Report from a Country Auction

Writer Joel Bourne visits the Volunteer Fire Department Auction in Trenton, North Carolina, to get the insider scoop on getting a great deal at a country auction.



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The chances of getting taken at an auction are about 50-50. But there are secrets that will improve those odds.
PHOTO: JOEL BOURNE
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Unlike absolute auctions where everything goes at the top bid, the owners at the Trenton sale have the right to reject any and all offers. 
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About 4,000 people came to the sale—one person reckoned about half came just for the barbecue.
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The auctioneer and the trader agree on one thing: Let somebody else make the opening bid. 
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The 907 items at the Trenton auction ranged from a child's rocking horse to a 150-horsepower, four-wheel-drive John Deere tractor.  
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When it comes down to the bidding, everybody has their own technique and style. 
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It is interesting to note the difference between the advice of an auctioneer and that of a trader: whether to stand where you can be seen clearly; whether to put up your hands clearly or make a more subtle gesture.
JOEL BOURNE

















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