Gretel's Treasures

Follow her hunt for vintage jewelry and other treasures



It’s been 18 months since posting on this blog. Since I last posted, I disposed of all of my vintage clothes, shoes and oddities. I now specialize in vintage jewelry and accessories. Mostly jewelry. Blogs are a lot of work.  Today’s topic is how to survive an auction.

I go to a lot of auctions, and I’m both very successful, and fail miserably, usually not at the same time.  Here is some helpful advice for those of you thinking about trying your hand at auctions.

1930s Czech Art Glass Bead Necklace

1930s Czech Art Glass Bead Necklace

The number one rule is do not get emotionally attached to an item.  Remember, it’s not personal.   This is my downfall. If you’ve ever looked at my stores, you will notice (hopefully) lots of really nice vintage jewelry. You’ll also notice some weird stuff, like a pin of a cat sitting on books.  My personal mission is to save precious treasures  and find them new appropriate owners, their forever homes. (granted a pin is not a cat or a dog, it doesn’t need a forever home)  So I’m breaking my first rule, I fall in love with items, and don’t think any one else at the auction is deserving of ownership.  The person bidding against you probably does not have it out for you, they just want the same item, possibly for a different reason.

Faceted Art Deco Glass Bead Necklace

Faceted Art Deco Glass Bead Necklace

If you do get attached to something, set your limit before bidding.  No one likes a bidding war.  Actually, there are sadists out there with deep pockets who are happy to show you how much testosterone they have (even women are afflicted with this) Wisdom says, decide how much you are willing to spend, set that limit, and walk away if it goes over that limit.  This is really good advice.  You don’t really know how high the other person will really go. Just another 10 dollars to you might be another 100 dollars to the other bidder.  Repeat after me, set your limit, walk away. Don’t get sucked into just another bid syndrome.

Czech or Venetian Art Glass Bead Earrings

Czech or Venetian Art Glass Bead Earrings

If you’re really, really, attached to something, suck it up and bid until you get it.  For the last 2 weeks I set my limit on an item. I walked away. And then beat myself up for the next week because I really, really wanted it. I deserved it.  They were not worthy of ownership, I should have gotten it.  My problem is I believe in fiscal responsibility.  I am in business to make a profit, I look at an item, see how much money I can easily make off of it to break even.   Unfortunately, I’m really bad at that.  When buying a lot of jewelry, I look for one or two pieces that will cover the cost. I don’t look at every item and look for the profit.  I get outbid a lot of times, because I grossly underestimate potential profit.  After doing this full time for 3 years, I’m still learning.

1950s Har Art Glass Brooch

1950s Har Art Glass Brooch

If you do bid high, and get it, do not accept buyer’s remorse!.  I did warn you to stop bidding. If you had the balls to bid high and win, go with the adrenaline rush.  Accept that maybe you did a stupid thing, but look at the treasure that you have won.  Oh, and learn from your mistake.  You either will beat yourself silly because you didn’t stick it out, or beat yourself silly for overpaying.  It’s okay to sometimes do stupid things. It’s a learning experience. Maybe next time you will set a limit and stick to it, and win.  Honest it happens.  Be kind to yourself.



  1. Denise Says:

    I love this post, great info.

  2. Kelly Says:

    I am afraid I would be waaaaayyyy to dangerous at an auction. I am dangerous enough not going!

  3. Denise Says:

    I love every piece that you post. Fabulous!

  4. Malissa Says:

    Great tips! I am afraid of auctions as they are very popular in our area. Trying to get the nerve up! 🙂

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