Auctioneers as Recyclers

Letters!  We got letters!  Well, actually just one letter and it was from someone I knew, but she did call me dearest and said nice things about my wife, so here it is in its entirety…

Dearest Ken,

Great article on buying used goods as a form of recycling!  I know you are a big fan of buying at

reputable auctions, so I am guessing it was an oversight that you forgot to mention auctions or, perhaps, there simply wasn’t room to do the subject justice.

Auctions are the “ultimate” in recycling.  Entire households, farms and businesses are passed on to new owner through the auction method of marketing.

Seven years ago I had never been to an auction.  In passing, I mentioned to my husband (Jeff) I had seen an advertisement for an auction and I’d never been.  He was amazed.  When I told him the auction process intimidated me, he was baffled.  So he took me to my first auction and the rest is history!

Jeff explained there is no fear that you will end up buying a farm animal because the auctioneer mistook your waving to a friend, sneeze, or nod as a bid.  He took me through step-by-step of previewing the items for sale, getting a bidder number and a seat, and when to bid.  I don’t recall buying anything at that first sale, but I was hooked!  It was fun to see what other people were “fighting” for and how some items that seemed really fantastic to me didn’t get much money or didn’t sell at all.  Auctions are open to the public, although there may be restrictions on children, and there is no cost or obligation to buy anything.

As time went on, we did some e-Bay selling and began attending more auctions to get product.  We began having favorite auctions (I-5 Auction, Stokes Auction, Druzianich Auction, and Pickett Auction).  Many of the ones we enjoyed the most had trained at Western College of Auctioneer.  There weren’t many auctions in Thurston County, so eventually we decided to open our own.  I went to auction school in the fall of 2003 and, as they say, the rest is history!

In January 2004, Jeff and I opened Menger Auctions & Appraisals and have been specializing in estate liquidation since.  We maintain a website where you can catch a peek at upcoming auctions.

Ken, you know that you and your lovely wife Kim, are always welcome at the auction and we hope you bring some of your readers with you!


Lori Menger, C.A.G.A.

Lori Menger, C.A.G.A., is a certified appraiser and auctioneer.  With her husband, Jeff, also an auctioneer, they operate Menger Enterprises, an estate liquidation business in Tumwater, and can be reached at (360) 754-7720 or through their website

As Lori says, auctions are a quintessential form of recycling.  For those attending an auction for the first time, I recommend three things:

  • Always preview the auction if possible.  Most auction houses will have an “open house” where you can look the items over carefully.  It is always a good idea to know what you are buying before you bid.  Auction houses generally sell things “as is” because even they can’t promise that engines run, electronics turn on or that the furniture doesn’t need repair.
  • Only bid if you are prepared to pay the amount you bid. Your word is your bond.
  • Know what things are worth.  I’ve seen items go for far less, and far more, than they might fetch in a retail store.

Oh, one last thing…have fun…and don’t bid against me.