So, we had our first auction.
Our exciting day began early in the morning, when we noticed bidding activity begin to increase. Traffic remained steady all through the day, and when the auction went into extended bidding at 6PM, things were about as exciting as they could be. Bidding was brisk, the phones were ringing, new registrations were coming in at the last minute – one person actually registered at 5:50 and got in a bid with just 23 seconds to spare!
The auction closed after about five and a half hours of extended bidding. Ultimately, we achieved our best-case scenario for the inaugural auction, eclipsing $140,000 in sales, achieving our goals for average number of bids per lot and falling just shy of our goal of overall percentage of lots that sold. By Sunday morning we had analyzed the prior night’s sale and made decision to reduce opening bids and offer smaller bidding increments on lower-priced items. We began putting aside winning lots and assembling packages.
And then I looked out the window.
The sky had turned an ominous shade of dark gray at around lunchtime. I looked around and realized that in all the excitement for the auction, I hadn’t really done a good job of securing everything in advance of the oncoming hurricane. So I elected to spend a few hours battening down the hatches, so to speak. First, I put all the auction winnings up high. And once we got the house in order, I went back to the office to resume working on processing invoices and packing up winnings.
The power went out at about 4:30. It was restored yesterday, ten days later.
Inbetween, we were hammered by some serious winds, the kind that blew shingles and siding off the house, tore open the pool cover, blew down a few trees in the backyard. For days we were without power, cellular, internet, cable, or anything else that would enable us to communicate with the world. We relied on friends to pass messages out to the hobby, letting them know our predicament.
After a week or so of helping friends clean up, getting the house organized, and figuring out how to live without electricity, I went back to the office and began assembling packages by the light of a generator-powered desk lamp. Cellular service was restored on Monday, enabling me to use my phone as a wireless hotspot so I could respond to the hundreds of emails that had come in the prior week, and begin processing dozens of payments that had come in. And finally, late Wednesday afternoon, the lights flicked back on.
Over the last two days we’ve worked really hard, and have completely caught up. All items that have been paid for have been shipped, and all payments that have been received have been processed. It’s our goal to ship quickly and to pay consignors quickly, and despite a hurricane knocking power out for more than a week, we’re proud to say that we still will have shipped winnings and paid consignors more quickly than most auction houses.
More importantly, though, we thank everyone who participated in the auction and helped make it a great success. The consignors who trusted us with their valuable material, even though it was our first auction and we had no proven track record. The bidders who were so eager to register and bid aggressively. The hobby media that were so quick to embrace the new company. All helped us to achieve a successful debut auction, and we’re incredibly thankful to be a part of such an enthusiastic and helpful group of people.
So now we’re on to Auction #2, which will be held early this winter. We’re aggressively seeking consignments, particularly interesting memorabilia, rare and valuable card types, back varieties, interesting card issues, and of course, high-grade Hall of Famers in all sports. If you’ve got anything you’re considering selling, we would be thrilled to talk to you.
We’ve already got some incredibly scarce and interesting items for the next auction – so keep watching this space, because we can’t wait to tell you all about it.
And once again, thank you all for your enthusiasm in consigning and bidding, and for your patience in waiting for us to get un-buried from the hurricane.