J. Bear Savo

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Why pianos get left behind in peculiar places

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Why pianos get left behind in peculiar places

I was watching an episode of “Band of Brothers” in which the brave soldiers of Easy Company were storming a town in Normandy. While they were scrambling for cover from Nazi machine gunfire, they ran past an upright piano that happened to be sitting in the middle of the street. No one was playing it, […]

 J. Bear Savo

BEHIND THE BLOCK: An open response to a negative Google review

BEHIND THE BLOCK: An open response to a negative Google review

If you Google “Savo Auctioneers,” you will discover a solitary one-star review that was written by an anonymous user more than three years ago. It reads as follows: what a joke is all i have to say about this place.they think this is some high end auction house when they have the same junk that […]

 J. Bear Savo

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Soft pack blunder

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Soft pack blunder

Pap was a stout man crowned by a wild mane of curls who took his coffee light and sweet. Sometime in his youth, a knife had severed the tendon in his left index finger, leaving it inflexible and unusable, except for giving directions and holding cigarettes. And Pap was always sporting a lit smoke. If […]

 J. Bear Savo

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Perfume bottles by Avon, short for All Very Odorous Nothing

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Perfume bottles by Avon, short for All Very Odorous Nothing

They are trinket-like creatures, disguising their true and hellish nature within cutesy forms, such as cowboy boots, classic cars, historical busts, vintage radios, antique guns, and fluffy animals. Their scents are overpowering, for within their bodies lies not blood, but an eau de cologne sprung from the very depths of Hades. They lurk in attics, […]

 J. Bear Savo

BEHIND THE BLOCK: More silly conversations with customers

BEHIND THE BLOCK: More silly conversations with customers

Being asked to appraise a sentimental block of cheese is perhaps the most ridiculous conversation I’ve ever had as an auctioneer. Of course, there have been other silly dialogues. Many others. Here are three of my favorites… Fur your information A woman called to inquire about selling a fur coat, and it sounded as if […]

 J. Bear Savo

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Twisted absurdity, expressed in senryu

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Twisted absurdity, expressed in senryu

As the tagline of this column explains, there are precise methods, an elemental madness, and an intrinsic humanity inherent to the auction business. As an auctioneer, I am also exposed to a type of twisted absurdity. These three senryu exemplify this… Estate auctioneers: brokering the dead’s chattel to the not-yet-dead. Sorting old photos, I perused an entire life […]

 J. Bear Savo

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

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

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 […]

 J. Bear Savo

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Selling sentimental cheese

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Selling sentimental cheese

At first, the phone call wasn’t that peculiar. The gentleman who rang was inquiring about the possible value of a vintage refrigerator. I explained that while the Art Deco lines and chrome accents of retro reefers make them more aesthetically appealing than other old appliances, they have virtually no marketability. “Really? That’s a shame,” the […]

 J. Bear Savo

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Auction poetry – ‘Antique Mannequin’ and ‘My Epitaph’

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Auction poetry – ‘Antique Mannequin’ and ‘My Epitaph’

I sometimes personify the merchandise that comes through my auction gallery. I make no conscious effort to do so. It’s just that sometimes I can’t help but see a cheerful chair… a hopeless chest… an amorous figurine… a spiteful mirror… a lonely locket… a mischievous doll… Indeed, sometimes I see so much humanity in the […]

 J. Bear Savo

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Advice for finding funds for the strip club (or whatever else you want)

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Advice for finding funds for the strip club (or whatever else you want)

Age ain’t nothing but a number… Don’t piss on me and tell me that it’s raining… You can’t put shoes on a jackass and call it a race horse… You may have heard these adages before, you may have not. Either way, these proverbs are applicable to many things in life, including the auction business. […]