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What to look for at auctions


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So a Sale Barn near me is going to be having an auction and there will be many anvils there for sale. I have never gone out and had a collection of them to choose from and was wondering what are things to look for? I know about rebound testing with a ball bearing, clean edges, etc. But I was wondering is there anything else to look for that tells its a good anvil? Brand? Year it was made? 

Any help would be welcomed and thank you!

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Being a public auction and "many" anvils will bring a lot of other anvil hunters there. How deep are your pockets? 

As mentioned before with auctions, get there early and assess the anvils. Write down or set your top price per anvil you are interested in and when sale time comes if it goes over walk away.  They could go reasonable and they could go way high too. You might even want to find a couple that don't look as nice but would function great since they will most likely go for less then the nicer "looking" anvils. 

As far as date, and brand, if it's a good anvil it's good regardless. Look for rebound, ring ( unless it's a fisher or Vulcan) and any clues that it may have been "repaired" before, or is possibly about to break. 

Reading all you can on here about different anvils gives you a start on understanding what is or is not a good anvil. 

Have fun, good luck, and pay attention. 

 

 

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Thank you both very much. I plan on getting there as soon as possible to look at them. I have a 45lb anvil right now but its so small and doesnt have a single good edge, it works but I will take better if i get the chance so I'm not going for the best one there just one thats better. Money wise I think I have a good amount (for being in highschool at least).

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Another good thing to pay attention to is how the auctioneer operates. They are sure all different. Some end quick and some seem to wait forever in closing the deal. There are good and bad auctioneers. I like to try to pay attention to other bidders as well to get a read on them. 

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32 minutes ago, Daswulf said:

Write down or set your top price per anvil you are interested in and when sale time comes if it goes over walk away.

Another thing is bid quickly and with confidence right up to your cutoff point.  If you look like you're trying to decide about going higher that encourages other bidders to stay in just a bit longer to see if they can outbid you.  If it appears you are nowhere near your limit some people will give up when they get close to their own.  On the off chance you run into someone who is just staying with you to run the price up on an item they don't really want they will stop after getting stuck a couple times when you suddenly quit bidding.

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6 minutes ago, Buzzkill said:

Another thing is bid quickly

Well, yes, but auctioneers often start the bidding off high so unless it starts getting bids right away and you are still in your price range then go for it. Otherwise let the auctioneer drop the opening bid down a good bit then jump in. 

 

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Someone suggested on another "auction advice" thread that you pay attention to who the auctioneer is chatting with beforehand and whether or not those people are (A) bidding aggressively and (B) dropping out of the bidding without making the winning bid. These might be shills hired to bump up the prices and increase revenue.

Also, be aware that what you pay may include taxes, buyer's premiums, fees, etc. Make sure that your maximum bid doesn't leave you without cash to pay any additional costs.

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If you see that they are getting higher prices, it is sometimes a good idea to hit the opening bid to show you are serious about that item instead of waiting for it to go down, then right back up to where it started.  I have been to countless auctions; military DRMO, machine shop, county, police, etc... Bidding definitely has strategy, and tactics involved to be successful..  

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If you get an auctioneer that likes to group disparate items together I have often had good luck buying what I wanted from the winning bidder quite cheaply---like wood working tools and tongs. The buyer wanted the planes and sold the tongs to me *cheap* as he had no interest in them.  Of course you can't make such deals before the bidding starts in many US States that have laws against buyers collusion.  Also you can throw out a number lower than the auctioneer's starting price.

I attended a number of auctions by an Auctioneer where stuff that sold "cheap" early in the auction would mysteriously reappear later when auction fever was going good. I stopped going to them and started using the TPAAAT method.

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On ‎2‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 9:45 PM, ThomasPowers said:

If you get an auctioneer that likes to group disparate items together I have often had good luck buying what I wanted from the winning bidder quite cheaply---like wood working tools and tongs. The buyer wanted the planes and sold the tongs to me *cheap* as he had no interest in them

I have asked and been asked both to yes and no. And yes to a point sometimes you can throw out a lower starting bid. Know your auctioneer and be clear about it. 

I tried to buy a Columbian post vise from the buyer that was welded to a massive home built welding table once. It sold cheaper only because I only wanted the vise and couldn't haul the table. Turned out the buyer was the grandson of the late owner and wanted it for sentimental reasons and would not part it. I ended up getting an absolute squated truckload of "good" scrap right after because I spotted the Columbian mount plate in a barrel of scrap that they threw in a whole wall full in with for around $20. I have made money with some of it and still have much to use and that mount bracket still hangs on my wall waiting for a post vise in need. 

