NAA members share more than 20 resources for appraising auction items

Knowing the value of merchandise you’re auctioning gives you credibility as an Auctioneer and can play a key role in helping you streamline the auction process.

But determining the worth of certain items, especially those you don’t deal with on a regular basis, can be a challenge.

To give their counterparts a hand with what can be a lengthy research project, a couple of Auctioneers have decided to share the sources they’ve cultivated over the years to help them make a fast, accurate assessment of goods they’re selling.

Daniel P. West, of West Auctions Inc., Woodland, Calif., works with bankruptcy attorneys who represent debtors in commercial and industrial liquidations.

He made a list, available in Auctioneer magazine, of the common valuation resources he uses in order to help attorneys get an idea of the worth of various assets before they file bankruptcy petitions.

West, who conducts all of his auctions online, is fond of user-friendly sites like, but he says sometimes Google is the best source of all.

“If you can get your Googling skills up to par, that often will take you farther than any of the websites will,” he says.

Jonathan Bishop, of Auction Price Results Inc., Akron, Ohio, has developed a database that lists prices for which various types of equipment have sold.

The site — — focuses on five areas: Lab and quality control/medical; industrial machinery and equipment; agricultural and construction; commercial trucks and trailers; and food production and foodservice equipment, like mixers, ovens grinders and large kettles.

Auction professionals have to know where to start the bidding in order to keep the auction moving, Bishop says. Knowing the value of merchandise helps them do that and gives buyers and sellers confidence that the Auctioneer knows the product.

To use the site, type in an item’s description to get a dozen or so “comps” or listings of what’s included. You’ll then be told how much it will cost to get the selling price. The fee ranges from $1 to about $17, depending on value.

Telling buyers what similar items have sold for gives them more confidence and less trepidation when they place a bid, he says.

West started with the company’s own database and then began adding data from other auction houses in return for listing their upcoming auctions at no charge.

Get the full list of valuation resources from the April issue of Auctioneer magazine.


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Filed under Auction Industry, Auction marketing, Auctioneer magazine, NAA Members, Technology

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