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Going, Going, Gone!

Magnolia Gardens Auction House serves up antiques, high-end décor, and rare finds virtually and through in-person auctions.

Auction houses are seeing a surge in buying from a younger generation of first-time collectors who are scooping up everything from art and jewelry to home goods and furniture. The pandemic ushered in a new way to conduct auctions because of in-person gathering restrictions, and being virtual has gone viral. Like others around the country, Magnolia Gardens Auction House took to social media for their weekly auctions and tapped into a whole new audience. 

“We had to change it up because of the pandemic, and that is why we started having Facebook Live sales,” says owner Tina Murphy. “We still have an in-person auction once per month, but now Magnolia Gardens is well known on social media.” 

Murphy opened Magnolia Gardens Auction House in 2011 and is known for antiques and higher-end pieces. Customers can come in and browse to get a preview of the items on sale at any time, but purchases must wait until a virtual or in-person auction. Murphy also gives previews before her Facebook Live sales twice per week. Although antiques and decorative items are still the mainstays of her business, COVID changed many of the things Magnolia Gardens sells. Murphy explains that now, more than ever before, she helps companies liquidate their inventories so that she may be selling the contents of a drug store one week and an antique shop the following. 

“The variety is amazing with collections from around the world - there is just a vast difference between an auction and a typical store. And generally, auctions are a great bargain. The prices are about one-third less than what you would normally find in a boutique,” says Murphy. “We don’t have to worry about overhead, shipping, or freight charges which means the savings are passed onto my customers.” 

Murphy has seen everything come through her auction house doors, from fossilized coprolite to Old Masters paintings that go for upwards of $20,000. Bidding wars are common and encouraged. “I treat my auction house as a big party. Everyone is welcome here, and I take care of people’s possessions as if they were my own.”

  • Tina Murphy, owner of Magnolia Gardens Auction House. Photo Credit Max Parisi