I have been to auctions where the lowest bid they will take is above what I would pay. May only be $5. But other times I would only personally pay $1. For the item/s. 

I like a good honest auctioneer that works with the crowd at large. Makes the whole thing more fun. 

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I'd look the anvils over, pick out the top 3 anvils and decide not to bid on them.  They'll go high if there's other people there who are knowledgeable about anvils.  I'd pick a mid grade anvil that is solid but might be really rusty or have some not so perfect edges (which by the way is not a huge deal as they will get smooth with use or you can flap disk them to touch them up).  No doubt the better anvils will go last if the auctioneer knows anything about them.  

Like others have said, set your price.  Mine is $2 - $3 a pound.  If you overpay, you'll just be starting to get over it when you see a better one at a garage sale for $50.

I also find you do better at auctions where the anvil or blacksmithing equipment doesn't quite go with the bulk of the other stuff.  The interest is in the other stuff and you get the anvil for cheap unless there's another guy thinking the same thing, then it's just a matter of a bidding war.

 

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On 2/27/2018 at 12:31 PM, Daswulf said:

Another good thing to pay attention to is how the auctioneer operates. They are sure all different. Some end quick and some seem to wait forever in closing the deal. There are good and bad auctioneers. I like to try to pay attention to other bidders as well to get a read on them. 

I would add to watch the callers closely.  Most auctions have callers to spot bids from the floor because the auctioneer can't watch everyone well.  Although most auction houses are honest, a  few are not.  Sometimes the callers will "call" a bid from an invisible bidder for the purpose of upping the price when they think someone else is hot enough to up that fake bid.  This tends to happen only at crowded auctions where it's harder to spot Mr. invisible.

Rarely, they'll have shills among the buyers to do the same thing but that's nearly impossible to spot.   

So...keep an eye on not only the auctioneer but the callers.  If anything looks hinky, it's time to bail.  Again, most places are honest but knowing a couple of the dishonest tricks is important.

Oh...and they virtually all bundle some lots to put garbage with a good item.  That's not dishonest, it's simply standard practice.  You get to toss the trash for them.

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I have been an auctioneer for about 40 years. Most houses are relatively honest depending on what you consider honest. If the auctioneer has a minimum bid to work with you can be fairly certain thAt there will be bids coming from the air until the bid at least gets close to the minimum. If the minimum is not met the auctioneer can declare a "no sale" but more likely puts the item back on the sellers number and no one knows. In reputable houses if the seller buys it back they will pay a fairly handsome no sale fee.  A good auctioneer will always have a "first ask" that is what he or she would view as a best price for the item,. They nearly always then work down until the find money or are what they call hooked on. I believe that bidding quickly and with confidence can sometimes keep some would be bidders out of the mix. Bid till your done and quit. 

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Horse; could you explain the background of the "buyer's premium"?  I've been going to Auctions for about 50 years now and never quite understood when that snuck in the back door. Would Auctioneers get mad if you called out your bid as "XYZ minus 15%"?

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I work for and with auctioneers that do not use a buyers premium. My mentor swears he will never and considers it a blight on the industry. It is my opinion that auction houses that hold weekly auctions that must maintain a site every day struggled with the entire load being on the seller. On low ticket items the seller is often coughing up as much as 30 percent of the final bid.  Most work with a sliding scale. I hate the buyers premium but can in some ways understand how we got there. And to answer your question the would be mad at you. They just would t take your bid.  

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I salute you! It's imposition was a major reason I stopped going to Auctions save on very rare occasions. It's funny I have a twice yearly (before planting and after harvest) farm implement and other stuff auction 2 miles from my shop that I don't go to any more. Turns out that the NM anvil collector is related to the folks running it so smithing stuff generally didn't make it to sale day.

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TP - That burns my biscuit as well that stuff never surfaces because the auctioneer knows of someone looking for that particular thing.  To me, you are either a picker fulfilling orders to your customers as you roam through barns and estates, or you are an auctioneer.  I have relatives that are auctioneers and their common statement is "Well if you want that stuff come to my auctions and bid."  I've also heard of the choicest stuff never making it to auction because the auctioneers save it for themselves or buy it outright from the sellers / take it off their fee.

I'm with you TP on the buyer's premium.  It's like an additional tax on an item that was already charged sales tax.  They've got you, because you've already bought the item.  I think the buyers premium should only attach to things that went too low, not every thing people paid up for.

 

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