Racing pigeon auctions are held all over the world. Besides regular local auctions are the international ones, where fanciers bid via the Internet or the telephone. Many beginners and struggling fanciers remember a golden moment when valuable birds they bought at an auction placed them on the road to success.
Beginners need guidance at an auction and should ask the auctioneer and the seller for assistance.
Why auctions are held
There are many reasons why pigeon fanciers hold an auction. They may be relocating to another town and have mature birds that cannot easily be resettled. Fanciers who have to work all day cannot train pigeons for racing without help from family members or a loft manager. The birds of a champion fancier who retires are in high demand by both friends and enemies, and at auction everyone has an equal opportunity to buy. Sometimes champion fanciers just have too many good birds and the increasing numbers become difficult to handle. Often, a breeding station places selected birds on a promotional auction; if their offspring do well in races, the buyer will be back for more birds. Racing pigeons are sometimes donated by champion fanciers to be auctioned for club funds, and charity auctions of good pigeons are organised to contribute to a good cause. From time to time champion fanciers donate selected pigeons to auctions to help beginners and struggling fanciers obtain quality birds.
Organising an auction
There are several important points to weigh up before going to auction. Are the pigeons good enough? If there are only a few quality birds, it may be better to advertise them in a well-designed pamphlet and in the local pigeon magazines or publications such as Farmer’s Weekly. An auction of mainly older pigeons may be disappointing as these birds seldom realise good prices. Alternatively, a small number of selected birds can be sold during a casual auction at the local clubhouse – a much cheaper option. When only a few superior-quality birds are auctioned, a reserve price can be advertised. If this price is not met the pigeon is not sold. Anyone can then buy the birds direct from the seller on a first come, first served basis by paying the expected reserve price. I f a champion fancier owns between 60 and 120 birds of good quality that are highly rated, an auction is justified. highest prices are realised in areas with strong buying power, such as Johannesburg, Bloemfontein or Cape Town.
The auction date
Do not hold an auction when everybody is on holiday, or on a date that clashes with another club or champion fancier’s auction. Avoid the day of an important sports event of national interest. In January and February, pigeon fanciers are still recovering from their holiday expenditure, and in May and June it is time to pay club subscriptions and so on – these are both bad times for an auction. You should also not schedule an auction during the coldest days of winter or when the birds are in poor condition. The time of the auction at an auction there are two important times. The first is when the pigeons are viewed before the bidding so buyers can select the birds they want to bid on, and the second is the auction itself. Two to three hours’ viewing time is more than adequate for most auctions. If there are 60 birds or fewer, viewing time could be from about 9am and the auction held around lunchtime. This allows enough time to auction all the birds before nightfall. The more birds there are to be sold, the earlier the auction should start. Smaller auctions can also be held in the evening.
The cost of an auction
The auctioneer takes between 5% and 10% of the total proceeds. Otherwise the seller and the auctioneer can agree on a flat rate. If the auctioneer and any staff have travelling and accommodation expenses, these will be billed to the seller who will be advised beforehand. Hiring a suitable venue should not be exorbitant, although you may need to book a larger venue well in advance. An auction catalogue or sales list with full-colour pictures, glossy paper and magazine-type binding could cost up to R1 000. Black-and-white pictures are less costly, but remember you are selling your birds in a competitive market where, these days, the big spenders appreciate good presentation. However, the price of one good bird at an auction can cover all costs involved. – Thomas Smit Contact Thomas Smit on (011) 680 4778 or e-mail [email protected]. |fw