J. Bear Savo

BEHIND THE BLOCK: “She’s like that… a little crazy.”

BEHIND THE BLOCK: “She’s like that… a little crazy.”
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I had set out upon that particular look-see with high hopes. The woman with whom I had spoken over the telephone had promised that her attic was filled with dozens upon dozens of vintage toys from the 1940s through the 1970s, played with, but all retaining their original boxes. Such a stash of playthings is rare, so I wasted no time, making an appointment to inspect her treasure trove of toys a mere two hours after she had called.

I arrived at the home and walked up to the front entrance. A cacophony of construction was booming from within. I waited for a break in the whine of power tools and rung the bell. A moment later, a man opened the front door. He was tall and very hairy. The yellow hard hat that he was wearing was too small to cover his curly mullet and clashed terribly with his lavender tank top.

At first I thought he wasn’t wearing any pants, but then I realized that his overladen tool belt was obscuring an extremely tight and tiny pair of denim cutoffs. Indeed, his red-striped tube socks – pulled up to his knees from beneath a pair of dingy work boots – covered more of his furry legs than his shorts. The confusion over my calling was evident in his beady eyes, even through his sawdust-covered goggles.

“Yes?” he said. “Can I help you?”

“Uh, yeah,” I said, swallowing the bit of bile that had risen to my mouth. “I’m from Savo Auctioneers. I have an appointment with the lady of the house.”

“My wife? Well, she’s not here,” he explained. “What’s this about?”

“She called,” I said, pointing to the appointment slip on my clipboard, “…she called, because she wanted me to have a look at the vintage toys in the attic.”

“Vintage toys?” he laughed. “Oh, they’re not here anymore. She sold them. They’re gone.”

“What do you mean?” I exclaimed. “She just called me two hours ago. When did she sell them?”

“Weeks ago,” he tittered. “Yeah… she sold those toys weeks ago.”

“I don’t understand,” I fumed. “Why did she make an appointment with me to look at merchandise that she sold weeks ago?”

“Well,” he sighed, though still smiling, “you’ll have to forgive her. She’s like that.”

“Like what?” I asked.

“A little crazy,” he answered with a giggle. “Sorry.”

Neither wanting to impose upon him further nor continue to participate in his deranged amusement, I said goodbye. He disappeared back into the house and I returned to my car. As I drove away, the whine of power tools resumed.

Photo courtesy of Carlo Savo; photographed for Savo Auctioneers, LLC

There’s far more to being a professional auctioneer than merely marketing merchandise. Each Wednesday, Behind the Block explores the precise methods, the elemental madness, and the intrinsic humanity of the auction industry.