Attend An Auction

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Sometimes you do something on holiday that you would never contemplate doing back home. Ironically, this then turns out to be a highlight, and one of the happiest memories, of your whole vacation.

You don’t have to think of something that’s terribly exotic either, like going on safari or bungee jumping off Victoria Falls. An innocent public activity like an auction sale could very well do the trick!


For the uninitiated, an auction is the process of buying and selling goods by offering them up for sale to the highest bidder in an open public sale. The auctioneer (person in charge of the sale) takes bids from the gathered crowd, and the one who promises the most pays and gets the item. Think ebay without the computer!  But be wanted that if your bid is the highest then you will be expected to stump up that amount. So if you’re not interested, void eye contact with the auctioneer and don’t wave at someone you recognise in the middle of proceedings!


Auctions can be traced as far back as 500 BC in Babylon where, according to ancient Greek scribes, something similar to what we see today first occurred. In 21st century Malta, you can go to a modern-day auction sale, where you may soon find yourself totally immersed in the bilingual (Maltese and English) proceedings.


Furniture auctions, particularly those specialising in Maltese antiques, are the most popular with locals and foreigners alike. But many other objects regularly go under the hammer, from postage stamps and butterflies to cars, speedboats, properties and cargo ships. Although getting your suitcase lid closed with one of those in it ready for the journey home can be one hell of a challenge! There are several Maltese auction houses to choose from and they advertise their events well in advance to help you with your planning.


Incidentally, for any US readers, you don’t have to call the Maltese auctioneer “colonel” as they still do in some parts of the States, and have done since the American civil war when goods seized by armies were sold at auction by the colonel of the army division concerned.


The Maltese auction houses also help organise local events on behalf of some of the world’s major operators like Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Lyon & Turnbull and Bonhams. 

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