Monday, November 28, 2005

Farm auction sparks more than one lesson

Mary Friedel-Hunt

Bradenton Herald


Their treasures were on sale. RS Prussia dishes, Seth Thomas clocks, antique dressers, old pots and tables were just a few of the many items being auctioned off at their farm. The yard was filled with what three ladies, now in their 90s, had collected throughout their lives. Much of what I saw was from Bavaria and Austria. Lovely collectibles, practical lawn mowers and antique tools sat in the morning light on a beautiful autumn day.

The hills surrounding the valley were aglow with fall colors muted by a slightly overcast day. Behind the house a herd of cows grazed peacefully. Outside of the experience of grazing in an incredible valley, they had collected nothing in their lifetimes.

As I wandered past tables piled high with their possessions, I wondered what these ladies thought as neighbors and strangers alike checked out their belongings. Had they let go to the point where they just smiled knowing these same items would someday be sold again and even again by those who were seeking a bargain at this rural sale.

People milled about drinking coffee and soda, chatting with neighbors, and carefully lifting china to see the markings on the undersides. Within a few minutes this friendly crowd of perhaps 200 people would enter into a competition to see who could get what they wanted at the lowest price.

Bidding went quickly. The auctioneer spoke rapidly as only auctioneers can, and suddenly a good number of old tools, Mason jars and a myriad of other things were sold to the highest bidders. I knew this auction would go on for hours and that happy new owners would walk away with irons, collectibles and dressers tucked safely in their cars and trucks. Some would adorn their homes, some would be sold on eBay, and others would sit in antique shops waiting for the next buyer. I wondered why so many older adults were buying what I knew their adult kids would just have to pack up and sell or give away in not too many years.

One thing was clear; the uniform for the day was blue jeans, gym shoes and caps. In Wisconsin one sees people dressed like this at Friday night fish fries, sometimes at the symphony, and always at farm auctions.

Auctions are fun. They are also sad. When a farmer, who tried to make a go of farming, can no longer survive and is forced to sell off his cows, tractors, tools, milking equipment, and sometimes the farm itself, these events have a cloud of pain hanging over them. Often the farmer and his family are sitting on their porch watching as their life goes to the highest bidder.

My husband, Bill, has gone to many auctions when he was looking to furnish a 10-room Victorian bed and breakfast in one chapter of his life. This was the first time I had ever ventured into this world. The first time I heard an auctioneer talk faster than my brain could take in. It was the first time I had seen someone's life for sale in the front yard of their home.

We stayed for about three hours and then determined that we needed to add nothing more to the collection of treasures that already adorned our home. Getting in touch with that reality made the trip worth while. Maybe that was the real reason we went: to learn that we needed nothing.

Mary Friedel-Hunt is a freelance writer and a licensed clinical social worker who has been a psychotherapist for 28 years. Her column runs weekly in WellBeing. You may contact her by writing to: P.O. Box 189, Lone Rock, WI. 53556

Web site

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Your First Car Auction

Your First Car Auction
by: Jay Moncliff

You are about to go to your first car auction. You can feel the excitement in the air. There are so many cars to choose from. But do you really know what to expect at a car auction? Do you know the legalities that occur at a car auction? Most people get in way over there heads at a car auction. If this is your first car auction, you better come prepared.

There are a lot of things you need to do and a lot of things you need to pay attention to at a car auction. First off, before you go to a car auction make sure you have enough money in your bank account. All cars purchased at a car auction must be paid in full. You also need to bring your drivers license and any other form of ID to the car auction. This is needed to buy the vehicle and to do the title work and registration.

When you first get to the car auction you should make notes of the cars you are interested in. Then, if you can, go to and check the retail value of the vehicles you would like to purchase. This way you know what to go with when you make your bid. At a car auction, many vehicles have a reserve price. This means that the vehicle has a minimum price t be sold at. If it is too high, do not bid on it. Be sure when you do bid that you do not get into a bidding war. Never bid more than you can afford. If the bidding war begins, just walk away. At a car auction, it is every man for himself.

Before you begin to bid on cars, you need to see if the vehicle is a good buy or not. Many vehicles at a car auction could have been previously damaged. An example of this is in Texas and Louisiana many cars were severely damaged by flooding during a hurricane. These vehicles were sent to a car auction and the buyers more than likely had no idea the vehicles had flood damage. You may also wish to take a mechanic to the car auction. A mechanic is a good idea at a car auction because they can see where someone may have tried to hide repairs and damage that the vehicle might have incurred. Lastly, you can get a free Carfax vehicle history report on the vehicle if you get the vehicles identification number (VIN).

