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My eldest turned 19 last week. To celebrate her day, we decided to take her to her first auction.

We were lucky enough to find one on her actual birthday on the east side of Indy. I had been to one auction with my mom when I was young. I don’t remember much about it except the fact that she promised to rip off my hand off if I so much as wiggled a finger. I sat on my hands to keep them safe.

So last week was basically a first-time experience for me as well as Eldest. We attended the preview session the day prior and, much to Eldest’s delight, there was not one, but two steamer trunks on the auction block. I guess I should mention that my darling daughter has an affinity for steamer trunks.

Anyway, we arrived at the auction and got registered, then found seats to await the big show. We were not disappointed. The auctioneer was almost a caricature of what one would expect him to be, complete with a super-sized beard a la Colonel Sanders, but not white and flat on the bottom. His look was completed with a fedora on top and cowboy boots on the bottom.

Auctions aren’t a new phenomenon. The Greeks were holding auctions as early at 500 B.C. Of course, their auctions were to marry off unattractive women with the understanding that the winning bidder would marry the girl. In this case, the auctioneer paid the clients to take the ladies off of their hands. At first the notion of auctioning off a girl seemed wicked, but it really isn’t a lot different than a dad offering a dowry for his daughter.

Americans are no strangers to auctions. Two of America’s great auction houses, Sotheby’s and Christie’s, were founded in 1744 and 1766, respectively. You have to imagine that auctions were happening before these two giants made it official. I also can’t imagine Sotheby’s auctioning off a tray of plastic necklaces and bracelets unless they had belonged to a celebrity.

As for our auction day, at first Eldest didn’t want to do her own bidding. After watching for a few minutes, though, she had gathered up her courage and decided to bid on her own. I suppose the fact that it was my money she was bidding made it easier to be brave.

It turns out that bidding on items in person is way more fun than doing it on eBay. Both Eldest and I took turns at bidding. She came home the proud owner of two steamer trunks and a box which contained a down comforter, afghan and two hand-stitched quilts, all for $80. I bought a wrought iron lamp for $5, and it included one of those $8 energy saving light bulbs. I think I came out ahead on that deal.

All in all, our first experience as auction goers was terrific. We came home with some goodies and no one ripped off our hands when we bid.

Amy is a writer living in Hendricks County. You can read more of her work at rubymay1029.blogspot.com.

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