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This is my seventh “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.

This particular find is certainly more on the side of odd, than troubling. I know of no other jurisdiction that requires this particular submission for auctioneer licensing. Here we have just the first paragraph concerning obtaining a Massachusetts auctioneer license in Massachusetts General Law Chapter 100, Section 3:

Applications for licenses; acceptance of license; service of process.
Section 3. Any person desiring to be licensed as an auctioneer shall make written application, under oath, to the director on a form provided by him. Said application shall set forth the name and address of the applicant and of any other person having a financial interest, direct or indirect, in the business to be conducted by the applicant. Said application shall be accompanied by evidence satisfactory to the director that the applicant is a citizen of the United States, has attained the age of eighteen years, has successfully completed a course of study at a school recognized by the director, and has successfully completed a written examination in accordance with the provisions of section three A of this chapter. Said application shall be accompanied by a license fee in the amount of one hundred dollars, or such other amount as the secretary of administration and finance pursuant to the provisions of section three B of chapter seven shall establish, …

… together with two letters of recommendation for licensure signed by a licensed auctioneer, and elected public official, or member of the Massachusetts bar.

In other words, to be an auctioneer in Massachusetts, even if one completes the necessary schooling, passes the test, and pays all necessary fees, an applicant could still be denied licensure lacking two letters of recommendation — one from a licensed auctioneer and one from an elected public official or member of the Massachusetts bar?

Apparently, yes.

The only similarity widely implemented in several states akin to this is the requirement that one serve an apprenticeship for a year or so before becoming eligible to be a licensed auctioneer. In that sense, the applicant would have to find a single auctioneer to “take them on,” and in essence be similar to finding a single auctioneer to “recommend” them.

Otherwise, we find no similar licensing requirements anywhere where letters of recommendation are required.

We find Massachusetts General Law Chapter 100, Section 3, concerning letters of recommendation, 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.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.