• Bidders Aim High on Antique Firearms at Cordier’s Summer Auction

    Vintage and military firearms were highlighted at Cordier’s July 30 Firearms and Militaria Auction, which also included edged weapons, modern guns, and hunting equipment.

    The top lot of the sale was a beautiful Browning Grade I Superlight in 20 gauge dating to 1972, which brought $3,000. Condition was a key factor in the strong result of the Belgian made firearm, which was offered with the original box.


    Browning Superposed Grade I Superlight, $3000


    WWII items were popular throughout the sale, including a Saginaw M-1 Carbine, which sold for $1,500. A Carl Gustaf 1916 Swedish Mauser hammered down at $1,400, while a WWII German Model G98/40 Mauser sold for $1,500. All came from the estate of a local collector.


    Saginaw M1 Carbine, $1500


    Cordier’s Director of Catalog and Specialty Auctions, Ellen Miller, commented “We’ve noticed an upswing recently in vintage military firearms, and so have our bidders. We’re seeing all around strong prices from them.”

    Moving to vintage military firearms, a Smith Corona Model O3-A3 military bolt action sold for $1,200. A FNH 1930 Contract Mauser brought $1,100.


    FNH 1930 Contract Mauser, $1100


    An R. Bessel and Sohn Single Shot Rifle sold for $1,400, surprising bidders at a sale price almost three times its high estimate. While a popular caliber and decorated with engraving, what drove the high result was the unique full length stock with an unusual removable forestock. Other unusual examples in this category included a custom Edward Kettner 1888 Mauser sporting rifle, crafted out of a military rifle, and a rare Mauser Model ES340B target rifle of high quality in top notch condition.


    R Bessel and Sohn Single Shot Rifle, $1400


    In modern firearms, a model Five-Seven-IOM pistol hammered down at $900. A Browning Hi-Power Pistol sold for $700. In modern long guns, Remington and Winchesters were strong overall, including a Winchester Model 54 Rifle ($750), and Remington Model 700 BDL Rifle ($750).


    Model Five-Seven-IOM Pistol, $900


    Military collectibles also made strong showings, with 38 lots of bayonet groupings performing better than expected. An Antique bronze Lantaka swivel gun/signal cannon realized $600, while a unique lot of 224 WIII era US aerial photographs featuring over 40 views of D-Day sold just above high estimate at $475.


    Anitque Bronze Lantaka Swivel Gun, $600


    Two named military service groupings also piqued bidder’s interest, including a military service grouping for Colonel Stipes which sold for $850. Stipes, a former resident of Carlisle and safety engineer at the Carlisle Barracks, served in the Korean War. He passed away in 1990.


    Military Service Grouping for Colonel Stipes, $850


    The sale was the second of three Firearms and Militaria Auctions Cordier plans to hold in 2017. The popular sales draw bidders both locally and internationally, with participation both live and online. For more about the company, visit

  • Historic “Claude Honicon” Stone 3 Bedroom Home

    Historic “Claude Honicon” Stone 3 Bedroom Home in Old Town Leesburg - set for Auction by Nicholls Auction Marketing Group

    Fredericksburg, VA – Nicholls Auction Marketing Group, Inc., ( announces the auction of a stone 3 bedroom home in the historic section of Old Town Leesburg, VA -- on August 17 at 3:30 pm according to John Nicholls, president of the company.


    “Located only blocks from the center of Leesburg, this home is close to Leesburg Premium Outlets, Rt. 7, Rt. 17 and Dulles International Airport, this property makes an excellent primary residence or investment property in one of the premier counties in the country,” said Nicholls.  “Opportunity awaits the new owner of this property.”


    “This well built home was constructed by Leesburg's renowned post World War II contractor and stone mason, Claude Honicon and boasts single level living located close to Cornwall Hospital, retail, dining and more,” said Brian Damewood, auction coordinator.  “Claude Honicon specialized in building well designed stone bungalows.  Seven of them, built in 1952-53 at 221-233 West Market St., grace Loudoun's first cul-de-sac."


    “227 West Market Street is a 3 bedroom 1.5 bath 1,834 sq. ft. (circa 1953) historic home on a .16+/- acre city lot in a quiet cul-de-sac,” noted Damewood.  “Some of the home’s many highlights include kitchen with conveying appliances, living room w/fireplace, dining room, sunroon, unfinished basement and attic.”


    Other note worthy features include:

    • Hardwood flooring throughout the home
    • Oil furnace/radiator heat and a wood stove
    • Public water and sewer


    The real estate auction is open to the public.  Brokers are reminded that pre-registration is required for compensation.


    For more information, call Brian Damewood at 540/454-2326 or Craig Damwood at 703/303-4760 or visit


    Nicholls Auction Marketing Group, Inc., with over 45 years of auction superiority and over 200 years of combined experience, has been synonymous with excellence and successfully marketing and selling thousands of properties.


    About Nicholls Auction Marketing Group, Inc.


