Going once, going twice...sold!

WHAT do a dvd box set, a baby grand piano, a second-hand sofa and a toaster have in common?

They’re all items recessionistas across the district have auctioned off for an extra few pounds over the last three weeks.

Scarva Auctions (pictured) opened just last month but already sellers have been filling its Old Mill Road warehouse with all kinds of items and buyers have been queuing up to have a look and place a bid.

Keith Baird, of Baird Transport, decided to put one of the warehouses in his workyard to good use and, joined by co-owner and auctioneer Ian Donald, opened the only auction room in the district.

Websites such as Gumtree and eBay are being used more and more frequently by people trying to make some money by clearing out their wardrobe and selling it online or advertising unwanted concert tickets.

Inspired by the rising popularity of this kind of service and the sale of second-hand goods, Ian, a farmer, and Keith, a businessman for the past 30 years, saw a gap in the market. And judging by the crowds they’ve managed to attract so far, they were right to do so.

“On the first night we had to turn people away,” Ian told the Leader, explaining how their original plan to hold auctions every fortnight has now changed to weekly events to meet demand.

“We had 300 people registered but considering that people usually come as a couple and only one registers we reckon we probably had around 600 or 700 people here. We had to close the doors and turn people away at 7pm,” he added, saying one man had even travelled to the event all the way from Waterford.

It seems the opening of the auction house has triggered many people in the locality to clear out their roofspaces and finally let go of the items they’ve been hoarding but rarely use.

“People have bought things and they no longer need them and because money’s that wee bit tighter they don’t just feel like giving it away,” said Ian. “They would like to turn it into a few pounds, albeit not anything like what they paid for it but they’ve had their use out of it and if they can get a few pounds for it they’re quite happy.”

And while regular items include tea sets, tables and chairs, already the business has welcomed a number of quirkier products from collector’s items to a baby grand piano which fetched over £1,000.

This Thursday’s auction will feature a guitar, a pair of skis and an authentic old train station poster listing prices for journeys from Scarva to Belfast. The high quality of most items proves the eagerness of people to make any extra money they can in this climate, according to Keith.

“There are rougher items but they’re in the minority in the extreme,” he said. “Most of the stuff here is good quality.

“We had a pram that had originally cost £500, and the lady sold it for £100, it was like new. But the original owner was happy to get £100 back and whoever has bought it has a bargain.”

With second-hand businesses booming during this frugal time, Ian and Keith hope people will continue to flock to the auction house to sell something they no longer need, hunt for a bargain, or bag a collector’s item.