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Signs Of Life

Columns by Pamela Majteles

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Little Bit Wild

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Posted by pam on January 14, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Originally published February 2, 2007

This column is reprinted with permission from The Hills Newspapers.

It’s a jungle out there.  That was my impression of the eager crowd of people hunting for items at a local auction recently.  There were plenty of trophies to be taken including a life-size bronze gorilla.

It is all about the hunt when visiting Clars Auction Gallery on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland.  If the shopping expedition does not call for a gorilla, then perhaps the bronze lion or elephant will do.  When looking for a menagerie of any sort, this is the place to be.  The recent auction also included a Mexican paper mache donkey and deer, a tin rooster, and various sculptures of birds.

Of course, not everyone is an animal lover.  Some people would never dream of sharing a home with animals, particularly if they dream of life’s finer things.  If visions include Chippendale style sofas, Louis XVI style chairs and baby grand pianos, then dreams can come true at the monthly auctions.

Even if you cannot afford the finer things, you can still dream the privileged life with the assortment of books available at auction.  If you always wanted to cook like a social debutante, there is the “Houston Junior League Cookbook”.  To keep up with the ladies who lunch, there is “Bridge for Beginners”.  When it is time for a little soiree, the “Blender Cookbook” can come in handy with recipes for frappes and sorbets.  Your social standing will be assured after learning to recite from “10,000 Jokes, Toasts and Stories”.

For slightly more than the cost of a book, you can also dress for the occasion.  Clothes for sale at auction recently included a roster of designer names such as Escada, Ferragamo, Galanos, and Lauren.  There were styles to suit any busy social calendar with silk jackets, evening gowns, and cocktail dresses.  For those who prefer their cocktails shaken not stirred, there was a studded jacket, velvet bustier and purple leather dress.

If you tend more to the home life than the night life, there is also plenty to be found.  For those backyard barbeques, you can pick up outdoor furniture, automobile tire ashtrays and beer steins, not to mention a six-pack of beer. (Recent auction included a large beer, wine, and liquor assortment from the World Trade Club in San Francisco.)  You can kick back and relax with a gaming machine like one for poker or pinball football.  To turn it up a notch, there are also organs and accordions for your home enjoyment.

One of the best things about shopping at auction is there is never a need to be hampered by the prevailing taste or, for that matter, any taste at all.  Alongside the lithograph by Pablo Picasso in the recent auction was the poster of Richard Nixon.  Next to the Indian bronze of a seated Shiva was the porcelain figure with a pig’s head.  There was also the choice of either an antique Persian rug or a cow hide rug with brand.

When I really want a taste of something different, I head to an auction.  It can be a lot like a life-size bronze gorilla.  Unexpected, surprising, and just a little bit wild.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

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