Remember, at a car auction vehicles are sold "as is" and they do not come with a warranty. Keep all of these tips in mind to protect yourself from a bad purchase. You are supposed to go to a car auction to get a great deal on a car and to save money. With the proper frame of mind, this is easily accomplished.

About The Author

Jay Moncliff is the founder of a blog focusing on the Car, resources and articles. This site provides detailed information on Car. For more info on Car visit:

Copyright © 2001-Present

Monday, November 21, 2005

Buying Opportunities at Wine Auctions

As wine enthusiasts and dedicated collectors, we are always looking for ways to acquire rare or harder to find vintage wines. We scour our favorite wine shops and super discount retailers; maybe we even join a wine club, always looking for that ever evasive vintage hidden treasure. Sometimes we succeed, but more often than not, we don’t. Have you considered buying wine at wine auctions?

Believe it or not, wine auctions can offer some real buying opportunities. It is not uncommon for many wine auctions to offer “sleeper lots”, or those wines that are flying low under the radar of public awareness and perception. Sometimes it is just a matter of timing, and a great buying opportunity comes up immediately and then disappears just as fast with the loud report of the auctioneer’s gavel and his hallmark word, “sold”, being spoken from the auction block.

Sure, some wines sell for astronomical prices at wine auctions. As a professional auctioneer, I can attest to this personally. During May 2005, I participated as an auctioneer in a retail wine auction where we set five world records for price of wine sold at auction. Though record prices may be achieved at certain wine auctions, this still does not mean that great buying opportunities do not exist or present themselves at those very same wine auction venues. One bidder walked away with four bottles of 1985 Cakebread Cellars (Napa, CA) Cab for only $125.

The most common types of wine auctions exist with brick and mortar retail wine auction houses and also with online retail wine auctioneers. Your better values can be found in these venues. They will almost always utilize “reserve bids” or opening bid amounts, so don’t be disappointed if the auctioneer does not accept a lowball bid offered under his stated reserve bid.

Charity wine auctions may also promote some incredibly rare wines, but you will usually pay a very high price as the charities are the beneficiaries of these, usually more than generous, bids. There are also some more esoteric wine auction venues such as “industry wine auctions” (i.e. The Wine Barrel Auction of Napa), but you must be employed in the wine industry in order to participate in these wine auctions.

Your knowledge of wine and current wine market prices will undoubtedly help you to spot those bargains at the wine auctions in which you choose to participate. Always attend the preview. This will help you to assess the quality of the wines on which you might bid.

What else can you do to find those diamonds among the rhinestones during the auction?
(1) Listen to the auctioneer. The auctioneer will go to certain lengths, even telling the bidders “this is a true bargain and value”, in order to sell a wine lot, rather than “pass” a wine lot over the auction block without selling it. The auctioneer wants to keep his “items sold” percentage higher, rather than lower by “passing” a lot.
(2) Attend the start of the wine auction. It is not uncommon to find a few bargains at the very beginning of the auction, while the bidders are still acclimating to the auctioneer and auction venue.
(3) Stay through the end of the wine auction. The bulk of buying opportunities exists toward the end of the auction when the crowd thins out and the bulk of showcase wines have been previously sold. Auctioneers tend to fear this time period, with the balance of power becoming more equalized between auctioneer and bidder, as the vultures are often seen circling overhead.

I recently purchased an eleven-bottle lot of Washington wines at a wine auction in Chicago for $375. All of the wines in this auction lot consisted of “library stock” from vintners such as L’ecole 41, Leonetti, Quil Ceda Creek, and Woodward Canyon. The average cost of each bottle was $34.09, which any Washington wine collector would acknowledge as a great deal. For those of you who remember that infamous laugh of the 1960’s Hanna Barberra cartoon character, “Mutley”, well that was me, laughing on the plane all of the way back home to Washington with her native wines in tow. Happy Bidding!

Tom DiNardo is a licensed auctioneer, certified appraiser, writer, and avid wine collector. You may reach Tom through his web site . © 2005 Tom DiNardo – All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Buy Local, Sell on Ebay

Besides going to a local auction????????

Finding Products to Sell on eBay

by: Nial Robbins

One key for business success using eBay is sourcing products to sell. The first questions eBay sellers should ask themselves are: "What can I sell?" and "Where can I buy?"

