Comment: “I purchased three copies of your $10 Guide to Selling at Live Auctions: Insider Tips to Get You the Most Money. I gave them as Christmas presents to three of my friends who love auctions. You would have thought I gave them a million bucks! They haven’t stopped talking about it yet. They absolutely loved it. One of my friends said that she has always wanted to consign to an auction but was really afraid to. Well, she’s not afraid anymore. Thanks for providing me with not only a perfect gift but an affordable one as well. Hope this is still available next Christmas. I’ll be back for more. Thanks again! Jenna from St. Pete, FL
Response: Hi Jenna! Wow…thanks for the great review. I’m so glad your friends really liked it. As you now know, I didn’t pull any punches when I wrote it. In my opinion, no one should consign to a live auction unless they read this first. I appreciate your taking the time to write to me. I’m afraid I’m not a very pushy marketer – it’s not my style. For the most part, I rely on The $10 Guide to sell itself. I hoped it would do well and I am very gratified that it has been so well received. Thanks again, Jenna, and happy New Year!
Question: “I was at an auction recently and the auctioneer seemed to be taking orders from someone else. Isn’t the auctioneer the person in charge at an auction?” Barbara C. from Tampa, FL.
Answer: Barbara, the answer to your question is sometimes the auctioneer is in charge and sometimes he isn’t. Technically an auctioneer is not in charge of an auction house unless he actually owns the house. There are those who do a great job as owners but do not possess the requisite patience or personality to be good auctioneers. They know they are better off just running their companies. Conversely, there are many auctioneers who love getting up in front of a crowd but they have no head for business. Freelance auctioneers just want to do that which they love the most, call a sale.
Question: I read your article on gold and silver coins and enjoyed it immensely. Can you tell me what Pieces of Eight means? It has something to do with coins but I’m not sure what. Thanks! Frank P. from Madison, CT.
Answer: Sure, Frank! Pieces of eight are coins that were produced in the Americas from the 15th through much of the 19th century. They are Spanish dollars. The distinction is these dollars can be cut into pieces – eight pieces to be exact. Each of these coins were worth eight reales. These pieces of eight is where the term “two bits” came from. Two bits is the same as a quarter or twenty-five cents.
Although Spanish in nature, these coins were treated as legitimate American currency up until 1857, which is when they were banned. They were also made out of silver. Next time I write about silver and gold coins, I will have to remember to include the once popular pieces of eight.
Over the course of several centuries, pieces of eight have become associated with pirate’s treasure. Recently in California, someone bought an unclaimed storage unit at auction for $600 and in the unit was a tub full of gold and silver coins valued at $500,000. I believe it contained some pieces of eight. That was quite a deal for the buyer!