Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Harvard of Auctioneering

I was struck by this line in a story in the NY Times:
"The auction itself began at 10:15 a.m. when Rob Nord, a professor of bid calling at the Missouri Auction School (“The Harvard of Auctioneering”), started with Lot 1: four diamonds varying in weight from 1.1 to 1.4 carats."

Here is the story: Selling the Diamonds the Government Doesn’t Need , which is about how the US government sells off items seized in the course of federal crimes, and, lately, acquired by the government in other ways.
"Mr. Levin, who, on average, takes a 10 percent cut from his auctions, has been very busy of late. In the last few years alone, he has sold for the government smuggled horses in Arizona, stolen cab medallions in Boston, 54,000 pounds of smoked Chinese scallops, a shipping container of blue jeans, illegally marketed Freon and a million packs of untaxed cigarettes.
"Tapping what could be a growing market, Mr. Levin recently secured a contract with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to auction furniture, fixtures and equipment seized from failed banks around the country."

And here is the website of the Missouri Auction School, which does indeed mention that it is called the "Harvard of Auctioneering." Here are some sentences from the description of their course (I have always thought that the different chants used by auctioneers of different products in different places would be worth study):
"The classroom portion includes small group sessions learning the auction chant from leading auctioneers from around the country. It also includes those top auctioneers sharing business insights and secrets with the entire class."

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