This Years Boy Scout Auction Items

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The chessboard went for $300.00. The box went for $525.00. A small jewelry box went for $50.00. I won't bother making the big box next year - ROI is poor. The auction raised $21,000.00.
http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1/onlinestorage/box1.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1/onlinestorage/box2.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1/onlinestorage/box3.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1/onlinestorage/chessboard1.jpg
Regards,
Tom Watson http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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Beautiful work Tom. Don't let Oboma know, he will put a tax on this. Warren
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Tom Watson wrote:

Nice work (so what else is new? :) ), Tom...
Live or silent auction(s) (or both)? We do one for the local comm. college each year of roughly $30k; not tried the woodworking for craft as items, though; don't know why. Get some quilts and art work some of which does pretty well. I may have to give it a go for next year--donated couple-dozen large rolls of grass hay this year...much less effort particularly since auction timing was such could leave them in field until pickup! :)
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My woodworking club (Northeastern Woodworkers Association), at my request, donated items for the local Scout Council silent auction at the Distinguished Citizen Awards Banquet. I wouldn't say anyone over paid for any of the items.... to the contrary, every item sold at bargain prices. The single biggest problem is people cannot seem to differentiate between one of a kind hand made items and mass produced Chinese imports... Comments and bids reflected Chinese import prices as the benchmark for worth--the fact that it was a fund raiser didn't seem to have any impact on bids. I've come to accept that "general public" auctions are not going to pull the same kinds of sale prices as garnered at an arts and craft fair such as Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair http://www.quailhollow.com /. This as people just don't get it...
John
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On Fri, 27 Nov 2009 16:47:49 -0500, "John Grossbohlin"

Do you really expect many to "get it"? They're not buying art, they're buying function. Maybe.
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Historically, and this year was no different, there are a lot of contrived collectables in the auction (e.g., mass produced sports "paintings" and prints, 9-11 memorials, etc. ), services (e.g., hair cuts, massages, rounds of golf, meals), costume jewelry, and a small number of quality hand made items (quilts, afghans, cutting boards). With the donations from NWA members we had very nice turnings (natural edge, stone inlays), a handcut dovetailed jewelry box, pens, and some solid white oak beverage trays. Bidders "over paid" for golf and meals and universally "under paid" for the hand made items while the "collectables" garnered "about retail" in many cases. It's what people value in that is out of whack.... I think Doug Stowe is right that as a society we've lost the sense of value and the sense for what it takes to make something. See the archives on his Wisdom of the Hands blog...
John
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On Sat, 28 Nov 2009 09:12:53 -0500, "John Grossbohlin"

I won't disagree that many have a misplaced sense of value (witness all the junk sold at "hobby" stores), but in this case I think the venue was all wrong. People weren't expecting to buy heirlooms, rather junk. While those items looked to be fine workmanship, they aren't something I'd buy on the spur of the moment. Heirloom quality stuff I want to be *exactly* what I want because I intend to keep it until I can no longer keep anything.
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krw wrote: ...

If people attend a benefit/fund-raising auction w/ the intent of "buying" anything, then their the ones of whom I was speaking that are going for the wrong purpose/mindset. The expenditure should be viewed as a donation, what comes with it just happens to be the carrot.
--
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If I want to donate I'll give money. I don't want to buy something I don't even want. I think the WW items are the wrong sorts of items for the auction. The buyer and merchandise/seller aren't matched. I like the idea of the craft fair (and donate the proceeds) better. There is a much better chance that a buyer will appreciate the nice work. Perhaps even the same buyer.
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krw wrote: ...

Then you're not the right target for attending a benefit auction... :)
Nothing wrong w/ that; different strokes etc., ...

Hard to tell, I think. How do you know a priori what _would_ be appropriate articles for the charity auction, then?
There are a few items that always do well; others seem to be totally hit-or-miss from year to year as to whether they do well or not.
If you have ideas, I'm all ears; while OT for the rec the auction is the annual largest fund-raiser event and any ideas at all that might improve it would be most appreciated...
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Likely. I don't like junque. I have far too much stored away now and we've done two interstate moves in the past two years. I do appreciate nice things though. We bought Amish bedroom and dining room sets a couple of years ago. The items we're discussing are the sort of thins I would buy, but not very likely in that venue. An auction is only successful when you get a number of like-minded people together (with like items).

Sure, but my point is that such auctions are likely not the best place to sell such things. It may not attract *enough* people who appreciate fine woodworking and that actually want a certain item. The chess board may be a counter-example, though.

