My interior design friends have told me for several years now about the legendary Dixon’s Furniture Auction in Crumpton. I have been trying to downsize the scale of my furnishings to better suit my 1900’s farmhouse and felt it was time to pay a visit to Crumpton. I finally had the opportunity to visit recently with a new friend as a guide who has a shop in DC that specializes in vintage jewelry and she invited me to accompany her on one of her weekly Crumpton visits. I arrived early and had an opportunity to look around and read the framed articles about Dixon’s history and learned it is a third generation company that was founded in 1961 by Norman Dixon.
Seven auctioneers on on-site and their combined experience exceeds 210 years so they know how to set the minimum bids. Fascinating facts about Dixon are that they sometimes conduct three to four auctions simultaneously resulting an average of 200 items sold per hour or 3,000 to 6,000 lots a week; items are consigned the morning of the sale and sold by 5:00 pm the same day and consignors may bring anything ranging from a single item to the contents of an entire house. Consignors are either paid after the auction is over or if they are not in attendance, Dixon’s mails checks out every Thursday. Regular buyers can set up house accounts.
The auction categories include furniture, tools and household a items; antique smalls and jewelry, coin and showcase. Furniture, tools and household and antique smalls consignors call the main office on Monday between 9:00 am to 3:00 pm to reserve a space. They may then drop off their consignments on Tuesdays from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm or Wed. from 6:00 am to 8:00 am prior to the auction beginning at 8:30 am. For the Antique Smalls, 53 tables are available to consignors each week. On the day you set up, you stop by the office to receive your table assignment. The Jewelry, Coins and Showcase schedule is slightly different. This sale begins at 1:00 pm so a consignor can also bring their lots from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on Wednesdays.
On the day I visited, the front of the warehouse contained furniture ranging in styles from Art Deco, Craftsman, Gothic, Mid-Century, etc. Antiques sat next to more recent handmade pieces. At the rear of the warehouse were tables with glass topped cases of jewelry for each lot. Buyers must buy a single lot even if they only want a few items and knowing they will get a range of quality and value. Tables behind the jewelry held a range of miscellaneous items. My mother’s family had vase and punch bowl make of Carnival glass and the colors always appealed to me. Much to my surprise I found a Carnival candy dish but could not stay to place a bid. My friend was lucky and bought two lots of jewelry for her store.
The Auctioneer has a mobile chair set high above the crowd for visibility and he zipped around the building after his rapid delivery about each item in every lot. Keep in mind this is a live auction and you must be careful of body language that may signal you are placing a bid-catching the eye of the auctioneer, nodding your head, raising your hand, etc. may get you an unexpected item! I kept my hands in my pocket and avoided eye contact with the Auctioneer. You may also bid online by going online to Dixon’s website , www.crumptonauctions.com, and download their App.
The auction schedule is set for 2019, and occurs every Wednesday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, with these exceptions: May 29th, July 3rd, September 4th,November 27th and December 25th. Wear comfortable walking shoes and there are a few benches near the food area when you can rest or wait until the lot that interests you is up. If the weather is bad, you may also bid online by going to Dixon’s website, and download their App. You just don’t know what you will find each auction day and by the end of my day there I was hooked.
Dixon’s Furniture Auction is located near Chestertown at 2017 Dudley Corners Rd, Crumpton, MD, 21628. For more information, call 410-928-3006 or visit their website.
Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.