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Auction patrons find bargains, fun

Auction patrons find bargains, fun

On Tuesday afternoons, Capone’s Vault is empty. The antique store at Division and Guy streets closes

On Tuesday afternoons, Capone’s Vault is empty.

The antique store at Division and Guy streets closes down every week in preparation for the store’s main event, its Tuesday night auction.

By 6 p.m., over 25 people are meandering through the store’s back room checking out the merchandise, eating pizza and catching up with friends.

Debbie Keating of Esperance was poking through some old cups and bowls Tuesday before the auction started. She and her husband have been collecting antiques for over 25 years. While she keeps a lot of the good finds for herself, Keating said, she also sells some antiques on eBay.

“You hope to make a little money, but it’s more of a hobby,” she said.

At 6:30 p.m., the auction begins, with the store’s owner, Mark Capone, perched on a chair, which sits on a large desk, talking a mile a minute and quickly selling lots of merchandise from jewelry and pottery to books, dolls and furniture.

The items are not the rare treasures seen on “Antiques Roadshow.” Some are not even antiques, but simply collectibles. Accordingly, they mostly fetch a modest price.

Richard Mueller, of Fort Plain, bought one of the first lots, a pair of antique oil lamps for $7.50. Mueller said he attends an antiques auction almost every night of the week.

“I haven’t found one on Monday yet, but I go every other night. Doesn’t leave much time for anything else,” he said.

Capone, a transplant from Long Island, has been around antiques his entire life, beginning when he was 2 years old at his family’s antique store. The evening is a family affair, with Capone’s father, George, showing off merchandise and his mother, Barbara, selling refreshments.

Don Bernaski, of Scotchbush, said he visits the auction every week hoping to find something he likes. “You’re always looking for something. Most of the time you don’t find nothing, though,” Bernaski said. Tuesday he walked away with an antique hay cutter for $5. Bernaski said he planned to display the old tool with the rest of his collection of old farming equipment and cars.

Barbara Capone said everyone comes to the auction for different reasons.

“Some come for the bargains, some are dealers and some come to collect things they really like,” she said.

Mark Capone said the best thing about the auction is that it’s a night out for a lot of people.

“They come and hang out have some pizza and soda and it’s a nice time for them,” Capone said.

Capone said at least 75 percent of the people are from outside Amsterdam.

It was Don Hosley’s second trip to Amsterdam for Capone’s auction. Hosley traveled from Worcester, Mass., for this week’s auction hoping to find his favorite collectibles, old toys and comic books.

“It’s a fun, down-to-earth bunch,” Hosley said.

“It’s an entertaining night out,” Jim McAuliff, of Amsterdam, said. “You talk to your friends and you don’t have to spend a lot of money.”

For $10, McAuliff bought a chest that he said was from the late 1800s for a friend.

Marcella Hurd, of Palatine, said she comes to the auction every week. Her love is old jewelry and dolls. She said she’ll pick up things for her daughter and granddaughter, but what she really likes about the auction is the people.

“We have so much fun. It’s like a family, if you don’t show up they’ll miss you,” she said.

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