There are two kinds of sellers on eBay, garage sellers and business sellers. Garage sellers are people who sell products they are not going to use any more and that are usually not new. Garage sellers are not profit driven, their main objective is usually to get rid of some stuff they don't need. They will be happy to make some money by selling something that is no longer useful to them. On the other hand, business sellers are people who will buy and sell products for profit, they consider eBay a business and need to earn profit on the products they sell.

The first key to success for business sellers is an old marketing rule, RESEARCH. The products you need to sell are products that eBay buyers will want to buy. Apart from being a massive market place, eBay offers you a cheap source of research that you can conduct without moving from your computer.

If you are a business seller, it is fundamental that you spend some time researching before you decide which products you want to sell. Follow these research guidelines:

1. Search for the categories that are most popular. The first index is the number of listings that exist under each category. In addition, you need to look at how many bids the products have.

2. Look at the ratings of the sellers who are listing products in each category and study their profiles. See how many products they are selling and how many products they have sold in the past.

3. Analyze prices. You need to become an expert in your category and you need to know at which price a product is worth buying as well as the expected final winning price of your auction.

4. Select no more than one or two categories. "Specialization" is another basic rule of marketing. It is better to become an expert on something, as this will inspire confidence and trust in your potential customers. Online marketing is all about trust.

For conducting good research, you need time and organization. There are different software programs in the market that can help you save time as well as optimize your research.

Now that you are becoming an eBay expert and have conducted a proper search, you are almost ready to start your business. Before starting to sell, you need to buy! Here are some ideas from where you can source products:

1. Write your own e-book and sell it. If you have any passion or are an expert on a subject for which you can find a niche in eBay, do not hesitate to spend some time on writing your own book. The advantage of this is that after your initial time investment, you can sell and sell copies of the book without having any additional costs. Selling information products is one of the most profitable businesses. Even if you are not an expert writer, you can find other people who can write the book for you.

2. Use drop-shipping. There are wholesalers that will sell you products and send them to the address that you tell them. The advantage of this source is that you do not need to carry inventories, so your investments are minimized. After your auction is finished, you send them your customers address and they will do all the shipping. If you decide to use this kind of source, you need to make sure that your auctions winning price can be higher than the price you will pay for the articles. At minimum you should expect to double your costs.

3. Buy from eBay. Many eBayers success comes from knowing how to buy well on eBay and sell the same products at a higher price. If you know your category very well, you can easily find opportunities that will allow you to buy and resell making profit. Again, solid research is fundamental.

4. Buy Asiatic products. If you are willing to carry some inventories, you can invest on Asiatic products and buy them for a very cheap price. You can easily start importing Asiatic products from the Internet at

5. Sell local products. If you live in an area that produces local products which can be bought at a cheap price and shipped to other areas where people would pay more, you should take advantage of the situation.

Best wishes for your success

NOTE: You have full permission to reprint this article within your website or newsletter as long as you leave the article fully intact and include the "About The Author" resource box. Thanks! :-)

About The Author

Nial Robbins owns the work at home directory website located at:

Copyright © 2001-Present

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Online Auctions: New Way of Shopping

by: Tomas York

Description: Online auctions operate on the same principles as the real auctions, but they have the mass appeal, which reaches out to the ordinary Internet users. They are an easy and fun way to buy a product of your choice.

Hearing of auctions always used to bring up visions of a grand room, with the auctioneer standing on a raised platform, taking bids from dressed up people in a dignified manner, and slapping his hammer with a bang on the table every time some one won a bid.

It used to be something that one saw in a movie or a rich people thing, which the average middle class person could not associate with. But with the advent of Internet into every facet of our lives, be it keeping in touch with friends, shopping and even dating and marriage, auctions have also become a routine part of an average internet user’s life.

There are innumerable auction sites, selling everything from a pen to a used car and even houses if you want to bid from them. You think of what you want and you’ll find it on one of the auction sites. All you have to do is sign up, get registered and bid a price for that item.

As in real auctions the highest bidder wins the bid, but because the online bids take a long time to close, you have the advantage to checking if your bid has been surpassed and put a higher price on it again. The sites predetermine the increment that you can put on an existing bid. This ensures that the prices are not driven up and more people can stay in the bidding game.

The bids placed are binding so don’t bid on something just for the fun of it, the sites ensure to take your credit card details at the time of registration so you can’t back out. You will find the best deals on the auction sites and the price that you pay for the items by bidding on them will often be less than it’s market value.

Auction basics

There are a few simple rules that you can follow to get the best out of an auction deal:

1) Don’t stick to a single site- keep looking for better bids on the countless sites on the net.

