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Live auction provides fun, deals at Denio’s

By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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Sharon Gillum is somewhat of a live-auction aficionado. The Carmichael resident said she and her husband Ed attend at least two live auctions each month, mostly recreationally. Gillum remembers coming to the Denio’s auction in Roseville back in the 1960s and said she is thrilled that it has now returned. After a nearly 20-year absence, the traditional live auction returned to Denio’s Farmers Market and Swap Meet last month and has continued into the new year. With live auctions continuing each Saturday through the end of this month, Denio’s marketing manager Eric Denio said they may extend through the rest of the year. The return came about when “Colonel” Larry Folkerts, auctioneer for Sacramento-based TGW Auctions, was selling items at a couple small booths at Denio’s Farmers Market and Swap Meet. Folkerts approached Denio, suggesting that the items he was selling may be better served if they were sold in a live-auction format. “We never honestly thought it would be something like this,” Denio said. “But it has just been fantastic morphing into this.” Folkerts said that the live auction dates back to the Civil War, where spoils of war were collected and displayed for the troops. “They had the colonel come over, and he put it on the grass and auctioned it off,” Folkerts said. Hence, the honorary title of “Colonel” for the auctioneer was born. But what kinds of items can be found at the live auction? “About anything and everything on earth,” Folkerts said. “As long as it is something that someone else may want.” Typically, Folkerts said, the most popular items include tools, yard equipment, kitchen appliances, furniture and electronics such as digital cameras and high-definition TVs. Items for sale in the auction are bundled together and referred to as “lots,” of which Folkerts says he can work through about three per minute. “We crack through it,” Folkerts said. “And we try to make it fun.” Gillum said it is not only the great deals that can be found at the auction, but also the people that keep her coming back. “You see the same people over and over again, and you find that you kind of become a family,” Gillum said. “They are an eclectic group of folks, and they are generally very friendly.” When bidders show up to the auction, they pay a $25 registration fee, get a bidding number card and take a seat. Bidders have the option of perusing the merchandise either the day before or the morning of the auction, at which time they will receive a catalog of all the “lots” up for bid. Folkerts said most people will not begin bidding until the starting bid price gradually comes down, and then the bidding wars begin. “I usually get it back up to the number I started at,” Folkerts said. “After years of doing this, you kind of get a feel for what it should sell for, so I start there.” Folkerts gets much of his inventory from people bringing it in on consignment, he said, and in return, the auction company will work in partnership with the seller to negotiate a fair selling price and commission percentage. Other items are collected or obtained from a variety of sources, including foreclosed storage units. New items are usually purchased from various vendors. It usually takes about three weeks for TGW Auctions to collect enough inventory for the live auction, Folkerts said. “Every auction is different,” he said. “If it’s something that should go in the Dumpster, that’s where it will go.” For Gillum, purchasing items at the live auction serves a greater purpose. “This is the epitome of recycling,” Gillum said. “There are some interesting things here. You could say there is everything from soups to nuts.” Chuck Markham, of Foothill Farms, was looking over the lots on a recent Friday. He said he had not yet been to the auction at Denio’s but is planning on attending. “I have an inclination toward flea markets and yard sales,” Markham said. “Sometimes you can find something that is very valuable, and since I’m retired, this is the way I have to go. I have to watch my pennies.” Toby Lewis can be reached at tobyl@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT.