Saturday, 4 February 2012

A disappointing auction and an offer you can’t refuse

Don’t get me wrong, the book auction was far from disappointing but being the under bidder on so many lots was demoralising. It has never happened before! We usually arrive with a list of the lots we’re interested in, decide on a price, bid and return with the rewards. Yesterday, however, it all went horribly wrong.

The signs were there as soon as we arrived, the car park was full, the coffee shop was full (ordering a bacon sandwich took a superhuman effort of will) and viewing was more a case of push and shove than “excuse me please!” Still, nothing ventured nothing gained, coffee drunk, bidding number in hand, spirits high, hang on a minute – what’s this? Where did the bank of telephones come from – and why is every single one of them manned? Why are there so many bidders? Standing room only – move along please ladies and gents.

No time to worry, our first lot is being called. We've decided a bid of £300 to £400 pounds should be fine. What’s that?  Bids on the book starting at £500, are you having a laugh?  The lot went on to make £770, and that was just the start, several lots with a guide price of £40-£60 made well over £400. Is this a case of investors putting their money into rare books? We have no idea but we very much hope it doesn’t become the norm

There were two books we really wanted, one a beautiful copy of Peter Pan illustrated by F. D. Bedford and the other a 1947 edition of the land of Green Ginger, we lost out on both.

As a way of cheering ourselves up we decided to make you an offer, or more precisely, ask you to make us an offer. All items on our website priced at £20 or more are now open to sensible offers.  Is there something you like? Make an offer! Browse through the stock at March House Books send an email telling us what you would like to buy and how much you would like to pay.  Don't forget to make it a sensible offer because we can still so no! Have fun. OFFER CLOSED MARCH 2012.


  1. Hi Barbara - that can be so tough - I've lost out on online bids for paper dolls, or worse - original illustrations of which there are only one of a kind, and it can be such an awful disappointing experience.

    And then - just when I think that I will never be able to get what I'm looking for (at a price I can afford) something comes up that no one else seems to have realised exists and I can snap it up far more easily than expected.

    I guess that's what makes this type of thing so addictive! (and frustrating and rewarding ....)

  2. barbaraannefisher4 February 2012 at 14:00

    Hi Sharon, it’s great ‘talking’ to someone who understands! I am going to take a leaf out of your book and see if I can find the two books I especially wanted at another auction or maybe online. I was very tempted to go on bidding but if I had I would now be worrying about spending far too much money, so all’s well that ends well. I agree with you about it being addictive, frustrating and rewarding. I’m sure I will still be searching auctions and book fairs when I’m long past my sell by date!

  3. You are so right that the trick is knowing when to stop! It is so easy to get carried away, especially when you really want something. Hope you find them somewhere else - they sound really special.

  4. Days like that are depressing when they happen. Luckily, they don't happen more often. It is too bad that you weren't able to get the books you wanted- but it is so important that you were prepared with what you were willing to offer. I hope the next one will be more successful! Thanks for the offer on your site. I look forward to checking everything out!

  5. You were very sensible to know when to stop bidding; so many people don't!

  6. Oh, sorry to hear that, Barbara. That Peter Pan book sounds nice. But you're right in your response to Sharon: you might find it (and the other book) at another auction. :) I looked through your catalogue, and found two books I'm really keen in (but they're under $20 GBP, so I'm just going to order them directly)!

    I didn't know book auctions are so popular in Great Britain.

  7. I am so sorry this has happened. How strange it was so crowded.

  8. barbaraannefisher5 February 2012 at 08:35

    Hello Claudine
    The Peter Pan book was beautiful; if I do manage to find another copy, I will share some pictures on the blog. Thank you so much for ordering two of our books, you were quite right in saying they were under the offer value, but we have been able to reduce the shipping by a small amount. If you look in your Paypal account, you will find the refund.
    Book auctions are always very popular and well attended, especially if they have been advertised on the internet, but I’ve never been to one that was so crowded before.

  9. barbaraannefisher5 February 2012 at 09:32

    You’re right, days like that don’t happen very often; that's probably why I felt I had to tell everyone about it! At least, I’m not kicking myself for spending more than I could afford. I hope you enjoy looking around the site.

  10. barbaraannefisher5 February 2012 at 09:37

    Hello Rhia, I had to sit on my hand to stop myself from bidding. I was still nodding my head up and down, but the auctioneer had the sense to ignore me! I felt quite pleased with myself but am still sad about the Peter Pan and Land of green ginger so will keep searching for them.

  11. barbaraannefisher5 February 2012 at 14:15

    There were some really unusual and scarce items in the sale, and it had been advertised on the internet, so that would explain the number of people. Not to worry, there will always be another sale, and besides, I enjoy the searching almost as much as the finding. Thank you for your commiserations.

  12. Thanks for the kind discount on shipping, Barbara!

  13. barbaraannefisher6 February 2012 at 18:59

    Dear Claudine, thank you for buying the books, it was very sweet of you. They were shipped by airmail today (Monday 6th) so I hope you will have them very soon.

  14. I agree- better that you aren't kicking yourself for spending too much! I am loving looking around your site. So many treasures. My funds are tight right now- but my birthday is coming up soon... you never know. :)

  15. barbaraannefisher7 February 2012 at 09:03

    Thanks Jess, I’m glad you like the blog. Happy soon Birthday!


I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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