His father and grandfather were both auctioneers for over 40 years; Shane has been managing the company for the last few.
Shane had been sitting with George and Myra Wilson in their home for about an hour.
He had told them as their auctioneer, he would endeavor to get top dollar for all their property at auction. Of particular concern was their 1996 Ford Crown Victoria with only 42,263 miles.
George told Shane he hated to sell their baby, and that they wanted it to go to a good home. George and Shane had a conversation that went something like this:
Your baby? I well understand that. Did you buy your baby new?”
“Oh yes, on September 19, 1996 in fact … it started raining just as we got her home.” George replied.
“Very nice condition. You’ve been driving around town?”
“Sure. Runs like new. What do you think she’ll bring at auction?”
“There’s lots of people looking for a car like that … and with that mileage …” Shane told George.
“We hate to sell her, but we have no use for any car anymore.” George said sadly.
“At auction, we’ll get all we can get via competitive bidding.”
“We’d be happy with the most you can get …
Shane got all the paperwork signed and was walking to his truck when George and Myra’s neighbor, Phil, met him at the Crown Victoria in the driveway.
When’s the auction? I heard they are moving towards the end of July?”
“June 30, 10:00 a.m.” Shane replied.
“And George’s baby? He’s selling it too?”
“Yep. It will sell at 11:00 a.m.”
“I’ve tried to buy that car from George for the past year … ”
“You’ll have your chance on the 30th, or you can leave an absentee bid now.” Shane told Phil.
“What do you think it will bring? Book on it is about $3,500.”
“Who knows … you might get a real deal on that car.
Shane realized at that very moment that in a matter of about 60 minutes or so, he had suggested to his sellers that their car would demand a great price at auction, while suggesting to a potential buyer that this same car might sell well below market value.
What is this 1996 Ford Crown Victoria going to sell for? Is it going to demand a great price? Is someone going to get a deal? Could both the buyer and seller ultimately be happy?
Actually it happens all the time due to how auctions work: Buyers pay only one more bid than what someone else was willing to pay, and sellers receive a price set by the absolute highest bid.
We previously wrote about how Larry McCool called this phenomenon an illusion: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/auctions-are-an-illusion/
As we teach in our auction school, it is best for the auctioneer to not suggest prices are high nor low publicly during the auction. Rather, sellers and buyers can be talked with following the auction more privately denoting how things went for them individually.
Further, unsuccessful bidders can often be reminded that if prices seemed high, that selling at auction might be a good option for them. And likewise, if prices seem low to them, then they can be encouraged to attend the next auction.
Auctioneers indeed talk with buyers and sellers — differently.
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. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.