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How to buy home decorations at auctions

Domino magazine shares some shopping tips so you can get in the bidding.
/ Source: TODAY

If you think auctions are for art fiends and rich folks, think again. Anyone can shop at them for home décor and house ware items. Tom Delavan, Domino magazine’s editor-at-large, gave TODAY’s Natalie Morales a lesson in shopping at auctions. Tom shares some of his tips on auction lingo and some information on where to find an auction house in your area:

Auction lingo:

  • An object or group of objects offered for sale as one unit.
  • The minimum price the seller is willing to accept. This amount is confidential but will not exceed the low estimate listed in the catalog.
  • A term used when the bidding for a lot does not reach its reserve. The lot remains the property of the seller, and the auctioneer says, “Pass.”
  • The final bid price, whether the lot is sold or unsold, announced by the auctioneer when the gavel is brought down.
  • The listed range that reflects experts’ projected price at auction, based on the item’s condition, rarity, quality and provenance, as well as on recent comparable sales.

Top regional auctions:
BostonSkinner: At this Antiques Roadshow regular, look for European and American furniture and decorative-art

ChicagoLeslie Hindman Auctioneers: The Midwest institution has worthy sales of American, European and 20th-century furniture and decorative

Los Angeles and San FranciscoBonhams & Butterfields: Zoom in on sales of European and American furniture and decorative

New YorkSotheby’s: Its Arcade sales court price-conscious homeowners and feature objects and

Tepper Galleries:They hold sales every two weeks, with amazing

Doyle New York: Known for celebrity estate

PhiladelphiaFreeman’s; Suss out estate sales and those of English and Continental furniture and decorative arts at America’s oldest

(Note: Check Web sites for sale dates.)For more information on shopping at auctions, check out Domino magazine’s Web site at