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Terry J. Mangum of Capitol Auction & Estate Services, LLC asked a question some time ago, “… it makes me wonder in the auction process – what comes first – the item or the buyer?”

Terry’s question restated: Does the property auctioneers are selling attract the bidders and buyers, or due to those bidders and buyers who typically attend that auctioneer’s auctions, do certain sellers then think to hire that auctioneer to sell their property?

For instance, Albert, an auctioneer in New Hampshire owns and operates Albert’s Auction House — holding auctions every Friday night.

When Albert first opened his auction house in 1987, he canvassed the neighborhood for nicer antiques and collectibles available for consignment. He ran newspaper advertisements suggesting his auction house was the “perfect venue to sell your finer antiques for top dollar.” Albert also purchased items to then put in his auction.

Albert’s first few auctions went very well — and a good percentage of the citizens of Belmont, New Hampshire regularly attended Albert’s auctions every Friday. As such, those bidders watched as Albert sold antique furniture, glassware, pottery, silver, and related items.

About 1990, Albert was able to stop running his newspaper advertisements noting his auction house was the, “perfect venue to sell your finer antiques for top dollar,” because his auction attendees for years were now contacting Albert about selling their finer antiques and collectibles.

Once such consignor in 1991 was interviewed:

    “I was at Albert’s first auction in 1987 and have attended almost every one of his Friday night auctions since. I had been buying furniture and collectibles to put in my antique store in nearby Gilford, New Hampshire.
    However, about 1990 I found that Albert was getting as much or more for certain pieces of antique furniture than I was in my store … so I started to consign items to Albert for his auctions. I now sell much more though Albert than I buy …”

In other words, when Albert started his business, he needed the supply of antiques and collectibles to attract the demand of bidders and buyers. A few years later, because of the demand of those bidders and buyers, area consignors viewed Albert’s Auction House as a good place to supply their antique and collectible items.

Thus, we believe for auctioneers, it generally starts out as supply which attracts demand, and then later can result in that same demand attracting further supply.

Relatedly, it seems this same theory works in other industries … a college football coach was interviewed upon the beginning of his season; the coach remarked:

    “Folks, we have to start winning games this year … so we can attract top tier recruits next year … so we can win more games next year …”

Win … recruit … win or supply … demand … supply?

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 serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.