10 Things You Didn't Know About Auctions

Updated: Mar 27

Auctions are often called the second oldest profession….and in fact go back almost as long as recorded history. Greek records dating back to 500 BC document women who were auctioned off as wives. So much more to know there ? It had me thinking, you might all want to know.




Ten Interesting facts about Auctions, because we humans, love lists ! Here goes -


#1 The word “auction” derives from the Latin word “auctus,” which means “increasing.”


#2 Rome was the first nation to license auctioneers.


#3 The Holy Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius sold family estates and war plunder at auction.


#4 The “Magister Auctionarium” or Auctioneer drove a spear into the ground to start the auction. Today, many auctioneers use gavels (the little hammer things) but I think we should bring the spear back….


#5 Founded in 1674 Stockholms Auktionsverk is the oldest auction house still in business to this day. (I believe Sotheby’s is second.)


#6 is super cool….Candles were used in the 1700s at auctions to declare the winner.


What ???? Yes…During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was customary in some parts of England to have auctions by candlelight. When the candle went out, the auction was over……..This technique was used to prevent people from knowing exactly when the auction would end and making a bid at the last second (or sniping) The practice gained popularity….I am sure this increased bids with the “unknowing” giving a sense of urgency. A big plus for auction excitement.


#7 America’s first president, George Washington, was an avid auction buyer. Auctions tend to be a sub culture and are all around you but you may not even know they are going on if you aren’t into them. (But George was...the father of our country and the Father of Cool.)


#8 The first American auction school was established in Davenport, Iowa in 1906 and was know as the Jones’ National School of Auctioneering and Oratory….who knew Davenport was on the cutting edge.


#9 eBay was founded in 1995, introduced the gen xrs to auction and had revenues of over 10 billion last year.


And finally #10 For something strange. The cataloged auctions really began in 1790s in Taverns and Coffee Houses….Held daily thru out Europe. We should bring this back. Bidding stuff you don’t need while drinking at a bar sounds like a great idea…for the seller.


Anyway….I hope you enjoyed this little history lesson and I think I need to bring you a few more lists ! We love lists….maybe the 10 thing people love about lists.


I am josh for Josh Levine speaks. If you survived to the end of this and enjoyed, please share with a friend, subscribe to my YouTube channel and better yet….go to amazon and buy my newest best seller…W D Y W MY STUFF by Josh Levine, available in paperback or kindle baby.




#auctions #joshlevine #joshlevinespeaks #top10 #lwata #antiques #appraiser #auctionconsultant


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