On July 26, Mineral County held its bi-annual tax delinquent property sale at the convention center in Hawthorne. About 50 people came to bid in the auction of properties.
The county sold about 25 properties for a total of $136,924.78.
Baxtin’s Auctions, a auction company in Sparks, conducted the sale.
“It went well,” said Bill Austin, Baxtin’s auctioneer. “I think it went really well. We sold a piece of property on Montgomery Pass that we’ve been unable to sell the past couple of auctions.”
The Montgomery Pass property, the former site of a casino, was the highest-grossing property to sell at the auction. It sold for $90,000. The next most expensive parcel sold was 925 Arb St. in Hawthorne, which went for $9,000.
There was no apparent organization to the order in which the properties were auctioned. The Montgomery Pass property sold in the middle of the auction, and was followed by a number of properties in Walker Lake that Austin said were “a little slow to go.”
The cheapest property sold was 420 Douglas Road in Mina. It sold for $560.
Austin said his company receives a portion of the sales as a commission.
Austin conducted the auction rapidly and in good humor. It took just over half an hour to make it through the list of properties.
Baxtin’s Auctions comes to Hawthorne at least once every other year, Austin said. The county and Hawthorne Army Depot employs the company’s auctioneers for all of their auctions, he said.
“In the past few years, the prices that we obtain in Hawthorne have been probably a little more depressed than in other places,” Austin said. “That’s just the economy.”
Austin said when the recession began in the mid 2000’s, there was a notable drop in the company’s business. And, while business still hasn’t hit its pre-recession height, there has been an uptick.
“We’re busier. Things sell for better money, there’s more to sell, there are more buyers,” Austin said. “Things have picked up.”
While he was asking for bids, he spoke into the microphone with an auctioneer’s traditional rapid, rhythmic speech that is impossible to render in print.
“If you’ve never been to an auction, it does sound like a bunch of mouth sounds that don’t make any sense,” Austin said of the speaking style. “But after you’re there, and you listen, you can understand it. It’s requesting the bid repetitively and you try to stay in rhythm.”
Austin said the rhythm is key to getting higher bids for items.
“You’ve got to take up that time and try to keep the interest up, keep the hype up, so you can get that bid and then you go get the next higher bid,” Austin said.