Auctions. A growth business now

South Coast Auction here in Orange County has massive auctions every Wednesday. The back building has huge amounts of office furniture and equipment. A side area features all manner of weird stuff, often the contents of abandoned storage units. The main auction has furniture, collectibles, and antiques – all kinds, and lots of it. What do you want? They probably have it. Cheap too.

Business appears to be booming for them. Much of what they sell is from distressed sources like bankruptcies or liquidations. There’s certainly plenty of that going around now.

In the past month I saw twenty new side panels, grills, and bumpers for Saturns sell for $20, brand new sofas for $150, designer furniture sets for $400, and a double padded queen mattress and box set still in the factory wrapper for $450. Some collectible signed glassware went for $300 each tonight and I bet the dealer that bought it will triple his money. Someone else brought a virtually new Yamaha baby grand piano for $3,000. There’s usually coins, sport cards, Disney memorabilia, and other collectibles too.

There’s the pallets full of stuff from someone’s storage locker who stopped paying rent. You can’t look into all the boxes, just what’s visible. They usually go for $20-50. While there are certainly great deals there, you can’t help but realize the merchandise is often coming from cratered businesses and people who went broke.

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