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Local auction veteran goes global

The world is shrinking and the gap between the rest of the world and rural America is closing quickly. Gone are the days of gathering around the auction block, physically raising the bid with the signal of a hand or a hearty shout over the strewn together syllables of an auctioneer.

One Midwestern family, with years of auction experience under their belt, has taken the traditional local auction block to the World Wide Web. Signal paddles and shouts have been swapped for mouse clicks, and neighbors from the town over have been exchanged for buyers from distant nations.

“Selling with Auctionblock has its advantages for the sellers because they get the best of both worlds, local service and worldwide bidders. Also, since we don’t charge a buyer premium, it assures the seller top dollar for their equipment. Since we started with this new platform, we probably have only about 10 to 20 percent that’s sold locally. The majority gets sold to other states or other countries,” said Auctionblock CEO Clark Sather. “This tells us that there are people willing to pay more for equipment out there, and we want to unite these buyers with our sellers.”

The founding team of Auctionblock consists of a variety of professionals, each with a unique skill set, which all have been directly involved in the auction industry since 1989. At the helm is Clark Sather. Since 1989 he has conducted and assisted with several of the largest farm equipment auctions and real estate transactions in the industry.

Over 15 years ago, Sather played a crucial role in the first successful live webcast bidding system used for selling equipment, livestock, autos and collector items. Using this system, he conducted the first on-site farm equipment auction in the U.S. by utilizing live online bidding. Since then, Clark and his son Ryan, Auctionblock CIO, have led the charge in changing the way online auctions were conducted by developing a timed online auction company.

By teaming up with partners such as Auction Time, Clark said, “We’ve been able to enter the world-wide market … From this past auction, we’re in the process of shipping Caterpiller equipment to France. We’ve also had sales from Mexico, which isn’t unusual for us now. And, Canada, of course we’ve always done business with, but we are starting to see more South American and European sales.”

Following the collapse in oil prices, the economy began shifting focus away from the oil and gas industry as companies began cutting budgets, laying off workers and downsizing assets. Earlier this year, in the wake of the layoffs within the industry, job reports noted demand increasing in areas such as contractors, local schools and water districts. The auction industry has noticed a similar rise.

Mike Sather, Auctionblock’s CFO, said that as much as they hate to see businesses cutting back, the reality of the current market is that some of the smaller operators are being hit the hardest. As a result, they elect to sell off excess equipment. Due to the oil price collapse, the team has witnessed an uptick in activity and is starting to expand their operations in the Bakken region. Not all is lost for these companies, however, according to Mike. He explained, because the team at Auctionblock is able to reach into the global market, those companies benefit from being exposed to more buyers that are willing to compete for the goods being sold, rather than relying on a very localized market.

By conducting auctions online, seller costs have been lowered, and the auction process has been transformed. Online auctions have had their fair share of complications in the past for buyers and sellers alike. The team at Auctionblock, however, has taken steps to simplify the process and eliminate the anonymity and impersonality of conducting business online.

The team has had positive reception by offering valuation and inspection services along with online transportation and financing quotes. With the combined years of experience, the company has created a comprehensive approach to both buying and selling, making the process hassle-free and as transparent as possible for both parties. Despite the global reach, though, the team maintains its local roots and values. Lynn Sather, Auctionblock COO states, “Auctionblock’s number one priority and company mission is to provide optimal world marketing while establishing long-term customer relationships by focusing on offering honest, straight forward advice that best serves the interests of its sellers and buyers alike.”

For more information about Auctionblock, visit their website at www.auctionblock.com.


  1. Good job, as usual. You keep the topic of the Bakken very interesting.

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