I attended an auction at one of my favorite auction houses on Friday evening, Dave Miller's in St. Cloud. Life on the tundra has returned to its abysmal pre-global warming days with 8-10 inches of heavy wet slushy snow on April 11th. Getting to and from the auction was the normal harrowing experience of life at a place that is farther north than where most Canadians live. The auction fare was typical household estate stuff with some good, some junk and nothing spectacular. The prices, however, were out of this world. Many pieces of 1970's fiberboard furniture achieved prices that outpaced those reached by real antiques at other recent auctions.
The room was packed and the money was flying. Given the life or death driving conditions and the falling economy, the entire auction had a surreal feel. A 1980's Italian pottery drink pitcher and mugs for $95. A marginal 1970's print of Venice in a broken frame $65. A nominal wood veneer and glass display cabinet $475. A genuine imported plastic gold framed mirror for $75. It was three hours into the auction and I had spent more on a chicken sandwich than on any items auctioned. I ended up buying a 1967 bright yellow Italian plastic pop bead covered purse. And the damn thing doesn't even match my shoes!
In light of the results of the auction, please don't tell me that there isn't any money out there floating around. Discretionary spending, bordering on the absurd, was alive and well, at least for one night, here on the tundra.