From my experience the things that go well are just what was reported here: A night in a nice hotel. A round of golf. Free lunch ;-).
Thinking about it some more, perhaps the chess board was a good one. A lot of people like such things (as do I) and they're generic enough to go with anyone's decor. I like the granite coasters that, IIRC, were discussed a while back here in the wreck. Perhaps with an oiled Walnut case. I may not buy a set but that's the sort of thing that would go. The boxes shown looked to me to be something of almost heirloom quality, something I'd never throw out, whether I grew tired of them or not. They're not something I'd commit to in such an auction.

That makes perfect sense.

It's a tough one, if limited to wood. Turned candlesticks are nice and could go for decent money. Breadboards. End-grain cutting boards. It may be a bit over the top, but TV trays are nice and fairly generic too. I'd have to think a little more about it.
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krw wrote:

Our auctions have a wide range of items depending on what merchants are willing to contribute as well as individuals. Our experience has been that most of the the higher-end furniture items do not bring retail but do sell for moderately good absolute $$ values so that they are significant contributors to the overall bottom line. This is a very small community by most standards so we get something from all of them every year.
We have a few local artisans who do donate annually -- the success of those depends on whether their particular whimsy of the year catches somebody's fancy. In a couple of cases one can count on it being of excellent work like Tom's but does it catch somebody to bid it up or not is a toss-up.
All the low-cost items do go to the silent auction tables; many merchants just do the certificates for lube-job's or something similar. In a lot of ways we'd prefer to "just say no", but one has the problem particularly in such a small community of not wanting to do that, either. :(

Perhaps; I was thinking of the single-item sort of thing. I just saw on local news (local to the "big city" of Wichita, anyway, which is as "local" as our TV gets even tho it's 200+ miles :) ) the annual crafts show didn't do particularly well this year yesterday...

Indeed, that seems universal. The highest item last couple of years has been the invitation for a mystery dinner hosted by the college president and his wife (it's the college Foundation, after all).

That last is an interesting viewpoint I'd not thought of previously -- thanks. Have to consider how/whether the philosophy/mindset/psychology it represents could possibly be exploited??? :)
Thanks for the thoughts/feedback...now back to our regularly-scheduled broadcast...
--
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Right. The reason they don't bring retail is that they're not exactly what the buyer wanted. Most likely the reason they sell at all is because it is a charity. The odds of bringing a real buyer for one piece is small. Two is exceedingly small.

That's not surprising. Again, an auction where art is known to be sold and the proceeds donated would likely bring far more to the charity. Not as fun, perhaps, but reality.

Perfectly understandable. However, money is still money. I've seen such auctions where some never had a bid. Embarrasing.

Also understandable. People are reigning in their purchases. The good news, at least for the long term, is that consumer debt seems to be going down.

That is a good one. Not my cup of tea, but I imagine it is for a large number of people, SWMBO included. ;-)

I hope I haven't been too negative, just reporting what goes through my mind at such things. Even when I'm browsing in stores I think about whether I'd like the item in a year, or ten. Some things are never tiring. Those I'm willing to pay dearly for (like $1600 for a quilt), but not without a lot of thought.
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*snip*

What would happen if you had a video or a few snap shots of a hand made item actually being constructed? It doesn't have to be a how-to video like NYW, but just a "here's what we did" in 2-3 minutes like most of those "transformation" TV shows.
Puckdropper
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On 29 Nov 2009 18:04:41 GMT, Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote:

Great idea! It would show that it's not a trivial piece and certainly not made in China. A video may be a bit tacky, though.
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Puckdropper wrote: ...

That is a good suggestion...one thing we did new this year that seemed to help for the live auction was to set up large-screen TVs on either side to display the current bit item...
Even a few still shots might well help quite a lot w/ the presentation to flash thru w/ the overall view. One thing again here is most know most everybody else; seeing them in action might be incentive...
--
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"dpb" wrote:

Including an "as built" video with the item should provide something unique to a craft project being auctioned.
Should be worth at least $100 extra for the item.
Lew
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John Grossbohlin wrote: ...

It's a general problem, agreed...we've been doing the Foundation Auction event for nearly 20 years now and still are having difficulty w/ generating the "it's a fundraiser" mentality throughout the audience. Many still come looking for bargains as if it were an estate auction.
OTOH, a neighboring community college and at least one four-year school that have been at it for 30 or more years have seemed to actually begun to win that battle by persistence.
I think it _can_ be done but persistence is the key...
--
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Then it is an education problem. The MC/Auctioneer needs to be educated as to the value of the items and he or she then needs to educate the bidders. The bidders also need to be educated as to the value to the beneficiary organization. I have seen a charity auction sell a Bridge City square for five times its retail value. Somebody needs to get the bidders pumped and work their way up to the big stuff.
If there is no MC/Auctioneer and Silent, it is a complete crap shoot. Might as well set up a booth.
People like to be wooed. People like to compete. People like to be known for their largesse.
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It's a silent auction...
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