It's auction week at Garth's, Saturday being our annual Memorial Day auction, part of which (for four years now) has been devoted to objects from the Ohio River Valley.
Today also happens to be our monthly walk-in appraisal day. Between the two events, it's a great time to "people watch" in the marketplace. The saleroom is full of dealers and collectors of all kinds....trophy hunters, price buyers (folks who go after things if they're cheap, sometimes disparagingly called "bottom feeders" but these folks sometimes walk away with a real gem that was merely overlooked), and serious students of material culture. We also get the previewers who like to ask a zillion questions, sometimes because they genuinely want the answers, and sometimes simply to show off their knowledge and/or stump you.
And then there are the folks who bring their treasures to be evaluated by our appraisers. You never know what is going to walk through the door...we look at LOTS of handpainted china that is "real old and valuable" (according to grandma), but we also see some very interesting stuff (like a 17th century Tibetan bronze buddha). Yep, every month there is one person who KNOWS what their object is and when we disagree, they KNOW that they are right and we are wrong. But for the most part, we get nice folks who just want to know what something is.
The record price for an object brought in during our monthly appraisal day is just over $43,000 (the aforementioned buddha). It's only a matter of time before something eclipses that....