On-Line Auctions….

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April 21, 2014
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or traditional auctions?

It has been a little while since I posted here, and my apologies for that.  Lots of things on my mind, but it has been hard to find the time to put them to print. (well digital print I guess) The last four months have been the busiest four months I have had in my auction business in the last 17 years…so that’s a good thing! Now however, I have a little time this week before the two weekend auctions, so no more excuses. I often write about the changes in the auction business and keeping up with those changes. One of the interesting changes, has been the number of on-line auctions emerging.  Not the ebay type of auction, but an on-line auction conducted from the consignors home.  Many auctioneers are now making that part of their business.  They go into a home, do the photos, set up a preview time at the house, create the on-line auction, and after usually about one week, the winning bidders come to the house, or whatever designated location, and pick up the items.  You can bid from the comfort of your home, and that is something that certainly appeals to some people. There are many situations where a consignor is not able to conduct a traditional live auction from the house, simply due to parking concerns, weather concerns, etc.  There are times when they do not have enough dollar value in their merchandise to justify the expense of a traditional on-site auction, so an on-line auction is a much better way to go. It is also getting more difficult to find appropriate halls to conduct traditional auctions.  You can run into by-law problems, occupancy and parking problems, booking problems, or the hall is just too expensive to rent for an auction. So I think on-line auctions are going to become more common.  It will be a big part of the future auction business. HOWEVER, having said all that…on-line auctions are really not for me as an auctioneer, or a buyer.  I like attending old fashioned, traditional auctions.  I like doing old fashioned, traditional auctions.  I like auctioneering in front of a live crowd of people.  I like working the crowd, joking with the crowd, getting response from the crowd…there is an adrenalin rush that comes with auctioneering.  It is hard to explain how I can sell for 7 or 8 hours straight, without taking a break…something starts and just doesn’t finish until the auction is over!  Most auctioneers will understand this…however, it is something that is hard to explain to other people. For the buyer, a live, traditional auction offers something an on-line auction can never offer. Auctions are exciting, auctions are very social, and I know people who attend two or three a week, and even though they may not buy much, they still love the social aspect of an auction.  You interact, you have fun with people, you gossip a little…criticize the auctioneer, enjoy the food booth. You remember the high prices, the low prices, the jokes the auctioneer made,, the response of some people in the crowd.  You will remember driving in the snow storm, but getting the piece you had always wanted.  Staying until after midnight and loading the van with your purchases. Standing in the rain and wondering why in the world are you doing this? Outbidding the dealers, or learning from the dealers…or both. There is an atmosphere, an energy and a feeling of excitement during a live auction, that cannot be duplicated.  It can be addictive, and it is not for everyone. You could go to an antique mall and buy your antiques, but most auction goers simply want to buy at an auction.  It is part of their personality, and they are not likely to change. The same goes for me as an auctioneer.  I already obviously spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen….working on photos and listings for the auctions… writing blogs, and I enjoy doing it.  However, that is only part of my business, and I don’t want it to become ALL of my business.  I need to work in front of a crowd…I need to be a traditional, old style, LIVE auctioneer.  I need to work with and interact with people.  It is what I love doing, and I am not planning on changing that. So, on-line auctions, can be a good thing, and they will become a bigger part of the auction business, but for the foreseeable future, this auctioneer will step away from the computer, and step up in front of the crowd.  That’s what I love doing, and that’s the way I will continue to do it. Rob
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