My Bid? You Being Serious?

It’s a very big room and not always easy to keep track of what the auctioneer is doing

John Freeman

John Freeman

South Africa’s leading stallion manager John Freeman is a man who has attended thoroughbred sales around the world for decades and knows his oats. His observations in the latest freemanstallions enews about the risks involved with bidding provide some fascinating insight into the frustrations of doing business in a pressure-cooker environment.

John Freeman writes:

In the end we only got two at the Cape Premier Yearling Sale: a Dynasty colt and a Philanthropist colt.

No question we’d have a few more if not for some poor spotting on the part of the chap that had to keep an eye on our table – he cost me a very smart Philanthropist filly that was sold for far less than I was prepared to pay – I saw him throw his hand in the air and call my bid but even though the auctioneer seemed to acknowledge the bid by moving the price up another R25 000 my spotter never bothered to see if the auctioneer had taken his bid.

It’s a very big room and not always easy to keep track of what the auctioneer is doing. If you bid at the same time as others, it seemed that as long as you don’t care what your next bid will be, like in a lottery, you put your hand up and by the time the bid reaches the auctioneer you may be third in line as you wait to hear what amount he has allocated to you.

Andy Warhol's Mao To Be Auctioned At ChristiesI once stuck my hand up at R500 000 only to find my bid-spotter telling me “its your bid at R800 000”! Oops, how did that happen? Fortunately I was outbid.

On three other occasions I waited for the bidding to settle, bid to my man who shouted out the bid without looking to see if the auctioneer had seen it – we had no idea if we were successful and then found to our dismay that we weren’t. I prefer direct contact with the auctioneer but the only way you can get that in this hall is to stand in front of the large crowd seated at tables and look like a clown.

The sale was a wonderful marketing opportunity for the stallions we manage. Thousands of calendars, notepads, license disk holders, our stallion manuals, pens, caps, catalogue flags and stallion posters were snapped up.

We had very good feedback about our stallion marketing and feel sure that it all translated into sales ring success for “our boys”. Our congrats and thanks to all of the farms that sold the progeny of these stallions.

Hope they are champions!

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