Today, I worked at an auction for the iconic A&W restaurant in Boardman, Ohio. It's fame was based on its long history as a hangout for car aficionado's. The auction was conducted by Paul Basinger Auctions. Paul is a master of promotions. This sale was promoted on television and print media like few others that I have ever attended.
The crowd was tremendous. The prices equaled the crowd. The equipment's prices were on the high average side, the memorabilia would knock your socks off. Groups of 4 A&W mugs were selling for over $150, the ordering stations averaged over $300 each, porcelain signs sold for $900 each and the clock brought an amazing $800. What makes this even more impressive is there was a 10% buyers premium added to all purchases.
But, even though each of these items did fantastic, two other items set new standards for auction insanity.
The first was a photograph of two hot rods, I like hot rods as much as any other guy, but the two gentlemen bidding on this photo must really like hot rods. The photo sold for over $400!! It's not like this was an exceptionally rare photo. I actually thought that it was a good quality stock photo. I either really missed it this one, or they did. I'm voting for them. Sometimes with memorabilia bidders get caught up in the moment, this was one of those moments.
But, as crazy as the photo was the plastic gum ball machine was beyond imagination. I personally thought it should bring around $350-400, not at this sale, it brought in a whopping$2,300!!! The photo is a little grainy, but, I think you get the idea.
There are times when auction magic defies logic. It will happen whenever buyers become enamored with the idea of owning a perceived piece of history. So the next time that you think that you have to own a $10 item for $200 think of this lesson, then leave immediately.