Perry’s Auction was a Saturday social gathering
For years Tony Perry held an auction every Saturday at Eighth Street and Pitkin Avenue. It seemed that everyone in Grand Junction went there at one time or another, if not to sell, then to buy. It was like a big community yard sale, except that you bid on what you wanted rather than barter with the property owner.
During the week and on Sundays the site was a barren vacant lot except for a small wooden building close to the center of the property. But on Saturdays it became a social hub.
All manner of people attended, from young families with small children to old men sitting around watching the action.
The auction didn’t begin until afternoon, but participants started arriving early to put out what they wanted to sell.
Others were there early to check out what was for sale. They would mill about looking at the assortment of tables, chairs, beds, couches, lamps, end tables, boxes and more boxes of stuff, and building materials, while deciding if they wanted to bid.
My late father-in-law, Spencer Jordan, was a regular at the auction. I think he went for the social aspect as much as to get a good bargain. In some respects it was rather like a social club for the regulars.
My husband, Teddy, and I went with him a couple of times and, on reflection, it was fun.
Tony started the auction in early afternoon, and it always amazed me that people would bid on boxes filled with stuff when they had no idea what was inside. I was also amazed at some of the treasures you would find in one of the boxes.
Teddy and I never bid on anything, but my father-in-law would bid on the mystery boxes and give them to me. I must say I would find a fine treasure in a box every once in a while.
People would also bring fruits, vegetables and small animals to be sold.
It was interesting to watch people bid on items. I think that at times they were bidding just for the sport of bidding. Sometimes they thought they were bidding on one item and would find when the final gavel went down they had purchased a big pile of assorted items. I remember thinking at the time that they would be back the next week to try and sell the pile they had just purchased.
While old men would sit around in the shade and drink a beer or two, kids would be running around waiting for their parents to finish up so they could go home.
Tony operated his auction at other locations before moving to the Pitkin Avenue site, where he operated an auction until 1985. He ran an auction yard for 44 years.
He also worked for Public Service Co. of Colorado, now Xcel Energy, retiring after 45 years.
Today the site is a vacant lot, but anyone who ever attended one of Perry’s auctions, or drove by to see the action, can probably remember what an important role it played in Grand Junction’s history.