    Nicholls Auction Marketing Group, Inc., is a professional accelerated marketing firm specializing in the promotion and sale of real estate via the auction method of marketing.  Headquartered in Fredericksburg, VA, NAMG has been serving the needs of the Mid-Atlantic region since 1968.  The Nicholls team comprises world and state champion auctioneers, an award winning marketing staff, and sales percentages unmatched in the industry.  For more information about Nicholls Auction Marketing Group, Inc., visit or call 540-898-0971.

  • Largest Multiland & Subdivision Auction in the NorthEast


    Largest Multiland & Subdivision Auction in the NorthEast


    Franklin County, PA & Washington, County, MD. Local auctioneer tackles the largest multiland and subdivision auction in the Northeast. It’s a builder-developers dream come true with so many approved building lots for single family, townhouses, and duplexes. It’s an opportunity for even the general public to participate with the many large estate lots being offered for choice in the various locations throughout S. Central PA and into Maryland. The diversity of land includes lots near Whitetail Golf & Ski Resort and Hagerstown’s Black Rock Golf Course, large acre parcels near the Conococheague, commercial & manufacturing land, as well as a trailer park near Shippensburg University. There’s no other auction in history like it!


    Matthew Hurley of Hurley Auctions in Greencastle, PA was asked to undertake this large scale auction with over 300+ lots. Due to the amount of land being offered in such a large span of area, it was decided to hold the auction over a 2-day period July 25 and 26 with the first day being held as a ballroom style auction at Hurley Auctions headquarters 2800 Buchanan Trail E., Greencastle, PA 17225. For more information contact Hurley Auctions at 866-424-3337 or visit their website for details of the auction at



    Marjorie Hartman




  • Mentoring Helped Young Auctioneer

    Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

    N.Y. Correspondent



    WATERLOO, N.Y. — Making it in the auction world challenges many newer auctioneers. Lacking the connections, experience and publicity of more established peers can make it a tough go.

    Jay Martin, proprietor of J. Martin Auctions, said that working his way up in the auction industry with a mentor provided a way for him to improve his auctioneering skill and business acumen.

    A self-taught auctioneer originally, Martin has raised the gavel for 17 years and, when his senior partner recently retired for health reasons, he purchased the partner’s business. He renamed the business Hilltop Auction Co. and moved its headquarters from Clyde to Waterloo, about 15 miles. He employs six people.

    Martin became hooked on auctions at age 15, when his father sent him to auctions to purchase dairy cattle for their farm. He kept attending auctions and by 22, he was working as an auctioneer.

    These days, he averages about three auctions monthly, mostly farm auctions, commercial equipment and estate liquidation. He also performs real estate auctions and equipment appraisals.

    Martin plans to complete a new auction building and an impressive expansion by this time next year.

    Constructed as a drive-through auction site, the new building will allow bidders to comfortably sit in bleachers on either side, as equipment parades by, sparing both bidders and the auctioneer from having to walk all over the auction grounds. Martin thinks bidders will appreciate the shelter from rain, wind and snow, too.

    Martin, 39, purchased the 26-acre site from his uncle, Allan Martin, who owns and operates Martin’s Amish Furniture, adjacent to the site of the new auction building.

    Jay Martin has conducted auctions to the east side of his uncle’s furniture store — which sells custom sheds, lawn furniture and playground equipment — while leasing the land from his uncle. But it currently offers no shelter or seating.

    Martin wants to make it more comfortable for bidders to see equipment. The new building, located on the west side of the furniture store, measures 90 feet by 120 feet, large enough to hold about 1,800 people and will include restrooms. Martin hopes to complete the building and hold his first auction at the new site in March 2018.

    Martin funded the new building through a combination of selffunding and loans. Its projected cost is $1.5 million.

    Most of Martin’s marketing is word-of-mouth, in addition to distributing fliers and advertising in local newspapers. He said that repeat customers are a large amount of his business.

    “You need to be confident of your auctioning company and get people the money professionally,” Martin said. “You need to be a nice guy. You need to take time to talk to your customers. There’s more than one way to have an auction.”

    He lives up to that ideal by trying to work with customers and be flexible to meet their needs. He is willing to hold larger auctions on a farm’s site, for example, so sellers won’t have to move large amounts of equipment elsewhere. He also strives to understand why his customers seek his services.

    Martin said that many people turn to auction houses to sell a farm when they’re ready to retire and their children either don’t want to farm or, in some cases, don’t want their parents’ or grandparents’ equipment and are in favor of more modern equipment. Some want to unload equipment when they’re getting out of dairy farming to transition to crop farming, for example.

    “One guy I got this week changed his career from farming,” Martin said. “Most are 50-plus in age.”

    Martin keeps this in mind when talking with

    clients. Change isn’t always easy — or desired.

    Martin said that online bidding has increased access to bidders from remote locations. Instead of driving numerous hours to risk losing out on one particular piece of equipment, bidders can participate in real time through He also lists items on his company website, About 5 percent of his business is through Bid Spotter.

    Martin also thinks his style of auctioneering pleases both clients and bidders.

    “We specialize in not begging and begging for the last dollar,” he said. “We move it along.”

    November through mid-April is his busiest time, because it’s tough for many farmers seeking equipment to get away during the rest of the year.

    To new auctioneers, Martin advises: “Be honest. Have confidence in your company, whether it’s a $200,000 sale or a $1 million sale. Have energy.”

