What Diane Bought at the Silent Auction

The History Conference held on the Wednesday before RWA kicks off held a Silent Auction during the Afternoon Tea. I’ve attended several of these Silent Auctions and pride myself on having a fool-proof strategy.

This year was no exception!

My strategy, honed by these years of experience, was to bid on several items so that I would have a good chance of winning at least one or two of the items I most desired. I put my claims in early and checked now and then (between tea sandwiches) to see how I was doing. As time ticked on, I became a little nervous. No one was bidding against me! I was winning EVERYTHING. Several more checks confirmed my fears. I won each and every single thing I’d bid on. The only saving grace to my pocketbook (strained after two and a half days of shopping in San Francisco)was that I’d bid low.
(these series of 3 photos are courtesy of The Beau Monde)

I don’t know. Maybe I should not have attended the Gentleman’s Tipple workshop where we sampled about ten different types of alcohol of which Regency Gentlemen would have imbibed. I tasted them all.

At least I won some treasures!

This lovely plate, donated by our Risky friend, Jane George.

Two prints Jane also donated. These I added to my already long list of items because no one else saw their incredible value and I got them for a SONG. David’s portrait of Napoleon and this other one. I think it says, “The Bank Looking Towards Mansion House.”

A CD – Napoleon: Music of the Empire 1800-1815. This was my year for Napoleon, I guess.

Books, of course. I always donate books to the Silent Auction. Every year I donate the duplicate copies of books that I have purchased for myself. Yes. I do forget and buy the same book twice. This year I donated three books… and purchased three books!

Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron was first published in 1858. The author is Edward Trelawny, who met Shelley and Byron on a trip to Italy. Trelawny was also the guy who designed the boat that Shelley and Edward Williams took out to sea on the last day of their lives.

The Young Melbourne by David Cecil looks good, too. Melbourne is William Lamb, the poor guy who married Caroline Lamb, who had a famous affair with Byron.

And the last book looks like more fun. The Scouring of the White Horse. If you are driving in the Berkshires you might come upon the white chalk figure of a horse carved into a hillside. This book tells about the 1857 festival of the cleansing of the horse by the people of Uffington. It is an eye-witness account by the author of Tom Brown’s School Days.

Many thanks to Jane George and Delle Jacobs for all their hard work on this very successful Silent Auction!

The background of my photos is the Pashmina I purchased in China Town. They assured me it was 100% Pashmina, all for $14.99.

If you attended the Silent Auction, what did you win and what did you lose? What was the most disappointing thing you ever lost in an auction?
‘Fess up. You’ve purchased duplicate books, too, haven’t you?

Visit my website and enter my contest. They both are still there!

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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25 Responses to What Diane Bought at the Silent Auction

  1. Lois says:

    Looks like you did quite good! 🙂 Alas, I never did a Silent Auction. . . or not so silent for that matter LOL . . . so haven’t gotten anything good, or bad for that matter! 😉


  2. You really were a bandit at the Silent Auction, O Divine One, weren’t you??

    I was pleased and surprised to win two of the items on which I bid. I lost several others. SIGH

    The items I won were : GEORGIANNA – Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman and A ROYAL AFFAIR – George III and His Scandalous Siblings by Stella Tillyard

    The funniest part of the silent auction for me was the bidding war I got into with Delle Jacobs. There was a copy of a book called Madmen about psychiatric treatment in the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras and we both wanted it. It went back and forth and we were battling it out until she hammered a really high bid on it and I was done! BIG SIGH.

    I have been very lucky at auctions and my Mom is the queen of ’em. She got my antique circa 1800 pianoforte at an estate sale in England (@1967) for ten shillings! In 1967 ten shillings was about $1.20 ! The piano presently resides at my Mom’s and it still plays pretty well!

  3. Kalen Hughes says:

    The auction was full of my duplicate books, LOL! I took advantage of the fact that conference was local to unload a ton of (heavy) books.

    Sadly I didn’t get to bid on a single thing at the silent auction (too freaken busy *sigh*). The auction I most regret losing was on eBay: An 1820 edition of a little magazine called The Complete Dog Fancier’s Companion. When I lost, I was an extremely bad girl and emailed the seller to ask if I could buy a photocopy before he mailed off the original to the winner. *grin* And I’m so glad I did. They owner charged me a small fortune for the photocopy, but it was worth it for the fabulous information.

