Auctions

Over the years I have formed a very jaundiced view of Auctions and Auctioneers. This attitude was initially brought about while courting a girl in Auckland. When she went off daily to her work and to fill in my day I accompanied her mother into the City. Once there, she introduced me into her hobby and passion, attending all and any of Public Auctions. With her introduction I soon became very well known to the Auction fraternity. We haunted the Auction Rooms and at the end of any day I would be the proud owner of at least half a dozen lounge suites, many boxes of ’Bric-a-Brac’, enough furniture to fill several homes, and goodness knows what else. The Auctioneers knocked items down to me a passive, but, ‘in the know’ bystander. Whenever he considered that the bidding was slow, or he thought maybe he could do better tomorrow. The goods on sale were always being sold to ‘That young man over there’. I soon realised that the system operating, was one of never giving the suckers an even break. If you are serious about buying at an auction, you never want to be intimidated by an Auctioneer, or for that matter their legal representatives, or any connected to the Auction industry. Don’t ever be afraid to challenge, or ask questions. I didn’t need to be reminded of this when buying a home in Queenstown. The legal fellow was reading out the ‘Conditions of sale’. When he came to Clause 23, “In that all items under Hire Purchase shall be the responsibility of the purchaser”. All told, the reading took about 20 minutes, and put half the room to sleep as he droned on, and on. Any questions he intoned? He obviously didn’t expect any, until I popped up and inquired, ‘What exactly are the Hire Purchase items you mentioned?’. At first he denied saying anything about H/P. Then switched to saying ’We always put that clause in’. I was not satisfied and wouldn’t let go. Why do you always put that clause in? A hasty huddle of lawyers was convened on the stage, after 10 minutes they declared they didn’t know what amount of money was involved, at this stage, either by accident or design I had effectively got rid of half of the potential bidders, and put the rest in some serious doubt, including myself. I did a quick mental calculation, and reckoned that $10,000 should be the max to be allowed for that item in my bid to cover the ‘contingent liability’ of the Hire Purchase. The Auction was all over in a couple of minutes, as there were no other bidders apart from me. And for the record, there was no Hire Purchase sum outstanding either.

 

My old friend Mannerswood from Yacht Club days turned up again. Would I go to the Auction sale of the Homestead of Coronet Station and bid an his behalf? He was prepared to buy the homestead if it went for at a price up to $169,000, top. Doug Stewart was the auctioneer, an additional clause was added to his usual preamble. He would only accept bids of $10,000. I saw immediately, once the auction got under way that I was on the wrong foot, and would have to stop the $10,000 bids when the bidding reached $160,000 as the next bid would jump over my limit. So I called out $161,000, this earned me a immediate public censure and reprimand. Did I not understand his terms? Was I stupid? We will start again. Any advance on $160k. I called out $161k again, and before the auctioneer could respond, someone else called out $162. I quickly responded with $163k, then auctioneer lost his cool and control. The Homestead was Mannerswood’s at $169k

 

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