    Recently, he hosted the Diller Farm dispersal auction in Adams, which included about 500 lots of equipment that sold for around $300,000. Another in Erie, Pennsylvania, brought in $800,000.

    Martin’s range is within about 300 miles of Waterloo. He also attracts bidders from a few neighboring states. He feels that his headquarters is ideally located as it’s just off New York Interstate 90 on Route 318. Close proximity to his uncle’s store and Waterloo Premium Outlets on Route 318 also benefit his business.

    Martin also operates auctions at a second location in Penn Yan which has a smaller drive-through auction building.



     Deborah Jeanne Sergeant is a freelance writer in central New York.


    Check out more auction related stories in the Auctioneer Guide from Lancaster Farming!

  • It Takes a Village of Rugged Individualists to Make an Antiques Hot Spot

    Jennifer Bowers

    Markets Editor



    ADAMSTOWN, Pa. — The small town of Adamstown, located close to the border between Lancaster and Berks counties, has made a rather big name for itself. Since the 1960s, the town has built a thriving community of antiques dealers and flea markets, enough to be billed as “Antiques Capital USA.” That kind of marketing is hard to beat for local shop owners and antique dealers.

    Driving along Route 272 into Adamstown, it’s impossible to miss the numerous antique stores that line the sides of the roads, as much a part of the landscape as the popular farmland scenery. For about three miles, each store is a stone’s throw away from the next. To help their individual antiques stores stand out from the crowd, many managers and owners rely on the unique characteristics of their business to get the job done.

    One of them is Jeff Steigerwald, who is the general manager of German Trading Post and Antiques Showcase,

    part of the Adamstown trade since 1988. He assumed management of the store last fall, after the former manager, Eileen Brandt, fell ill after working there for close to a decade. Before that, Steigerwald had run a shop of his own and was no stranger to the world of antiques.

    The antiques industry is a unique one, according to Steigerwald. “It takes a kind of base intelligence,” he said.

    Dealers must be both fast-thinking and prepared when they attend auctions, buy privately, or even peruse yard sales for their latest finds. Some dealers will follow a certain pattern or theme when building a collection, others become a “jack of all trades” and seek treasures anywhere. However they add items to their collections, there is ample room for whatever they bring back, because of the wide range of antiques sold around the town.

    This is especially true of the German Trading Post, which features one of the largest areas of square footage for antiques in the area. The store functions as a co-op as well as an antiques showcase, featuring row after row of objects on display. It also runs in conjunction with the nearby Black Horse Lodge, a conveniently located hotel for visiting antiques shoppers.

    “There’s about 60 dealers at a time here,” said Steigerwald about the German Trading Post. Many of the dealers live locally, but others come from as far as Philadelphia or New York City to sell their wares.

    Strolling down the numerous rows of the labyrinthine store, it’s easy to see how those dealers use the ample space of the shop to their advantage. Many have their own respective section of the store, decorated according toindividual taste and goods for sale. Fifteen minutes of walking does not begin to cover it all. And,

    the 60 or so dealers at the German Trading Post still represent only a small fraction of this antiques town — around 5,000 dealers sell along the Route 272 strip of malls and surrounding flea markets.

    Kristine Landis is the general manager of four shops in the area, in addition to the German Trading Post, Mad Hatter Antique Mall, Adamstown Antique Mall, and Pine Hills Antique Mall.

    The community’s rich antiques history began with Shupp’s Grove in 1962, an outdoor flea market that soon began attracting a great deal of attention when antiques went up for sale.

    Another is Renninger’s antique mall, originally started as a farmers market, but now with locations in Adamstown, Kutztown, and Mount Dora and Melbourne, Florida. Renninger’s first store in Adamstown was instrumental in launching the antiques craze in the area. The Adamstown store is only open on Sundays, but draws a crowd that often backs up traffic in the area. It may be one of the biggest attractions as a result of this, but Steigerwald maintains that competition among sellers and stores in the area is a friendly one.

    “Like independent grocers might do, there’s a lot of coming together and combining for advertising,” he said.

    One of the biggest events that gets the bulk of that combined advertising is the Antiques Extravaganza, held in April, June and September, from Thursday to Sunday at the end of the last full week of the month. Hotels in the area fill up quickly, and traffic is often slow during those events.

    Steigerwald laughed when asked about the number of visitors the store gets over the course of those special weekends compared to the average one.

    “Let’s just say, it’s a lot,” he said.

    And there is often no real rhyme or reason to what the customers are going to be interested in, he said.

    “Trends come and go,” said Steigerwald. “What’s popular goes in and out of style. A lot of people now like to buy things they remember from their childhoods.”

    Business seemed to pick up sometime around the ’90s, but has ebbed and flowed since then. With that surge in popularity in the ’90s, more antique dealers began entering the market as well, and the competition between them can be stiff.

    Even with new methods of communication via the internet, for finding and buying antiques today, it is still often people networking that can make or break the success of a dealer.

    But, that’s just part of the bread and butter of the trade,according to Steigerwald. “It’s not like a business or office setting. It’s one of the last traces of rugged individualism,” he said.