2) Always bid on the auctions that will not stay open for a long period of time. Longer bids will automatically get more hits, thus minimizing your chances of staying ahead on it. Bids with shorter time limit, for example one that ends in a week are better.

3) Most of the items displayed on the site for auction could be misspelled, which means that not many would have got to that item and placed any bids. Always try to search for these items because the price would always be low on them.

4) Don’t bid a higher price than what you want to pay for a product, just because you don’t want to lose out on it. Remember that there are other sites, which will most probably have the item you want to buy.

A little online research and some patience can get you the product you want to buy, at a lower price than the market on an online auction site. Don’t wait, just sign up and have fun bidding!

For more information on Website Ratings Directory visit

About The Author

Tomas York is an editor of a

This article is copyrighted by - You can reprint the article as long as you provide a link to

Copyright © 2001-Present

Monday, November 14, 2005

Bidder Beware: Succeeding at Wine Auctions.

Auctions offer excellent opportunities for the wine enthusiast to acquire rare wines and special buys. Wine auctions can be very entertaining and rewarding, but they provide challenges for even skilled bidders. In their zeal to win their prized wines, many bidders will not only sacrifice pride but also a great deal of money in order to accomplish their objective. Here are some of the basics regarding auction etiquette and rules to help you on your way to becoming an adept bidder.

Take advantage of all auction previews. This is your time to inspect the condition of the wine lots to be auctioned and also to ask the wine auctioneer any questions you might have. The auction catalog is a great resource for the posted auction house rules, specific information about each of the auction items, and the item’s anticipated bid value.

In the auction house the final word and authority for each transaction is the auctioneer. Do not make these common mistakes!
• Never interrupt the auctioneer or his clerk during the auction.
• Don’t involve yourself in collusion (violation of the Sherman Act) or conspiring to fix bid prices.
• Don’t waive to other bidders because hand signals are often interpreted as a bid by the auctioneer.
• Although tempting at times, vengefully running the bid up on a competing bidder will only make you an
unwilling target of other wrathful bidders.
These actions can result in public rebuke, or, worse, your expulsion from the auction. It is the auctioneer’s duty to act impartially to keep the pace of the auction fast and smooth.

How should I bid you might ask? The most common method is for the bidder to hold his paddle or card up. Perhaps you’ve noticed some bidders gesturing with their hands, winking, yelling, etc. Depending upon the venue, most these methods are usually acceptable. Determine your bidding method based on the auctioneer, his speed, style, the venue, the number of auction items, and the size of the bidding crowd, all of which vary with each auction.

If the auctioneer does not catch your bid, don’t worry; his Ring Man surely will, and then will report your bid with a very loud “Yep”. Rest assured, if you are a good bidder the auctioneer will notice you and even assist you in any way he can to keep you returning.

Tom DiNardo is a licensed auctioneer, certified appraiser, writer, and avid wine collector. You may reach Tom through his web site . © 2005 Tom DiNardo – All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Agricultural machinery sale keeps on growing

Cambridge Evening News Online

THOUSANDS of bargain hunters from across the globe are expected to descend on a rural field to buy agricultural machinery.

Every month, Sutton houses the largest sale of its kind in Europe, attracting farmers and entrepreneurs from at least 40 different nationalities.

Bargain hunting: Punters at the show
Bargain hunting: Punters at the show

Bill Pepper, sale organiser, said buyers snap up machinery to ship back to places in the Middle East, Australia and Canada where the British workmanship is highly regarded.

He said rooms are booked up to a year in advance to accommodate the hordes that scrabble for the tractors, engines, farm and horticultural machinery. Many of the buyers and sellers have been returning to the market every month for years, and tall tales and superstitions abound.

Mr Pepper said: "Sales have been known to fall through if there is an unlucky number on the number plate."

He said it was a quirk among buyers from the Middle-East.

James Sole, a Chatteris farmer, said: "Luck money is often passed from seller to buyer if a good deal has been struck."

Brian Foot, 58, who first went to the sale with his father and now regularly attends with this son, said: "The founder of the sale, Bob Grain, was a bit of a character - he was a hard taskmaster and often banned folk from the market if they got on the wrong side of him."

The success story grew from humble beginnings in the early 1940s when it was originally based at the cattle market in Cambridge - now a cinema complex and hotel.

It moved to Cowley Road, Cambridge, in the 1970s and was given a purpose-built home in Sutton back in 1996. The sale is now run by auctioneers Cheffins, of Clifton Road, Coleridge, Cambridge.

