Auctioneers sign contracts with clients (sellers,) facilitate contracts between sellers and buyers when selling property, and sometimes bind (actually or constructively) bidders to a contract prior to the auction.
We discussed these three types of contracts in more detail here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/the-three-3-types-of-auction-contracts/
A notary public, sometimes called a “notary” or “public notary,” is a public officer authorized by law to serve a variety of roles such as administer oaths, take affidavits, witness the signing of certain documents, take acknowledgements and similar functions.
Notaries in Louisiana, Puerto Rico and other civil law jurisdictions sometimes have more responsibilities than the balance of notaries in the other 49 states in the United States.
Our topic today concerns the most basic of notary duties — verifying the person and signature of someone signing a document — such as a contract.
In particular, our question today is, “Should an auctioneer have the seller’s signature notarized on an auction contract?” For example, a consignment auction contract where the seller is consigning property to the auctioneer for purposes of selling it at auction.
Certainly, an auction contract such as this does not have to be notarized to be binding or legal. Rather, is it prudent to have the seller signature notarized? It would appear most auctioneers consider notarizing an auction contract such as this “extraordinary” and largely unnecessary.
That is unless the auctioneer has some suspicion that the person representing themselves as the owner (seller) is not actually. Then, a notary would be useful to verify identity, but that’s not something only the notary can do. The auctioneer could himself verify the person’s identity by requiring a picture identification or the like … to the extent such documentation was genuine.
In a situation such as this — where the seller’s identity is in question — it may be better for the auctioneer to avoid the consignment altogether than work to resolve any identity concerns.
Can an auction (consignment) contract between an auctioneer and seller require the seller’s signature to be notarized? Yes. It is necessary? Almost assuredly, it shouldn’t be.
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.