    The world of antiques is eccentric and eclectic, and sometimes wildly unpredictable, but it’s a business that both dealers and shoppers thrive in. In one seemingly tiny corner of Pennsylvania, that world has found a niche.



    To learn more about The German Trading Post and Antiques Capital, USA, visit



    Check out more auction related stories in the Auctioneer Guide from Lancaster Farming!

  • Symphony Auctioneer Talks About Dream, Discovery

    Kristen M. Castrataro

    Rhode Island Correspondent


    Melissa Ricci

    CRANSTON, R.I. — Inside a nondescript warehouse, Melissa Ricci perches atop a metal stepladder, cracking jokes. People mill around the room, chatting and munching Auntie Linda’s home-cooked treats. Ricci points out regulars in the crowd and provides their businesses with some free advertising. This is not a comedy club. This is Symphony Auction Gallery.

    For Ricci, Symphony Auction Gallery is a dream come true. Being her own boss has been her aspiration since childhood. The dream got put on hold while she studied music and became a music teacher.

    Though she loved teaching, she was finding herself beginning to lose patience with her 300 band students. She decided it was time to revive the dream.

    During that time, she and her mother, Corrine Pichette, were buying items at flea markets and re-selling them at multi-seller auctions. One day, the auctioneer struggled to keep track of the lots. Ricci did not. Her mother looked at her and said, “You know what? You could do this!”

    The two women took a trip to Kentucky where Ricci enrolled in a 10-day auctioneering course. Class started at 6:30 every morning and continued until 10 p.m. Ricci said it was the “longest, hardest course I’ve ever been through.”

    Four years into running her own auction gallery, she still uses much of what she learned during that week and a half, including how to work with the bereaved.

    That training was helpful the day she was called to appraise the home of one of the oldest Rhode Island families. Five siblings needed to disperse their grandmother’s entire estate.

    “Everything in that place was gold ... it would be great,” Ricci thought.

    Six weeks after her initial visit, she had not heard from the family and assumed they’d chosen another auction house. Not so. One of the siblings called and said, “We thought you were the best, but you weren’t the cheapest. Money talks with us.” Ricci agreed to meet the lowest bid and got the job.

    Ricci hired everyone she knew, rented moving trucks, and spent three days clearing out the home. They waded through the items and came to bins marked “linens.” The linens were nothing special, but what their grandmother had secretly hidden was — sterling silver. It was 11 p.m. She called her jeweler and he came right down to start weighing the silver.

    The auction brought in $35,000. The siblings were so happy they returned over the following months with everything they could find. Ricci considers the house the best “piece” she has ever handled.

    Every story does not end so lucratively, however. Often, Ricci receives a call saying that the family has cleared out all the “junk” and “all that’s left is the china, the glassware and the furniture.” Even in pristine condition, those pieces are just about worthless. Basements and attics everywhere are full of carefully wrapped china, so the supply outweighs the demand.

    It’s the same with furniture. At a discovery auction, Ricci recently started a bid for a five-piece living room set, at $5. She didn’t get a single offer. She even tried throwing it in with another lot, but had no takers.

    Helping people understand what is and is not valuable is difficult. “Public knowledge is just not there yet ... all the people who say they have nothing but trash have all the nice stuff,” Ricci said.

    In the auction world, some items are always in high demand: jewelry, stamps, coins and precious metals of any kind.

    Other good bets are items that were never intended to be preserved: old papers, toys and photos. If the item is something people have never seen before, it is likely to sell well, according to Ricci, like the vintage

    dentist’s kit complete with someone’s actual “gross teeth.”

    Auctioneers try to estimate what items will be profitable and focus on those items. But, Ricci said, “We are very often wrong.”

    Such was the case with a Victorian silhouette maker. Ricci initially placed it in one of her main auctions in which she sells highend items. She and her team spend at least a month researching and acquiring around 300 pieces to display and sell as individual lots. Up to 100 bidders can attend in person. Additional bidders can phone in from out-of-state and even out-of-country.

    The silhouette maker at the sale remained unsold.

    Ricci then tried it at a discovery auction. For these auctions, consigners get a table for the day and are responsible for bringing and displaying their items.

    “I never know what’s going to come in the door,” Ricci said. Because it is less work for Ricci’s team, she takes a smaller commission than at a main auction.

    Eventually, the silhouette maker sold for $5, while two Hurricane fans went for $75 and $65.

    The mercurial nature of the business can be challenging for an auctioneer. So can public perception. Ricci said that auctioneers are sometimes considered “crooks.”

    To counter that stereotype, Ricci pays promptly. Discovery auction consigners may receive payment the day of the auction. For her main auctions, she guarantees payment within two weeks, but often pays sooner. Ricci also leases her own building, believing her clients appreciate knowing their stuff isn’t “in a storage.”

    In a short time, those choices have earned her a reputation for being an honest auctioneer. Ricci said, “You can trust us.”


    Kristen Castrataro is a freelance writer covering eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island.



    Check out more auction related stories in the Auctioneer Guide from Lancaster Farming!

