The best things can’t be found online – Ohio Ag Net

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By Matt Reese

Those who work in the auction trailer for Auctioneers Harley and Hal Jackson get used to the question during sales.

Auctioneer Harley Jackson sells toy tractors.

“Is that the auctioneer over there who parks the cars?”

The answer: “Yes, he likes to introduce himself and shake your hand when you walk up to the sale. He likes to do that.

In today’s virtual age, society has realized many benefits from doing business online, even though many aspects of life – and some would say some of the best parts – can be lost online.

“I’m an old-fashioned auctioneer. I’ve been in the business for 32 years, so in-person live auctions are a bit special to me, because that’s what I grew up with. I like to shake hands with people who come to sales. I like being able to thank them. It’s just about being kind. That’s how I built my reputation,” Harley Jackson said. “We are still a traditional in-person auction company. We offer online auctions and online sales. Usually we sit down with the family or the people we’re hosting the auction for, and I give them my best recommendation. We are well surrounded. We’ll do some farm machinery and then we’ll follow up and maybe do a farm toy auction. And then we can follow up and have a collectibles sale or we’ll sell guns and stuff like that.

In cases where there is only a small quantity to sell, selling online may be the best option. In other cases, a combination of in-person and online may be preferable.

“I think online sales have their place. I think there are certain things you need to have online sales or online auctions. I think it opens her up to the world,” Jackson said. “But some of these in-person auctions offer the opportunity to build a relationship with buyers. There are pros and cons. I think the pro of in-person auctions is having the ability to connect with people, shake their hand, look them in the eye, and say, “Hey, I’m Harley.” How are you today?’ and ‘Thank you for coming.’

Rising fuel costs are a growing concern to get people to go to auctions in person.

“We are concerned about fuel costs. So far, however, we haven’t seen that deter anyone from coming. We always have in-person auctions and we always draw big crowds there,” Jackson said. “We look at the fuel costs with every sale and think, ‘It has to affect something.’ But he hasn’t shown up yet.”

For the unique realm of farm toys and collectibles, in-person auctions hold special value.

“We’ve already had several of these sales here in 2022 that were strictly for farm toys and collectibles and they’ve really held their value. And I think part of that is because we did those live sales in person with online auctions. We’ve sent stuff across the US, but we’ve also had big in-person crowds. I think it’s just that they want out. It doesn’t seem that one farm toy brand outsells another. There’s a collector for every brand, whether it’s John Deere or IH or Minneapolis Moline and we haven’t seen a downturn yet,” Jackson said. “We have a guy from Lake Erie who will be coming to our farm toy auctions. And we’ll also have a guy from Cincinnati. They never knew each other until they came to buy farm toys. They will introduce themselves and sit next to each other. They visit all day and buy toys from the farm and talk about “oh, you bought that” or “I bought that”. I think that helped maintain the value of the farm toys. And we’re also seeing a trend of attracting younger audiences. We’re starting to see younger generations – grandkids come with their grandpa, and some boys and girls come with their parents – which makes me really excited for this part of the business.

For land and equipment, there has been a more commercial evolution.

“The on-farm auction is a little different. If you had asked me 20 years ago, I would have said yes, there are guys who show up just to eat a cheeseburger at the food stand. Now they’re going to visit the neighbors, but it doesn’t seem like they’re here for that. I’m not saying neighbors don’t sit next to neighbors, but they’re there to do business,” he said. “That farmland has gotten so expensive, as any other auctioneer will tell you, and today it’s a real bargain.”

Whether for business or pleasure, Jackson believes that in-person auctions always have something special to offer that cannot be found online.

“I think we always create excitement with in-person auctions. As an auctioneer, I have followed many online sales. And you know, I don’t have the same butterflies in my stomach with an online auction as I do with an in-person auction on a Saturday morning,” he said. “You create excitement, and it seems like people always appreciate that.”

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