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Local auctioneer discusses his profession

Jake Old • Jun 6, 2017 at 4:33 PM

Ray Hubner, a local auctioneer and realtor, discussed his professional life as an auctioneer during a Lebanon Noon Rotary Club meeting Tuesday.

Hubner, who has worked as a licensed auctioneer for about four years, has sold a variety of items at auction, including cars with the Barrett-Jackson Auction Co.

In 2016, Hubner won the state Bid Calling Championship for the Tennessee Auctioneers Association. He was chosen as the winner based on his bid-calling ability and a personal interview. Judges included business professionals in the automobile, real estate and personal property auction industry.

Hubner was also previously named the Tennessee Rookie Bid Calling Champion.

His career as an auctioneer began with an interest in the profession, Hubner said.

“It was always fascinating to me how they could learn to talk and speak,” he said. “My wife tells me now I’m good at running my mouth even when I’m not at auction.”

Hubner said learning the technique of talking quickly to sell items at auction is not difficult.

“Each individual auctioneer develops their own chant over time,” Hubner said. “What we do is take basic words and just cut them down, shorten them up and speed them up. It’s pretty simple. Something I use is ‘bid-to-buy.’ Instead of saying ‘bid-to-buy,’ I start to cut it up, ‘bidahbuy.’”

Part of what he likes to do in his auctioneering is entertain people who are at the auction, Hubner said.

“You want to get people involved,” he said. “That’s something we’ve worked to do at the Phoenix Ball the past couple of years. When someone gets outbid, don’t just stare at them; entice them to bid more.”

Hubner took several questions from Rotary Club members, including the most expensive item he has sold and some of the more interesting items he has sold. He also pretended to sell a gavel during the meeting as an example of his bid calling.

Among the most expensive items Hubner has sold are cars and real estate. The most unique item he sold was an old train that belonged to the city of Chattanooga.

Hubner shared a story of a person who was bidding on a car at auction and, when the bid got to $230,000, he asked the man who was just outbid if he wanted to bid again. The man’s wife said no, but the man insisted he wanted to bid.

“He ended up winning it a couple of bids later at $240,000, and he was happy, and she was not,” he said. “He came up to me after the auction … he was tickled to death. He said ‘she was just mad because I bought a jet last week.’ You get to meet a lot of people, and you never know what you’re going to get.” 

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