Sep 14, 2014

When Auctions Move Slowly, It's Good for Buyers

I had a wonderful experience last weekend: I attended an old-fashioned onsite country estate auction.
This auction was “way back up in the hills,” so there were no cell phone signals or WiFi connections available. Consequently, no credit or debit cards could be accepted: Cash or check only. Everything was sold absolute to the highest bidder. There were no lot numbers; items were auctioned individually or grouped on an ad-hoc basis. There was no catalog. There were no buyer’s premiums and no Internet bidding. There were no smartphones for checking prices online and no browsers calling partners for a consultation. It was like stepping back in time.
As I sat in my Coleman camp chair waiting for my lots to present, I had time to watch the crowd and reflect on how much the auction business has changed in the past 20 years. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the changes – buyers’ premiums, credit card fees and simultaneous online bidding – have benefitted the auctioneers first, consignors second and bidders last.
It was with great pleasure that I watched a first-rate auctioneer work the crowd in front of him to get the best possible prices for his consignor. No online bidders would thwart the plans of the local crowd. Read More>>>

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