I went to a local auction today, there were some good deals but also a lot of aggravation. Who the hell goes to an auction to pay $220 plus a 15% buyers premium(and 8.75% NYS Tax) for an old MSC Chiawanese 4 x 6 horizontal bandsaw? $120 for a Craftsman POS table saw, quite old and rusty, $220 for an ancient Lincoln tombstone stick welder, $50 for a $39.99 hand truck, etc., etc..
The auctioneer was entertaining but extremely obnoxious and unpredictable- arbitrarily ending the bidding and awarding the item to a bidder before anyone had a chance to bid higher in a few cases, or seeming a little too eager to pass on some items if he didn't get a high opening bid. It was supposed to be an absolute auction but it did not appear that they were actually entertaining very low bids- this was part of the auctioneer's manipulation of the process- he didn't want to be bothered selling stuff for $5, so if you want it, jump on it with a better offer or he's not selling it. This guy was also going with pretty high increments and usually sticking to them. If the item was at $1500 and he was looking for $1750, he wouldn't take $1600- he'd sell it for $1500 unless you went to $1750.
This auctioneer made some serious money- one 400 ton crane, the biggest item on the auction, went for $75,000, and he was charging 10% buyers premium on that and the big trucks, 15% on everything else. For that money they couldn't even put an auction catalog together.
There was an old Cincinnati shaper there that someone had recently spray painted green, including the feed screws, the ways, everything was encased in thick green paint. It went for $100. A HUGE Cincinnati milling machine sitting outside attracted no interest- this thing must have weighed 6 tons easily.