Were Minnesotan's classic boat auction bids all wet?

  • Article by: LARRY OAKES , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 6, 2012 - 9:37 AM

Allegations that "sham" bids drove up prices on a Minnesotan's rare wood boats put a large national auction house on the defensive.

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sharkysharkJun. 5, 1210:56 PM

I've personally witnessed "shill bidding" at collector car auctions. I would not be surprised at all if the allegations have merit.

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STEVEBJun. 5, 1211:40 PM

"Mecum used sham bidders to force Anderson to bid $285,000 to win a rare 1929 Dingle Triple Cockpit runabout"... Are there sham bidders? Maybe, but nobody is "forcing" a person to continue bidding as the bid amount exceeds real world value. Personal responsibility should play a part here. You shouldn't be able to sue because of your ego or lack of info as to the true value, got in the way of better judgement. Eat it, learn from it and move on.

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transmitterJun. 6, 1212:40 AM

Anyone that has attended more than one auction knows for a fact there are ALWAYS "house bidders" in the crowd whose sole job it is to drive the price up. It's a common, and yes, slimy, practice.

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nonewtaxesJun. 6, 12 5:20 AM

Auction bidders are willing participants, they are not "forced" to bid. Bidding tends to be influenced by testosterone.

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stolaf80Jun. 6, 12 6:43 AM

"Are there sham bidders? Maybe, but nobody is "forcing" a person to continue bidding as the bid amount exceeds real world value. Personal responsibility should play a part here. You shouldn't be able to sue because of your ego or lack of info as to the true value, got in the way of better judgement. Eat it, learn from it and move on."...........Anyone who says this has either never bid against a puffer or they are part of the racket. The reason you come to a "no reserve" auction is because you're looking for a deal. Puffers effectively create a reserve price that was claimed to not exist.

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tupelohoneyJun. 6, 12 7:11 AM

It was a great auction and the boats were phenomenal. It was like walking into a museum. I don't think any boat went for the money they should have, but if the bids were rigged using the auctioneers friends it needs to be investigated. No reserve bidding was the policy and the boats should have sold at the going price not the rigged price.

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jimmyjames76Jun. 6, 12 8:25 AM

Auctions always have a few people bidding to drive prices up. It's kind of a shady sleazy business practice, but what business doesn't operate that way? If there's not real demand, they'll do everything possible to create some. On a side note, this guy needs more tax cuts so he can buy more old wooden boats...err...create jobs.

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DaHowieJun. 6, 12 8:26 AM

@STEVEB. They aren't saying the shill bidding drove up the price above, as you say "real world value", but that shill bidding is artificially driving up the price when the auction would have closed at a lower price. It should be illegal to solicit bids.

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bredpathJun. 6, 12 8:34 AM

Am I the only person who DOESN'T feel sorry for somebody willing to pay this amount of money for a collectible?

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stolaf80Jun. 6, 12 8:46 AM

"I don't think any boat went for the money they should have, "......From a beauty, historical, and replace-ability standpoint I agree with the sentiment and know what you're saying. But, from a market perspective, the boats went for exactly what they should have. Markets change. These boats require a large commitment in maintenance, insurance, storage space, and simply dollars tied up looking pretty. The folks who bid on them (other than the puffers) all have to live with those factors. The dealers who sold them later at a profit were paid for their place in the "market food chain" so to speak. The people who bought from the dealers didn't have to come to the auction or arrange the transport from the auction or even know the auction was happening. This is how it's supposed to work.

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