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How to Shop Estate Auctions for Vintage

Hi there!

So this is article 2 in the series where I share some of my favorite places and tips to find all kinds of vintage goodness! You can see the first article HERE where I explain how I shop the Facebook Marketplace. But today we’re going to venture a bit further than the comfort of our own living rooms and take a look at another place where I love to shop for vintage. As you can tell from the title this article is about “How Shop Estate Auctions for Vintage”.

Back Story

Before we get started let me share a little back story with you. I’ve been shopping estate auctions for around 25+ years. Yep you read that right! Lol! You see, I was lucky enough that my dad started taking me to them young. He loved all the old things! I remember many a Saturday morning him waking me up early to head to our town’s fairgrounds, where many auctions I attend are still held, just so we could “see what they had” 🙂

I may not have always loved going then because getting up early to stand around and look at a bunch of old stuff isn’t exactly a kid’s idea of fun, but obviously something stuck 😉  Now I look back at those mornings with such fondness and appreciation. I’m not only grateful for the memories with my dad, but also that he passed on his love of vintage and getting a good deal 😉

We have auctions at our fairgrounds about once per month and you can usually find me there with a cup of coffee and my bidding number ready!

How to Shop Estate Auctions for Vintage

Auctions: Where Can I Find Them?

So here’s the really cool thing! To find auctions I know I’ll be interested in going to ahead of time I check It’s the BEST because you can search a 30+ mile radius from your zip code, find auctions, their locations, and view pictures of the items they will have! I usually narrow my search results to ‘antiques and collectibles’ because that’s what I’m after!

The Best Places to Find Auctions

I’m lucky to live smack dab in the heartland! We’re surrounded by cornfields and old farms here in Southern Illinois so farmhouse decor at auctions is pretty common. If you live in the city I would look for more rural locations to have a better chance at finding awesome vintage AND getting a good deal on it!


How to Shop Estate Auctions for Vintage

How to Shop Estate Auctions for Vintage

How to Shop Estate Auctions for Vintage: I’m Here Now What?

I can’t speak for all auctions, only the ones I’ve personally attended, but this is how they’ve all worked. When you get there you’ll need to find the location where you can get an auction bidding number. For this you’ll need your driver’s license. They just take down your info in case you bid and ditch lol!

Once you have your auction number you can find where the auctioneer will begin. I like to get there early to check stuff out, and some will allow you to come and check things out in person the night before even. Most of the ones I’ve been to have 2 auctioneers working simultaneously at opposite sides of the room. This makes it difficult to keep track of everything they’re auctioning. Usually I’m by myself, but if you check our their site ahead and see several things you know you’ll want I recommend bringing a buddy so you can tag team it!

**Another tip** I like to make a list on the back side bottom portion of my auction bidding number card of things I want to bid on and then I put stars by the things I want the most. This helps me stay focused when the bidding starts.

How to Bid

So y’all know I shop for vintage an antiques a lot, right? Well because of that I usually have a pretty good idea what something is worth or what it will go for in an antique store. Personally when I’m at an auction I’m not there to pay antique store prices. I’m there to get a deal. I try to always have a maximum bid number in my head that I won’t go over when the bidding starts. I do this because it’s easy to get carried away in the excitement and overbid or overspend.

Bidding on things at auctions is the MOST FUN EVER! It’s seriously so so exciting when you’re bidding against someone and even if you’r not! Lol! Because if you’re not then you know you’ll get a great deal! Speaking of see the crocks in the tablescape above? They were just such a case. I paid $4-5 each for them bidding against no one and it was awesome! Did you know Ed calls me the crazy crock lady? Well it might be true! Lol! Crocks are one favorite things to buy at auction because it’s where I always get the best deal! Keep reading to find out other things I’ve bought at auctions!

See more of our sunroom HERE

How to Shop Estate Auctions for Vintage


**See all the details about our new sink and countertops!


How to Shop Estate Auctions for Vintage

How to Shop Estate Auctions for Vintage: Things I Buy  

A few years ago I started going to auctions to buy and flip furniture to sell. It was a great way to find good deals on old furniture to either paint or leave as is. After Ed and I stopped doing vendor fairs and I was just going to look for myself I stopped buying the bigger pieces of furniture. Simply because I haven’t found any big ones at auction that I just had to have for our home 🙂

I would say that lately my favorite finds at auctions have been the things I collect. I’m not a hoarder but I do collect several things. That’s probably a whole different article entirely lol! But to give a few examples I’m always hunting for vintage scales, ironstone, books, cutting boards, wooden boxes, and rolling pins. Oh and did I mention crocks? Lol! These are all things that most auctions I attend locally have and I can usually get awesome deals on them!

How to Shop Estate Auctions for Vintage

How to Shop Estate Auctions for Vintage

How to Shop Estate Auctions for Vintage

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and hopefully will take aways some tips and tricks on how to shop estate auctions for vintage! I loved sharing this with y’all because I seriously LOVE going to auctions! If you’ve never been I highly recommend it! Find one, scope it out, and get in the bidding game! I guarantee you’ll be hooked!

If you decide to go let me know and if you’re an avid auction goer I’d love to know your favorite thing to bid on!

Take care and happy vintage hunting!

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