01 October, 2020

Bazaar Korte Hobe!

Treasures, trifles—Calcutta's auction houses burn with curiosities

Sandipan Chatterjee
Bazaar Korte Hobe!
Last week, I acquired a new addiction. Rousing myself reluctantly on a Sunday morning to go to an auction house, purely for this assignment, I found myself mesmerised by it. The tantalising invitation of the auctioneer to place a bid, the passion with which bids were placed, the low prices at which covetable goods came under the hammer, and the charged atmosphere at the auction hall—all these converted me from observer to eager participant in a matter of 30 minutes. I returned home that Sunday afternoon the proud owner of a carved wooden screen (Rs 875), a beautiful antique glass bottle (Rs 140), an old sitar (Rs 275) and a vintage set of silver cutlery (Rs 410). And I'm sure I'll forego my lazy brunch next Sunday for the greater pleasure of bidding for, perhaps, an 80-year-old carved wooden picture frame or an exquisite old European porcelain figurine.

Not everything up for auction last Sunday could be described as collectors' items. Workaday odds and ends have their space and clientele too. Aftab Alam bought a VIP suitcase for Rs 320....


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