Items we have sold in the past.
Claud McMillen Auctions & Real Estate
No item is too big or too small, we sell it all! From Armadillo's to Zip lines we've probably sold it.
The violin that played as the Titanic sank was sold for $1.7 million.
One of the rarest historical artifacts that recently auctioned for a pretty penny was the violin that was purportedly played when the Titanic sank. People believe that it belonged to the ship’s bandmaster Wallace Hartley. It’s unsurprising that this artifact sold for a large sum of $1.7 million given that it was at the center of a key historical event, not to mention one that a hit movie was based upon.
Auctions have been recorded as early as 500 B.C. The word “auction” comes from the Latin word for “I increase” or “I augment”. This makes sense because this is exactly what bidders do in auctions when they add to the previous bid. The entire Roman Empire was put up for auction.
Candles were used in early auctions.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was customary in some parts of England to have auctions by candlelight. When the candle went out, the auction was over. This technique was used to prevent people from knowing exactly when the auction would end and making a bid at the last second. The practice gained popularity.
In fact, Samuel Pepy’s diary from 1660 showed that there were two occasions on which the Admiralty sold surplus ships using candles. The diary entries also show that a highly successful bidder realized that the candle-wick always flares up slightly before expiring. The bidder would always shout his final and winning bid when he saw the wick flare up. Candle auctions lost popularity after Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb.
From interesting historical artifacts that have been sold to the processes used in early auctions, it is clear that auctions have a fascinating history. Next time you’re at an auction you can think back to some of these incredible facts.
As a licensed real estate broker, Claud McMillen began the auction business in 1982 upon graduating from Missouri Auction School and is currently a member of MSAA .
The following are a few of the agencies Claud has worked with and conducted sales.
Local, Federal and State Government
Downriver Area Narcotics Organization
Tri-County Area Metro
City of Detroit
Livingston County Sheriff
Southfield Police Dept.
City of Kalamazoo, Portage,
Kellogg and Post Cereal Companies
Michigan State Police Posts
Chippewa County Sheriff
Washtenaw County Sheriff