Google Ads
martes, septiembre 26, 2023
HomeHybrid CarsA Young Auto Auctioneer Tells How He Learned the Craft

A Young Auto Auctioneer Tells How He Learned the Craft


From the July/August 2023 issue of Car and Driver.

Google Ads

At age 14, Thatcher Keast opened an automotive-detailing business in central Kansas. His top client was a local collector who’d bought and sold cars through RM Auctions. Keast accompanied the collector to sales and found himself mesmerized by the auctioneer.

After college, Keast joined RM as a car specialist. Through eight years with the company, he took on many auction-related roles, but the lure of the stage persisted. In 2022, Keast pursued his dream by enrolling in a special certification course at the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Des Moines, Iowa.

Learning from Zero

«The first thing they teach you is tongue twisters,» he says. Once students have mastered their repetitions of «Susie Sells Sea-shells,» they learn to count. «I know that sounds crazy, because we all know how to count,» Keast says. «But you have to learn to count in a rhythm and in increments.»

Keast and his classmates also learned auction law, as well as various styles of chanting. «We had people that were going into the antique business. We had people that were there to be cattle auctioneers, real-estate auctioneers,» he says. «And there are different laws and styles of chanting for whatever category you’re going into.»

One of the most important things he learned was patience. «When you see an auctioneer, you think, ‘That guy is going so fast, his brain must be moving 100 miles an hour.’ » In reality, Keast says, the biggest challenge for a new auctioneer is bringing the pace down, not ramping it up.

upfront automotive auctioneer

Illustration by Darcy Muenchrath

After months of practice, Keast finally took the stage at a large sale of cars and memorabilia. «I was going way too fast,» he says. «But eventually, I gathered myself, and I was like, okay, I know what I’m doing, and I can do this. I’ve been trained to do this.» He ended up selling a 1968 MGC for $35,750, a decent return. The priciest car he’s auctioned off since was a $156,800 1958 Corvette fuelie.

The Practice Never Ends

Keast is committed to his path, imagining himself on stage even while at home. «When I’m cooking dinner, I’m selling things to, you know, my sink. Or I’m selling things to my girlfriend on the couch,» he says. «It’s constant practice. If you stop doing your craft, you’re going to lose it.»

He has high hopes for his future. «It’s been my dream since I was 14 to sell the highlight car at Monterey Car Week,» Keast says. «That’s probably a good 10 years away, but I want to be the guy who sells the first $100 million car there.»


How to Talk the Talk

CHANT

The classic auctioneer’s quick, rhythmic, and hypnotic repetition of numbers and words.

FILLER WORDS

Short phrases repeated to keep rhythm and fill time.

HAVE

Current bid.

Google Ads

WANT

Bid the auctioneer seeks over the have.

NEXT

Bid that supersedes the want (and thus becomes the upcoming want).

FAIR WARNING

An alert the auctioneer may give before bidding closes.

HAMMER PRICE

The winning bid.

UNDERBIDDER

Bidder with the second-highest bid.

BUYER’S PREMIUM

Fee a buyer pays to the auction house, typically a percentage of the hammer price.

PRICE REALIZED

Hammer price plus buyer’s premium.

CONSIGNOR

Individual or entity that owns the item going up for auction.

COMMISSION

Fee a consignor pays to the auction house for its services.

RESERVE

Minimum bid needed for an item to sell at auction.

PASS

An item that’s failed to meet its reserve.

BOUGHT-IN

An auction item that fails to sell. Greg Fink

Headshot of Brett Berk

Contributing Editor

Brett Berk (he/him) is a former preschool teacher and early childhood center director who spent a decade as a youth and family researcher and now covers the topics of kids and the auto industry for publications including CNN, the New York Times, Popular Mechanics and more. He has published a parenting book, The Gay Uncle’s Guide to Parenting, and since 2008 has driven and reviewed thousands of cars for Car and Driver and Road & Track, where he is contributing editor. He has also written for Architectural Digest, Billboard, ELLE Decor, Esquire, GQ, Travel + Leisure and Vanity Fair.   

Google Ads
RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments