Auctions come in all shapes and sizes…and sometimes evolve under the most unusual circumstances…

In the late 1960s my father, Ian Bruce, was appointed by a Trustee in Bankruptcy to sell a block of land at Goolwa in South Australia.

The land was duly advertised and, on the day of sale, I drove down with him to Goolwa to ‘help’. I was 11.

The weather was shocking…rainy and windy… and the only prospective purchaser was a man accompanied by his wife who, because of the sleeting rain, stayed in their car right up until the appointed hour of the auction.

My father approached the vehicle and asked if they were interested in the property. They said they were. And so, on a bleak winter’s day, he read through the conditions of sale and then called for bids.

None were forthcoming.

Surprised, my father advised the man that unless he bid, the property could not be sold.

The man replied: “Well I’m not going to start the bidding!” So my father turned to the man’s wife and said, “for this to work, we’ll need at least two bidders… are you prepared to open the bid madam?” She replied she was…. and then promptly bid a sum of money well below the reserve price.

A flurry of activity followed.

The husband bid, followed by the wife, then the husband…and so it went on, until the reserve price was met.

And then a funny thing happened.

The wife raised her hand again, bidding above the reserve price.

Not wishing to be outbid, the husband, indignant, bid again!

And so it was that the land in Goolwa sold above the reserve price… with only one buyer.

I often wonder what conversation, if any, occurred on the drive home.

For all your auction needs, please contact Theodore Bruce Auctions Pty Ltd on (08) 8340 7551 for Adelaide or (02) 8212 4100 for Sydney.

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