The rusty Indian

Most of my friends are always on the outlook for old and interesting cars or motorcycles. They usually send me a text message with a couple of pics and the question, “what do you think its worth?”. When I started in the auction business, I worked as an appraiser. I’d help the auction consignors establish a value, so they could get an idea of what their car might be worth before putting them in the auction.

I thought I was pretty good at that job.

But in today’s vintage car/bike market I can’t even come to understanding the market. This 1944 Indian Chief showed up on a local tow company website for their weekly auction. It was hard to get a good look at the old Indian with the posted pictures, so I went out to look at for myself. The Indian Cheif has been neglected for the past 60 years, it was rusty and had been disassembled. It was loaded with what is referred to as patina today.

It was an ex military bike bought in 1950, and by 1953 was put away. Needing a complete restoration, I thought it was worth $5-8,000 in present condition. On Ebay you can find fully restored ones priced from $15-40,000. It sold for $14,600 rust wins again.

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On the run.

The second week in May is always a busy for me. We start off on Tuesday with one of my long time clients, the Fly Fisher Club of Oregon, with their annual foundation auction. We will be raising money again this year for the continued protection of native fish and stream reclamation projects here in the state of Oregon.

On Saturday we will be working the Blosser Center, they help both children and adults who are dealing with Dyslexia. In between that I’ll be doing weekly car auction here in Portland and then heading down to Las Vegas to finish out my week.

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Time to wait.

Time has a way of making you forget how much work it took to take a photograph with a traditional film camera. A couple months ago I dug out my old 35mm cameras out of the storage closet.

I was surprised after I had done some basic maintenance they both still worked. Well, at least the shutters still functioned. So I ordered a couple new batteries a roll of black and white and color film.

My oldest camera I received as gift from my parents when I graduated from High School in 1980, and the other one when I got out of college. I discovered Blue Moon Camera, here in Portland they specialize in vintage cameras and developing. I unloaded the film, drove to the store, dropped it off and waited. It took a week to get my negative back, and to too my surprise out of the all pictures I took there were a half a dozen good ones. It was worth the wait.

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Friends

Last year while strolling through the Portland airport a familiar face got my eye. It was an old friend of mine from thirty years ago, I hadn’t seen Randy since the late eighties. We both thought we looked pretty good for couple of guys in our late 50’s. Yeah, our hair was gray, and we were both a little thicker. But we eased back into our conversations of what we had been up to all those years. We laughed about all the fun time we shared together back in our 20s. He was headed back to Spokane and me to California. We both agreed to try to meet up if I got back to Spokane in the summer. A quick handshake and a hug and we both went our separate ways. A moment in time opened up and it closed just as quickly. I never made made back to Spokane.

It came in a text message from another old friend that Randy had died following a surgery. A smile and a beer in his hand is how I’ll always remember him. Bye, old friend, well miss you Randy.

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The auctions are heating up.

We’re having a crazy winter here in the Pacific Northwest with snow and freezing temps every other day. I’m looking forward to some warmer weather as spring approaches.

While it may be cold outside, the first group of our fundraisers in 2019 have been especially strong.

The new trend has been to reduce the number of auction items. Back in the good old days, it was common to have 40-60 packages in the live auction. In 2019 it seems 10-20 items or even less seems to be the sweet spot. The audiences seem to appreciate an auction which lasts about an hour. Everyone in the room is raising their bid cards trying to chase those fewer items, and prices on the most desirable packages are bringing a premium.

Remember, supporting your favorite nonprofit or school does make a difference. If you can’t donate time throw some cash their way it all helps.

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2019 is starting off with a Bang!

Tonight we start our fundraising season for 2019. It’s my first Monday evening auction we’ll see how it goes, I think we’re going to crush it! Along with our new fundraising clients in 2019 we will be going forward with a couple new partners, stay tuned for our formal announcement later in the month.

I had a Thursday off and went to Las Vegas for the Bonhams motorcycle auction this year. Prices were up on all makes and models of bikes. Interest in vintage motorcycles is strong right now not just here in USA but worldwide. I’ve included a couple of my favorites.

