Pennsylvania auctioneer explains mysteries of an old trade

Regional News

Professional auctioneer, Brian Oberholtzer calls an auction at H&R Auctions in New Holland, Pa. on Monday, June 14, 2021. Oberholtzer was recently recognized with a first place trophy at the Pennsylvania Auctioneers Association 2021 Bid Calling contest. (Monica Herndon/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) (WTAJ) — The auctioneer sat by a chainsaw and a painting of a raccoon, scanning the crowd for familiar faces, buyers he knew couldn’t pass up old postcards or dusty books about long-forgotten places.

At 5 p.m. — sharp — he opened his mouth and began to chant, the sound bursting from his throat like a fingerpicking banjo player blazing through “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”

The blur of words and numbers came far too fast for any newcomer to make out, but the auctioneer’s song is really a subtle lullaby, meant to lull, some say hypnotize, buyers to spend a few dollars more.

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