The current purpose-built 40-acre site is besieged by more than 4,000 people each month who come to check out an array of more than 500 tractors, 1,800 lots of agricultural machinery and 400 lots of construction equipment.

The next sale is on Monday.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

World Champion Auctioneers Crowned

Winner: All Round World and Canadian Champion - Rod Burnett, Warburg, Alberta. (Center)

Presenters are President Gary Peterson (right) and Michel "Hoss" Bertrand, (Left) who was the MC of the Competition.


“Alberta Auctioneer Captures ALL ROUND WORLD and CANADIAN Auctioneering Championship”

(Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, November 1, 2005)

From October 26th to 29th Edmonton, Alberta played host to the annual Convention of the Auctioneers Association of Canada and the All `Round World Championship Auction competition.

Consisting of three days of workshops, seminars, the AA of C Annual General Meeting and some “fun” events, the convention was attended by delegates from across the country.

It wasn’t all work, with fun and benefit events put on for both the participants and the public. Preceding the auction competition on Saturday, October 29th, the AA of C conducted an “Antiques Road Show” appraisal/evaluation event, where members of the public had a chance to get an appraisal of their favourite antique and/or collectible.

The auction competition, a charity auction, was the highlight event, and was put on with the generous support and participation of Kin Canada. This event was open to the public, who had the opportunity to bid on a wide range of items generously donated by merchants and organizations across the country. The competition was in support of Kin Canada and the Stollery Children’s Hospital of Edmonton.

Contestants from across the country participated. Competing auctioneers were judged on fifteen different criteria in categories that included presentation, chant and effective selling. After a spirited competition, Mr. Rod Burnett of Warburg, Alberta was named both World and Canadian Champion. Mr. Brad Martens of Gibbons, Alberta was 1st Runner Up, making it an Alberta sweep..

The Annual General Meeting and new Board of Directors meetings were held on Thursday, October 27th. The Board and Executive elected for 2004-2005 are: President – Gary Peterson, Hudson, PQ; 1st Vice President – Michel Bertrand, Oakville, ON; 2nd Vice President - John Fitzpatrick, St. Johns, NL; Treasurer – Arthur Clausen, Edmonton, AB. Other Board members are: Blair Loveless, St. Johns, NL; Maurice Neville, Georgetown, ON; Tiffany Gardner, London, ON; Barry Gray, Harriston, ON; Kingsley Gardner, London, ON; Brad Meyers, Arden, MB, Mark Cunningham, Edmonton, AB and Delton Wolff, Dapp, AB. The Executive Director is Joe Belland, Edmonton, AB.

Runners Up:
1st Runner Up - Brad Martens, Gibbons, Alberta (Right)
2nd - Brad Wolff, Dapp, Alberta
3rd - Ron Sekura, Drayton Valley, Alberta
4th & 5th (Tied) - Dave Johnson, Airdrie, Alberta, and Dan Clark, Brampton, Ontario.

Antique auction gathers farm machinery, friends

By Mike DuPre'
Gazette Staff

Ron Mair seems to have collected as many friends as pieces of antique farm machinery.

Saturday, the former farmer and General Motors retiree was selling some 350 antiques at auction. The friends kept ambling up to say hello and share a moment on a bright, crisp fall day.

Ole Berg drove in from Jackson County.

"We broke horses together years ago. I'm an antique myself," said Berg, who at 78 is five years younger than Mair.

They worked together at the GM plant, and like Mair, Berg buys and sells antique machinery. Berg started farming after he retired.

Mair farmed while still working in the factory.

At his home on Mineral Point Road west of Janesville, Mair looked down the hill toward the rows of machinery being auctioned by Bill Perkins of Avalon.

"I've lived in this neighborhood for 60 years. I've lived here for 30 years," Mair said. "I've been around horses all my life, and this is the stuff I was born and raised with. I've been collecting for 50 years."

He sold most of the 160 acres he once farmed-"I used to milk cows. That's when I had a few kids at home."-and still keeps half a dozen Belgian draft horses on the remaining 53 acres. Parade watchers in the area have seen Mair and one of his two-horse teams.

Mair and his late wife, Gale, raised five children. Char Ceder, his partner of 29 years, brought her four children into the family.

With a family that size, it's no wonder that Mair couldn't be exact about subsequent generations: "19 or 20 grandkids, about 10 great-grand."

