My First Trip to Meissner’s Auction

I’ve driven by Meissner’s Auction House in New Lebanon 100s of times but, until this past Saturday, have never gone in.

Having no experience with the world of offline auctions, I was always hesitant to check out Meissner’s because of a few ill-conceived presumptions. For one, I always thought that the prices at an auction would be way more than my frugal budget could afford. I also assumed that walking into Meissner’s would be like infringing on a private club of old friends who wouldn’t take kindly to outsiders. Finally, I figured that there would be too many learning curves and obstacles to me taking part in something that I had never done before. I don’t know how to play poker but know enough to never sit down at a high-stakes game in a casino and I was worried that walking into Meissner’s or any auction house would be a similar mistake.

I could not have been more wrong about what lay behind the doors of Meissner’s. I stopped by earlier in the day with some friends to scope out the scene. We weren’t chased out (I really thought that might happen) or hassled by the staff who would know at a glance that we didn’t belong. In fact, we were left alone and allowed to stroll around and check out the items that would be coming up for auction that afternoon.

My friends and I spotted a few items that we loved and, after a lot of talk, decided to head back at 5pm for the auction. I still didn’t think that I would be able to afford anything but figured it would be fun. When we got back to Meissner’s at 5, the parking lot was packed and the auction house was filled with people checking out the items and buying food from the kitchen window. We still had no idea what to expect but registered for the auction and sat down.

The auction began with “box lots”, which were boxes of random small items. These boxes ranged from a collection of terracotta pots to stereo equipment to kitchen utensils and were selling for anywhere from $5 to $50. After the box lots, an endless parade of auctions items began making their way to the floor and people were winning all sorts of items from large cabinets for as little as $20 to beautiful, ornate mirrors for 100s of dollars. Finally, the item that I had my eye on–a leather, wing-back chair–came up for auction and after a few tense seconds, I won it!

My new leather chair

It took me years before I went into Meissner’s but I can guarantee that it will be a matter of weeks before I head back.

Meissner’s holds auctions every Saturday at 5pm. They are located on Route 20 (near Route 22) in New Lebanon, NY. You can stop by before the auction to check out the items or look at the listing online at

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