  • West Virginia Auctioneers Talk Real Estate, Autos, Auctioneering

    Marla Piscotta-Haislip 

    West Virginia Correspondent


    Randy "Riverbend" Burdette

    LEWISBURG, W. Va. — Holding an auction to turn personal property or real estate into quick cash can happen just about any time during the year.

    However, auctioneers say that the spring market is best for car auctions, and spring and fall are best for estates and real estate sales.

    Summer is not recommended because so many people are away on vacation.

    According to third-generation auctioneer Randy “Riverbend” Burdette, no matter when a sale is held, auctions continue to be the choice of buyers.

    In 2008, Burdette was elected to a threeyear term on the board of directors of the National Auctioneers Association. In that capacity, he conducted continuing education classes for auctioneers in several states.

    Burdette said the auction process begins with meeting the client and evaluating their circumstances and particular needs.

    “We write a proposal detailing marketing and so forth. Once the contract is signed, the auction is typically conducted within 30-45 days,” Burdette said.

    Burdette said their marketing is done in newspapers, on the internet, with email blasts and signage on property.

    “There are two (auction) formats,” he said. “One is when selling personal property, a live auctioneer is on the location. The second is on the internet, simulcasting live, leaving the auction open from seven to 10 days,” he said.

    For on-site auctions, Burdette said he goes to the location a few days before the sale and begins preparing and sorting out items.

    “Every auction is different. Sometimes it takes a few

    hours, sometimes it takes all day,” Burdette said.

    Portable toliets are brought on-site, and food and drinks are sold.

    When down to the last items, Burdette said, “We group things together that wouldn’t ordinarily sell separately. After the auctions, we help everyone load, and then tidy up.”

    From time to time, unique items will surface to be auctioned.

    “A couple years ago, a picture of a Civil War soldier surfaced in a house. It sold for

    $18,000. That was exciting,” Burdette said.

    One of the highest bids for an individual item Burdette has experienced was $25,000 for an antique whiskey flask at a house in Martinsburg.

    He said the auction market is strong when it comes to just about any type of firearms.

    “Any type of firearm is in demand. Hunting and fishing goods are also in demand,” Burdette said.

    Slipping in the market are all types of glassware and commercial furniture.

    In the 27 years of Burdette’s auctioning career, he said he has sold property in all 55 of the counties in West Virginia.

    Property sales, said Burdette, can sell anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000, depending on the estate and condition of any equipment for sale.

    Burdette is one of 150 members in the West Virginia Auctioneers Association, founded in 1962. In addition to having held every office in the association, and retiring as executive director in 2007, Burdette is also a pastor.

    “I pastor at Flat Mountain Missionary Baptist Church in Alderson, West Virginia, and I teach Bible class at Seneca Trail Christian Academy in Ronceverte,” Burdette said.

    After owning Riverbend Auction and Riverbend, USA LLC, Burdette joined the Foxfire Realty Team in Lewisburg as lead auctioneer and associate real estate broker.

    He has conducted auctions in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Florida and Kansas.

    Barbara Blake has been the WVAA executive director since 2008.

    “I am a first-generation auctioneer and have been in the auction business since 2000. I conduct estate auctions as well as real estate, liquidations and asset recovery,” Blake said.

    Blake said the association holds an annual convention in February.

    “We hold our contest for the WVAA bidcalling champion and also the ringperson contest at the convention,” Blake said.

    A Second Career in Cars

    Robin Mazzie is a ringperson currently working for four car auction facilities: Mountain State Auto Auction and Capital City Auto Auctions in West Virginia; Adesa Pittsburgh; and American’s Auto in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

    A ringperson is a pivotal part of an automobile auction, acting as a fast-moving bid spotter at a car auction.

    Mazzie’s life and career have taken several turns. She was in aviation, owned a bakery and, all the while, was interested in learning new things.

    She saw an ad in the paper that talked about needing help at a local auction, answered the ad, and began clerking and handling paperwork between the buyer and seller.

    “I think what interested me was really more of being a part of the auctioning atmosphere,” Mazzie said.

    After being smitten with the auction bug from working in that field, Mazzie decided to go to auction school in High Point, North Carolina.

    “That was six years ago and I’ve been doing this job every since,” Mazzie said.

    Because of the volume of automobiles running through the auto auctions, safety for the buyers and sellers is the responsibility of the ringperson.

    “Cars are constantly moving,” Mazzie said.

    Her job includes calling out the features of a vehicle that are not seen at a quick glance, such as a sunroof, third seat, or any features in or on the car that may interest a buyer and draw them closer.

    “Perhaps (they want to) spend more money because of specific features,” Mazzie said.

    She says perfect communication between the ringperson and the auctioneer is essential.

    “Sometimes transactions don’t come together. For instance, if the seller is at $10,000 and the buyer, at $9,500. My job is what happens when that particular car goes out and a new car comes down the lane,” Mazzie said.

    Mazzie said many times she continues working

    with the buyer and seller long after the car of interest has left the area.

    “It may be 10 cars later and I’m still working on the sale,” Mazzie said.

    Mazzie said some auctions don’t have ringpersons: “Once the car is out of the building, no one works on the sale.”

    Many of the ringpersons have auctioneer licenses, and Mazzie is one of them.

