Click and collect: my insatiable passion for auction websites

Search for furniture at online auction and you too can decorate your home with lamps that look like they’re covered in semen and haunted dolls.

Last year I stood in the shallows of my house, a place now ankle-deep with books, pots, pictures and lamps, and I thought: I want more. More books, more pots, more pictures, more lamps. I’d barely left the house in months but still I’d managed to accumulate a warehouse-worth of new tut. I say new – it was all old, nothing made after perhaps 1989, nothing that had not been through at least two previous owners, at least one of those owners now long deceased, the other having woken one day and found themselves a minimalist. Everything was bought, you see, at auction. Specifically at auctions that pre-pandemic I would not have thought to visit, but (after viewings became online-only) I found myself walking through at night, panting.

My local auction house is a place out of time, a room Tetris-stacked with chests of drawers and boxes of Beatles magazines, the smell a specific combination of vape and dust. Every weekend I squeeze through the aisles, marvelling at the collections of erotic art or antique computers or nesting tables that have nested so long they have almost hatched. And every weekend I return home with another object that I didn’t need but needed immediately.

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