Our original story is here:
Nancy purchased a rare pair of Japanese Carl Zeiss U.758 binoculars at Ed Williams’ “Every Friday” auction for $4,750.
She paid this much due to Ed identifying her to the crowd and the crowd bidding against her due to her product knowledge.
Now, six years later, Ed Williams has not seen Nancy Hill even once at his “Every Friday” auction. In fact, Ed has only seen her at other auctions or heard when she purchased an interesting item at another auction.
It appears obvious that Nancy Hill is avoiding Ed Williams’ auctions due to him announcing her name to the crowd that one auction, and thus alerting the other bidders that they may want to bid against Nancy.
What is even more interesting is that just today, an attorney called Ed Williams to discuss him selling a prominent World War II optical collection.
Ed discusses with this attorney his marketing ability, as well as his commission structure. Yet, does Ed Williams disclose that one of the most active World War II optical collectors will likely not be present at the auction?
Independent of Ed’s disclosure to this attorney (or not), what has this one instance six years ago of announcing Nancy Hill’s name to his crowd done in regard to all the auctions that followed — and what impact will it have on this current World War II optics auction?
Ed’s disclosing Nancy Hill’s interest in those Japanese Carl Zeiss U.758 binoculars netted his seller over $4,000 more in proceeds that auction. However, how much has Ed’s sellers suffered financially without Nancy Hill present in the past six years since that auction?
A common English idiom is, “Can’t see the forest for the trees,” which tends to be interpreted as “Losing sight of the big picture by getting too involved in the details.”
Similarly, has Ed here gained his seller over $4,000 more in proceeds and thus cost his future sellers much more? In other words, was Ed blinded by the $4,000 gain so much that he couldn’t see the long-term loss his disclosure would cause?
Ed’s client six years ago could certainly argue that the disclosure of Nancy Hill bidding was necessary to adequately represent his interests. Yet, could Ed have argued that if he had disclosed Nancy Hill’s bidding at the auction previous to this one six years ago (in order to maximize another client’s interest,) that Nancy Hill wouldn’t have been at this subject auction just six years ago?
Auctioneers must be attentive to any decisions which will cause long-term harm to themselves and/or their clients, even if there is short term gain. Such decisions should have both the knowledge and consent of all clients as well.
In other words, see the trees and the forest.
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.