    She credits a lot of her success to Joe and Charlotte Pyle, owners of Capital City Auto Auctions, for mentoring her when she began her career.

    “The Pyles are the ones that gave me my first shot at learning how to be a ringperson. If it weren’t for them, I would not have had a place to start,” Mazzie said.

    Mazzie said the “ringperson” term is a derived from the term that was previously used: ringman.

    “There are definitely more ringmen than women,” Mazzie said.

    Robin Mazzie


    Collecting Marbles

    People collect all kinds of items — some turn out to be collector’s items, others, not so much.

    Lifelong auctioneer Darwin Plumlee, from Martinsburg, has sold $13,000 worth of marbles.

    “One lady bought $8,000 worth of them,” Plumlee said.

    He also sold a paperweight for $9,000.

    Plumlee’s auction career began 45 years ago.

    He said he never planned to get in the auction business, until he attended an auction one night. In jest, he told the auctioneer if he ever needed help to give him a call.

    “I was thinking holding up items or something like that,” Plumlee said.

    At his next visit to the auction, the owner pointed to Plumlee and announced that his auctioneer had arrived.

    Apparently, said Plumlee, the scheduled auctioneer was a noshow.

    “I picked myself off the floor, climbed on stage and did the best I could,” Plumlee said.

    His best was better than most, and Plumlee had a job.

    “I’ve since sold everything from false teeth to bodies in urns, heavy equipment, and now I’m into real

    estate sales,” Plumlee said.

    One of the most interesting auctions he did was selling the estate of Ralph Albertazzie, an Air Force One pilot for five different U.S. presidents.

    “He had a boatload of memorabilia. One of the pictures I sold was of Nancy Reagan and Frank Sinatra dancing when President Reagan tried to cut in. I wish I would have bought that one,” Plumlee said.

    Plumlee said that particular auction “went through the roof,”bringing 40 percent more for Albertazzie’s car than it should have. At 74 years old, Plumlee said it’s time to do something beside pots and pans, and is going full swing into the real estate auctioning.

    “Auctioning real estate is no different than items. In real estate, you start high and come down. Personal items, you generally start down and go up,” he said.

    Plumlee said the quickest way to sell real estate is auctioning, and the key to the selling is marketing.

    “You can’t stick an ad on the auction page and expect someone to see it and buy. You have to get the information out there by way of social media such as Facebook and online bidding,” Plumlee said.

    To purchase real estate, the buyer must have a pre-approved letter of credit from a bank.

    “We don’t take contingency, and we close within 30 days,”Plumlee said.

    Plumlee concentrates on selling new homes and estate sales, and said auctioning real estate is the quickest and easiest way to sell.

    Plumlee was inducted into the West Virginia Hall of Fame Auctioneers in 2009.



    Marla Piscotta-Haislip is a freelance writer in West Virginia.




    Check out more auction related stories in the Auctioneer Guide from Lancaster Farming!

  • Drive-Through Tailgate Auctions Becoming Popular Again

    Linda Williams

    Southwestern Pa. Correspondent


    EVERETT, Pa. — In most towns, there are “drive-through” banks, pharmacies, and fast food restaurants. Daryl Weaver, a Bedford County auctioneer for more than 20 years, has added “drive-through” auctions to the mix.

    It’s a concept he tried in his hometown of Everett many years ago.

    One auction attendee said recently that she remembered going to “drive-throughs” in Willow Hill years ago.

    For a recent Weaver drive-through auction, held in a large storage building located off Route 56, plenty of signs directed buyers and sellers to the correct location. It was a cold and rainy spring evening, which probably deterred some folks. Still, there appeared to be plenty of bidders looking for just the right item. Sellers began arriving at 4 p.m. for the 5 p.m. starting time. They got in line as they arrived, some by car, some by truck, and some simply stood with their items. Items being sold included anything from coins to guns to a 55-gallon drum.

    The auctions, also known as “tailgates” or “cash and carry,” provide a way for folks to get rid of a lot of things or just one item. It’s a lot like a big yard sale with an auctioneer attached. Weaver’s helpers were “all hands on deck” to aid with displaying items, sorting out who came next, helping with lifting, and collecting the funds.

    Carrie Teeter of Johnstown brought a small load of odds and ends to sell including everything from a pet cage to household items. Since she is moving to Bedford, she was not concerned about the sale price, but wanted to get rid of what she did not need. Her Filter Queen sweeper brought $50, a dog kennel, $2, and an air conditioner that may or may not work, $2. Those were the general run-of-the-mill prices for most merchandise.

    Della McCoy of Bedford was pleased with a wheeledgarden seat she purchased for $21. She said it was

    just what she was looking for to aid in planting and weeding.

    A John Deere riding mower, in excellent shape, went for $900. A Red Ryder Daisy rifle, never opened, was sold for $30.

    Dale Miller, a friend of Weaver’s from Shade Gap, showed up with a pickup truck load of items to auction off. His wife said they just had too many items that they no longer needed.

    Henry L. Hitechew Sr. of New Paris described himself as an “auctionoholic.” He loves auctions and buys numerous toys for his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was enjoying the event, but said he had forgotten that everything was cash and carry.

