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This is my fifth “aberrant auction law” find, and numbered as such. When I find more, I’ll attempt to number sequentially, although I hope my searching is generally unsuccessful.

Aberrant auction law refers to auctioneer licensing law (or other auction related law) that is abnormal, odd, bizarre, or otherwise unusual. The basis for determining if an auction law is aberrant is all the other auction law that is out there, which collectively is widely considered normal.

Ohio has a long history of regulating auctioneers. There were auctioneer regulations as far back as the 1800’s, and today’s statutes stem from an overhaul of that preceding law, in 1963.

If we look at Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4707.111 we find the following statute:

4707.111 State is sole regulator of auctions.

The state, through the department of agriculture and in accordance with this chapter, shall solely regulate auctioneers, auction firms, and the conduct of auction sales. By enactment of this chapter, it is the intent of the general assembly to preempt municipal corporations and other political subdivisions from the regulation and licensing of auctioneers, auction firms, and auction sales. At least twenty-four hours prior to an auction, the person licensed under this chapter to conduct the auction shall notify, via telephone, mail, or personal delivery, the chief of police of the municipal corporation in which the auction site is located or, if the site is in the unincorporated area of a county, the county sheriff as to the location and time of the auction and give to that officer a general description of the items offered for sale. A licensee who conducts regular auction sales on a fixed day at the same location is required to provide such notice to the chief of police or county sheriff only once. However, the licensee shall notify the chief of police or county sheriff if the auctions subsequently are discontinued or are conducted on a different day or at a different location.

Effective Date: 10-01-2001; 05-06-2005

While I find the first part of 4707.111 perfectly acceptable, and handy for auctioneers in Ohio, the statute takes an interesting turn to require that Ohio auctioneers notify the police or sheriff’s department at least 24 hours prior to any auction, noting the date, time, location and general description of what is being sold.

We operate in Ohio, and have performed this required notification 1,000’s of times all over the state, and not one time did the department being notified have any idea why we were doing such, and every time the department remarked that they felt we were in error, or that there must be some misunderstanding.

Possibly this notification came to be in regard to stolen merchandise? It would make sense if a hardware store was burglarized, and an auction of hardware items was taking place two weeks later, that the police or sheriff should be interested. Yet, currently, it would be easy enough for the police or sheriff’s departments to find the potential auctions with this merchandise rather than having the auctioneer notify them.

We find Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4707.111 (the second part) aberrant.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.face book.com/mbauctioneer. He is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.