When we started setting up for the auction it was like every other item, we unpacked it, cataloged it, took a picture and assigned a lot number. Then when the absentee bids started coming in and two veteran antique dealers told us that they had never seen one before, we started to realize we had something pretty special.
Then late one night, I received a message through Facebook from a man named Keith. He wrote that he was interested in bidding on the sign and was wondering if we did absentee bidding. I replied to his message and told him that my husband and Harry Lahr Auctions auctioneer, Matt, would be contacting him the next morning. After the usual questions about condition and terms of sale, Keith placed his bid. The next morning, Keith contacted us again and said that he was very interested in the sign and that he wanted to increase his maximum bid to ensure that he would be the top bidder.
Last Saturday, it was the day of the auction. I circled lot number 229 on my auction listing to remind myself to watch the sign sell. A couple hours later it was time. I stopped what I was working on and turned my attention to the auction block. Matt announced the item and that the opening bid was $1,000. I hear a collective exhale from the crowd in surprise. The bidding began and after some back and forth the bidding ended with a final bid of $1,600. I knew that Keith was the high bidder. One of our ring men brought the sign back to me and I put it on the shelf in the office to keep it safe. As people came up to the counter to check out, a few of them commented on the sign and asked where it was going.
After the auction, it was time to call the absentee bidders and let them know what they bought. Matt said, “I want you to call Keith and tell him that he got the sign.” We located Keith's information and I dialed his phone number. After a couple of rings Keith answered the phone-
Me: “Hi Keith?”
Me: “This is Lisa from Harry Lahr Auctions.”
I could almost hear him holding his breath over the phone.
Me: “I am calling to let you know that you were the high bidder today on the Diamond Dyes tin litho sign.”
And there was silence on the other end of the phone….
Keith: “O’ Lisa, if I was there right now I would hug you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much!”
I could hear the emotion in his voice. He proceeded to tell me that he was working today on a big order for a customer, otherwise he would have loved to attend our auction in person. He told me that he has been happily married for over thirty years and together him and his wife, Nancy, loved to collect general store items and that he planned to give the sign to her as a birthday present. We chatted for a few more minutes and made arrangements to ship the sign to him.
Keith and Nancy- I wish you many more years of happiness together. I wish you many wonderful days shopping for more general store items together that are just as special as the Diamond Dyes A Busy Day in Dollville sign. I wish you many more anniversaries together.
Nancy- I wish you a wonderful birthday and many, many more to come.
I thank you both for the memory of telling Keith about the Diamond Dyes sign, it is a moment that I hope I never forget.
That one special item….