    “I have to be a little more careful than usual,” he said. “I’m used to writing a check.”

    His pickup truck was loaded down with an array of wheeled plastic toys ranging from tractors to miniature lawn mowers.

    The commission for Weaver’s sales is 25 percent. If sellers have an item that goes for $100, they almost immediately pocket $75 and can go on their way.

    “Bring a load, buy a load, or just one thing,” Weaver says. “Nothing is too big or too small for us.”

    Tailgate auctions are not a new thing. Surfing the internet reveals that “tailgate auctions,” once a thing of the past, are making a comeback. In Mint Springs, Virginia, the commission is based on the size of the item’s sale price. The higher that amount, the less the commission. For instance, an item sold for $5,000 has only a 5 percent commission.

    The advantage to the purchaser at a cash-and-carry auction is that he or she can make a purchase, pay instantly and leave, without waiting around. This works both ways as a seller might want to get rid of just one item. Once it is sold, the seller can pick up the cash, usually within 10 minutes or so.

    Tailgate auctions can also be held as fundraisers.

    Check out more auction related stories in the Auctioneer Guide from Lancaster Farming!

  • World Auto Auctioneers Compete for Top Award

    Rochelle A. Shenk

    Lititz Record



    MANHEIM, Pa. — Manheim Pennsylvania Auto Auction is a busy place on any given Friday, with an average of 8,000 vehicles sold. The pace stepped up a bit on Friday, May 12, when what is known as the world’s largest vehicle remarketing facility hosted the World Automotive Auctioneers Championship. Over 120 auctioneers from the U.S. and Canada demonstrated their best calls, vocals and salesmanship in four of the auction’s 35 lanes.

    “Nothing happens in this business until you fellows say ‘sold,’” said Paul Behr, president of the World Automotive Auctioneers Championship.

    This is the first time that the event, which was founded in 1989, was hosted at the Manheim auction.

    “It’s an opportunity to showcase our facility and to celebrate the auctioneers. Plus, they’re actually selling vehicles, so they’re helping us out,” said Joey Hughes, Manheim Pennsylvania general manager.

    “It’s fitting to hold this competition at Manheim, where modern-day auctions began in the U.S.,” Behr said.

    The Manheim Auto Auction was founded in 1945. Three vehicles were sold in one lane on its first sale day. Today, it encompasses 400 acres and employs 1,600 team members. About 70 auctioneers present more than 500,000 vehicles annually at this location.

    For the May 12 competition, auctioneers and ring men demonstrated their skills to the judges as they sold vehicles in the lanes designated for the competition.

    The 12 judges represented various areas of the automotive and auction industry. To come out on top in the competition, challengers had to stand out in their presentation, chant, voice quality, salesmanship and other performance elements of effective auctioneering. Contestants were also judged on their ability to interact and communicate with bidders and buyers.

    John Stauffer, who lives in Lititz, just down the road from Manheim, is a second-generation auctioneer who’s been in the industry for 16 years. Stauffer works for four car auctions a week, for different auction companies. He does one auction on Tuesday, one on Wednesday, and two on Thursday. At times he fills in on Fridays at the regular Manheim auction.

    Stauffer said he loves what he does and noted that there’s no homework with his part of the job. He goes to work, he sells cars — one a minute, sometimes close to two a minute — and when the cars are done, he goes home to his wife, Ashley, and their three children, John, Karina and Cody.

    This was the first time Stauffer had ponied up the $500 entry fee to compete for individual honors at the championship event. (Ringmen pay $300 to compete. Two-person teams pay $800.) The top individual prize is a $2,500 check.

    Stauffer did not win the top honors, but before he stepped up on the stage to ask for bids on his first car, he said, win

    or not, his entry fee was a worthwhile investment. He pitted his skills against the best in the business, and got valuable input from the judges’ scoring. And, there was the chance to take home an impressive check and an impressive trophy from the Stiegel Glassworks, a Manheim company that traces its lineage back to 1762.

    That top trophy and the check went to Andy White from Ashland, Ohio. Dallas Massey, from Starkville, Mississippi, took home the ringman check and trophy. And, a couple of gentlemen from the South — Woody Woodruff from Tennessee and Ben Gunter from Alabama — were the winning team champions.

    Reporter Dick Wanner contributed to this story.


    Check out more auction related stories in the Auctioneer Guide from Lancaster Farming!

  • Change Is a Constant, Says PAA President Kim Williams

    Anne Harnish

    Food and Family Features Editor


    Kim Williams, PAA President

    EPHRATA, Pa. — “Things are changing all the time,” says auctioneer Kim Williams. She recognizes the ongoing need for auctioneers to stay on top of what’s happening in the auction world, and as the president of the Pennsylvania Auctioneers Association, she can do something about it.

    Williams has been an auctioneer since 1980. She’s grown through her region’s auctioneer groups, and two years ago she was nominated to become the vice president of the PAA.

    One of her goals is to build PAA membership and to explain why it matters.

    “It is important to belong,” she said, describing how it protects auctioneers if they stay knowledgeable about what is going on in the industry.

    “Prices are down. Everybody’s wondering if they will return. In some areas, it is coming back. Antique furniture that used to bring thousands, now brings hundreds.”