Wearing beards, denim suits and straw hats, several Amish men were at the auction. Most weren't there to buy old machinery, said one of them, Lester Detweiler of rural Brodhead.

They were there to see and socialize with old friends, he said.

"He and his wife always came and helped us with consignment sales for Clearview School north of Brodhead," Detweiler said.

Most folks were there to buy-even if they didn't know what they would do with their purchases.

With a self-professed "soft spot for farm stuff," Bob Kolton of Indian Creek, Ill., pushed away a manual lawnmower with rusty blades and a wood handle.

"For five bucks, I couldn't pass it up," he said. "I'll put it in the shed with the other old stuff."

Dale Shorter was more pragmatic. He and his family recently moved to a 5-acre place outside Whitewater, where they have a dairy cow.

"We priced milk strainers. New, they sell for about $300. There's one here, and if I can pick it up for $100, I will," said Shorter, who also is a roofer in Janesville.

Don Wolter of Brodhead stopped to show Mair one of his newfound prizes, an iron hay carrier made at the Harris Ace Hardware store in Janesville in about 1900.

Asked why he bought it and what he would do with it, Wolter replied: "Just to have it. … Hide it from my wife."

When Wolter said he paid $10 or $12 for the antique, Mair let out a surprised "No!" then added: "I'd say it's worth about $50. In my lifetime, I only found two or three of them."

But in his lifetime, Mair has found far more friends.

It's what you'd expect from a World War II Navy veteran who said of his antique trade:

"I never sold anything that I couldn't go back and talk to the guy."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Profile of a Relaxed Auctioneer

The year is 1993, it's a hot summer day, and I am selling purchased storage auction goods at the flea market. I am doing pretty well, counting the hundreds in my pocket, when this cowboy comes roaring into the space across from me in his vintage pickup. The dude starts unloading his pick-up, while a crowd begins to gather around him. The S.O.B. begins to auction off his wares. Of course, no one around him is able to sell a thing during this spectacle. He leaves an hour later with many more hundreds in his pocket than me or anyone around for that matter. I ask myself, Why am I stressing over this?

Who would have thought that within that very year the cowboy and I were to become the best of friends?

Ed Brown is an old friend of mine, and of course the S.O.B. I am referring too above, as well as the person I blame for getting me into this life changing career of auctioneering. He convinced me that auctioneering would be my salvation. Ed also gave me my first break in the business, and introduced me to Fundraising Auctions. I took his counsel to heart, and the rest is history.

Ed hails from Rawlins, Wyoming. Ed is a new breed of cowboy! He rides a steel horse named Harley, and prefers the Electro-Glide variety. By the way, Ed owns 16 Harleys, and he always appears to be having the time of his life. As a kid, Ed would go off onto the prairie to bull dog deer from his motorcycle for entertainment. It's a Western thing, he says. It runs in the family, as his grandfather had made an indelible impression on the young Ed, when Ed had witnessed his grandpa lasso an unwelcome coyote from 25 yards away while the two of them were mending fence line. The final score, Grandpa 1 and Coyote 0! Ed, like his grandpa, is also an expert marksman. Ed's life is filled with the stuff of legends.

Ed and I are quite different, yet in many ways very similar. Both of us are driven, adept in business, and both of us are successful auctioneers. One dramatic difference that has always impressed me about my buddy Ed is his uncanny ability to be relaxed in any situation. He is as calm as can be, and he does not stress. His personality and ability to relax has reinforced for me the necessity of approaching life from a different perspective, taking time off, and having fun, which I have only recently taken too heart.

As an auctioneer, Ed specializes in Fundraising and Storage Auctions, as well as working for Adesa Auto Auctions as a contractor in Stockton, CA. Ed is also one of the best Ring Men I have ever had the pleasure of working with. No matter how busy he is, he always tries to have fun. Whether he's riding his Harley from storage facility to storage facility, covering as much as 400 miles a day, he is always enjoying life. Ed has also been known to visit a local shooting range between auctions to shoot trap, another one of his passions. An avid sportsman, Ed also enjoys hunting and fishing. Just recently, he has even taken on his new hobby of Wine Tasting & Collecting. Ok, I take full responsibility for introducing him to his new hobby! Ed realizes the value and potential dollars of this hobby, as he fully understands that Wine Auctions are becoming a huge business! Ed always takes full advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself. I still get a chuckle though when tries to pronounce Peanut Nor (Pinot Noir).

