Safely home now and exhausted, as you might imagine. I know there were bids from many countries the first day and wondering how many countries the second day, and I would love to find out. Unfortunately for me, the auctioneers are not allowed to share the bidder information with me but wish I knew all the countries involved and would love to know who bought which lots, if the new owners are willing to share. Also, if you want to tell me the story or idea of how you plan to use items, it would be fun and I would love to know your thoughts. If you would care to do that privately, please write to me at email@example.com and it will be completely confidential. I guess I am just nosy, but it’s really because then I can imagine the future of these treasures and even which country they will dwell in. I will always have a fondness for each and every miniature or dolls house.
The whole auction process was very interesting to watch, and it was a funny feeling because I was the only one in the room without a bidding paddle; of course, I'm not allowed to buy back anything. I've been to many auctions in the past, miniature and full size, but it was never for my own collection.
Before anything else, I have to say I am so impressed with professionalism of everyone at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, (hereinafter called LHA for convenience), along with their friendliness. I felt I was being coddled, which is a very nice feeling indeed! Firstly, I was picked up at the airport by Ali Winters, the young woman who was the Account Executive on this auction. I've worked along with her for months and even more so with Corbin Horn, in Decorative and Fine Arts as well as Julie Parker in the Palm Beach office. Then, once I arrived at the showroom on Tuesday afternoon, everyone recognized me from the catalog picture and everywhere I went, there were smiling faces and big greetings. It is a large staff, so it was a funny feeling with everyone recognizing me and me not knowing most of the faces.
When I walked in, I snuck up behind Molly Cromwell and Dominick Manella, who were there previewing the auction items and writing up their lists of wants. Molly was my roommate at the hotel (and she made a very good roommate!), which was quite a lovely, old building in a very nice area of downtown Chicago. As a former New Yorker, I would equate the area to New York's Fifth Avenue, with the better stores and restaurants nearby, but that wasn't an interest or goal for this trip. I attended the auction both days and ate meals with friends, no more than that. No sightseeing, as I've seen the minis in museums there, so I didn't take an extra day to view. I did hear that Colleen Moore's Dolls House (castle) had been cleaned and refurbished. I think it’s open again to the public, had heard it had been closed for a long time.
Molly and Dominick got to Chicago earlier in the day than I and she checked in to the hotel first. Molly had spent the prior week at the NAME National, and I don’t know where she gets her energy! When I arrived at the hotel later, I discovered the LHA crew had sent a beautiful fruit platter and Corbin and Ali gave me a gift of a huge and very heavy book called “Chicago.” It showed black and white historical pictures of the buildings in the city, quite lovely, and I was thrilled. Obviously, they know my passion for history.
Ali ferried our little group from the auction house to hotel and back each day, so that was another treat which I hadn't expected. Everyone I spoke with about how they got into the auction business explained they majored in art history and it was a treat for me to discuss art with lovers of the historical artists. On Tuesday I also previewed the display and made certain requests to better show items, or saw things that might have been missing. They found things quickly and made any adjustments I requested.
Wednesday at 10 a.m. sharp, the auction began and ended about 3:15 p.m. They never stop, just changed auctioneer and spotter every hour or so. There was a panel of people to the right side of the room and three people were working the computers, and they also shifted out every hour or so. Every so often before a very popular item came up, I observed 3 or 4 people quietly arriving where the bank of telephones was, holding on to a phone until a desired item was about to come up. The auctioneer at the podium had a book with all the Absentee bids, and there were many of these bids placed over the past few weeks. During the process, when something came up that was very desired, the auctioneer never faltered going back and forth between the live bidders in the room, the Absentee list, the three computer bid stations and the telephone bids. It was a miracle to me! I know I couldn’t keep track at that very fast pace if I had to do it, amazing. But, they are pros.
There weren’t a lot of people present, but they certainly were out there on the internet and phones. It was amazing how auctions have changed over the years. I think it is going to come to a point where nobody will attend the venue and only the above described methods will be in force. I had even heard that some believe the printed catalog may go the way of the dinosaurs. I was very happy to have a hard copy of the catalog in front of me as I tried to write down how much each lot went for and to which buyer source. That didn’t tell me who bid, just the source. It is kept completely anonymous. The next day was more of the same with certain lots getting applause and cheers in the room on both days.
Overall, I am very pleased with the outcome and can totally recommend Leslie Hindman Auctioneers to anyone who is contemplating a similar auction in their future. It is the way to go! As I’ve mentioned before, this legitimizes the miniature world and keeps collectors in the know regarding the worth of their treasures. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on this fact alone. It was a very exciting few days! Do get in touch with me or the LHA staff if you have any questions, I would be glad to help.
Oh, a travel hint when flying, try not to change airplanes in Atlanta Hartsfield. I flew on Delta and that is their hub. My layover between planes on the outbound portion was almost nil and I think I walked about 5 miles to get from one gate to the other. It was awful; I was last onto the airplane. Coming back, I got to the airport very early and went standby so I didn’t have the same 35 minute layover. Such a short time doesn’t work as it’s much too big an airport.