What Is an Auctioneer?


Quick Answer

An auctioneer is someone who sells goods using a system where buyers bid against each other, with the highest bid taking home the item. Some auctioneers specialize in certain types of merchandise, while others organize sales for third parties on commission and sell anything they are paid to auction.

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Full Answer

The trademark of an auctioneer is the distinctive chant he uses during live auctions. The chant consists of rapid repetitions of the current winning bid and exhortations for higher amounts, and it is designed to keep audiences focused on the item and inspire urgency in their decision-making. The auctioneer must keep up his patter and identify those in the audience who wish to increase the bidding, keeping the routine going until a peak price has been reached.

Not all auctions are live. Silent auctions allow bidders to place private bids on items without the obvious competition and are held in more formal settings than traditional auctions. Both types of auctions may also involve people proxy bidding or bidding by phone if they cannot be present at the event. Auctioneers are still responsible for tallying the bids and declaring an overall winner.

Many auctioneers also appraise the items that come across the auction block, and some are even responsible for contacting bidders that might be interested to ensure the seller receives the most money possible.

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