Perhaps the most fun I have ever had in any auction has been with my compadre Ed. Although work is almost always involved, whether I am assisting Ed with an auction, or he's helping me with one of my auctions, we always make it a party. In 2003 Ed helped me with a huge government surplus auction, which I barely made the next day, as Ed had flown up the day before, and that evening the both of us had over imbibed. However, the auction was a huge financial success, and the client was quite pleased.

This past Spring I flew down to Sacramento, CA to conduct a Wine Auction, and I stayed with Ed and his family. All weekend long I assisted Ed with three of his Fundraising Auctions, and he had helped me with my wine auction. We ate great food, drank good wine, and mingled with celebrities the whole weekend. Mel Brooks stated in one of his movies, It's good to be the king, and I could not agree more!

To be a successful auctioneer requires a lot of hard work, but balance is also important. Let yourself be influenced by the Ed's of the world, since it is those special souls who demonstrate some of life's best attributes that we all wish to mirror. Life truly is precious and short, and we are here for only a short time. Take time to enjoy life, have fun, and relax.

Tom DiNardo is co-owner of DiNardo & Lord Auctioneers of Anacortes, WA. Tom is an Auctioneer, Appraiser, and Writer.

To contact Tom, visit

(c) 2004 Tom DiNardo - All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bidder Attitudes at Traditional vs. Fundraising Auctions

Are bidder's attitudes different at traditional auctions versus fundraising auctions? Should a bidder's attitude and approach be different for each type of auction? Yes! Fundraising and traditional auctions are two distinctly different types of venues, and the bidder is expected to demonstrate radically different attitudes in each setting.

Let's face facts and the sobering reality that at traditional auctions the bidder wants to get the best deal. In traditional auctions sometimes the bidder gets the best deal, and the auctioneer is left to cry in his soup that evening. Sometimes it goes the other way, and the bidder experience's throwing himself over the barrel because he masochistically overbid on an item. You can never really know in advance what the final result will be as every auction has various crowds, conditions, and unique items.

In traditional auctions the auctioneer tries to establish the item's value by starting with a high dollar bid amount, and then he progressively drops the bid until a bidder jumps onto the bid. I believe that this auctioneer technique also reinforces the bidder's attitude and zeal in trying to get the best deal. At the point where the auctioneer receives his first bid, he then advances the bid as fast as he can from there. Auction items may occasionally sell for bargain basement prices, and sometimes items sell for over retail.

On the other side of the spectrum there are fundraising auctions, which are typically utilized in support of charitable causes. The purpose of a fundraising auction is to raise as much money as possible for the cause the event supports. Fundraising auctions are not about creating the best deal attitude in bidders!

Can fundraising auctioneers influence bidder's attitudes and the outcome of a benefit auction? Absolutely! We have all heard stories about fundraising auctions that tanked because the items sold below cost, or worse the auction results did not meet the client's expectations. You can always gage an auctioneer's experience level by observing how they conduct their fundraising auctions. What precautions can the fundraising auctioneer take?

First and foremost, and well before the fundraising event, the auctioneer should discuss Guest Development with his client. Getting the right people at the event is critical. This makes all the difference in the bidder's attitude, or instilling a more appropriate attitude in the bidder which successfully promotes charitable giving at the event. The fundraising auctioneer should counsel his client to make Guest Development a priority in targeting the philanthropists in his community. Getting the medical doctor to attend the event makes more sense than inviting the fast food restaurant employee.

There are also many other important areas for the fundraising auctioneer to consider in creating the right bidder attitude. Procuring the right auction items is also extremely important. A bottle of 1961 Chateau Margaux will bring a lot more money at a fundraising auction versus a gift certificate to Mc Barfys! Get in the habit of making an opening announcement to set the tone of the evening. For example; There won't be any bargains this evening, as I expect everyone to give from the bottom of their hearts!

Attitude is everything! Throwing caution to the wind, and believing that you do not influence your bidder's attitudes is begging for a short-lived career. Instill the right bidder attitude for your auctions.

Tom DiNardo is co-owner of DiNardo & Lord Auctioneers of Anacortes, WA. Tom is an Auctioneer, Appraiser, and Writer.

To contact Tom, visit

(c) 2004 Tom DiNardo - All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Game Theory, Nobel Prize & Auctions - Auction Primer Series

by: Steven Woodward

The Auction Primer Series is a group of articles to help further educate sellers about auctions; their history, strategies for use, and provide a comparison of various auction sites and types. In Part 1, we look at the more common type of auctions in use today.

