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LAUSD AUCTIONS OLD EQUIPMENT BARGAIN HUNTERS DESCEND ON SITE TO FIND TREASURES.

Byline: Joseph Giordono Staff Writer

HYDE PARK - If one man's trash is truly another man's treasure, then Saturday the warehouse behind Hyde Park Boulevard School was a veritable Spanish galleon - loaded with old chairs, ancient computers and used kitchen equipment.

An eclectic mix of resellers and bargain hunters crowded the warehouse early Saturday for a chance to walk away with thousands of items the Los Angeles Unified School District deemed obsolete and put up for auction.

``You never know what you're going to find in here,'' said Grady Devers, a self-described Inglewood scrap man.

``I have walked out of here with some rust-covered junk, shined it up and made some money off it. But you've got to have the eye.''

Devers had his eye on several prospects in Saturday's auction: a bin of old plumbing equipment, several 35 mm film projectors and a dusty set of kettle drums.

But the true prize, he said, was an enormous globe printed with a fading map of the world. It was at least 5 feet in diameter.

``I don't know what I would do with it, really, but it's just too good to pass up,'' Devers said.

While many of the prospective buyers shared his eye for kitsch, others were at the auction for serious business.

Rey Rincon, who sells used appliances, picked up an industrial-size food mixer for $750.

``Might seem steep, but I'll probably be able to sell it for a nice profit,'' he said.

Among other winning bids: $4 apiece for 51 picnic tables, $800 for a pizza oven and $275 for a big pile of stainless steel scrap metal.

A set of 120 classroom desks went for $3 apiece. Lot No. 8, consisting of 82 plastic chairs, drew a top bid of 30 cents each.

``Every piece here comes from the schools throughout the district when it is deemed obsolete,'' said Warren Dean, a supervisor with LAUSD.

``It all gets trucked here, and we hold an auction like this about once every four months. We raise anywhere from $75,000 to $150,000.''

The proceeds are deposited back into the district's general fund, Dean said.

Prospective buyers are required to put down a $200 deposit to participate in the auction and must pay for their purchases on the day of sale.

Buyer beware is definitely the rule, as all items are sold strictly as-is.

``Once you leave that gate, you're on your own,'' auctioneer Jan Bendis warned the crowd before launching into a flurry of cajoling and coaxing for ever-higher bids.

``I'm not going to let you be that cheap on me today,'' he chastised one buyer, who bid $1 for a hulking piece of playground equipment.

Bendis eventually squeezed $5 out of the man.

Ursula Brickey, who recently opened a ceramics manufacturing center and crafts school with a partner, eyed a bin of old printing press letters.

``These would be perfect for art,'' she said. ``There is some junk, and there is some funky stuff. It all depends on what value you attach to it.''

Of course, there were some items that drew no bids.

Among them were a box of shin guards, an old basketball hoop without a net or backboard and emergency eye wash/shower from a high school chemistry lab.

``That's all right if we don't sell everything today,'' Warren Dean said. ``The stuff will still be here next time, and so will the buyers.''

CAPTION(S):

3 photos

Photo:

(1) Prospective buyers inspect stacks of old school equipment offered at auction Saturday by the L.A. school district.

(2 -- 3) Above, auctioneer Jan Bendis, right, elicits bids from prospective buyers at LAUSD's outdated-equipment auction Saturday in Hyde Park. At right, Los Angeles resident G. Sharp rests against a stack of obsolete school desks.

Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 8, 2000
Words:633
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