Phantom bidders

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kenny thomas

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Simme's comments in the bull sale thread about Phantom Bidders got me to thinking about things that go on at a sale. Registered sales, bull sales, special cow sales, regular stockyard sales. Even goat and sheep sales and horse sales. Oh, farm machinery sales too.
As i have stated before i normally attend 50+ sales a year and see a lot of things. Phantom bidders are only one of them.
What are some other things you see?
Its surprising to watch some people that dont have a clue what's going on.
 
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A well run sale should run at the verge of out of control.
There are three rules at an auction…. Get the money, Get the money, Get the money.

I go knowing what my budget is and stop there, I don't care how many sparrows are in the rafters.
 
A well run sale should run at the verge of out of control.
There are three rules at an auction…. Get the money, Get the money, Get the money.

I go knowing what my budget is and stop there, I don't care how many sparrows are in the rafters.
Thats a new one i will have to tell the auctioneer next time he gets hung with a bid and ask if i was bidding.
 
I had an auctioneer put a cow on me that I never bid on. I was buying similar cows and was thinking about bidding but hadn't done it. I was thinking about bidding enough that I just let it slide and took her. That and it was about midnight. I didn't want to do anything to do anything which might delay the finish.
I had them put an extra $100 on a cow I bought. I bought a number of cows that day so I had wrote the check out for the total number and didn't notice that one over my limit cow until later. B had them charge him an extra $1,000 at a registered bull sale. He caught it and questioned it but got nowhere. He never bought any more bulls at their sale after that.
 
The large groups of bred cows with no seller info, but got their shots and a new tag before the sale are 99.9%of the time trader cows.

At the barn I worked at the rafter bought under 12 different numbers plus all the X's.

I've seen back tags and chalk marks cleaned off of cows just to have ours put on and the cows called farm fresh/herd dispersal.

I've seen cows sold guaranteed bred black, only to have the Hereford bull that came in with them sell last.

I've seen traders sell pot loads of bred cows. Just to buy them back "for someone " then leave with the cows and the check but not pay for them.

Don't worry I'll think of some more. I'm jealous sitting in line to drop off a load of pound cows.
 
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I've seen "herd dispersals" sold and all bought back because it wasn't a dispersal but an appraisal to reassure their investors that the cattle were still a valuable investment.
 
I have seen many of the sale barn tricks over 60 years. Worked at a barn as yard manager for a while. Seen cows come in and the bulls with them were low quality. Many times they were an non preferred breed. They would sell the bulls with the killers. Then the cows were bred to a good Angus or Hereford. I usually put a max on my bidding. Something I didn't buy never cost me a dollar.
 
The registered game is a rare case where increasing price, increases demand. The mainstream cattle are basically the same know yet the "elite outfits" get twice as much as the ma and pa ranches.

I once bid on a heifer that wasn't getting any bids, once I bid a couple other people started bidding. It turns out that somebody bought a heifer at $1,800 that they wouldn't bid on at $1,200.

I tried to bid on a pair once and the auctioneer didn't see my bid because he was too busy looking at the dummy bidders. That pair didn't end up selling that day.

I have seen sale reports where the high selling animals supposedly sell to a prominent ranch but never show up at their new home. Accurate price discovery and reporting is something that anybody in the cattle business should hold sacred.
 
I once bid on a heifer that wasn't getting any bids, once I bid a couple other people started bidding. It turns out that somebody bought a heifer at $1,800 that they wouldn't bid on at $1,200.

That, happens a lot. And it isn't always a real 'somebody'. Most likely "sparrows'' (as yall call em) trying to get you (me) to up my bid... Sometimes, ☹️ it worked if I really wanted the cow. About 1/2 the time, I regretted it at pay up time...
 
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I had my auctioneers license for a while. I was taught that you "Plug, Drop, and Go' Plug the value you think it should bring, Drop to a price that you will get a starting bid, and Go; don't wait for a real bid just know when to dump the item.
Yeah...sometimes you work a lot more running the bid only to have to drop it and start all over....(n)
 
Yeah...sometimes you work a lot more running the bid only to have to drop it and start all over....(n)
I don't remember ever seeing it drop and start over. The good auctioneers stick with it and make it "sell"
If we're talking about cattle. I'm not saying the same cattle won't get sold again next week under a different name.

An Auctioneer that was around here twenty years ago would have a consignment sale once a year. Everyone said it was a front for all the equipment they got hung with over the year.
 
Our auctioneer is in his 70's and has been working the sale rings for over 52 years. I can catch him about every time but he is pretty slick. When he gets hung the buyer with the last bid usially gets the calf. But i have listened to him for 40 years at several different sales.
Oh he is a mule trader also. But never seen him auction horses or mules.
 
The local guy, when the bidding slows and he can't get a nickel, but doesn't want to go to a penny increment, will make one bid $.02 and the other $.03 because he can't the "half" out through the marbles in his mouth. No one ever says anything.

Maybe they adjust in the office and I'm the only one who doesn't know about it, but it's not adjusted on the screen above the ring
 
I don't remember ever seeing it drop and start over. The good auctioneers stick with it and make it "sell"
If we're talking about cattle. I'm not saying the same cattle won't get sold again next week under a different name.

An Auctioneer that was around here twenty years ago would have a consignment sale once a year. Everyone said it was a front for all the equipment they got hung with over the year
There are a few I've seen that will drop a bid but they usually either ask a bidder if they were in at certain price or ask a ring person if they took a bid at that price then they drop it. Have seen a few times they had too start over when a bidder caught on and just walked off.
 
The local guy, when the bidding slows and he can't get a nickel, but doesn't want to go to a penny increment, will make one bid $.02 and the other $.03 because he can't the "half" out through the marbles in his mouth. No one ever says anything.

Maybe they adjust in the office and I'm the only one who doesn't know about it, but it's not adjusted on the screen above the ring
I've been to a lot of sales where the half was implied. Everyone understood that 2,5,7 was really 2.5,5,7.5 when the gavel fell.
 
I've been to a lot of sales where the half was implied. Everyone understood that 2,5,7 was really 2.5,5,7.5 when the gavel fell.
That's good to hear and I hope it's the case. I like the place and the folks running it seem like good folks. It's a small sale, not many attendees and way fewer buyers. But it saves an hour or more haul time which at my very small scale is important. And it's nice to have nearby when you just want to go watch.
 
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