A Young Auto Auctioneer Tells How He Learned the Craft


From the July/August 2023 subject of Automotive and Driver.

At age 14, Thatcher Keast opened an automotive-detailing enterprise in central Kansas. His prime shopper was an area collector who’d purchased and bought vehicles via RM Auctions. Keast accompanied the collector to gross sales and located himself mesmerized by the auctioneer.

After school, Keast joined RM as a automotive specialist. By eight years with the corporate, he took on many auction-related roles, however the lure of the stage persevered. In 2022, Keast pursued his dream by enrolling in a particular certification course on the World Vast School of Auctioneering in Des Moines, Iowa.

Studying from Zero

“The very first thing they train you is tongue twisters,” he says. As soon as college students have mastered their repetitions of “Susie Sells Sea-shells,” they study to rely. “I do know that sounds loopy, as a result of everyone knows the way to rely,” Keast says. “However you need to study to rely in a rhythm and in increments.”

Keast and his classmates additionally discovered public sale legislation, in addition to varied kinds of chanting. “We had those that have been going into the vintage enterprise. We had those that have been there to be cattle auctioneers, real-estate auctioneers,” he says. “And there are completely different legal guidelines and kinds of chanting for no matter class you are going into.”

One of the essential issues he discovered was endurance. “While you see an auctioneer, you assume, ‘That man goes so quick, his mind have to be shifting 100 miles an hour.’ ” In actuality, Keast says, the most important problem for a brand new auctioneer is bringing the tempo down, not ramping it up.

upfront automotive auctioneer

Illustration by Darcy Muenchrath

After months of apply, Keast lastly took the stage at a big sale of vehicles and memorabilia. “I used to be going manner too quick,” he says. “However finally, I gathered myself, and I used to be like, okay, I do know what I am doing, and I can do that. I have been educated to do that.” He ended up promoting a 1968 MGC for $35,750, an honest return. The priciest automotive he is auctioned off since was a $156,800 1958 Corvette fuelie.

The Follow By no means Ends

Keast is dedicated to his path, imagining himself on stage even whereas at house. “Once I’m cooking dinner, I am promoting issues to, you already know, my sink. Or I am promoting issues to my girlfriend on the sofa,” he says. “It is fixed apply. If you happen to cease doing all of your craft, you are going to lose it.”

He has excessive hopes for his future. “It has been my dream since I used to be 14 to promote the spotlight automotive at Monterey Automotive Week,” Keast says. “That is in all probability a very good 10 years away, however I wish to be the man who sells the primary $100 million automotive there.”

The right way to Discuss the Discuss


The traditional auctioneer’s fast, rhythmic, and hypnotic repetition of numbers and phrases.


Brief phrases repeated to maintain rhythm and fill time.


Present bid.


Bid the auctioneer seeks over the have.


Bid that supersedes the need (and thus turns into the upcoming need).


An alert the auctioneer might give earlier than bidding closes.


The successful bid.


Bidder with the second-highest bid.


Charge a purchaser pays to the public sale home, sometimes a proportion of the hammer worth.


Hammer worth plus purchaser’s premium.


Particular person or entity that owns the merchandise going up for public sale.


Charge a consignor pays to the public sale home for its companies.


Minimal bid wanted for an merchandise to promote at public sale.


An merchandise that is failed to satisfy its reserve.


An public sale merchandise that fails to promote. —Greg Fink

Headshot of Brett Berk

Contributing Editor

Brett Berk (he/him) is a former preschool trainer and early childhood middle director who spent a decade as a youth and household researcher and now covers the matters of youngsters and the auto business for publications together with CNN, the New York Occasions, Widespread Mechanics and extra. He has revealed a parenting guide, The Homosexual Uncle’s Information to Parenting, and since 2008 has pushed and reviewed 1000’s of vehicles for Automotive and Driver and Highway & Observe, the place he’s contributing editor. He has additionally written for Architectural Digest, Billboard, ELLE Decor, Esquire, GQ, Journey + Leisure and Vainness Honest.   


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