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National Auctioneers Week – May 1-6, 2023

National Auctioneers Week occurs annually during the week before the first Saturday in May — it takes place from May 1 to 6 this year. This week-long celebration is held to promote auctioneering, an ancient method of buying and selling goods. The main purpose of auctions is to expedite the process of selling items and to cut down on negotiations. It allows participants a fair shot at competing for the desired item with added excitement. The process of auctions makes items seem more desirable, and a good auctioneer helps the property owner receive the best possible price by encouraging buyers.

History of National Auctioneers Week

Auctioneering is an ancient method of trading goods and services and has been held all over the world. It started as a way of selling humans as a commodity. The first-known auctions were held around 500 B.C. in Babylon. The Babylonians held yearly auctions in which women were displayed from most to least beautiful, who were then sold to the highest bidder. It was illegal for women to marry in any other way. The Romans carried on this tradition, selling slaves and property to pay off debts.

Auctions came to America in the 1600s century on the Mayflower with Pilgrims who used this method to sell crops, livestock, farmers, and slaves. This was a popular method of selling goods as it was the quickest way for owners to trade their property for cash. It was also common during the Civil War for colonels to sell spoils of war. This is the reason auctioneers are referred to as ‘Colonel.’ World War II helped popularize auctions even further with the need of selling off property quickly and privately and auctioneers were being viewed more as businessmen.

Auctioneering is drastically different now than it first started. It’s a very popular and competitive field. The rise of the internet gave way to a quicker and more casual way of holding auctions. The first online auction started with, founded in 1995. There are now hundreds of websites selling various items from unique collectibles and antiques, to homemade or used items. Auctions became much simpler with websites like eBay, Facebook, and Amazon that sell everyday items. Amazon sells off used products for a much cheaper price, making it profitable for the buyer.

National Auctioneers Week timeline

500 B.C.
The Babylonian Marriage Market

Babylonians hold annual auctions as a way of marrying off brides.

The National Auctioneers Association

The National Auctioneers Association is founded to represent auctioneers and auction businesses.

The First Female Auctioneer

Emma Bailey becomes the first female auctioneer.

On Sale

The website OnSale is founded in May, providing a newer and simpler method of holding auctions.

National Auctioneers Week FAQs

Why do auctioneers talk like that?

Auctioneers tend to talk quickly and rhythmically. This gives the participants a sense of urgency so they don’t lose out.

What is the road of auctioneers?

Auctioneers are there to organize and control the negotiation process. They ensure that the property on sale is sold legally and make a good profit for the seller.

How many auctioneers are there in the US?

There are about 25,000 to 30,000 auctioneers in the U.S.

National Auctioneers Week Activities

  1. Make a bid

    You can participate in an auction without spending thousands of dollars. There are online auctions where you can buy used items, anything from laptops to furniture. You can even buy abandoned storage units and search through them. They’re sold for cheap, and you can end up finding some hidden gems and making a profit!

  2. Advertise

    Help popularize this fun and profitable method of selling goods by telling others and sharing your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #AuctionsWork.

  3. Host an auction

    Whether you have unique items or things you just don’t need anymore, you can sell them online to your local community. Make a profit on old video games, books, furniture, and other items you don’t need anymore.

5 Strange Facts About Auctions

  1. Rome was put on auction

    After the murder of Emperor Pertinax by his own guard division, the title of emperor (and essentially, the whole empire) was sold off to Didius Julianus, who only ruled for 67 days before being murdered himself.

  2. Someone tried to sell New Zealand

    In 2006, Australian comedian Isaac Butterfield put up New Zealand on eBay for 0.01 Australian dollars and reached $3,000 before it was shut down by eBay.

  3. The gavel was once a spear

    The gavel auctioneers used to announce a winner was once a spear thrown to announce the start of an auction, which is much less safe but also much more exciting!

  4. They were timed by candles

    Instead of awarding the highest bidder, auctioneers in the 1700s lit a candle in a dark room, and participants continued bidding until the candle melted with the last bidder winning.

  5. People buy strange things

    A 10-year-old girl sold a grilled cheese sandwich with the face of the Virgin Mary for $28,000, and someone sold the meaning of life for $3.26.

Why We Love National Auctioneers Week

  1. They’re profitable

    If you often browse online auctions, you’ll find some great bargains and can save up on books, video games, and household items. You can even end up finding some special edition or unique items for a great price, which you can sell or keep for yourself.

  2. They’re charitable

    Many auctions are held as charity events. Those participating donate their money to a good cause while having some friendly competition.

  3. They’re enjoyable

    Attending auctions can be a lot of fun. There’s a rush in knowing you’ve beat an opponent whilst also making a good purchase.

National Auctioneers Week dates

2022May 2Monday
2023May 1Monday
2024April 29Monday
2025April 28Monday
2026April 27Monday
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