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Busy auctioneers typically acquire a keen sense of value — what stuff is worth. So if you’re advertising to auctioneers, you should know that.

I can get something estimated to be worth $131,500 for $497? I can get something estimated to be worth $20,000 for $297? It would seem — rather — that the $497 product is worth exactly $497 (if any are selling) and the $297 product is worth exactly $297 (if any are selling.)

We frequently teach appraisal for Hondros College and wrote about all this here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/cost-price-value/ concerning cost, price and value. As such, when something sells for $5 it is generally considered worth $5 at that moment and not $1,323.

As well, we have written about “sophism” here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/supply-sophism/. This is when the seller tells himself something is rare and thus valuable in hopes of convincing others. Here’s a material quote from that article:

As most all auctioneers know, you can’t make something more valuable by wishing it to be more valuable — or as a seller by trying to deceive an auctioneer in regard to supply, rarity, and/or scarcity. Most supply sophists tell themselves their property is rare — and rare means valuable.

Touting the value of something with a price significantly lower is a form of sophism, but here maybe even more egregious because in this case, buyers are duped into thinking they are getting a real deal. Especially auctioneers know to be suspicious when the seller is both selling and appraising.

Price and value don’t always align, but in advertising where the value is substantially (and questionably) higher than the price is at minimum misrepresentation. We aren’t citing solely this circumstance as troublesome — as can be seen here when we called out grossly inflated potential auctioneer income: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/expected-annual-earnings-are-360000-800000/.

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.