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Explore the weird world where auctioneers learn their fast-talking art

(Image: Great Big Story)

Where do auctioneers come from? It’s a question every kid inevitably asks their parents, provoking embarrassment, euphemisms, and stories about fast-talking, paddle-wielding storks. But the answer is far more prosaic, as revealed by this recent video from YouTube channel Great Big Story: Auctioneers come from Missouri, of course.

Specifically, they come from the Missouri Auction School, touted by its current president, Paul Dewees, as “The Harvard of auctioneering.” And while that might not sound fascinating, there’s something weirdly hypnotic and hilarious about watching an entire room full of nervous young people try to talk in unison like Boomhauer from King Of The Hill. (Presumably, they were drawn in by the list of auctioneer benefits listed on the school’s website, including “variety,” “prestige,” and “financial security,” although it mysteriously neglects to mention all the time you’ll get to spend with your Micro Machines.) Besides answering a question most of us have never bothered to actually think about, there’s an early Errol Morris vibe to the video, from Dewees’ smiling enthusiasm for his esoteric craft, to the close-in shots of students awkwardly chanting as they anxiously stare into the camera’s eye.


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