This article has been taken from our archives. It first appeared in the December 1977 issue of The Bermudian. It appears exactly as it did originally.
Glimpses of the action at Rural Hill, the largest local auction in recent memory – two well-known auctioneers presiding:
Auctioneer: “Lot 165. One antique china figurine ‘Woman with Donkey.’ The winning bidder will have the option to buy at a similar price, Lot 166, which is one antique china figurine of, strange as it may seem, ‘Man with Donkey.’”
Auctioneer: “Lot 191. One carved ivory ‘Ship of Happiness’”. A bidder (and veteran sailor) muttering to himself: ‘Junk of the Chinese persuasion – damn’ thing can’t even go to windward.'” (It sold for the absurd price of $1,875.)
Auctioneer: “Lot 384. ‘The Painted Spur-Foul.’ BELCH! . . . it’s the sandwiches these girls serve.” (The Spur-Fowl went for $80).
Auctioneer, during the bidding for a fine old Bermuda painting. “Five-fifty, five-fifty – can I have five-fifty – five hundred and fifty dollars. I have five-fifty – can I have six . . . Oh man! It’s rainin’ sixes, and I thought the cricket season was over.”
Auctioneer: “Lot 409. Antique china figure, ‘Boy Leaning on a Barrel’ . . looks like he’s been taking some rum out of it, too.”
Auctioneer: “Sold to Mrs – um, um – I’m in trouble now. All I can think of is your maiden name.”
Auctioneer: “Lot 570 is an ammunition box. We’ve had our military expert check it and he tells me it’s empty – so we are able to offer it for sale.”
During the bidding for a pair of antique candlesticks: “Can I have a hundred? Can I have a hundred from the fellow shaped something like me at the back? Thank you sir – now can I have one-twenty from the slightly thinner chap on his left?”
Of a Victorian stoneware hot-water bottle: “I imagine if you roll over on this tonight, you’ll know about it.” Winning bidder Mrs. Josie Wilkinson Gould: “It’s to keep my momma’ warm.”
Holding up an old cavalry sword to be sold next, the auctioneer was heard to remark: “Not quite as rusty as the one I’ve been issued with.”
Auctioneer: “The next six lots are groups of old lead toy soldiers. I used to have some when I was a kid, but like a fool I went and melted them down for fishing weights.” (One group alone went for nearly two hundred dollars.)
Auctioneer: “Lot 921 is what everybody should have. Nine spring-loaded candle holders with six sterling shades. Is that a bid Mr. Watlington or are you just swatting flies?”
During heated bidding for an old Bermuda map: “I have twelve-eighty, can I have twelve-ninety? I have twelve-ninety, can I have thirteen-ten? We don’t like to stop on an unlucky number.”
Auctioneer: “Lot 951 is ‘Two Jamaican Water Jugs.’ It’s been asked if they’ve been checked out by the narcotics squad. All I know is that the girls who brought them over to the table a minute ago were singing!”