Auctioneers sell goods and fixed property by auction to the highest bidders and receive a salary or commission for their work. The selling of goods by auction is a career that has been practised by both men and women for years. The auctioneer acts as go-between for the seller and the buyer. 

Almost anything can be sold by auction such as fixed property, cattle, furniture, antiques, books, documents, works of art and all forms of transport such as cars. The goods are usually from deceased estates, bankrupt properties or liquidated companies.

The auctioneer undertakes to sell an owner’s articles to the purchaser who makes the highest financial bid. The articles are numbered and put on display before the auction. Pamphlets with more information on the articles to be sold are sometimes available to all potential buyers.

Potential buyers register before the auction. The auctioneer introduces and describes all the items or goods, appraises the goods and assembles items either in lots or individually, depending on the value. Auctioneers attempt to obtain the highest price for the seller, while at the same time exercising care about the rights of the buyer. A sales clerk, who is responsible for entering all sales in a sales register and receiving all cash payments made during the auction, assists the auctioneer. After the auction the sales register is balanced and the return of the sales processed for payout to the seller. After commission and expenses, the seller receives his / her share.

There are various fields in which you could specialise, or combinations of them, and these include: property, machinery and plant, motor vehicles, antiques and works of art, silver, household and office furniture and equipment, bloodstock, stamps, gold and silver coins, etc.. If the property market is the field in which you are most interested, an examination for estate agents and valuers would need to be passed.

The hours are irregular and some sales are held outdoors while others take place indoors. During training and even afterwards, you might find yourself selling pigs or horses and having to stand for hours in a muddy environment or you could be selling antiques to wealthy clients in elegant surroundings.


  • auctioneers generally act as agents for private sellers

  • executors and trustees

  • attorneys

  • banks

  • realtors

  • charitable organisations

  • auction houses

  • livestock markets

  • self-employment, in own auctioneering business

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