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I was called to help a younger auctioneer with his farm equipment auction. Other than some hints on staffing, marketing, and related, he wanted to know if he should sell this John Deere combine and grain head together or separate?

Generally, one could argue we have two items here: (1) John Deere combine and (2) a John Deere grain head. Certainly, both could be sold as one lot or sold separately one after the other.

In situations such as this, the choices should be limited to selling both together or selling the combine and then the grain head. There is no reason to sell the grain head first, then the combine.

Other considerations include: In the current market, is there interest in combines like this without grain heads? Is there interest in grain heads like this without a combine? Further, is there evidence (past sales) where the total proceeds are more selling separately or together?

In situations like this, another analysis is: Does this “grain head” work with any other “combines” other than this particular model? If not, selling them together is certainly prudent. This question could also be answered by looking at past sales in this marketplace.

Finally, be careful taking advice from interested bidders. This auctioneer told me that several neighbors had told him that they wanted the combine and/or grain head alone. While such could be true, bidders are incentivized to want prices low, not high.

Lastly, this auctioneer discussed with me selling the combine — and holding the bid — and then selling the grain head — and holding the bid, and then seeing if anyone would give more than the sum of the parts … I advised him that might likely promote bidder collusion (in this case) and thus lower overall prices.

Ultimately, the combine and grain head were sold together as one lot, as much of the other like one-two lot items. In the end, prices seemed strong, bidders stuck around, and the auction was over a bit quicker than most expected — all good things.

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.