This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Shopping at Ron's Auctions

In early April I wrote about shopping at Ron's Bargain Shop. Also part of the Ron empire is Ron's Auction House, which is on Vine Street. It is open only for auctions, which are usually held either on Wednesday nights or on Saturdays.
Below is what the inside of the building looked like on one Wednesday evening.

At the back of the building is the cashier, where one gets a number and pays when one is done buying. Along the east wall is a small food stand. Rensselaer may not have dinner and a movie, but we do have dinner and an auction.
There are a bunch of signs that give policies for things like accepting checks. My favorite is the unruly-children policy.
Each auction is different, but some things are pretty standard. Housewares are a pretty common item.
I doubt if there are many auctions without some knick-nacks , though you never know what knick-nacks will show up at any particular auction.
When we moved to Rensselaer, there were a lot of auctions at houses. When the owner died or moved, the contents of the house would be auctioned at the house. Now there are very few auctions like that. Instead it seems that the contents of the households are being moved to Ron's Auction House or to auctions at the fairgrounds or the armory. I used to go to a lot of auctions, but that was when we were still adding stuff. Now we need to get rid of stuff.

When I lived in West Virginia for two winters, we did not have television. One of the weekly attractions was the auction at the local auction house. In many ways it was very similar to Ron's auction house. We still have a few items that we bought there.
In addition to knick-nacks, collectibles are popular, and like knick-nacks, there are many different kinds. Below are some old toys. I attended this auction, but did not stay long enough to see them sold.
The porch furniture below was sold "choice-out." That means all four items were available, but the price was for just one item. The winner could then pick what he or she wanted at that price. The winning bid was $10 and the winner picked the two rockers and the love seat, paying $30. The little table then went back for sale, and it sold for $11. It is not all that unusual for the second round to have a higher price than the first round, though you would expect that the greater choice would be the more valuable.
Sometimes things are sold by the piece. That means you buy the entire set, but the price is per piece. I guess the advantage of bidding that way is that the price seems lower than it really is. Often items do not get a bid. While I was there, a 35mm Canon camera did not get a bid of even $1. When this happens, the auctioneer lumps something else with it. Eventually something that is actually has value is added to the group of items and the group sells.

Below is the most unusual item I saw at Ron's Auction House in the several visits I have made. I did not stay to see if it sold. It works on the Billy Bass principle. The website,, was alive when I took this picture, but it is now down and redirects. That probably means that the only way you are going to get fine merchandise like this is in places like Ron's Auction house or the 2Bobs General Store or one of the other resale shops in Rensselaer. It might be a collectable!
You never know what you might find at an auction. To see what is scheduled in upcoming auctions, visit

The auctionzip site is a very nice site--I am impressed with its calendar and ability to show you auctions in the vicinity of any zip code. In contrast, I am disappointed in the city of Rensselaer web site at At the bottom of the right column is a link for "Public Document Access." It only works if you are using Internet Explorer on a Windows PC. Granted that about 75% of people do use Internet Explorer, but 25% of the people use Firefox, Safari, Opera, or Chrome. If you want to grant public access to documents, you do not restrict access to one browser. I would like to say that only governments do stupid things like this, but corporations who have incompetent web designers sometimes do as well.

1 comment:

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