A Brief History Of Auctions

In the past couple of years, there has been a significant increase in the number of dealers and buyers doing business through auctions. Whether it’s a small farm owner or a construction company, auction seem to be one of the most favored option in acquiring industrial equipment. The same for dealers, what was once perceived as a last resort to move hard-to-sell items became an effective marketing tool for most industrial dealers.

Early records of auctioneering process

How did auctions as a means of doing business came to be? It may come as a surprise for most people that auctions can be traced back to as far as 500 B.C. It was a Greek historian, Herodotus, who made the first reference to the process of auction. As a matter of fact, the word “auction” was derived from the Latin word “augeo”, which basically translates to “I increase”.

Auctions in early Europe and North America

Fast forward to around 17th century in Europe where auctions mainly revolve around art pieces and paintings. This was also when the first auction house, Stocklholms Auktionsverk, was built. Then the culture of auctioneering was exported from Europe to North America, where items such as livestock, tobacco and animal furs were auctioned to American traders.

The fall and eventual resurrection of auctions

When the Great depression hit, there was a sudden decline in the auction markets, but they didn’t disappear completely. Auctions bounced back around the 1950s, after the World War II. This also marked the start of modern-day auction industry.

Modern-day auctioneering

Traditional auctioneering ‘colonels’ were replaced by businessmen with suits and ties. The market audience also expanded beyond the general public and included various institutions such as banks, government agencies, and other professionals. The range of services and products being auctioned also grew, from metalworking auctions to industrial equipment and heavy machinery.

Nowadays, with current advances in technology, auctions have made their way into the vast network of the world wide web. Online auction sites has made the auction business more accessible to both the consumer and the dealers.