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Call out rapid-fire bids during art, antique, or private auctions.

What does an Auctioneer do?

An Auctioneer is the person at the podium during an auction, rattling off bids like a machine gun spitting bullets. Although those fast-talking Auctioneers sound like they’re speaking gibberish—their signature style is known as “bid calling”—the truth is: There’s a method to their madness.

But there’s more to being an Auctioneer than bid calling, although it’s the most memorable—and certainly most entertaining—part of your job. Frequently self-employed, and often hired by art and antique galleries as well as private auction houses, you are responsible for organizing and advertising sales. You’re also in charge of appraising and arranging merchandise, including, for instance, antiques, collectibles, jewelry, livestock, real estate, and industrial equipment.

After appraisal and setup comes the auction itself. In charge of the auction block, you describe the items for sale, then initiate bidding by asking the audience for opening bids. Once an opening bid is cast, you identify, acknowledge, and “call” buyers’ competing bids, using your expertise to generate excitement and monitor the auction pace. Ultimately, you pronounce items “sold” when it appears the highest bid’s been reached, or withdraw them from sale when they fail to fetch an appropriate price.

An expert on what stuff’s worth, your job is threefold: Basically, it’s finding merchandise, valuing it, then selling it for top dollar on behalf of its owner—and, of course, doing it with your profession’s signature style, speech, and showmanship.

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