By Dana Delgado
Ever thought of owning fossilized dinosaur dung? How about adding some Civil War artifacts to your collection or picking up some unique sterling silver rings?
Wanting those things is one thing but finding them, however, can turn into a monumental task, even online but especially when one only has poor images or ill-fitted descriptions to go on.
Fortunately, through the convenience of a local online auction house, bidders and consignors alike can now deal directly with an established and licensed auctioneer based in Liberty Hill instead of dealing with someone in some unknown or remote location. This convenience also provides local bidders the opportunity to not only preview the items online but in person and saves on shipping.
The locally based online auction house, HammerDown Online Auctions, began operation in Liberty Hill in 2015 after briefly operating in Round Rock. The business is under the ownership of auctioneer Michele Hammer and Sherry Fairclough.
“We specialize in offering small to medium sized items that are easy to pack and easy to ship,” said Hammer. “We focus on providing you with mid to high-end quality collectibles along with some new items.”
Some of the collectibles include fine porcelain and crystal, pottery, paintings and sculptures as well as gold and silver jewelry and collectible glassware and figurines. Hammer said they started with only 20 bidders and are now well over 100 bidders from around the world.
One bidder from Norway bought a 1956 Chevy and then asked the owners to find him some vintage commercial signs.
“We do whatever it takes to please our customers,” she said. “Our focus has been on friendly and courteous service with integrity.”
According to the owners, there are always some surprising items that come up for auction. Some of the most unique items include a purse made out of baby alligator heads, petrified dinosaur dung, and a human skull. And yes, bids were received on those unusual items.
Hammer said she personally finds authentic items with historical significance such as Civil War relics like old U.S. currency such as Black Eagle Notes, and gold and silver dollars.
Hammer said that when her friend and present co-owner introduced her to online auctions, she was immediately hooked and didn’t hesitate to walk away from her corporate management position. Upon completing the nine-day auction training course in Dallas, she became one of only a few women auctioneers in Texas.
“I’ve been attending auctions since I was a young adult and it’s been in my blood ever since,” she said. “I like public speaking and entertaining so the two just go hand in hand. It’s a fun way to meet some very interesting people and boy, have I! I’ve learned that people will collect just about anything. I just love going through other people’s unique stuff and giving them options. Eventually, we want to expand and hold live auctions in Liberty Hill, which will be fun and entertaining.”
Since May 2005, HammerDown Auctions has conducted over 100 live in-house and online auctions in central Texas. They were featured on two episodes of HGTV’s “Cash in the Attic” TV program in 2006.
In 2009, HammerDown Auctions closed down their Leander facility and have been focusing on online auctions. By being online, they not only serve the community with their signature personal service but the world.
Online bidding is the new way to enjoy the auction experience without it taking up an entire day. Individuals can watch the auction live and bid with confidence from the comfort of their home by using the online time bidding process through AuctionFlex and AuctionZip, a secure and global online bidding application used extensively by licensed auctioneers. Notices are sent out when bidders have been outbid. Registration is not required to view the catalog or to inspect the items up for auction and interestingly, bidders are a collective group from all age groups.
This month’s auction is already underway with bidding presently open. The current collection up for auction includes a number of one-of-a-kind items and unique consignor collections. The items include silver and hard to find coins, sports cards, sterling jewelry, distinctive fossils and minerals, knives and swords, exclusive Cristalleria d’Arte animals and jewelry, new toys, and historic Civil War lithographs and bullet collection.
Live preview is available at the local location on Thursday, Feb. 16 from noon to 5 p.m.
Lots close Friday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. Winning bidders can pick up their items on Saturday, Feb. 18 from noon-3 p.m. or on Sunday, Feb. 19 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Cash and credit cards are accepted for this auction.
With this month’s auction wrapping up this weekend, consignments are already being accepted for next month’s auction, which generally begins on the third Thursday of every month.
Over the years, Hammer has helped many people downsize or liquidate entire estates or just a few items.
“One in particular was a nice lady in Lakeway who had been diagnosed with cancer and was going to have to move to Houston to continue her treatments,” said Hammer. “She really didn’t want to move and I could tell that it was upsetting her to have to sell a house full of belongings to go move to a one-bedroom apartment. I gently sat down with her and listened as she told me all about her things and where she’d obtained them. I took my time and made her feel comfortable and at ease that I would ‘take care’ of her things and do my best with getting the most for her possessions that I could.”
Hammer emphasized that people just want to feel like they’ve left their treasures in good hand and added that she makes it her personal and professional mission to insure that happens.
“I have many repeat consignors and I can’t help but think that it’s because of the relationship that I have with each of them,” she said.
For more information visit www hamdown.net.