  4. janegeorge says:

    The two prints were donated by Nancy Mayer, not me. The plate did come from me and was handmade by a sister-in-law. Shhhh.

    Your Pashmina is lovely! I’m glad you returned from the ‘Barbary Coast’ with lots of treasure. 🙂

  5. Ten different types of alcohol & bidding sounds right up my alley! 😉

    Those are some really nice things you won! I have never attended to a Silent Auction before. Though been to reguluar auctions. And visit the antique shoppes.

    On antique books I do tend to go crazy and get duplicates. Very much on purpose. For if it’s by someone I really admire, I will get every book edition released. To add to my collection on the same(certain) classic author.

    Really loved the ‘Pashmina’ by the way, very beautiful colour.

  6. *cough, cough* Diane, after last year’s tit-for-tat price hike between the two of us, this year, wherever I saw your name, I refrained from adding mine. And on that Napoleonic and architectural prints, you hadn’t put you name down, but I knew you would, so I left those alone, too.


  7. Diane Gaston says:

    O Doggie One, I loved the Georgianna book! I donated the Madmen book. I sure hope Delle didn’t pay too much for it, because it isn’t that hard to find.
    Amazon has it listed for #13.22

    A pianoforte for 10 shillings???

    Kalen, why am I not surprised that you also have dupicates??? Our gain, I’m sure!!!
    How smart of you to get that photocopy!!!!

    Janegeorge, the plate was MADE by your sister-in-law?? I’m impressed. I sure hope she doesn’t read blogs about silent auctions….

    And the prints are Nancy’s? I mean were Nancy’s. they’re mine now!!

    Mallory, I love the idea of getting antique books. I have a few, very few of them but I treasure them.

    Keira, I did learn after last year not to bid against my friends. DUH!!! Although I would not have minded this year! You’d think SOMEBODY in the room would have bid against me though.

    I should have done a blog about what I bought in Chinatown! In addition to the Pashmina, I got a tote bag, eyeglass case, notebook, four pairs of earrings, two drop pearl pendants and chains, a pearl necklace and bracelet (the irregular, non-matching pearls), a wallet, a checkbook case, a change purse—-gosh!!! And I bought my niece a really cute knock-off purse.

  8. Deb Marlowe says:

    A couple of years ago I donated one of my duplicate books to the auction, and then found out it was worth $150. A friend asked if I wasn’t annoyed. I said NO Way! Someone who had shared my passions got a bargain! Can’t ask for better than that…

  9. Cara King says:

    I donated two of my duplicate books to the silent auction this year…and I was glad that they both were bid on.

    I got into a bidding war over one gorgeous book, and lost…but did win a lovely Regency-style wrap (and got it for a bargain, too!)

    And now I’m just back from the World Science Fiction Convention, where I bought some art and some elvish pottery at a silent auction…lots of fun. (Though it wasn’t so fun getting the pottery back home…so glad I didn’t win everything I bid on, like you, Diane!) 🙂


  10. Diane Gaston says:

    Deb, I don’t think I would have been as magnanimous as you were about a book worth $150! Was it the Regency Companion?? I’ve seen that book offered at $400 on used book sites.

    Cara, I’m so curious as to what book you lost!
    I’ll bet it was strange to go from RWA to the World Science Fiction Convention!

  11. Kalen, you lucky “dog” you! That book sounds fabulous. Smart move getting the photocopy!

    I was very pleased with my acquisitions! Reading Georgianna now.

    You went through Chinatown like Atilla the Hun, O Divine One! And the pashmina is LOVELY! Thanks for the heads up on the Madmen book. I have a photo of the piano. I will e-mail it to you. You will understand, where others may not that there was a crisis when we were shipped back to the States as our household goods were overweight. My Dad suggested leaving the piano!!! A few days of my Mom not speaking to him and his only little girl sniffling and he relented!! I think the shipping cost more than the piano, especially as I insisted they fly it and not put it on a boat! Dampness is bad for the soundboard. We had it retuned as soon as it was moved into the house and the piano tuner begged me to sell it to him. Let me get my little English cottage built here on my 5 acres and that baby is coming home to mama!

    Yankee Lady, 150 bucks??? OUCH!

  12. Deb Marlowe says:

    Nope, it was Federalist and Regency Costume. I see it’s going for $150 up to 512 now. Jeez!

