Jan 19, 2014

Hanging Out Your Shingle on the Web

If my grandfather knew I’d become an auctioneer, he’d roll over in his grave.

Back in the Great Depression, my family was one of many that were turned out of their homes by a bank foreclosure. Since auctioneers were agents of the bank, the family’s ill will toward the bank transferred to all auctioneers. Nary was a kind word said about those in my profession as I grew up.

Consequently, I didn’t attend my first auction until I was in my mid-30s. Seeing that first auction changed the course of my life. I found the whole affair invigorating: the chant of the auctioneer, the competitiveness of the bidding, the energy of the crowd. Soon thereafter, I began my apprenticeship in the auction trade and never looked back.

In the years since, both the auction business and commerce in general have changed substantially. When I started in the business, auctions were mostly local affairs with a bidder pool derived from the surrounding community. Crowds would vary and were generally the worst during bad weather. Bigger crowds equaled more competition and higher prices for the consignors (not to mention higher commissions for the auctioneer). Read More

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