As I mentioned a while back I'm getting ready to make a move to Florida. Which means I need to get rid of 30 years of stuff. Has anyone ever had an auction and how did you feel about it.
Where in Florida are u moving??
I've had 401 auctions. 31 and a half years. Every thing from dollar boxes of junk to three quarters of a million dollar real estate. Lots of collector car/truck/tractor/engine etc auctions.
1. Commission is the last thing you should worry about. Be willing to pay somebody that knows what they are doing what they are worth.
2. Hire the right auctioneer. Check him (or her) out with the state auctioneer's association, ask the one you talk to for references and walk him through you collection to see if he actually knows anything about what he will be selling. If he doesn't know the difference between your brass T and a 31 Model A, talk to some other guys.
3. Whoever you hire, make sure that they have advertising time and money enough to do it right. Don't expect a two week lead time to bring buyers in from several states away. Check out their web site and see how they do with it. Google them. Check their links. Ask to see the brochure before it is mailed so you can check for errors or emissions that might not be obvious to anyone but the owner. Make sure that you provide them with rosters or mailing lists of people you think might be interested in attending.
4. Be aware that there is no magic. All anybody can do is advertise and hope for a crowd with money enough to buy what is there.
5. Some things will bring less than you thought they would. Some will bring more. But it will all go away.
6. If there is something really valuable put a reserve on it and be there to drop the reserve if the money gets close. Putting a reserve on more than one or two items will kill your auction. Do it straight up. No hidden bidders puffing it. No auctioneer picking bids out of the air to try to reach the reserve. 95% of the time if it doesn't meet the reserve I can ask the high bidder to meet it, tell him all I needed was someone to bid against him and he would have bid the amount that meets the reserve and he will agree. No lies, no stories, no BS. If it doesn't meet the reserve and the high bidder won't do it, I announce the reserve to the crowd, tell them to talk to me if they are interested and we almost always get it sold before the end of the auction.
7. An auction will make it all go away. Make sure you really want or need to have an auction, don't have somebody in the crowd buying items back or puffing on the bid. If you've lived there 30 years you probably have a lot of friends and people who like and respect you. You can kill that like and respect in about five minutes once the crowd figures out that your brother in law from Arizona is the one bidding on everything and that you are cueing him to bid. Plus, what are you going to do with it if you buy it back??
8. You only get one chance to do it right. Hire somebody who knows what they are doing and pay them to do it. You can't call everybody Tuesday and tell them that your auctioneer did such a poor job that you want everybody to bring back what they bought and you'll try it again next month with a different auctioneer.
9. If you aren't the kind of person who can roll the dice and see how they land you should not have an auction. A good auctioneer with good merchandise to sell will get top dollar out of whatever you are selling. But the same stuff sold on a different day by the same auctioneer to the same crowd would bring different money.
There are no guarantees.
10. Bite the bullet. Do it right. Take the money and be satisfied. It will go away. You will know when it is going to happen. It will all turn into cash that day.
www.frontrangeauctions.com Incidentally, I probably couldn't come to New Jersey and do your auction as I am not licensed there. The furthest east I have a license is Minnesota.
I buy 75% of my Model T and A stuff from auctions. I'm in Va. near Williamsburg and will drive up to 500 miles one way to a good Auction. I like to know about the auction 1-2 months ahead of time,and see plenty of pictures. No B.P. helps a lot! I've been to some well planed auctions with lot's of help and good parking! Family members of the seller should go away for the day.
Picking.....some sales get picked over or items pulled some time before the sale. This is not good, if you list it then keep it for the sale.
I drove 4 hr.s to a Auction with KRW tools (tons of them) Got there and they were all gone,someone came in a bought them a week before the sale! The auction folks did not update the listing on Auctionzip. A lot of people were very Mad that morning! Auctioneer was reported to the state and to Auctionzip. He was suspended from listing on Auctionzip.
