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It seems that nobody really knows what the, “oldest profession” really is — since nobody bothered to note that first profession as it was developed.

While many reference prostitution as the, “oldest profession” it’s doubtful that can be substantiated either.

How old is the auctioneering profession? Is being an auctioneer the oldest profession? The second oldest?

First, what is a profession? Most authorities proclaim a profession is:

    A job, vocation or other employment which requires specialized training and/or knowledge.

Per the National Auctioneers Association:

    Records handed down from ancient Greek scribes document auctions occurring as far back as 500 B.C. At that time, women were auctioned off as wives. And, in fact, it was considered illegal to allow a daughter to be “sold” outside the auction method.

Does 500 B.C. constitute the oldest profession? Not hardly. Historians date other early professions, such as:

  • Doctor/Physician, 2600 B.C.
  • Massage Therapist, 2900 B.C.
  • Dentist, 3000 B.C.
  • Accountant/Scribe, 3000 B.C.

And, there are other professions likely pre-dating 3000 B.C. including: Mother/Caretaker, Teacher, Farmer, Artist, Tool maker, Priest/Clergy, Fishermen, Hunter, Carpenter, Architect and Woodworker …

It appears auctioneering has been around for over 2,500 years. That’s certainly a long time, but not nearly as long as some of the medical and other professions, which have been around over 5,000 years.

Any profession that has thrived for over 2,500 years is notable. The public knows well that auctions have been used for centuries to sell real and personal property, and that the auction method of marketing is a trusted method for converting property to cash.

Auctioneer: the oldest profession? Not nearly, but more aptly described as the most exciting, interesting, efficient and profitable way to sell anything …

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 adjunct faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.