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A Hidden Treasure of its Own

Jul 27, 2011 08:15PM ● By Anonymous

Growing up in Crupton, the auction has never really phased me. When my family first moved to the area from Baltimore, it was novel and exciting, but it's become pretty commonplace over the years. Lately, the only attention I've given it are a few furtive glances to see if there are any tables my apartment's living room couldn't live without. Usually there aren't, and since I can't spend the day waiting to bid on one, I pass on.

It wasn't until I invited one of my Baltimore-based friends over that I remembered it's somewhat of an unusual sight. We were driving by on our way to Annapolis, when he saw it and yelled,

"Whoa! What's that!?"

"It's the Crumpton Auction," I replied, somewhat bemused. "It's where we get the pretzels."

"Look at all that stuff..." he said.

Then, we turned right at MD-290 into Pondtown, and carried on our way.

Later, I asked him what intrigued him so much about the Auction.

"There were people everywhere! How did such a dense crowd wind up in such a rural place?"

His interest peaked mine, and so I decided to do a little research. After Googling "Crumpton Auction," I soon found that that's not really its name at all. It is, in fact, Dixons Furniture Auction, and it's been in the area for 50 years. Established by Norman Dixon in 1961, it's now a third generation company. Every Wednesday auction begins at 8 a.m. and ends around six in the evening.

"We have 7 auctionieers on staff with over 210 years combined experience," says the auction's website, "each averaging 200 items an hour."

"You literally never know what you may find," it adds.

Isn't that the truth. You're just about as likely to find a porcelain statue of a leprechaun riding a turtle as you are a 200-year-old painting.

Washington College professor of Art and Art History and Dixons Auction patron Dr. Donald McColl can attest.

"When I get the time, I love to visit the auction at Crumpton. Aside from meeting all kinds of colorful characters and sampling some of the wonderful food they have, I like to look for older works of art," he says, adding, "In fact, I once bought a very dirty, cracked wooden panel that was unframed and propped up on the floor, which, when cleaned turned out to depict an important German merchant from early nineteenth-century Baltimore."

So, if you happen to find yourself in the unincorporated community of Crupton on a Wednesday, I highly suggest that you stop by the auction. And, since I can't imagine anyone happening to be there (though according to Crumpton's Outpost 544, it is the center of the universe, so you may be drawn there) consider making a trip for Dixon's itself. Great food, awesome atmosphere and lots, and lots of stuff.

Who knows what's hiding in there?