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September 13, 2021
Post-Pandemic: Evolution within The Auction World
By Elizabeth Cook

PHOTOGRAPHY: COLLINS KILGORE

My favorite activity is to browse online auctions across the country. My second favorite is to investigate the estate where the pieces came from, research the maker or origin of the furniture I view and later see what the item ended up selling for. As a design enthusiast, I have learned so much about the interiors world through countless hours spent scrolling Live Auctioneers – the leading curator of auctions around the globe. I personally prefer Live Auctioneers when browsing over similar sites such as Bidsquare and Invaulable

ELIZABETH COOK AUCTIONS


Right now, some interesting things are occurring in the world of online auctioneering. Product shortages, long lead times and a fresh appreciation for the home sparked by the pandemic, have lead to auctions becoming more mainstream. As a result, the demand is so much greater, increasing the amount of “eyes” watching the auctions, and leading to price increases. Three years ago you literally could have scooped up a Bunny Williams custom upholstered bed (seen here) for less than a $1,000 but today these steals are becoming harder to find.


Due to the current landscape and the accessibility made possible through curators such as Live Auctioneers, online auctions provide a new frontier for design lovers across the world, and are no longer reserved for high-end decorators or dealers.  I was recently in a bidding war over some stunning Janus outdoor furniture that I would never in a million years be able to afford (if I walked into their showroom), but it fell in my price range when the sale started. However, it sadly surpassed my allotment over time and I later spotted the set in a new Thomas Jayne decorated home in Charleston. That is who I was bidding against and who ultimately ended up “winning”. I had to chuckle at in hindsight, because not only did I realize I that I never stood a chance to begin with, but that I had my eye on the same items as Thomas Jayne and his team. We all have the same access and with a trained eye, you can find incredible pieces at insane prices – it’s all about the hunt!


During a recent Millea Brothers sale (a great auction house source) in New Jersey, pieces from homes designed by the likes of Juan Pablo Molyneux sold for next to nothing. You know it had to have been someone stylish and with deep pockets who had the mean to hire Juan, aka Tory Burch’s preferred decorator. Homeowners hiring designers of this caliber, spare no expense on furnishings and the fact that these pieces that originally cost thousands to make, not to mention the multiple hours of design time spent brining them to life, is suddenly accessible to you or me in South Georgia, -for less than a Hill House Home nap dress– is thrilling! These are the sort of finds that make my heart skip a beat and give me a euphoric rush.

We love how @arielokin converted this armoire she acquired from @town.and.sea into chic bar storage as seen in @housebeautiful
?: @donnadotanphoto

Over time I have been educating my husband on the retail prices of items (and then take into account the decorator’s time, upholstery, refurbishing, and shipping) and he is also now 100% on the auction train as well. Even with an increase in demand in the auction world, there are still many gems to be found and an undeniable difference in quality and price, compared to shopping retail. Besides, who wants a reproduction when you can have the real thing from from a fabulous Upper East Side Townhome for half the price?! If you’re interested in the auction world, I’ve included a few tips below to get started.

For any questions, please feel free to DM me via Instagram and follow as I’ll share notable sales periodically. 


Tips for Finding Great Deals on Online Auctions: 


Learn Auction House Lingo!

(Snagged from an old Elle decor article

Here are a few terms that will make you sound like an old pro:

Live Auctioneer Stats: 

Happy hunting!

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