Auctioneers – How and Why Do They Talk So Dang Fast?

Auctioneers   How and Why Do They Talk So Dang Fast?

Auctioneer, Al Baker commanding the room at a recent live auction constructed by Krrb and benefitting Film Biz Recycling. Photo: Sean McCormack

If you’ve ever been to a real live auction in the States, then you’ve probably been treated to the fast-talking ways of an auctioneer. And you’ve probably heard the recognizable (or unrecognizable) call which ends with a pound and a Sold! These skills are, for the most part, not natural. Auctioneers go through some serious schooling and intense licensing exams to learn the trade. But once cast from the cozy confines of auctioneering school into the wild world of auctions, how, oh how, do they keep up their deft ways?

(Slowly) talking recently with our very own auctioneer, Al Baker of Country Style Auctions, we learned there are all sorts of methods that auctioneers learn to maintain loose lips and dexterous tongues. And in order to create excitement and a sense of urgency among bidders, not to mention physically getting through hundreds or thousands of “lots,” an auctioneer MUST have stamina and straight-up talent. It’s all about rhythm, speed, and remembering who bid on what and in what order. And once they’ve got that down, a good auctioneer only becomes a great auctioneer upon mastering the ability to seamlessly interrupt their flow and casually insert slower paced jokes to keep the audience engaged.

No wonder Al is proud of graduating from the Missouri Auction School, the “Harvard of auction schools,” formed in 1905 and taught by the top auctioneers from around the country. And how fast is fast? Try 150 lots per hour. THAT fast.

Auctioneers   How and Why Do They Talk So Dang Fast?

Al Baker and his clerk indicating which bidder was leading. Photo: Geralyn Shukwit

But you don’t have to go to auction school and get licensed if you just want to give your tongue a work out and get better at the faster banter. Al generously shared some of his time tested tongue twisters that he practices while on jogs.

Go ahead, try em yourself!

Tongue Twisters Galore


Rubber baby buggy bumper
Rubber baby buggy bumper
Rubber baby buggy bumper
Etc., etc.

~

Tommy Atatamus took two
T’s and tied them to the top
of two tall trees.
Tommy Atatamus took two
T’s and tied them to the top
of two tall trees. Etc., etc.

~

Round the rough and rugged rock
the ragged rascal ran
Round the rough and rugged rock
the ragged rascal ran. Etc., etc.

~

Betty Botter bought some butter,
But, she said, this butter’s bitter.
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter.
So she bought a bit of better butter,
Put it in her bitter batter,
Made her bitter batter better,
So ‘tis better Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better butter.

~

Fun, or what?

Looking For An Auction?

Are you in the New York area and looking for an auction? Baker’s Country Style Auctions conducts a live weekly antiques, collectible and estate auction every Friday night at 6pm at their location in Bohemia, NY.

Reach them at 631-648-9371 or via email at countrystyleauctions [at] gmail [dot] com for details.

Super fun!

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