2019 is going to be an exciting year for us and we look forward to meeting you at our next event.

Holy grail of motorcycles the Vincent’s.

Holy grail of motorcycles the Vincent’s.

The King of Cool, Steve McQueen’s Triumph sold for $175,000.

The King of Cool, Steve McQueen’s Triumph sold for $175,000.

Timing is everything.

This past weekend I joined a gathering of Porsche enthusiasts known as P.O.G or the Porsche Outlaw Group. I had heard, through social media Magnus Walker would be in appearance at the event. If you don’t know who Magnus is, he was the star of a documentary film titled Urban Outlaw, it featured his personal collection of Porsches and beautiful scenes of him blasting throughout downtown Los Angeles and the surrounding hills in his vintage 911. The film touched perfectly on the emotional connections of of us who’ve ever owned or driven a Porsche, especially the early 911’s. 

I headed down to the OMSI parking lot on my old GPZ to check it out. It was a perfect November morning. Meaning it wasn't raining!

Lots of cool cars showed up for the event. There was an excellent representation of new, vintage and modified Porsches on display.  A couple days later a friend noticed a picture a photographer had taken at the show on his Instagram feed. Guess who made it into the shot? It was perfectly timed. 

After I saw the photograph it got me thinking about timing. Like being in the right place at the right time.   When I look back on where I am today, a lot of it was just timing and luck. Just like the picture.

Perfect timing. Photo credit@ryansova

Perfect timing. Photo credit@ryansova

Magnus Walker

Magnus Walker

A gathering of Porsches

A gathering of Porsches

End of Summer

Did it feel like the summer just blew by? It did to me! I spent Labor day weekend at the Portland Grand Prix. The Indycars returned back to Portland after their last race here in 2007.

  It was estimated that 40,000 race fans showed up Sunday afternoon for the big race. Having always been a Indycar fan, I opted for spending a little more money and got the pit pass too. I think being in the pits is almost more interesting than the race. You get a chance to watch mechcanics put their final touches on the car before the start of the race. The best part is hearing the cars being warmed up, and they sound awesome too.

My first trip to the race was in 1984, and in those days its was three-day-party! We would ride our motorcycles down from Spokane, and meet up with my friends parents who would drive their motorhome down from eastern Washington. Fun times. Looking forward to next years race.

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The good looking guy in the black hat is me! 1984

The good looking guy in the black hat is me! 1984


More Miles

Work and travel never keep me from clocking more miles on my old GPZ. I jump on my bike as often as I can. A spare minute always means another mile.

I have already managed to get a couple of really good rides in this summer. Last month; I made the trip back to my hometown of Spokane to help out my old friend, Jay with his annual car show in neighboring Rosalia. He had invited me back again to be one of the judges for his annual car show. It’s a tough job when there are so many great cars! Besides the old cars, I got to visit and chat with some of my old college friends who also made the trip to Rosalia for the day. 

My old 1983 GPZ ran like a top for the 800-mile round-trip. Even more surprising was how well I held up on the ride! When I rode the exact route last year, the 90-degree heat took it out of me. The much cooler temperature this year made for a much more comfortable ride.

This weekend, I did a couple of my favorite rides. First one had my heading east out of Portland onto Highway 84 towards The Dalles. From there I rode south on the 197 to Tygh Valley, then east onto Highway 216, which took me along the Deschutes River and up Shears Bridge Canyon. It’s a great twisty ride but you have to be careful because not all of the corners have guardrails. If you go off the road, it’s a hell of a long ways down to the bottom of the canyon! I continued on by connecting through Grass Valley onto Highway 97, then hooking onto Highway 84 westbound back to Portland. It’s a great 300-mile ride that I would highly recommend.

The next day, I took a quick spin to Mount Hood with a quick visit to Timberline Lodge. The road around the backside of the mountain takes you through the wineries and fruit tree farms of Hood River. It really was a perfect weekend of riding.

Did I do the speed limit?

Did I do the speed limit?

