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Auctioneering as a viable business


Photo; trumbull

Photo; trumbull

NO agreement time could be attributed to the history of auctioneering because it is one of the oldest business professions in the world. Auctioneering practice started in ancient Greece as far back as 500 BC when women were usually auctioned as wives for buyers. In Rome during the time of Jesus Christ, people auctioned family estates and booties of war. Roman soldiers auction plunders of war. The auctioneers were called ‘‘Magister Auctionarium” what they do in practice is to drive a spear to the ground to start auctioning and potential buyers comes in drove to outbid one another.

The word auction is delivered from the Latin word ‘augeo’ which means, ‘I increase’ or ‘I augment.’

In America, auctioneering started in the 16th century when properties such as farm crops; livestock’s, slaves and lands were sold in auctions. During that time in America, only officers of the Colonel rank could conduct auctions. This lead to the use of un-official title of colonel for auctioneers in America today. Other titles include ‘‘Knights of the Hammer” and ‘‘Brothers etc.

In Nigeria, auctioneering as a business started in the late 19th century. The operations of auctioneering during those period were characterized with gross illiteracy which have made many people in the society to look down on auctioneers. Today, banks make use of auctioneers’ services in selling mortgages to boast liquidity and avert financial distress. Companies using auctioneers disposing excess stocks, disused equipment and other assets. It has become the most transparent method of disposing government used and excess properties by helping to prevent and eliminate corrupt and sharp practices in most countries.

Auction continues to be the most fair, transparent and effective means of establishing fair market value. No more, No less in sales of assets.

Who is an Auctioneer?

Auctioneer is a professional that create a competitive market place and connect buyers with sellers wishing to sell their assets for highest price. Auctioneer can also be said to be a professional trained to conduct auctions by accepting bids and declaring goods sold. He conducts auctions on behalf of a vendor by taking bids to find the best price. He could be said to be a professional authorized under the relevant laws to sell goods through auctions.

Also, an auctioneer according to Black’s Law Dictionary, Seventh edition was defined as ‘‘a person legally authorized to sell goods or lands of other persons at public auction for a commission or free.” From the above context, an auctioneer is a professional whose business is selling of movable and immovable goods to the highest bidder through open competitive bids at a free or commission. Public Auction in this context means auctions:
That is open to the public
Auction sales that has been advertised in the public forum

Auction sales that involved competitive bidding whether private or public with reserve or without reserve price.

To carry out this function effectively, he should be a professional with body of knowledge and skills he can call its own. He should have at least basic skills in sales and marketing, laws, principles of accounting and use of technology. He must know the limit of his authority as both the agent of his principal and the successful bidder.

By the above definition, he is the only one authorized under the law to sell goods at auction in a place where members of the public have access to compete one another over sales price. Goods in this context mean ‘All chattels personal’ other than things in action and money. This include, vessels, collector items, vehicles, machines, and equipment, electronics, artworks, generator sets, clothes, shoes, antiquities, lands and buildings, furniture computers, library books, plated articles, pictures, prints, jewelries.
•Hassan is of the Certified Institute of Auctioneers of Nigeria.

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