William Vickrey, highly regarded as the founder of auction theory, was an economics professor at Columbia University when he published two papers outlining his views on auctions:

"Counterspeculation, Auctions, and Competitive Sealed Tenders", 1961, Journal of Finance

"Auction and Bidding Games", 1962, Recent Advances in Game Theory

In 1996 he received a Nobel Prize “for fundamental contributions to the economic theory of incentives under asymmetric information.” It’s important to understand that asymmetric information is an essential component of auctions, where potential buyers have varying levels of knowledge about the value of the item.

Although Vickrey considered his work on auctions as "one of my digressions into abstract economics, at best of minor significance in terms of human welfare”, to those of us who work with online auctions, much of what he outlined is useful to understanding our marketplace.

Vickrey identified 4 general types of auctions:



First-price sealed bid

Second-price sealed bid

English Auctions

The most common type of auction is the English Auction, although it may also be known as an ascending price auction. In ascending price auctions each subsequent bid is higher than the previous one. This is the most popular type of auction for single items.

Although traditional ascending price auctions use a “soft close” format - where bidding continues until a final bid is placed, the majority of today’s on-line auction sites use the “hard close” format - also known as a ‘time interval” auction having a set time limit, regardless of ongoing bidding. It’s important to note that in a “soft close” format, bid snipping, that is bidding during the last few seconds or minutes on an item, is eliminated since the auction stays open as long as bids are being made.

In an attempt to minimize bid snipping and provide more of a “soft close” characteristic to their “hard close” auctions, eBay allows bidders to use “proxy bidding”. In proxy bidding, a bidder enters the highest price they are willing to pay for an item when they first bid. The bid begins at the lowest possible level and increases automatically only if their original lowest bid has been beaten. For more in-depth information on the “proxy bidding capability on eBay go here. currently offers a feature for their auctions called “Going, Going, Gone.” The Going, Going, Gone” feature extends the end of an auction for 10 minutes if a bid is placed effectively creating a “soft close”. For more information on the “Going, Going, Gone” feature on Amazon go here.

From the buyers standpoint a “hard close” format is preferable since they may be able to make a final bid before others can react, possibly winning the auction at a lower price.

For sellers, a “soft close” format provides an opportunity to realize the maximum price for an item by removing the time restrictions for an auction. As long as bidders are bidding the auction remains open.

Dutch Auctions

As you may have guessed, the concept of the Dutch auction originates in the Netherlands. Unlike English auctions which utilize ascending price methods, Dutch auctions are descending price auctions and are commonly used when multiples of the same items are to be auctioned. In a Dutch auction the bidding starts at a relatively high price which is driven progressively downward by bids.

As an example of a Dutch auction let’s say you had 10 items you wanted to sell for $20 each.

Bidder A bids $18 for 6 items

Bidder B bids $17 for 5 items

The final result is:

Bidder A would receive 6 items for $17 each

Bidder B would receive 4 items for $17 each

Please note that most Dutch auctions allow bidders to refuse an order for a lesser number of items than what they bid on. A “soft” or “hard close” format may be used in Dutch auctions although the most common is the “hard close”.

First-price Sealed Bid Auctions

Sealed bid auctions differ from the English and Dutch in as much as the bids are not announced to other bidders. The individual bid is only know to the bidder and the seller. This type of auction may be either buyer-bid, where the highest bidder wins the item and pays the amount of their bid, or seller-bid, where the lowest bidder sells the item and is paid the amount of the bid. This form of auction is common for construction contracting, military procurement, foreign exchanges, and other types of goods.

Second-price Sealed Bid Auctions

Another common name for second-price sealed bid auctions is Vickrey auctions (named after William Vickrey) There is a slight variation to the first-price auction for Vickery auctions. In a buyer-bid auction the highest bidder buys the item and pays the amount of the second highest bid. Or in a seller-bid auction, the lowest bidder sells the item and is paid the amount of the second lowest bid.

The above descriptions provide a general overview of the most popular auction types in use today. Depending on the auction website these general categories may include a number of variations and options such as reserve pricing, open or closed venue, multiple items, fixed price and lot listings to mention a few. Before entering any particular type of auctions make sure you study and understand the rules for that specific type of auction, as the rules may vary from website to website.

About The Author

Copyright © Steven Woodward – All Rights Reserved

Steven Woodward is the owner, editor and publisher of the Auction Sellers Network (ASN); a web site for individuals and companies who are serious about utilizing the online auction marketplace for their business. In addition to topical articles, ASN provides an extensive resource center, news feeds and member forums. For more information, or to become a member, please visit us at

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