What a neat video today. Auctioneers have always fascinated me–their cadence of speech, command of a crowd, how they inject otherwise mundane transactions with excitement and immediacy.
And Amish auctioneers doubly so. You’ll find no professional actors, musicians, or entertainers among Amish. But I’ve often thought that auctioneers are the closest to “show business” the Amish get.
Getting up on stage, mic-ed up, all eyes on you while rapid-fire dealing off items seems somehow highly “un-Amish”.
Back in 2009, the Auction Network interviewed Willis Yoder, a Michigan Amish auctioneer (as in other states, Amish auctions in Michigan feature a range of items including quilts, hunting gear, and woodworking; read more on Michigan Amish furniture). As you’ll see in the video, Willis is a mold-breaker in a number of ways.
The Amishman notes it hasn’t always been easy. Amish auctioneers were frowned upon, and later accepted but restricted (“I love good sound…take my speaker away, it’s like taking my shoes off on auction day”).
But Amish love auctions, and Amish auctioneers are fairly common now–Willis estimates around 100. Most mid-to-large communities will have at least one or two.
Very unusual interview, and one of my favorite in memory. There’s a lot more that could be said, but for now, enjoy: