Going, going, gone
Campus cleans its attic with auction, garage sale

By Cathy Cockrell, Public Affairs

 George Fernando, owner of Redi Office Empoorium and Services in Fairfield, Calif., loads his truck with a filing cabinet he bought at the university's garage sale Friday, Oct. 20. Noah Berger photo.

25 October 00 | A Berkeley installation artist scored a set of used lenses and a nifty metal document sorter; a local lumber yard filled the back of a flatbed truck with hardwood desks and Steelcase file cabinets; an East Bay grade school found classroom furniture and supplies.

The source of all this loot was the campus's annual Lost and Found Surplus Auction and Garage Sale, held last Friday and Saturday at the Marchant Building in West Berkeley.

At this year's attic cleaning, conducted by Property Management, several hundred customers from near and far spent $50,000 on surplus durable goods from campus departments and on items from the campus lost and found.

The highest-priced items were a police car that sold for $2,400 and an oak cabinet made in the 1930s that went for $1,900.

Bargain hunters paid $60 for a 14-karat gold ring, $300 for a large industrial air compressor and $5 to $25 each for 15 bike helmets.

With a slightly lower turnout for the auction than in recent years, "there were a lot of good buys," said Property Manager Bill Kumpf, who has been involved in the auction since 1978. "A lot of the oak furniture went for very reasonable prices."

A set of new Michelein tires sold for half the retail price, he said. "You can't predict what things go for in an auction. That's what makes it interesting."

On the auction block, as well, were martial arts jackets, lab glass, an industrial sewing machine, a radial arm saw, cell phones and watches, 52 bicycles and a large oil painting of a doctor giving an eye exam.

Staff members work for weeks to prepare for the jumbo sale. About 15 were on hand the day of the auction - among them Sherry Crawford of Equipment Management, to input bid prices at break-neck speed as a professional auctioneer gaveled each sale to a close, Materiel Management Director Kurt Libby selling hotdogs and coffee, and a crew of workers moving large objects into place for pick-up by their buyers.

Smaller items - including books, clothing, eye glasses and old card catalogs - were snapped up in Friday's garage sale, which began at the stroke of 9 a.m., when a large crowd rushed through the doors to stake claims on both run-of-the-mill and mystery items.

"I want to use it for a boot rack," an Oakland woman said of a set of long dowels mounted on a plastic base. "Martha Stewart just made one the other day (on her show)." "Tell all those faculty they should donate even more stuff, so it can go to even more artists," said Kay, an installation artist pleased with the garage sale's eclectic offerings at bargain prices.

Funds raised from the two days help to support the operations of Excess and Salvage - which picks up no-longer-needed items from campus departments, free of charge, throughout the year and stores them until the sale. Surplus furniture and computers are sold throughout the year on Wednesday and Thursday morning.

"Our inventory is way down," said Kristi Mares of Property Management, in the aftermath of the event she helped organize and staff. "But that only lasts a minute."

Beginning this week, the holding area will begin to fill up again with bikes and other items that have languished unclaimed in campus lost and found, and with surplus furniture and equipment trucked down from campus. "We're inundated constantly," Mares said.



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