Stan pretty much sumed it up. I have sold and bought at auctions for years. Buying at auctions I see some items go for too much to suit me. Then the next row of stuff is a steal. Selling at auctions I have had items I thought were made of gold sell for scrap iron prices and the stuff I almost threw away make me a fortune. It useally all averages out at the end of the day, and you will make what you wanted to get out of the stuff. Unless you have nerves of steel, stay away from the actual selling of the stuff. "Out of sight out of mind" but be available if the auctioneer needs you. Pick a good time for the sale. Be aware of other conflicting events. Is there a big swap meet or car show when you want to do the sale ??. Chickasha Pre War Swap Meet week would be a poor time for example. But you could use it to your advantage by having the sale either just before it or just after it. That way people could plan your sale into there trip. But give at least two to three months lead time to get the word out. And as Stan said be honest with all aspects of the sale. Good luck and list it as a thread on this forum, so we will know when to expect it if you have a sale.
Maybe Will isn't wondering about the money side of the auction. Maybe he is wondering about parting with the things he has accumulated over the years. I've met some guys who would have a tough time in heaven if there wasn't a Model T or two for them to look at.
Stan knows what he's talking about. I've seen him in action and I was amazed. He actually sold a $100.00 gift certificate for $110.00 - Ya, he sold it for more than its' face value!!!
The only thing I would add would be to go and see the prospective auctioneer in action. See how they work the crowd and how their support crew works.
Stan pretty much covered it all, do not bid on your own stuff or you will not sell any thing after you bid. Do not count your money until the auction is over. I have seen auctions where an item that should have sold high went for nothing, and the next item brings 5 times what it should. Expect some things to sell for less than scrap price. And most of all, respect all bidders, even the ones that always get out bid, if you did not have the under bidder, you would not get a decent price, because one bidder buys for the opening price. It is easy to tell if an auctioneer is running the price, and it might make a few cents in the beginning, but it will cost dollars in the end.
Make sure there is a crew there to watch the crowd. I've seen folks move a $100 item to a box under a $2 blanket and steal it. I've seen a valuable item in a box be gone by the time the box gets to the auctioneer. The more something is worth the more someone will try to steal it or move it so it doesn't go high. Some of the worst are those who could easily afford to buy it right. I agree with Stan
The 1 thing I notice about auctioneers around here their crews are bad to separate stuff so you have to buy 2 or 3 lots to get say a complete tractor.Or to get the engine for the car you bought you have to bid on a pile of junk with your engine in the middle of it.They do it on purpose to help move out stuff they dont think will sell.
I see it all the time.
And buyers premium.Didn't see that until 3 or 4 years ago. That is why I dont go to auctions anymore.the seller is allready paying the auctioneer a percentage.Then they expect the bidders to pay more? Makes no sense.Kinda double dipping.
Dont forget that the auction may cost you UP TO 25% of total sales. And you will only get top price for rare items. Many items will be near givaways as the auction nears its end.
But it will all sell.
I love auctions, and I go often, but the ones that charge a buyer's premium can get along fine without me. Buying a pile of stuff to get an item that's in it is part of the game. I figure eventually I'll have my own auction to unload all that extra junk. If I come out $2 ahead on the deal I'll be happy.
Thanks everyone for your input. Anyone that knows me knows Im a pack rat. Been packing for 30 years. I think an auction is the best way to clean house. It could be a very long auction. I want to go to Florida with nothing in the truck but my tools and my wife, in that order!
Richard, We are going to the Melbourne area.
Im going to start calling Auctioneers today. I found a list online of the auctioneers in the area. This will either go well or go bad but in the end what I really want is for everything to go so I don't have to clean it up. There are some thing that I just know I'm going to have a hard time parting with like some of my hit and miss engines but with age they are getting to hard to move around. As far as my Model T parts go I'm keeping just one spare engine and everything else will go to the hammer.
As soon as I can get a date set up I will let everyone know here on the forum. Oh, I agree, I don't like buyer premiums either so I may pick a company that doesn't do that.
Steve is right, buyer's premiums kill auctions, in the west, they are unheard of except for Californian auctioneers and they do not last long around here.