    Cara, I think you were running the silent auction that year!

  13. Deb Marlowe says:

    I’d love to get my hands on a Regency Companion though!

  14. Visit my blog to see a picture of the lovely Diane Gaston in her blue Pashmina.

  15. Delle Jacobs says:

    Okay, so I paid too much for Madmen! I’ve only been trying to find it for two years! It would be my luck if now there’s one on Amazon, for someone else to buy!

    All my booty us in books this Men-of-War: Life in Nelson’s Navy, and only a few days later persuaded my brother to take me down to the harbor in San Diego where we went aboard the HMS Surprise, the replica frigate that was used in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

    Now I’m reading Georgette Heyer’s The Conqueror, and it’s an excellent piece of fiction. Since I’m writing about Norman times in England, it’s a good piece for me to be reading now.

    And I’ve discovered the Great Georgette CAN be wrong. But the two errors I’ve found are extremely minor. She apparently had an elementary school teacher who told her William II was called Rufus because of his red hair, just as I was. After all, don’t we always believe our first teachers?

  16. Kalen Hughes says:

    And I’ve discovered the Great Georgette CAN be wrong.

    As Candice Hern has pointed out on more than one occasion, Heyer’s version of the Regency is heavily influenced by Victorian mores and ideas (and I agree with her wholeheartedly). Bits of Victoriana leak in (like engagement announcements in the newspapers, which as far as anyone on the Beau Monde loop can discover did not exist during the early 19th century). Heyer also started inserting errors on purpose at some point, because she was miffed that derivative writers were copying her! So now it’s impossible to know if an error in her books was indeed an error, or if it was a factual-caltrop.

  17. flchen1 says:

    How fabulous! I’ve only participated in silent auctions supporting my son’s school–the most exciting prize was a set of tickets for various kid-friendly excursions in our area. We had some built-in family fun for quite some time after!

  18. Diane Gaston says:

    Really, the silent auction is always fun. And we all pay too much, but it goes to a GREAT cause!

  19. Yes, I paid by weight in green bills at this conference. That put paid to buying any alcholic frou-frous in the bar, which all said and done was a great thing.

  20. Here’s the correct link to the gorgeous Diane and her pashmina.

  21. Trying once again… LINK

  22. Diane Gaston says:

    What Keira didn’t tell you was that she gave me the beautiful beaded purse, which came from India, directly from India!

    That purse set-off my whole color scheme for the conference. I bought that silk blouse to wear with my black flowy pants, because it matched the purse. I bought the dress I wore to the Harlequin Party because it matched the purse… and I bought the Pashmina to match the purse.

  23. Oh my, Diane, I didn’t know about your Harlequin clothes. How cool. You know, if you have photos from days when the others weren’t around, like I’ve not been able to muster courage to attempt gate-crashing the HMB party, so I miss a ton of great clothes other folks are wearing.

  24. Cara King says:

    Cara, I’m so curious as to what book you lost!

    Diane, it was a bound copy of a year’s worth of a Regency magazine (might be have London Magazine) from the Regency…gorgeous!

    Louisa, so glad you and your mom insisted your dad ship that piano! Seems to me that’s the sort of thing that seems really expensive at the time, but that you never regret later…

    Cara, I think you were running the silent auction that year!

    Ah, yes. Reno, I take it? That was a lot of fun and very fulfilling, but when I grabbed a chance to finally get some food it was ALL GONE!!! All those little cakes and tarts and sweets and chocolates… And then I walked by table after table with plate after plate full of delicacies that had just the tiniest little nibble out of them…and I thought “you wasted my dessert!” 😉

    BTW, Keira, great pics!

    Delle, I too thought that Rufus was for his red hair. Shows how much I know! (Then again, maybe I learned that from Georgette.) 😉

    Diane & Keira — that was a lovely purse. And Diane, I second Keira’s suggestion of posting pics of the Harlequin party! Sounded like a lot of fun…


  25. Todd says:

    Duplicate books? Oh, I’m sure I’ve never done that…um, not more than two or three hundred times, anyway. 🙂 Actually we have a big stack of duplicate books waiting to be donated or sold or traded, though admittedly most of those come from our slowly consolidating our joint book collections. (Sure, we’ve been living together for 14 years, but you can’t rush into these things.)


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