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.

Traveling Man

Last week was my busiest travel so far this year. I covered a lot of miles in a very short amount of time.

It started here in Portland after my weekly Wednesday Crosspoint auction gig. From there, I headed to the airport for my 3pm flight to California; a quick stop in Oakland and by 930pm, I had landed in Ontario. An early get-up Thursday morning to catch my shuttle ride to Riverside got me to the Highline Sale. From there, I caught a ride with my friend Rod for the four-hour drive to Vegas. I happened to be staying at the same hotel where the Mecum Motorcycle Auction was held, so I caught a glimpse of that. As luck would have it; three of the best professional motorcycle racers from the 70's and 80's, Gene Romero, Jay Springsteen, and Don Castroon were all on-hand for a VIP Q&A session. It. Was. Awesome!

I was up early again Friday morning to work the Manheim Nevada auction. My lane started at 9am sharp. I had 150 Kia's to sell. I sold 100% of them. By 1045am, I was jumping back on the airport shuttle to McCarran Airport, where I caught the 1230pm departure back to Portland. My plane touched down at 230pm; from there, I headed home to do a quick repack. My next stop was Rosalia, Washington; where I am a judge for my long-time friend, Jay's annual hot rod bash. So I took off from Portland again and did the six-hour drive up to Spokane, Washington. I made it to my parents' house at 10pm and pretty much, went straight to bed. An early get-up Saturday morning, so I could join my parents for their weekly breakfast meet-up at Denny's. I took the long way around Spokane to Rosalia, driving the old highway which winds through the Palouse. Once in Rosalia, I judged 70 cars to come up with the best in the bunch. It sure was hard to pick a winner. After the show and a quick bit of socializing, I headed back to Spokane to have a visit with my parents and to spend the night. I was up very early Sunday morning for my six-hour drive back to Portland.

What a whirlwind of a week - 4 states in 72 hours!

Back to Where It All Began

This past weekend I had the opportunity to help my old friend and former employer, Mitch Silver. He was just an hour and a half away; up in Shelton, Washington for a small collector car auction held at the Little Creek Casino. We offered up 75 cars and easily sold a third of them.

Working with Mitch on Saturday brought me right back to the days where Mitch and I, along with the rest of our auction crew, traveled around the Western United States every weekend doing small regional auctions just like this. Before the time that television cameras starting showing up at collector car auctions and the age of the internet, these auctions were the mainstay of the collector car business. Oftentimes, these smaller car auctions offered the smart buyer a good deal on a car. A savvy seller could also benefit from the limited inventory at these smaller shows; making his car more special, therefore a standout at the auction.

Wide Open Wyoming

This past Fourth of July weekend; I had the chance to help my old friend, Mitch Silver, at his annual Jackson Hole collector car auction. Mitch was the one who introduced me to the collector car business and helped to start my career as an auctioneer.

If you have never visited Jackson Hole, Wyoming; you should definitely put it on your bucket list. Where the twisting Snake River wraps around the Teton Mountain Range, there you will find and experience one of our country's most scenic areas.

For twenty six years, Mitch has held his annual Fourth of July sale at Teton Village. This year, the auction did not disappoint; delivering another excellent assortment of cars and western memorabilia.  We sold a wide variety of cars, with everything from a 1932 Oldsmobile to a 1966 Dodge Cornet Hemi. There were late-model classics and even a handful of vintage motorcycles

It was really great to return to the old stomping grounds and to reconnect with my old friends and to enjoy some of that Wyoming hospitality.

The Magic Moment

We all know when we're having a great conversation, either in-person or on the phone - everything is flowing and you're both engaged. But sometimes, there is a point that is reached - a magic moment.  A moment when the conversation should naturally come to an end, but doesn't? It keeps dragging on and on... By this point, it has become a one-sided conversation. So imagine instead of having this one-on-one conversation with somebody, now you're having it with an audience of two to three hundred people who would like it to end too.

This scenario can turn your fundraising auction from a place of excitement and laughter to a place where you can hear the audible groaning and shuffling of chairs and the buzzing of text messaging in the audience. It can be one of the most expensive mistakes your organization can make. Why? Because you and your inexperienced auctioneer have let the moment pass. The audience is no longer engaged with the speaker or the cause. Your guests and patrons have literally heard enough.

We all suffer from shortened attention spans today. So it is crucial to make sure everyone who is speaking on stage be scripted, the auction portion of the evening included.

Beware of the man in the tuxedo

I'm always curious to know more when I hear or read about someone who says he 'specializes as a fundraising auctioneer'.

Why have I not heard his or her name before? Who is this person? Is he or she professionally trained? What kind of auction experience did he or she have before becoming a benefit specialist or expert?

Fundraisers are a collaborative event. A professional auctioneer will make sure that all the behind the scenes work is properly and completely done. This is the first of many important steps that it takes to produce an evening of giving that is both seamless and successful.   

I have been an auctioneer working in the Pacific Northwest for over twenty-five years. I have auctioned off date nights with Hollywood stars. children's art, school teachers' homemade baking, tens of thousands of wholesale and collector cars, as well as California real estate. I have worked with hundreds of other auctioneers. Among the lot of us, we have a few thousand years of experience combined and have easily seen hundreds of billions of dollars change hands. Boy, that makes me sound old!

Like any other profession, it takes years of learning and doing to master one's craft. A proficient auctioneer is not as easy to find as it seems. What you can expect of him or her when you find one is this:

A great auctioneer connects with your audience.
He or she establishes the tone and momentum of the auction.
An auctioneer never misses a guest with his bid card in the air.
He communicates and carries on with everyone with ease and finesse.
After he sells the crowd every single live auction lot, he is still able to draw more money out of your guests during the special appeal!

It's true that we all have to start somewhere. The question is, do you want an auctioneer who's wet behind the ears to use your event as his guinea pig? Before you hire someone; ask for his or her credentials, have a look at his portfolio, watch her in action. Best to see it before you believe it. You know what they say, “If it sounds too good to be true..."