Sunday, July 19, 2009

The auction - part 3

Part 1 - the items
Part 2 - the setup

Once things got started (it started late because the auctioneer and his crew were late arriving), there was some confusion as we went around the warehouse. The auctioneer needed a description of each lot as it was put up, and Barry Meisel of MeiGray wasn't always right there to help (he had to move around and answer some questions or look at something, even though he had his staff there). The auctioneer was a bit snappy about getting a name and money without delay from each winning bidder.

It was also time consuming to have to unroll some of the vinyl prints that weren't out on display when it was time to bid on them (think ahead folks). As we moved around the warehouse, the auctioneer had to step down from his ladder, his crew would move it, and he'd get back up. I'm sure neither of those are the case in an auction house. Barry Meisel up front estimated 6 hours to complete, so if we could speed things up it was good and if they slowed things down and weren't ready, it was bad.

There was a bit of confusion with this crowd over the bundling of items in a single lot. I can certainly see that someone would want to bid of a photo of Gil Hodges and leave behind the Kevin McReynolds photo, or at least pay a different price for it (there wasn't a real bundle of the two, but I'm using it for illustration). At the same time, I can't see how people would want a whole lot of 3 wide ramp signs when they're hard to put on display (one of the reasons why the smaller ones sold out and the larger ones were still there). One such sign would suffice. But it was bundled in 3s. That concept wasn't clear to some people, and wasn't real fair to some.

For some items - those that had enough to go around, like Ramp signs, bricks, section signs, outfield pads, box seat rail elbows, and foul poll pices - do a reverse bidding. Start at a price, anyone who wants any at that price can take it, for any number of the item, and then bring the price down until another person bites, then whoever wants at that price in order to clear the item out. Continue until a bottom price or the set is sold out.

To that end, when we got to the box section elbows, they started bidding at $1 and it got to $6. The lots were sets of maybe 40 or 50. $6 was the winning bid, and that person got to take however many they wanted and we moved on. The rest were left. That's kind of dumb.

I think there were some issues people had with the bundling of the items. Some people didn't understand it. I think MeiGray started bending the process at one point to accomodate that. Bid on a lot of 5 items, then buy 1 at that price and leave the rest and move on. To be fair, if we bid on every item, it would have continued all day and all night.

There was some tension growing between the auctioneer and Barry Meisel. I'm not real sure why. Maybe over the lots. Maybe over the speed people came up with their deposits (the lady with the credit card machine wasn't always there) or the speed of saying their name to be recorded. Maybe over the speed by which some items had to be unrolled. It was hot and humid in there (fans helped). I'm not real sure.

We ended up taking a break of about 30 minutes. The auctioneer stepped away for a bit after we continued and one of his crew. I don't know if it was tension or a personal matter (he was on his cellphone for a bit). He did resume his role, but it was getting very contentious. I think the backup auctioneer was ready to step away after one person argued that he saw bidding go up with only one person bidding. It was really getting sloppy, and unfortunately, it was getting also getting late for me.