Thoughts at the Auction


Morgan’s been working Saturdays at a nearby auction house in Clendenin.

“I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Just kidding. Morgan always knows what she’s doing. I’m the one who doesn’t really know what she’s doing. She works in the back, organizing or something, connecting the tags to the buyers after each item is sold.
Her boyfriend works for the auction house full-time. On auction days, he’s one of the guys holding up the heavy stuff during the auction. The rest of the time, he works cleaning out houses and moving the auction items.
He’s to the right, standing by a chest in the above photo.

I took a little drive over there with Morgan’s dad on Saturday to check out the auction and see Morgan and Justin at work. The day’s auction was from the Huffman estate in Hinton, WV. It included all sorts of antique furniture, glass, collectibles, quilts, and so on.
The first thing I saw were these old canning jars.
I reminded myself that I didn’t really need any more. There were also a lot of old glass medicine bottles.
I don’t know why I like antique glass things so much, but I have to restrain myself around it all the time.
My mother had a mink stole and when I was a kid I would open the coat closet just to look at the little feet. I was fascinated. I don’t think these kinds of stoles are really in style anymore….

Hide the children’s eyes!
This old camera was really cool.
These quilts were going for from $30 to several hundred dollars each.
I loved the antique couch.
I was very tempted by this pie safe.
In the bizarre category, there was this electric chair that someone bought to put on their front porch.
I didn’t even get an auction number and wasn’t there to buy, but if I could have bought anything, it would have the Franciscan Desert Rose dishes, which were already gone by the time I got there. When I was growing up, my mother had a set of Franciscan dishes–in the Apple pattern. Franciscan dishes were handcrafted and very popular particularly in the 1940s, which would have been around the timeframe that my mother was setting up housekeeping and stocking her dish cabinet. We ate every meal (other than holiday meals, when she got out the china) on those Franciscan Apple dishes. You can see pictures of the dish patterns here. There’s also an Ivy pattern that is pretty, too. I always loved the Desert Rose pattern the most, and they are close enough in style that they remind me of those Apple dishes. One of these days, I’m going to get a set. They just speak home to me, as did a lot of things at the auction. It’s one of the fun things about going to an auction, even if you don’t buy a thing. It’s like a little walk back through time into your parents’ or grandparents’ homes.

Makes me think of that song, If heaven wasn’t so far away. It may be, but the auction isn’t. And if you make sure to not let them give you a number card, it won’t cost you a thing!


  1. JLSummers says:

    My mother also loved and used the Franciscan Desert Rose dishes, seems I remember her having some of the Franciscan apple pattern also.
    They loved auctions and attended them weekly for years.
    Our favorite auctioneer by far is Rick Pearson. He has a auction house at Mason WV and has always been my favorite when it comes to selling before a crowd.
    Rick has a web site and posts pictures along with items that are going to be up for bid.
    Thanks for another interesting story from Chickens in the Road. :pawprint:

  2. PV Grammy says:

    I too am drawn to antique glass things. I have a few old creamer bottles, but I love to look at all the old glass in the antique shops.

  3. marrypoppinz says:

    Everything you said (and photo’d) is the reason I don’t go to auctions…I cannot restrain myself!

  4. holstein woman says:

    I love auctions and when I can I go, but my problem stands 6′ tall and gets a number. I can restrain myself, but dh buys.
    I have attended since I was a child. We used to get salt and pepper shakers in animal ceramics as a child, but someone would be walking around selling them out of a box.
    My grandmother’s dishes were the ones that came in the tide laundry soap boxes. We were poor dirt farmers.

  5. OregonJoy says:

    I have collected way too many American kitchen primitives over the last 50 years. I have shelves of them, boxes of them, and displays in my big house of them. Anything newer than 1940 doesn’t interest me, but butter churns, flat irons, old canning jars, old fishing creels, etc. and I drool. One of my favorite things to do is to go to an estate auction or an antique store, pretend I have 500.00 to spend, and walk around, deciding what I’d buy….fun way to spend an hour or two.

  6. Granma2girls says:

    Love that Franciscan dinnerware! I’ve never seen that around here. It’s very nostalgic and quite pretty. I love old glassware too. I had to stop going to our local thrift stores. It was just too tempting. Even .50 for a cornflower bud vase….where would I put it? It’s just too much stuff! But I enjoy the reminiscing, it’s fun!

  7. jodiezoeller says:

    My mom had Franciscan Desert Rose which I inherited. I’ve added a few serving pieces in the past 20 years from antique stores. My next step for it is to gift it to my younger sister (11 yrs younger). She was just 12 when my Mom died and will enjoy having the china. I do love anything old and have to limit my visits to thrift and antique stores. I’ve not been to an auction, that would be awesome. I inherited a few keepsakes like an antique ice box made of solid oak with porcelain coated metal interiors. I love it and keep dishes in it. I bought some antique pieces from my friend’s cousin and Uncle when they were cleaning out his house to sell it. I love my 1/2 desk 1/2 glass fronted shelves, put it in my bedroom. And I love the lighted curio cabinet that I got from the Peters also.

  8. DeniseS says:

    Thank you for the link. I clicked on to view the dishes and their patterns. Once I saw them, I immediately recognized them from friends’ homes when I was young. Beautiful dish patterns. Hope you find some to have as your very own.

  9. Joell says:

    I aggree with Oreganjoy, I too have collect kitchen prims for over 50 years, our kitchen has not new except appriances, I love looking at magazines such as Country living that show using antiques. Our home looks like an old farm house and I love it, I never tire of auction and flea markets, even though I dont buy anymore, I still love the fun and excitment of a good auction.

  10. whaledancer says:

    Another fan of Franciscan ware, here. My aunt and uncle had the ivy pattern. Did you ever notice that on the I Love Lucy show, the Ricardos had the ivy pattern of Franciscan ware?

    I would have been in trouble at that auction. Well, except for the electric chair. That’s just creepy.

  11. ibpallets (Sharon B.) says:

    What happened to your momma’s dishes, Suzanne?

    I spent yesterday at an auction- I bought things like old farm equipment..plows and such to add to my flower beds.

    Going to auctions is one of my favorite things to do, but like you, I have to restrain myself when it comes to glassware…and a lot of other things too! 😀

  12. ladybird_1959 says:

    DH and I went in March or early April to that auction house and didn’t restrain. I also got to meet Justin. We had a great time and bought some GREAT stuff. I bought a whole row of stuff from the building across the way and you wouldn’t believe the stuff I got. I bought two boxes for $5.00 each and then the rest of the row for $5.00. There was a book in one of the boxes a guy wanted and I sold it to him for $10.00, so I only had $5 in about 25 boxes. What I was really after in those boxes was 2 pressure cookers. One of them was bigger than any I’ve ever seen!

  13. Chicken Crossing says:

    I really enjoy auction too! I like to just sit and ponder about the people who use to use these items. Picture Ma baking pies all day and putting them in that pie safe or the ladies sitting and doing their needle work on the antique couch. Life may not have been easier but it was simpler and I am quite enchanted by it. Thanks for sharing the link to your childhood dishes. They are beautiful! I can see why you would want a set.

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