finding brocante at french auctions

by Sharon Santoni

Have you ever shopped at auctions?  There is a sort of thrill to it, as if danger were lurking in the background.  Raise your hand at the wrong moment and you find yourself landing a stuffed boa or the complete works of Marx.

Of course buying at an auction is partly good luck. If there’s no one else in the room interested in what you like you get a bargain, but just one other buyer with the same taste as you and you may as well pack up and go home.


At the auction house where I spent yesterday afternoon,  there is seating space for about 100 people and the others stand around the back of the room.  In any case by the end of the sale everyone is standing because the chairs are up for bids too![blank]


So yesterday I found some good stuff, enough to show you a little winter loot shoot.  The light isn’t good  today, so my ‘group’ shot of the loot shoot isn’t brilliant. I prefer to show you more individual pictures.[blank]

My favourite pieces are the paintings, the sheets (no surprise there!) the old cigarette cases that would be pretty to keep visiting cards, make up or medication in a bag or on a table.

I’d love to hear if you have a great auction story to tell!
Thank you for reading me.


Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita January 11, 2012 - 3:42 pm

How lovely! I was once in an antique store and found a lovely antique cigarette case similar to these. It was British very early 1900. As she removed it from the case, I saw it was monogrammed with all 3 of my initials. It rests on a table and holds my business cards. I wish we still used calling cards though! There was such charm and romance in that era.

I Dream Of January 11, 2012 - 3:58 pm

You did find some treasures! I think you'd have to keep a cool head at an auction to know when to stop bidding. I'm afraid I'd get carried away!

Katherine January 11, 2012 - 4:10 pm

There is something exciting about capturing a treasure from an auction or antique source. Sometimes there are items that seem to be just waiting for you to come and love them once again.
The linens you showcase are always so beautiful.

Thyra January 11, 2012 - 4:34 pm

Everything catches my eye here. I would go bananas on an auction like that. I've noticed that the embroidery is similar to my grandmothers. I love that blue China – or is it fajance.
Your photos are beautiful.
Grethe aka Thyra ´)

le banc moussu January 11, 2012 - 4:46 pm

beautiful blog. Where you at Drouot auction?

Susan January 11, 2012 - 5:48 pm

It's all very pretty!

I've never been to an auction (other than a real estate auction – I've been to many of them just to watch!), but my sister-in-law is a huge fan of estate auctions.

I think your loot looks great – I love the sheets and the cigarette cases are really pretty 🙂

rosaria January 11, 2012 - 6:40 pm

You do have a way of transporting us! These beauties I would not be able to resist.

Your Craft Book January 11, 2012 - 7:07 pm

I have followed your blog for ages and simply love, love it. My husband and I always wanted to live in France but it will probably never happen now. He is disabled with M.S and that has brought many of our dreams to a halt. I live my dreams though your blog. Great auction items. I am a big auction girl and love the atmosphere. Love the blue and white plates. Have a great week and stop by for a visit one day, blessings, Maureen.

Avril Leigh January 11, 2012 - 7:24 pm

My mother asked my husband to go to the local auction house to bid for a step ladder that she wanted. He stood at the back, the lot came up, the steps were lifted into the air, he bid, he got them…he went back to collect them and discovered they were tiny, had only one step…in the air they had looked the right height. She treasured them so she could tell the story for the rest of her life!

Mouse January 11, 2012 - 7:43 pm

ah, so it was YOU who bought that stuffed boa!

Mary January 11, 2012 - 8:10 pm

Ooooooo! What a gloriously fun way to spend an afternoon! Love the painting. And yes, the cigarette cases are fabulous. I'm a little jealous. An odd shade of green! 🙂

la Brocanteuse January 11, 2012 - 8:54 pm

L O V E the linen, love the painting, love it all of course!
Colette x

angiemanzi January 11, 2012 - 10:21 pm

Years ago I purchased a box at an auction for 1$. Yes 1$. The lot was listed as a box of good firewood. Lots of different pieces of oak in shapes and sizes. I took it home to my dad and we realized it was broken down rocking chair. So we put it together, sanded and stained it. I found a beautiful piece of brocade to refashion the seat and now it sits in my living room in a corner where I love to read. My dad passed away almost 2 years ago and when I walk into my living room it is the first thing I see. It is a beautiful memory and an really pretty chair!

Low Tide High Style January 11, 2012 - 10:53 pm

My parents loved to go to antique furniture auctions, and I often tagged along. As I got older and had my own home I would bid on items, and I know what you mean about the thrill and nervousness of it all. My dad taught us to always stand in the back so that you could see who was bidding against you. Looks like you found some wonderful treasures, and I love the sheets and the beautiful blueware!

Kat 🙂

The Moerks January 11, 2012 - 11:41 pm

Oh the blue and white china. Ahhh.

Sarah January 12, 2012 - 12:16 am

I attended my first French auction this past fall. It was mostly faience and not a match for the exquisite things you brought home. Love the tea pots and the linens. I'll be looking for them in your shop. 😉
~ Sarah

High Heeled Life January 12, 2012 - 1:09 am

Since moving to the country and looking at simplifying life, I have had the opportunity to attend to estate auctions and was lucky to be the successful bidder on a pair of candle holders and a very ornate silver tray – which I could barely lift ..thankfully hubby was there to help. I would certain;y like to attend more…

You definitely scored some wonderful pieces!! xo HHL

Nina January 12, 2012 - 4:19 am

Your blog makes my day. I have been missing the "loot shoots" so thanks for these. Beautiful finds and beautifully photographed. Tell me though . . . do you actually sleep on those linens?

heather @ new house, new home, new life January 12, 2012 - 1:27 pm

I pretty much furnished my old house with auction finds – the best being a huge ornately framed antique mirror which I got for a song. Without those auctions, my cupboards would have been bare as I filled them with china, crystal and serving pieces at some really good prices.

Elizabeth Eiffel January 13, 2012 - 10:26 pm

As I love pieces with history – and the odd bargain as well – I am drawn to auction houses. Unfortunately they are not French auctions but I always manage to have a bit of a thrill and fun. There have been great treasures and great disaster bought in the heat of the moment!
Love your buys Sharon.
Warm regards

puppyfur January 14, 2012 - 10:57 pm

Ah, yes, the beautiful cigarette cases. One could actually keep cigarettes in them, you know. Lovely post.


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