    Newer technologies are bringing lots of changes, too.

    “My big thing right now, and more auctioneers are doing it, is online auctions,” Williams said. “A lot of my buyers like it.”

    “You miss the excitement of your backyard sale and conversations with your ‘regulars.’ But I don’t see much difference in pricing, whether the auction is online or in the backyard.”

    Selling online is more labor-intensive for the auctioneer, said Williams. “You have to photograph everything. Whereas, in the backyard, you can just auction items right out of the house. Or, you just pack it all up and then sell it out of another location.”

    Williams was born and raised in Bloomsburg in Columbia County, about 45 minutes north of Harrisburg.

    “I never left,” she said. “I was raised in the auctioneering business.”

    Her father, John Autotore, had apprenticed with another auctioneer previously, but in 1971 he started his own business, Autotores Auction, when she was about 12 years old, according to her website. She worked there as a runner. In the summer of 1979, between her junior and senior years of high school, Williams went to Indianapolis to attend Reppert Auction School. She said there were four girls in a class of about 60 auctioneer students.

    “Back then, they put girls at Reppert in a hotel, while boys stayed at the dorms,” Williams said. She recalls arriving at the hotel a few days early and being bored. She said she called home to her dad, and he told her to wait it out a few days, which she did. She ended up staying, liking auction school very much and learned a lot there.

    “I worked for my dad until he became disabled,” Williams said. “Then I bought out my father’s business and started Kim’s Auction Service in 1991.”

    Her brother, who also attended auction school in 1975, went his own way in sales, starting an auction hall that he ran, although he is no longer in the auction business.

    Kim’s Auction Service prospered. She did on-site auctions and estate sales, selling everything from antiques and collectibles to equipment to household items to businesses.

    “We started three years ago offering complete full-circuit services,” Williams said. “We go in, completely clean out an estate. We (might) help coordinate which furniture goes along with the elderly parents, for example. We go through everything, and might even get a dumpster.”

    “It used to be the family who took care of final clean-out, but now we go through the entire estate,” she said.

    To explain why these generational changes are

    happening, Williams said that often in the younger generation, both parents are working jobs, for instance, and may only have time to come in once, and they are willing to let an auction service handle everything else.

    “You have to be careful,” she said. “We often find money tucked away in a house, in different spots. The family thinks they got everything, but they missed some things.”

    “Family doesn’t always understand what’s salable,” she said.

    For example, collectors are interested in old oil cans, an item that family members typically throw in the trash.

    “When my husband and I get to an estate now, we joke that we should first look in the dumpster!” Williams said.

    The younger generation views things differently, she said. They may be more mobile and not interested in taking the family furniture and heavy heirlooms into their home. They may prefer “rent-to-own” furniture or fancy entertainment systems that they can pay a $20 or $40 monthly fee for, without having to move it when they leave.

    Adjusting to changes can be hard, even for her. The biggest (change) for all auctioneers is technology, she said.

    “Seventy percent are now computerized. I’m still hand clerking,” she said, about her partial use of technology. “It depends what you like and what you get used to. I still like the on-site sales.”

    She’s on a Facebook group, called Auctioneers, where “a photo is posted and others pitch in to define what it is,” Williams said.

    Another benefit of technology is tape-recording auctions, especially real estate.

    “I tape-record any real estate I sell. It stops any kind of dispute, like if the buyer says, ‘I thought I paid this,’” Williams said, referring to a case when she sold a property and, afterwards, the buyer said they had not agreed to pay all the taxes. The videotape proved otherwise. “(Or) if someone leaves without paying, you can track them easier.”

    Some auctioneers videotape all their auction proceedings, she said.

    Being honest and working hard are the keys to Williams’ success. “If you’re not honest and up front, that will spread around faster than anything,” she said. “Be courteous to everyone.”

    Williams is not the first female president of the PAA. Ten years before her was 2007’s president, Sandra Brittingham.

    “I’m only the second female president in 65 years of PAA history,” Williams said. “Sandra had a lot going on. She had to go before Congress.”

    “(But) I have never seen anyone treat anyone differently,” Williams said. “There are some highly respected women auctioneers.”

    “When I walk in (to a sale) with my husband, a lot of people assume he’s the auctioneer. But, he says ‘no, no, no, she’s the auctioneer!’” Williams said.

    “One exciting thing for us (in Pennsylvania), was the World Automobile Auctioneers Championship coming to Manheim in May,” she said. “Manheim (Auto Auction) is typically closed, but that day it was open to the public. It was very interesting to see. It is very different from what I do. ... There are some women coming in to car auctioneering, too.”

    Williams has been traveling, visiting all the local auctioneer chapters and gathering information on any issues in the various parts of Pennsylvania.

    “We are trying to get auctioneers to become active (in the PAA),” Williams said. “There are over 2,000 (auctioneers) in Pennsylvania, but only close to 300 members.”

    “My wish is that more auctioneers will get involved (in PAA). They would understand more and learn so much. There is so much you need to know in this business. Even if they come to the convention (in January) once a year.”



    If you're interested in more auction related stories, check out the Auctioneer Guide from Lancaster Farming!

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