient and quick, but it still takes a while so hopefully what you want is at the beginning. I have not stayed longer an hour. Two additional people assist the auctioneer. One recording sales on a ledger and one taking money and making change. People crowd around.
While many items sell for modest prices, at today’s auction, ONE book sold for 420 pounds ($557)! There are clearly dealers that come to buy and someone saw something they wanted, perhaps a rare first edition? One interesting thing that I learned is that you can hand the auctioneer an item or group of items you are interested in. He will then conduct bidding for that particular item or group. You see people going through ahead of him and grouping things they in like in preparation for that. Today there was a large amount of lovely unframed original paintings. People were picking what they wanted and setting that grouping on top so it was there (undisturbed, hopefully) when they got to that section in the auction. You can pick that one pile up and hand it to him. Otherwise you might get stuck having to take a big box of art work that held the ones you wanted along with a bunch of others you have no interest in.
There are definitely regular bidders who attend the auction. The auctioneer knew people by name when bids were won. I am not sure if they are antiques dealers, Etsy sellers, collectors or hoarders (probably all of the above).
Last week I got a used, but serviceable, round Le Creuset Dutch oven for Jeff to make his bread. The inside of it was in great shape with a not so perfect exterior. I got it for 22 pounds ($29). I also got this lovely ceramic whimsy, not sure what it was intended for, but it’s perfect for holding Q tips. It’s hand painted and stamped on the bottom. Lower left corner, there is a tag marked 10 pounds ($13) from a shop or another sale, I got it for 1 pound ($1.30).
I really like seeing historical ephemera. Today there was a catalog of military dress uniforms, probably from the early 20th century. There was also this charming keepsake from the coronation of King George VI in 1937. It was a book that you put cards in you got from cigarette packs, like baseball cards for the royals! Everything in the book was in good condition and look at the original price on front 3 pence! The pages went on to have cards for the clergy involved in the coronation, military members in their uniforms, etc.
Some of my favorite sights from the auctions.