Going, Going, Gone – Here Comes the Auctioneer


"SALE-O … SALE-O … from now on! SALE-O … SALE-O …"

Finally, it is the time when three or four men in matching shirts and jeans and RM Williams boots, sporting all their shaded Akubra hats – suddenly jump onto the long plateau of "Divers" & # 39; ; truck … and the auction begins.

The first thing to do is to welcome all the buyers and wish them success – then name and present the current owner often and tell the reason for the sale that day. Maybe this owner has sold his farm and is retiring … or moving to another house, another type of farming … or sometimes, quite simply out of farming, for a reason or another.

The auctioneer then details the conditions of the sale (for example, payment must be made in full before removal of the goods – except where other financial arrangements have been made before the sale – usually for larger items, for example). It also highlights the need to have a registration number – obtained from the “ temporary office '' & # 39; & # 39; temporary. usually installed in one of the farm sheds. Only offers from buyers registered with their large number of cards will be recognized and accepted.

This preamble ends with a brief overview of the sale order, with many arms waving and pointing to the rows of goods for sale. And now the auctioneer declares the auction open and starts singing, describing the item (or the item box) and suggesting –

"Well, this one must be worth – ah-hh, what would we say? $ 100? Do I hear 100?" (waits, looks in all directions … no answer, then he continues) "75 maybe? Oh, come on guys – there must be a 50 somewhere … surely? It is a superior quality (whatever) – Worth every bit of $ 100. Come on! Do not be shy. "(waits briefly again)" OK, 20 then. $ 20 only … YES! Thank you sir. I have a $ 20 bid to start, ladies and gentlemen. Should I hear $ 25? "

And so it progresses. The auctioneer and his assistants are constantly swiveling their heads, scrutinizing the crowd for the planned offers; shouting loudly as they rush forward, pointing in the general direction of the current auction, "YES! … right", or "Here is a third (or fourth) bettor."

And, in the meantime, the auctioneer continues his speech, repeating the increasing amount, interspersed with cajoling or provocative statements, one after the other, to the participants. "It's up to you, sir … yes, you over there, in the back. You sure won't let this pass between your fingers … just for a meager $ 5 more ?? "

Until suddenly, no more bids appear – then the auctioneer says, "OK people … at $ … More bids? Are you sure? It will be the right one sale deal! Sure? Once … (pauses, looking in each direction) Go twice … (then claps loudly) Everything is done at a bargain price of $ … to no … "- and he goes to the next article as an assistant saves the number on one of the many pages of a typed list in his clipboard. Periodically, as a sheet is filled, a & # 39; runner & # 39; the book at & # 39; office & # 39; so that the girls can start preparing individual files, ready to be tabulated when each buyer has finished.

How do so many auctioneers become such incredible artists – in addition to all the practical demands of the job? It’s a mystery, when you consider the breadth of knowledge they need – first of all goods themselves, and being able to recognize “ parts '' & # 39; & # 39 ; strange and wonderful and quite obscure. of tools or machines dating back perhaps decades. And then be able to guess a reasonable price to start the auction. How often is the final price SI close to the first opener proposed by our auctioneer – despite dropping to alarming levels before rising again? It happens much more often than you think.

And between all that – and its & # 39; machine gun & # 39; delivery, he will recognize the people he knows – a lot of them – and by name too! "Oh come on George. Let the butterflies go out … they need air!" – or, "Hey Fred … thought you were looking for another one last week. Here's a beauty for you …", and so on. Seriously awesome!

In addition, the auctioneer and his assistants must be able to recognize the many and varied ways that bidders … offer! Ordinary people simply lift their numbered card, or maybe point a finger at the sky, while others hold their hand against their face and raise a finger – and shake their heads to stop bidding. .. or simply turn away.

However, many of the buyers will, for whatever reason, not want to be identified as an interested party. This can be the case when it may be a scrap buyer looking for good deals to melt. The same goes for the type of entrepreneur who will buy something and "do it" and resell it for a healthy profit. Now he prefers not to be identified with this purchase price. Or maybe it is a wealthy local farmer who can artificially raise the price with other “ dummies '' & # 39; & # 39; buyers, just to see him pay more because – "he can afford it – old bags of money!" But then we have the “ regulars '', sometimes other agents buying on behalf of individual farmers from their own area (which may well be quite far away).

We now see the wink; the hand holding the chin, or a gaze which means that the bidder is still bidding; eyebrow lifting; the contraction of the mouth or nose – here a scratch, there is a catch – really, the choices are endless. A sudden stop in one of these means means that the auction is over for this individual – OR – he has secretly succeeded.

Many fascinating aspects of human nature are presented at an agricultural compensation sale. One of them in particular is a phenomenon which may involve a strange type of apparently wannabe & # 39; status that all this sale can generate. What is happening is that the usually wise and wise men of the earth suddenly throw caution to the wind in their sudden and overwhelming desire to “ possess '' & # 39; & # 39; a particular item – and the bids go higher and higher … and higher. And you see ordinary people paying extraordinary prices – obviously far above their plans ( or budget) – and sometimes even above new prices! Really!

No warranties or guarantees – often not even a user manual! It must be difficult when they get home. At such times, the seller first scratches his head in disbelief, then rubs his hands in joy. And those & # 39; in the knowledge & # 39; of the appropriate price raise their eyebrows, exchange questionable looks and sometimes share a sneer. "What was does he think? "obviously ask for their expressions.

Thus, the sale continues, generally for four hours or more, the auctioneer cheerfully shouting his way through various articles and tools and fences; drinkers and drinkers and seeds for crops; farm implements, machines and vehicles – and somewhere in between – cattle pens – maybe cattle or sheep – or both. And it never misses a beat – and it almost always knows the current price of the day. If not, it's a modest, "OK, fallers – put me on these, do you want? What do you think they are worth?"

But this is rare if it is livestock or fodder or farm equipment. He almost always seems to know these prices. No, this is most often heard towards the end of the sale, as it attacks a multitude of household items – furniture, bedding, crockery and cutlery, ornaments, etc. etc. His requests for help on pricing – and his voice (finally starting to get just a little raspy) – make it clear that the end of the sale is near, and he couldn't be happier.

It only remains to thank all the buyers for their presence – then to take care of the smallest detail to make his voice heard … and his enthusiasm, back in gear, ready to start all over again next week!

What a man! What show!

© 2011 Christine Larsen All rights reserved worldwide

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