Sherars Bridge Canyon - a fun and fast series of twists and turns

Sherars Bridge Canyon - a fun and fast series of twists and turns

In the background is Oregon’s tallest mountain, Mount Hood

In the background is Oregon’s tallest mountain, Mount Hood

Taking a selfie break along the Columbia Gorge Highway

Taking a selfie break along the Columbia Gorge Highway

Okanagan Valley

Work and travel have kept me busy for the past couple of months, but the past week really was the cherry-topper! So what have I been up to?

I just returned from a five-day trip from the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. We went up for a wedding that took place right on Lake Okanagan in Lake Country. The next day, I was there to celebrate Canada Day too. Canada Day is July 1, so it was a super long weekend celebration that moved right into the Fourth of July.

The Okanagan really is an amazing place. It is the heart of BC's wine and fruit industry. It is lake and cottage country. Most of BC’s wineries and orchards surround Lake Okanagan, a spectacular 82-mile long lake.

Canadians take great pride in protecting their environment. The small towns we drove through dotted along the lake were pristine. Free of trash and graffiti, with main streets featuring well-kept storefronts, cafés, and long-time businesses. It was really refreshing to see and I am already ready and looking forward to going back for another restful vacation!

All dressed up for Sarah and Jason’s wedding in Lake Country

All dressed up for Sarah and Jason’s wedding in Lake Country

Property at Lock + Worth Winery and Poplar Grove Cheese overlooking Lake Okanagan

Property at Lock + Worth Winery and Poplar Grove Cheese overlooking Lake Okanagan

Sunset at Nichol Vineyard on the Naramata Bench

Sunset at Nichol Vineyard on the Naramata Bench

Anywhere

I got a call the other day from an auction chair asking if I was available to work an auction on short notice. The original auctioneer that had been hired ended up refusing to work in the space that was selected for the fundraiser. In my entire time as an auctioneer, I had never heard that before!

While some venues may not be the ideal space for live auction, this one seemed completely workable to me. I have always believed that any space can work as long as there are these two things - a place that guests can gather and a sound good system with which the emcee and auctioneer can work.

So I got to thinking about all the places where I have worked as an auctioneer - hotels, schools, country clubs, golf courses, fairgrounds, basements, garages, parking lots, junkyards, airplane hangers, kitchens, sound stages, radio stations, galleries, courthouse steps, under the shade of a tree, a bowling alley. I have even worked in some unusual and harsh conditions; like in a rainstorm, a snowstorm, a thunderstorm in the Tetons.

Any kind of auctioneer can make any auction work anywhere!

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Back-to-Back-to-Back

All of my Saturday nights through the spring and fall are filled with fundraising auctions. This last week though, our team had back-to-back-to-back auctions Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings! I am glad to report that we managed to meet or exceed the goals at each and every event and surpassed the expectations of all those who were involved.

It really is satisfying for me when my clients feel that we knocked an event out of the ballpark. It is especially rewarding when they are loyal clients whom I have had the pleasure of working with the longest in my auctioneering career. In today’s fundraising world, if the same auctioneer is invited back for three or more years in a row; that is considered a long stretch. So, I consider myself supremely lucky to have working relationships of upwards of ten years with some of my schools and non-profits.

I still have a few full weeks ahead, so see you at the next auction!

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The End

The end is near!

We've come to the final month of yet another year. I hope that everyone had an opportunity to enjoy 2017. Did it seem to you like the past twelve months got condensed into six? It sure seems like mine flashed past my rearview mirror in the blink of an eye.

Though it was a real whirlwind, I really did enjoy my 2017. I had the chance to do some traveling, to ride my motorcycle lots, to reconnect with some of my old friends, and I even got an acting gig! I also could not have asked for a better group of people to work with either. This year; I was lucky enough to have gained some great new clients, while still continuing to work with some very long-standing customers. In 2018, we will be celebrating a decade-plus with many of our working partnerships. It is pretty incredible to have such loyal customers, especially in the ever-competitive arena of auctioneering.

I hope everyone will get the chance to spend some quality time with family and friends, to enjoy some good cheer, and to hit the ground running in 2018. I look forward to seeing you all then. For now, signing off with a Happy Holidays to you all and a Merry Ho Ho!