Saturday, October 07, 2006


The Livestock Auctioneers
By Robert A. Doyle, CAI, ISA, CES, CAGA

50th President of the National Auctioneers Association
Principal Auctioneer/Appraiser Absolute Auction & Realty, Inc.


Robert A. Doyle

CAI, ISA, CES, CAGA

Featured this month are postcards from livestock auctions of the early 1900s. The cards show the scenes, the language and the advertising concepts that surrounded this type of auction in that period of history.

Some cards were double sided, some were single sided. Some advertised not only livestock, but related equipment such as carriages and wagons. Some livestock auctions of that period drew very large crowds, as depicted in the photographs of that time.

A large double-sided postcard distributed by Joseph B. Maher & Son from Alma, Michigan advertising a Horse Auction. The auction was “Next Thursday” which tells us the lead-time on their mailing. The auction took place at 1PM at the Marion Livestock Auction Co. Yards.

Buyers were encouraged to bring all their livestock. The auctioneer offered “Nothing but a square deal to all.” In addition to being auctioneers they were also “Livestock Dealers and Breeders of Pure Bred Jersey Cattle, White Wyandotte Chickens, Poland China Hogs, Mules & Horses.” The postcard was mailed to “Rural Route Box Holders.”

A 1913 photo postcard of a large crowd surrounding a couple of head of cattle is embossed “Going! Going! At a handsome price “Storm” the Auctioneer Sherburn, Minn.”

1912 color postcard is a very detailed scene of auction day at the “Kolb-Gotfredson Horse Co. from Detroit, Michigan. This appears to be a very well established facility with “Auction Sales Thursdays & Saturdays.” They also sold “Carriages, Buggies and Wagons.”

Note the impressive lineup of horses and the large crowd. There is a red flag waving on the top of the building that has the company name on it. The writing on the postcard was meant for a person in St. Joseph, Mo.

This 1905 black and white photo postcard depicts a large crowd surrounding a pair of horses. The photograph was taken and published by “E.W. Humphreys, Woodstown, NJ.” The card is titled “A Country Vendue.”
1906 cancelled envelope with two-cent stamp sent from “D.P. McCracken National Live Stock Auctioneer 607 E. Pells, Paxton, Ill.” The black and white photo shows an arm with gavel over the body of a standing hog. The title is “Under the Hammer.” This 1913 embossed aluminum advertising calendar is “Compliments of C.E. Luther & Sons Auctioneers.”
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The names of three auctioneers, all Luthers, is provided below their portraits. “Twenty years experience in thoroughbred stock and farm sales. Secure our service and get the highest price for your goods. We have made over 1500 sales. For reference, come and hear us. Secure your dates early, by phone or wire at our expense. Grand Junction, Iowa.” Note: Aluminum was a very expense metal when it was first produced.
C-1900 North Dakota photo postcard of a large white workhorse at an on-site auction surrounded by a large crowd.
C-1900 Auctioneer’s business card. “Col. W. Breazier livestock Auctioneer.” A neat paragraph states “Come all you good farmers and pray lend an ear, I can tell you that Col. W. Breazier is an auctioneer, he’s up-to-date, wide awake and chuck full of vim. When you want an auctioneer call on him. Phone, write or call at his expense." Lincoln, Kansas.
(The advertising “cut” of a monkey was actually sold by the publishers of the International Auctioneers Magazine in 1900 from Chicago.) The information in the monkey states, “ Don’t Monkey with other Auctioneers but see me. I conduct Real Estate, Pedigree Stock, Merchandise Sales and make a specialty of Farm Sales.” The backside of the card has information on, “The Age of a Horse.” “To tell the age of any horse inspect the lower jaw. Of course the six front teeth the tale will tell and any doubt and fear dispel. Two middle nippers you behold before the colt is two months old; before eight weeks two more will come; eight months the corners on the gum. The outside grooves will disappear from the middle two in just one year. In two years from the second pair; in three years the “corners” too are bare. At two the middle nippers drop; at three the second pair can’t stop. When four years old the third pair goes; at five a full new set he shows. The deep black spots will pass from view, at six years from the middle two; the second pair at seven years; at eight, the spot each corner clears from the middle nippers upper jaw. At nine the black spots will withdraw; the second pair at ten are bright; eleven finds the corners light. As time goes on the horseman knows the oval of the teeth three sided grow; they longer get – project – before twenty when we know no more.”

2006-05-11

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