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Auctioneers advertise/market their seller’s items to attract bidders. Today, we wonder if an auctioneer can/should advertise his auction at another auctioneer’s auction.

Take this above auction advertisement of groceries, drapery, ironmongery, and furniture. Can Mr. John Fisher advertise his March 6, 1869 auction at your auction? Here are two good reasons you shouldn’t allow him to do so:

  • You have an auction on March 6, 1869, as well — which would suggest you are advertising both to attend your auction or rather attend another auction and not your seller’s auction.
  • You have an auction of groceries, drapery, ironmongery and/or furniture which would suggest maybe your bidders should wait and instead buy their groceries, drapery, ironmongery and/or furniture at Mr. John Fisher’s auction.

Either of these circumstances [potentially] injures your seller (client) and would likely be actionable by your client for not fulfilling your agency duties of loyalty, obedience and reasonable care.

It could be that Mr. John Fisher allows you to advertise your auction at his auction — but two improprieties do not make a right. Your primary duties owed your client are not mitigated by another auctioneer allowing you to advertise at his auctions.

Further, it’s simple supply and demand. With another auction with groceries, drapery, ironmongery and/or furniture to consider, the consumer (the bidder) sees more supply than perceived demand. As such prices generally become lower.

It is true that good — great — auctions cause more and more people to consider the auction method of marketing. However, while that’s important, it shouldn’t be more important than your current client’s position.

Imagine for a minute your seller walking into your (her) auction of groceries, draperies and the like and seeing a good crowd in attendance, but several people holding (looking at) a flier of another auctioneer’s groceries and draperies auction coming up in a few days …

“Where did these people get this flier?” she might ask. You reply “We allow other auctioneers to advertise their auctions at our auctions …” Don’t be surprised if you hear “I thought you were concerned with my auction … not someone else’s?”

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.