You're Invited to an Auction at Skinner
Skinner has been a fixture in Massachusetts for over 40 years, hosting more than 60 auctions annually. With the Marlborough location being easily accessible, our curiosity about Skinner and the allure of attending an auction brought us over for a visit this summer. What resulted was a full-on new hobby to obsess over.
For many people, the idea of an auction seems like an exclusive event. Admittedly, for us, it conjured the image of rapid bid calling with crowds feverishly holding up paddles as delicately-displayed priceless gems shine from a podium. What we quickly learned is that not only was our imagery entirely off, but the popular notion of exclusivity wasn't the atmosphere at all. Skinner has an absolutely welcoming environment where visitors can see true pieces of art up close and participate in auctions with reasonably priced items. We met up with Kerry Shrives, Senior Vice President of Skinner for a visit and learned how anyone could (and should) get involved.
It is early August, and Skinner is buzzing in preparation for two upcoming Americana auctions. We walk down the long hallway that leads to the auction area; large quilts hang in bright calico yellow, red, and green. A giant apothecary cabinet calls out, drawers labeled with old medicinal staples such as pearl barley and pine. This large unfolding room full of pristine Americana pieces quickly becomes captivating, and our questions start bubbling over. Kerry graciously explains fine details of items in a way that draws you in, wrapping history with storytelling and reverence. Within minutes we were hooked.
Being up close and personal with pieces that might otherwise be in a museum feels lucky for one, but beyond that is the unexplainable magic in the experience. Kerry encourages people to visit, "In the digital age, people forget, it is so nice to have the ability to come and see in person what something looks like." Appraisers work in and around stopping to answer questions about pieces and their history. If you are a fan of Antiques Roadshow, you may be a bit starstruck, for many of them have appeared on the show.
Kerry treats us to a walk through the behind-the-scenes warehouse, which is an organized maze of awaiting auction items that are sectioned off by specialties. There is even a photo studio on-site where each item is photographed and cataloged. We pass a section of mid-century Danish furniture, and it is hard not to gawk. But the best treat was the separate room filled with the Native American collection. As Kerry opened the door, the soothing color of sand and earth warmed the room.
While the majority of auctions at Skinner have a particular focus, there are monthly Discovery Auctions that have a variety of items for sale.
It is at these auctions that you can get into affordable treasure hunting, from a cool pair of modern bent steel tube armchairs with a starting bid of $10 to a fresh pair of copper candlesticks starting the bidding at $100. In a cultural moment where many are seeking a lifestyle of reuse and minimalism, Skinner’s Discovery Auctions are really on-trend.
Rather than heading to big box stores to purchase furniture or decor with a short lifespan, there are incredible auctions right here locally at Skinner. You can find pieces that are not only economical but also have a rich history and quality craftsmanship.
If you are into antiques, art and design, history and storytelling, mystique and a bit of suspense, this could very much be your new shtick.
Here is the down-low: Skinner, Inc.
Discovery Auctions: Get in on it monthly, with online bidding and lots available to view at the Marlborough location. They even host gallery walks hosted by specialists during lot viewing!
Questions or Inquiries? Skinner makes a great effort to connect and answer all inquiries, gladly providing estimate services and arranging appointments.
First Tuesday: Once a month, Skinner opens up for guests to bring in items to be evaluated and accepted for consignment in upcoming auctions.
Buying: There are a variety of ways to get in on the auctions, be it in-person to online. Find out the details of how to get it done.
Follow ‘em: @skinnerauctions
Head over for a visit: 274 Ceder Hill St, Marlborough MA