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I had no more than walked off my plane and turned on my phone when the voice and text messages appeared. A February 9, 2019 auction of a Angus Bull resulted in a new record price of $1,510,000. The questions involved if the sale price should have instead been $1,300,000.

Schaff Angus Valley as the seller retained possession of the bull and 20% of the semen rights, with the buyer (Herbster Angus Farms) securing the balance (80%) of the semen. The auction took place at the seller’s annual production sale hosted at their ranch near Saint Anthony, North Dakota.

Here’s a more complete recount of the story from Wyatt Bechtel of Drovers: https://www.drovers.com/article/angus-bull-smashes-world-record-price-selling-151-million, with no mention of any unusual issues outside of the record price.

Apparently, the auctioneer had completed the sale of this bull at $1,300,000 and then a late bidder offered $1,400,000 and the closed transaction was reopened resulting in a subsequent high bid of $1,510,000.

In viewing video and talking to several others who had as well, this appeared outside of the narrow allowance contained in the UCC 2-328 where the bid may be reopened when a bid comes in, ” … while the hammer is falling in acceptance of a prior bid the auctioneer …”

I did not view this particular auction’s terms and conditions — and I don’t really have to view them in that I would safely assume that bidders are not permitted to void their bid after, “Sold,” so any such allowance on the seller’s side would be materially inequitable.

Inequitable? Unfair, unjust, one-sided? Yes, that type of inequitable terms and conditions and while contracts can have inequitable provisions, auction contracts per the UCC 2-328 cannot be manifestly unreasonable (obviously unreasonable.)

Alternately, if no such inequitable terms were provided (unlikely I’m guessing,) this bull was clearly [should have been] sold for $1,300,000 and not $1,510,000. However, the same bidder at $1,300,000 was the high bidder at $1,510,000 and apparently the transaction was closed without consequence.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by the The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.