Hi. This is Michael – and I thought I’d tell you about the RS Prussia auction that I attended. This is my first ever blog so bear with me.
This trip started when I saw the auction advertised on Woody’s site. It was the R.S. Prussia auction being held in conjunction with the International Association of R.S. Prussia Collectors Convention in St. Louis. I’ve developed an increasing interest in R.S. Prussia Porcelain – and I saw this as a great opportunity to see and learn more as well as hopefully buy a few things for the booth and maybe even for me.
Unfortunately the auction coincided with a visit from Tammy’s sister and brother-in-law to her parent’s house in Spirit Lake. So we decided I would go on my own and she would go see her family. After lots of preparation (i.e. research) and conferring with Walt and Lois, we came up with a short list of the items from all that cool stuff that we thought our customers would like that I was going to bid on for us. I had an even shorter list of things that I was going to bid on for myself.
So after my day job on Friday I hopped in the car and took off for St. Louis. I arrived around midnight, got a good night’s sleep, got up and had a terrific omelet at the breakfast buffet. Then I went to the auction room and set up ‘base camp.’ Then it was time to start looking.
Holy Cow! Everything was spectacular!
But I had to focus and get down to business. I VERY carefully examined each and every piece on our list for damage or flaws. I KNOW that Woody’s does their very best – but it really is the BUYER’S responsibility to ensure the condition of items they are interested in. So I tried to ignore all of the pieces that we were not interested in s—and spend my time concentrating on the 12 items that we thought we might have a chance to add to our collection.
After an hour or so I finished with my examinations and called Tammy. Based on my look and touch test – I suggested we drop a couple pieces. And since I couldn’t totally control myself – I found a few new pieces that I suggested we try to buy. After a few minutes of debate I headed back to ‘base camp’ to check my assumptions via some RS Prussia resource books. Then with 30 minutes to spare before the auction – I took one last walk – to ooh and ahh over the beautiful pieces that I was NOT going to be able to take home. .
The auction started right on time – and people were not shy. Within the first 30 minutes four of the items we were interested in went up for bid – and I didn’t even get the chance to lift my hand before the bids blew by me faster than a speeding bullet!
Pretty soon it was obvious that the prices were out of my league – and the guy next to me struck up a conversation. Turns out he was a knowledgeable collector and former member of the Association. We exchanged pleasantries and he introduced his wife and daughter. Real nice people. He pointed out the 4 or 5 deep-pockets buyers in the crowd to me who were buying many of the best and most valuable pieces. Oh don’t I wish we had $5K to spend on one piece!
Now I’m more than half-way through the auction – I still haven’t made a purchase. But a couple of items on my personal wish list were coming up. And since I was willing to spend a little more money (since these items were not for resale) I thought maybe there was hope.
Yahoo! I finally made a purchase. A gorgeous Castle Vase in browns and yellows!
And my luck started to turn. One after another I picked up:
• 10” Schooner Bowl
• 10” Peacock Bowl
• Stippled Tankard
Not bad for a day’s work!
After the auction I found out that a lot of convention attendees display items for sale in their rooms. BONUS! They put flags on the wall and/or doors to tell people to come on in! I wish I had know earlier – because I dawdled after the auction – and by the time I started looking many of them had closed up shop.
I’ll know better next time!
But here’s what I found. RSP collectors are a friendly bunch! They love showing off their collections, telling their antiquing stories and sharing their knowledge. It was wonderful to learn from a group of long-time, experienced collectors! And I decided – based upon some expert advice – that I need to:
• Expand my RSP toothpick collection beyond florals
• Join the Heartland R.S. Prussia Collector’s Club, Inc., based in SW Iowa.
• Convince my wife that the Peacock Bowl would totally work in the living room!
All in all – it was a great auction. I touched and felt items I had never seen before. I learned a lot. I found two pieces for my collection. I picked up a piece for resale. And that night – I headed off to bed with visions of RS Prussia dancing through my head…