there is a side to them that you may not think much about.
An auction sale can be, and in my opinion, should be a fun, exciting event. I try to make it fun and interesting, and I really enjoy what I do.
However, there is another aspect to auctions, and being an auctioneer, that most people really don’t give much thought to.
Acquiring the goods for auction. Where does it all come from? Who did it belong to? Is there a story behind it?
As auctioneers, we often have to deal with people at a difficult time in their lives. Death. Divorce. Downsizing. Moving to a retirement or nursing home. Sometimes people are forced to sell for financial reasons as well. I have dealt with all of it.
I dealt with one woman who flew here from British Columbia for her mother`s funeral. We were in the apartment packing up items the day after the funeral. She had no choice because she had to settle the affairs and go back home. I can imagine how difficult it must have been for her to have to do that so quickly after her mother`s passing.
I have dealt with many elderly people who are giving up a lifetime of possessions in order to move into a retirement home. I vividly remember one elderly lady watching us through the living room window as we loaded the truck. Tears were streaming down her face.
I have heard many bitter stories about ex-wifes and ex-husbands.
I have taken items out of homes that were not fit to live in. I witnessed first hand one particularly sad story, that would rival any `hoarding`story you see on reality TV.
I used to get phone calls from one couple who claimed they were always `redecorating“ and didn`t need the items any more, or just wanted a change. I watched them move from a 5000 square foot home, to a small rented house, and then finally divorce. I suspected all the way along that it was financial problems that were forcing them to sell and then ultimately divorce.
A good friend of mine told me this story. He was working at an auction holding up items and some old aprons came up for sale. He jokingly tied the aprons on, and got a good laugh from the crowd. A young woman in the front row looked directly at him,, and told him those were her grandmothers aprons. He felt terrible.
I am not meaning to put a down side on the auction business for you. I am just pointing out that as auctioneers we have to be sensitive to the people we are dealing with. It can be a very tough time for some people.
However, on the up side, many people are selling under good circumstances. They are happily turning items they no longer want or use into cash. I have many good consignors who pick items specifically for the auctions, and in most cases it can be very profitable for them. Or dealers who just want to reduce inventory. I have even had consignors happily tell me they can`t believe what that old piece of junk sold for!
So yes there is a story behind almost everything we sell. It all belonged to someone at sometime.
I hope that the majority of times, the circumstances under which someone is selling, is as happy as the circumstances under which someone else is buying!