Auctioneer halfway to special designation

Published 10:06 pm Monday, March 1, 2010

Tom Perry of Tom’s Auctions & Appraisals has been in the business for years, but he is a firm believer in the adage that one can never have too much knowledge. He is about halfway done with a course that would earn him the prestigious Certified Auctioneers Institute designation.

The CAI is a three-year program offered by the National Auctioneers Association, the Kansas-based organization that represents the interests of nearly 5,000 auctioneers around the world. Perry is a member of the Virginia and National Auctioneers Associations.

On the third day of the week-long program, second-year participants like Perry host a fundraising event called a Fun Auction for all CAI participants and instructors. The participants donate the majority of the items to be auctioned and then run the auction.

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Anyone can bid on the items, and the proceeds benefit the NAA and the charitable causes of the participants’ choosing. The theme for this year’s auction is ‘Cooking Up Funds.’

At last year’s Fun Auction, more than $20,000 was raised. This year’s event will be held on March 23, at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., but interested parties may bid online, through

“The auction typically lasts about four hours,” Perry said. “Each auctioneer has the choice of selling their own donated items or can opt to let one of the other auctioneers in attendance sell for them. And some of the best auctioneers in the world are in this program.”

Perry added, “It’s a fantastic learning experience, and a great deal of fun. The donated items are wonderful. And it’s for a worthy cause.”

This year’s Fun Auction will feature an eclectic mix of merchandise, including framed, signed and numbered limited-edition art prints; an Auburn University football weekend package; an NAA stoneware crock; a $500-off tuition voucher for a future NAA program; advertising packages; and several Auctioneers’ State Association memberships.

“The Fun Auction is just that, a fun auction, and it’s a learning-by-doing exercise to make better, more efficient auctioneers of everyone in the NAA’s CAI program,” Perry said. “I’m thankful to be in the program.”

The NAA was founded in 1946 to promote the auction method of marketing and enhancing the professionalism of its members through education and technology.

In 2007, the auction industry grew by 5.3 percent, with more than $270 billion in goods and services sold. Proxibid will be one online bidding facilitator for people who can’t attend the Fun Auction live. Interested parties may also donate items or leave absentee bids for the auction with Perry at his Suffolk location.

Tom’s Auctions & Appraisals is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, call 539-2498, or you can send an e-mail to