Jane's Dancing Bear Auctions open for business in Roxbury

By Brian Sweeney
Jane’s Dancing Bear Auctions debuted in July at the former Masonic Hall on Bridge Street, Roxbury. Proprietor Jane Wahrburg said it was a longtime fascination with buying auction items that led to her decision to go into the business for herself.
Jane explained that she had long been a fan of Roberts’ Auction in Fleischmanns and was also an avid collector of antiques. About the same time that the Roberts family was closing that business, Jane was contemplating a career change after working many years as a bookkeeper.
“When Eddie closed, I thought here’s an opening and running an auction is something I would really love to do,” she recalled.
Although she had no experience in the field, Jane’s years of attending auctions and collecting interesting pieces of furniture provided her with a starting point. Before finalizing her decision, Jane turned to a trusted pro: Eddie Roberts Sr.
Although Eddie was stepping down from the business for health reasons, he was more than happy to assist Jane with her new venture.
From providing pointers on the intricacies of the business to actually doing the auctioneering for the opening events at Jane’s Dancing Bear Auction, Eddie has provided invaluable service to Jane as she gets her venture off the ground.
“Eddie and his family have been unbelievably great,” she commented.
In addition to getting advice from a local legend, Jane also enrolled in a North Carolina school to learn about all aspects of the business.
Jane said she eventually wants to focus on the calling. “In the meantime, Eddie is doing it; eventually we’ll sort of share it. I just want it to be fun,” she explained.
Because she wants to grow her business at a steady pace, Jane has been holding monthly auctions in the early going. Eventually, she plans to host sales more frequently.
“I want good stuff and it takes time to get it,” she noted. “I’m trying to get interesting items and a variety of things.”
Jane said she also hopes to begin hosting some specialty auctions of vintage or current clothing or perhaps sales featuring textiles like linens and carpets. The early auctions have primarily featured goods such as paintings, prints, posters, furniture, tapestries, glassware and stained glass
“I’ll see what the people want,” she explained.
Jane’s Dancing Bear Auction normally features consignment items. She also purchases whole or partial estates when they feature interesting items. Jane noted that, with few exceptions, each auction features an entirely new set of goods.
Having lived full time in the area since 2001 after being a visitor for a number of years, Jane feels she has a strong idea of the types of items in which people are interested.

Historic site
After looking at a number of places to locate her business, Jane settled upon the historic former Masonic Hall in Roxbury as an appropriate place to set up shop. The Bridge Street structure, which features soaring ceilings, huge windows and tin ceilings is a perfect place to sell vintage goods.
Jane noted that the building has also served as a Grange Hall, a silent movie theater and, fittingly, as an auction house, during its lengthy history.
Along with auctions, Jane is ultimately hoping to expand into other areas. She hopes to install a lighting and audio system so that spacious hall can also be rented out for parties and other gatherings.
Right now, though, she’s concentrating most of her efforts on becoming an established auction house. Among those helping with the business are Jennifer Slauson, Ren Slauson, Chris Peirce, Richie Andersen and Kyle Andersen.
“We’ve had a lot of great responses,” she noted. “People seem to be very happy that we’re here.”