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State auctioneers tell tales, brush up on technology in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma State Auctioneers Association is holding a summertime technology conference at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Bricktown. Robert Mayo of Kansas City, Mo., certified as an auction technology specialist by the National Auctioneers Association, is leading the seminar.
by Richard Mize Published: August 4, 2012

Good auctioneers win more often than not, but all auctioneers win some and lose some.

Winning is signified by the paycheck or wire transfer in the case of real estate — when a transaction actually closes, not the last bang of a gavel.

Gregg Pickens, of Pickens Auctions in Stillwater, won one June 30 — or, rather, he's pretty sure he did. He'll know when the deal is finalized, any day now.

He said it was a record for him: $2,410 an acre for a 160-acre parcel sold with a 240-acre tract, ranch and recreation land on the Lincoln-Logan county line.

“We were hoping for $1,600. You could say the seller was very pleased,” Pickens said Friday, as he was playing host for members of the Oklahoma State Auctioneers Association at a technology conference at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Bricktown. Pickens is president of the association, which meets through Sunday.

Here's one he lost: A Kansan highly leveraged in the stock market was the highest bidder at a September 2008 auction of a highly specialized ranch — a club calf operation producing calves raised by 4-H'ers and FFA members in junior stock shows. His timing was awful. The stock market crashed the next month.

“He basically could not close it. He lost it,” Pickens said. “It was just one of those deals, doggone it — just caught in that cycle.”

Some wins have to do with more than money. They make for good stories.

A couple of years ago, Pickens auctioned a 1920 steam-driven tractor — built in Pennsylvania, salvaged in Texas, wound up near Durant. It came down to two determined bidders, a collector from Ohio who'd driven all night to be at the auction and one in The Netherlands who bid online.

“We anticipated the tractor to bring $8,000 to $10,000,” he said. “It eventually sold to the online bidder for over $16,000. It gets better. Then we arranged cartage to the port in New Orleans and then on a freight ship to The Netherlands at a shipping cost of over $25,000. If that tractor could talk ...”

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by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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