If you look around your new property in Malta, you are super excited about pulling it together with beautiful things that mean something to you. If you are a creative person you may not always be happy to furnish your home with furniture that speaks of minimalism but rather want to create a space that is unique to you and your preferences. A touch of baroque, a bit of retro, some shabby chic…. Whatever takes your fancy and makes you happy.
One good place to search for unique pieces that will really make a difference to your real estate in Malta is an auction room. If you have never been to an auction you cannot truly appreciate the tangible energy and undercurrent of excitement which occurs during this event. Auctions happen regularly around Malta – some of them are held in specialist auction rooms, others are held in houses or apartments which are having their contents sold off. If you look through the Sunday papers you are likely to identify at least two or three different auctions happening in the coming weeks. Check when viewing begins and slot a time and a day in your diary when you can spend at least an hour going around each different auction. Don’t be tempted to merely skim through the auction’s website listings because seeing the real thing makes all the difference to your decision to bid or not.
Auctions are places which offer to sell items which somebody else does not need. This does not mean that items are shoddy, nor does it mean that items are only and uniquely antique. Sometimes auctions are asked to sell entire house contents and this means you also get the possibility of buying modern gadgets, relatively contemporary furniture and good quality accessories such as cutlery, linens, heating appliances, and the like. If you are after simple furniture, you may very well get an entire bedroom suite or a formal dining room set of extendable table and chairs for a good price. It is only when you actually see and touch such furniture at close range, that you experience and appreciate the workmanship and quality materials which generally went into something so substantial.
You need to have a budget in mind. You also need to be open to possibilities because you never know what you are going to find at an auction. Auctions are places which import surprise. For instance, you may walk in thinking you want a table for the living room, and you walk out convinced that the antique 19th-century desk you just examined is what you really want. You may never know that a maiolica urn existed in exactly the same colours you have chosen for your kitchen. Nor may you ever expect to find a brand new, still packaged feather duvet going for a song. Then there are the paintings – some antique paintings will fetch exorbitant prices at auction, but there are other options whereby lesser known or unknown artists produced beautiful work which tends to get overlooked.
Take note of what you like and keep that auction catalogue in a safe place. You will need it when you go to the auction on the day and at the time when what you liked is going to be auctioned off. Observe what happens around you in the auction room and how others relate to the auctioneer and make their bids. Make your own but only stretch it to the limitation of your budget. You may not be successful in your bidding right away. The trick is to start with something relatively small – say a cup and saucer, all a set of silver spoons. Once you get the knack of it, you will probably become quite good of the whole auction adventure. Remember you are buying slice of history, be it and antique or vintage or contemporary, it is something special to take back to your property in Malta.
This article was written by Marika Azzopardi, a freelance writer and journalist. A frequent contributor to national English language papers and magazines, she writes about a bevy of topics including art, people and life in general. She is also the author of children’s books and short stories, delving into adult fiction from time to time.