Auction Brings New Life to Old Treasures

28 October, 2016

Each week, crowds of people fill a sleepy town in the American state of Maryland for a fast-moving auction.

Buyers and sellers from up and down the East Coast go there in hopes of finding deals on furniture, jewelry and more.

The town of Crumpton is about 160 kilometers east of Washington, D.C., in an area known as Maryland's Eastern Shore.

An auction is a public sale -- where things are sold to the buyer who offers the most money. Things sold at an auction do not have a set price. If an owner decides to sell something, he or she is taking a risk.

A person known as an auctioneer has the job of announcing the current price for a product or item. The people who attend auctions are called bidders. They say the price they will bid for an item.

An auction is a competitive way to sell something. Several people may want to take something home, but only one person can do so. That makes the seller happy, because the price could be higher than it might have been in a private sale.

Bill Caruso has worked for Dixon's Auctions in Crumpton for 40 years. Caruso is an auctioneer. He speaks quickly and announces the current selling price.

Bill Caruso works as an auctioneer at Dixon's Auction in Crumpton, Maryland.
Bill Caruso works as an auctioneer at Dixon's Auction in Crumpton, Maryland.

"What you need to know is you need to know your buyers, and you need to know your merchandise. You got to get them both together."

The price increases until only one bidder is left. People visit the Crumpton Auction for many reasons. Perhaps they own a small antique store and are looking to buy items that they can offer to their customers. Other visitors come for a little fun and excitement. They hope they will bring something interesting and possibly valuable home.

At Dixon's, many items are selling at the same time. Dixon's website says there can be 200 items sold in just one hour.

Bruce Conover likes to visit the auction. He said he once owned an antique shop, so he came to the auction to buy things he could sell later.

"Well I used to have an antique shop so then it was a benefit to come every week to buy stuff and resell it of course. But right now, I'm retired and just having fun, coming out and see what I can buy for my house."

Jewelry for sale at Dixon's Auction in Crumpton, Maryland.
Jewelry for sale at Dixon's Auction in Crumpton, Maryland.

Carol Knight said she comes to the auction looking for a surprise.

"You could always end up with something you know nothing about. And much to your surprise, if you research it, it could be something good."

Some people see something at the auction and think they could take it home, fix it up and then sell it for a higher price.

Sandy Jones and Rick Rossi own an antique shop in Maryland.

"Sometimes you pay a little more, sometimes you pay a little less. But you get great deals, and there's good people here."

I'm Dan Friedell.

Elizabeth Cherneff wrote this story for VOANews. Dan Friedell adapted her report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Have you ever attended an auction? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM.


Words in This Story

furniture – n. chairs, tables, beds, etc., that are used to make a room ready for use

auction – n. a public sale at which things are sold to the people who offer to pay the most

bid/bidder – v. to offer to pay (a particular amount of money) for something that is being sold : to make a bid at an auction

merchandise – n. goods that are bought and sold

antique – n. art, furniture, jewelry, etc., that was made at an earlier time and is often valuable