Every Wednesday hundreds of antique dealers, junk buyers, deal seekers, gawkers and shop-a-holics head for largest weekly auction in the world – YES, that’s WORLD. Dixon’s Furniture Auctions is located in Crumpton, Maryland on the Eastern Shore and is run by the Dixon family (now in its 3rd generation).
No one really knows it as Dixon’s Furniture Auctions. They know it as the Crumpton Sale or the Crumpton Auction. Or … just Crumpton.
Whenever auction enthusiasts talk about antiques in the Mid-Atlantic region, the conversation will invariably come around to Crumpton.
“Are you going to Crumpton, Wednesday?”
“Have you been to Crumton?”
“We always go to Crumpton.”
“Oh, we got that at Crumpton.”
“The last time I saw him was at Crumpton.”
“Watch out when you go to Crumpton. If you don’t pick your stuff right up, folks will steal it!”
“I lost a table to a thief at Crumpton.”
In fact, I didn’t even know Crumpton was the name of the town. This auction has such recognition that it has absconded the town’s name for its own brand. I don’t even know if anything else is located in Crumpton except Crumpton … the auction, that is.
A local Queen Anne’s County boy told me that you pronounce it Crumptn <— one syllable.
3 to 4 Auctions Run Simultaneously at Crumpton
The auctions are held every Wednesday with the first one starting at 8:00 a.m. Auctions continue until everything is sold. Yes, that’s everything! So every week there’s new stuff which makes Crumpton unique. There’s no hold-overs from last week or last month. There is no other auction in the world that pushes out as much weekly merchandise as Crumpton.
There are four total auctions held each week, with three or four running simultaneously. They are the Household Auction, the Furniture Auction, the Antique Smalls Table Lot Auction, and the Jewelry, Coin and Showcase Auction. The Household Auction and Furniture auction both start at 9:00 a.m. and are held outside (rain or shine) on acres surrounding the Dixon Auction warehouse. Items are sold by row. The Antique Smalls Table Lot Auction is held in the warehouse starting at 8:00 a.m. and the Jewelry / Showcase Auction (also held indoors) starts at 1:00 p.m.
The lowest possible bid ranges from $10 to $20 and if bids don’t come quickly, the item will be paired with other items. Things move fast so bidders must pay close attention. Over 200 items are sold every hour. Winning bidders must take care to take possession of their won items immediately as there are scavengers who attend only to snag unclaimed / unwanted items, and they might just “mistakenly” knab your unattended prize thinking you left it behind.
The Bidding Process at Crumpton
To bid, buyers must register submitting their credit card information or cash deposit. Personal checks can be used with a letter of endorsement from a bank. Each bidder, once registered is given a card which they use when bidding. You can’t bid without being registered. There is no buyer’s premium. Maryland sales tax of 6% is added to all purchases.
An Insider’s View of the Crumpton Auction
Photographer, Nancy Soshinsky from Camden, Delaware has been photographing the Crumpton Auction for years. She’s even compiled a book that features the best of her photos from the auction Land of the Found: Photographs from Crumpton. Nancy gave me some good insight to impart to the auction novice …. or at least, the Crumpton novice.
It’s a great spectacle and people are super friendly but I’d caution you guys about jumping into the deep end and bidding against heavy duty NYC, Philly, DC antique dealers (who come every week rain or shine w/ literally thousands in cash in their pockets and huge panel trucks to fill). It’s not for the faint of heart…these people are trying to make a living after all.
The outside portion of the auction is conducted from a MOVING vehicle! you’ll need to register in the main building before the auction starts and pay on the spot in cash.
By the way … in the interest of maintaining the speed of the sale the furniture field auctioneer might just include 5 feet of old mattresses to a knick-knack you have your eyes on. If by chance you win the knick-knack you also get a pile of junk you don’t want, thank goodness for the scavengers who also belong to the picker food chain.
The action inside the main building is great fun to watch, that’s where the genuinely valuable and rare stuff is. Eye candy + primo people watching + a swell Amish-run restaurant + shade!
Are you guys getting there before 9AM? The thing isn’t much fun after noon…
The Crumpton Auction is an excellent adventure and something to consider doing for fun when you’re traveling to the beach…. or just come for the heck of it.
100 Things to Do Between the Bridge and the Beach
Every year millions of people cross a bridge to travel to the Atlantic Beaches on Delmarva. It may be the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel or a bridge over the Delaware Canal. They may be headed to Ocean City, Chincoteague, Rehoboth, Bethany, Dewey or Assateague, but most don’t know about the fabulous sites and attractions they are passing by. This series offers 100 fun things you can do between the Bridge and the Beach encouraging visitors to pull off the highway, take a day trip, and widen your vacation scope of activities – or make the Eastern Shore a destination when you’re not headed for the beach.
SPECIFICS ON THE CRUMPTON AUCTION
CREDITS: mage of Doll, used with permission. Copyright 2009 by Nancy Soshinsky. Check out her book Land of the Found: Photographs from Crumpton .Other auction images courtesy of Dixon Furniture Auction. Used with permission.