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  • Writer's pictureMike Brandly, Auctioneer

World record for a one-of-a-kind?

We in the auction business like to say “world record” maybe more than any other occupation. “This sold for a world record,” and “That set a new world record.” In fact, we wrote about world records a while back here:

Today, we explore another use of this term: A “world record for a one-of-a-kind.” In other words, there is only one of these, and we got the most money for it? Yes, that would be true, since there’s only one, unless possibly this same exact property sold for more prior.

The other use of “word record” we’re seeing more these days is “our event” set a “world record.” Events are more-or-less one of a kind so however many bidders you had, however much money you raised, however many items you sold, that’s indeed a world record.

The term “world record” gets attention, so I get it. People prefer to hire auctioneers who have a reputation for selling items for world records. However, I think we need to be careful in that if we overuse this term, it will get much more unwanted attention and scrutiny.

The other thing about world records is, how do we know for sure? Is anyone checking? Can we just take the word of the auctioneer? Is there somewhere in the auction terms and conditions that says “Statements made by the auctioneer are not guaranteed nor warranted accurate?”

We’re privy to an auctioneer who claims several world records, but many of those same items have sold for more subsequent. His world records have now changed to “world records on that day.” There would be a bunch of world records if they all depended upon the day (or hour, or minute?)

There have also been some other interesting claims beginning with “We believe …” “This has to be …” and “It appears …” which might border on opinion, or sales talk. We’ve also seen the same auctioneers repeatedly claiming world records with these same disclaimers of sorts.

Inflation also plays a part. It’s only natural for many items to go up in price as time passes — but rarely do we see world records indexed for inflation. I think possibly my grocery bill the other day was a world record, that is until I go again next week.

There is little question auctions produce many of the highest prices paid, so having a world record auction result is certainly believable. I just wonder since it’s creditable in most minds if some auctioneers are saying they set world records they maybe really didn’t?

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services, and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Western College of Auctioneering. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.

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