Auctions and divorces

after 40 years I find I need to account for every minute of my free time and since I am retired then all of my time is free but not unlimited. I have spent a lot of time at different types of auction over the years and have met and enjoyed many different kinds of people, but these past few years I have saw a bad side of the industry. Maybe it has always been there and I was to stupid to notice.

There are different reasons for someone to have an auction, to settle an estate, get rid of to much stuff around the house, or a court mandated auction to settle an estate or divorce. In most cases the auction company will announce the reason for the auction and morally and usually legally should do so. This in the past was not a problem, now the people who are in the auction business have begun let us say little less than honest.

I was at an auction this week that was supposed to last for three days. A very large glass auction with hundreds of pieces of depression glass and antiques. There was four to six licensed auctioneers in house at all times for this auction and I can say there was not one honest person in the group. I find this is not an unusual occurance in the industry anymore. This auction as I was to find out close to the end of the second day was a court mandated divorce settlement auction that was hostile to say the least. The reason for the auction was not given to the general public so not only was I wasting my time there but everyone else was to except the two people who were fighting out their differences at the publics expense. In 40 years I have never been to a auction that was the result of a divorce and had a good day. Even at this one the police was called to settle a problem once the public figured out the auction was divorce related. the fact the auction was divorce related was only part of the problem.

The issue was the fact the auction company tried to keep it from the public and one of the auctioneers told me it was a divorce auction after I had been there for two days waiting for certain items to be sold. I had noticed the person with the number one was buying a lot of the better items and at the time I thought he was overpaying. Now before I go any further let me explain that. In a divorce auction the two people involved in the divorce can by law bid on any of the items in the auction the same as the general public. Now if either of the two people do bid on any of their own items then they have to win only by placing the highest bid, but at the end of the auction the person will get back half of that bid as she or he received their part of the settlement, therefore they are actually only paying half as much as the general public for what they buy back. This is also true of court mandated estate auctions. A good deal for the family or divorce people. And a bigger problem is the fact these people can and usually do run up bids at the auction, I saw that several times this weekend. They have no downside doing this and a pissed off spouse can wreck a lot of havoc at a auction of their belongings.

I don't have a problem with the system if it is put before the public correctly, but in this case. it was a sham from the start. Once I found out what was going on I ask the auctioneer if the two people were bidding a lot and he said they were bidding very little. That was a total lie from a licensed auctioneer to a member of the general public at a function he was working at. I have noticed over the past two years there have been several instances where the members of a auction company was actually being dishonest and not by accident but by design. This is the problem with present day auctions, the industry has become overrun with dishonest people. Making that statement after forty years of attending these functions seems as if I am pissed off at the world but with any problem it first has to be recognized and then dealt with. With this problem there is no way to deal with it except with making as much knowledge available to public as possible.

Leaving a auction with a lot of items you don't need and usually you pay to much to begin with is a part of going to auctions. We accept that as that problem rests with out inability to stop bidding. To be led to this level is an art the auctioneers learn very early and the good ones and the honest ones know where the limit is and stops there. Now there are too many auctioneers who manipulate an entire auction to defraud the public. This has always been a part of auctions in a small way but now it has become the norm in a large way.

I am not a person who expects more than I deserve or earn but I do still expect honest dealings with people and with auctions that is not happening anymore. There have been numerous instances over the past few years of dishonest actions by auctioneers I have noticed and none of those actions were accidental. Since the advent of TV into the auction world a lot of dishonest people have come out of woodwork and this is on both sides of the issue, the auctioneers and the bidders.

Well my soapbox is starting to tilt and get shakey so to end this let me say always find out the type of auction you are attending and then decide if you want to waste a day of your life living out the soap opera of someone getting divorced or siblings fighting over stuff their parents apparently did not want them to have to start with. Also take notice of what is going on around you at auctions there is a problem and it is getting worse.
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