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July 7th, 2017

I’ve said before in this blog and other places that the auction industry is a big family. Industries and companies say that often but for auctioneers to really rings true. For the short period I’ve been an auctioneer, I have seen auctioneers share and grow together through conferences, training, designation courses, and seminars. I have working friends and colleagues from Hawaii to Virginia in the auction industry. Through these people I have learned much and gotten the opportunity to share ideas I have grown and will continue to grow.


This blog is about one such colleague. The honest truth is I only met him twice. But in those two meetings I saw such a passion and flame for life and the auction industry. I couldn’t wait to get to know him more over my time as an auctioneer. He spoke to me wielding a strong southern accent and even though both rooms were filled with auctioneers with much more experience, influence, and talent than I, he went out of his way to get to know me better.


I met him first at the Minnesota State Auctioneers Association Conference and Show in January. He was a speaker flown in from Alabama. After spending the weekend with us, he joined the MSAA because he loved the people here. That isn’t where I really moved out of my comfort zone, and talked to him though. At the MSAA Conference and Show I’m in my comfort zone. I know a fair amount of people there and I can move fluidly from auctioneer I know to auctioneer I know.


That wasn’t true at the State Leadership Conference (SLC). At the SLC I knew a grand total of three people, and all were from Minnesota. I made a concerted effort to talk to other leaders in the Industry and did I ever enjoy it.

I made plenty of new friends, and had some great conversations. As I was leaving I started telling people “See you next year at SLC” because the idea of not coming back hadn’t even occurred to me. This man was the very example of who I met at SLC. People on fire, and passionate for their work, helping others, and seeing auctioneers succeed. Even twenty somethings coming to SLC without knowing quite why.

His death took me unaware. How could it happen? I’ve seen him active, learned about him, laughed with him. He was too alive to no longer be. He was one of the ten people I had singled out as people I wanted to learn from in any way possible over my next years in the auction Industry. The idea that I might never see him again never even crossed my mind.

The auction family lost a son, a brother, a father when Scott King died. In nothing more than a couple encounters he affected me. I know his loss will affect others far greater than I but for myself I needed to say “Thanks Scott, You will be missed.” I wish I could have gotten to know you better.

Mike Imholte.



June 20th, 2017

What are the MSAA, and NAA? What does it mean? Is Black Diamond Auctions Involved in them?


The MSAA is the Minnesota State Auctioneers Association. The MSAA is the Association for Minnesota. Even more than that, it’s conference and show every year with an opportunity to network, learn about, and from the industry professionals in auctions. Frank Imholte joined the MSAA in 1979 and has been a member since. Other Members of the Black Diamond Auction team that are members include Peg, Andy, Katie, Erich, Joe and Mike.


Black Diamond is more than just members of the MSAA. In 1992 Frank was the President of the Association. In 2011 Andy was the President. Andy and Frank are previous members of the Board of Directors of the MSAA and Mike is currently on the board. Frank currently holds the title of Executive Vice President of the MSAA and has since 2003.. Andy has given many presentations on marketing and design among other topics at the MSAA conference and show as well as at other State Conferences.  Next year Mike will be presenting on personality styles. Black Diamond Auctions has won many awards for marketing and advertising over the years. Frank, Andy, Katie, Joe, and Mike have all competed in the MSAA Bid Calling Contest.


The NAA is the National Auctioneers Association. Frank Imholte became a member of the NAA in 1984, and many a family vacation revolved around where the NAA Conference and Show took place. Other members of the NAA from Black Diamond Auctions include Peg, Andy, Katie, and Erich. Andy has presented at NAA Conference and Show. Black Diamond Auctions has won awards at the NAA Marketing Contest. Katie is signed up to compete in the IAC  

(International Auctioneer Contest) this year. Both Peg and Frank had the opportunity to be judges for the IAC in the past. A fun fact is that Frank Imholte was one of 100 Collectable Auctioneers Cards created to highlight members in attendance to get to know each other at past conferences.





May 23rd, 2017

Consignment Auction?

What is it? Why a consignment auction? What does it mean? How do I bid?


What is it? A Consignment Auction is an auction where instead of having one seller there are multiple sellers.


Why Consign Items? Perhaps you have recently bought a new lawn mower or snow blower and have no need for your old one. Most people don’t have a way to make money from of an item worth a couple hundred dollars. Maybe you don’t have enough for an auction on your own but you still want to make sure to sell and get money back for your product. Consigning items is a great way to get money back for value items for which you no longer have a need.. Black  Diamond Auction’s Consignment Auctions on Memorial Day and Labor Day bring in between 300 and 500 bidders and their families meaning that your one lawn mower, boat, or snow blower will have hundreds of potential buyers looking at it.


How do I consign? Each company treats their consignment process differently. Black Diamond Auction has two consignment auctions a year: Memorial Day and Labor Day.. To consign Items the first step is contacting Black Diamond Auctions via phone, email, facebook or meeting with one of us in person. After discussing what you want to consign, we’ll set up a meeting or time and place for you to bring your product. Because of the time of year there are only a couple months of the year we are taking product for the consignment auction. Because of how large the consignment auction is, the earlier you contact us the more likely it is we can help you sell your valuables.


Anything I missed? Any more Questions? Contact us at Black Diamond Auctions and see you at our next Consignment Auction!


Our Memorial Day Auction starts at 8:00 a.m., check our website for more details,



May 5, 2017

What should I know about bidding at auctions to feel more confident?


“Okay the winning bidder will grab choice at two times the money, back up bidder gets choice at two times the money, then we’ll open it up to everyone else. After that we’ll sell it all to go.” Huh? What?


Don’t worry if you don’t understand anything I just wrote. It can be very jarring to come into an auction, especially if you come into one in the middle and you haven’t heard what any of those words means. Here’s a couple explanations starting from the beginning.


Winning Bidder: when the bidding comes to a stop the last person to bid on an item is the winning bidder. This person will have raised a hand when the auctioneer is “Calling for a number.” by raising a hand that person is forming a contract to pay that amount, assuming someone else doesn’t bid higher.

Choice: When selling manying things at once, the winning bidder will chose an item to be bought out of that group. The winning bidder will have “first choice” of all the product being sold which brings us to the next term.


Times the money: When the chant comes to an end during choice, you’ll have many options on what you want to buy. If you want more than one item or box, you can take “two times the money” or three or four, take multiple items at one time, before someone else gets a chance to buy them.


Backup bidder: The Backup bidder is the person who most recently was outbid by the winning bidder, for being the backup bidder they typically get second choice before any other bidders.


Open it up to everyone: At this point anyone else can take choice.  The previous rules apply.  This is typically first person to grab product gets it.


All to Go: A term when selling a group of products at one price. Everything in this group will be sold for “one money” or one price.

Now that you have all the terminology, you can go out there and bid with more confidence!  Enjoy your next auction.  We will be looking for you and be willing to answer your questions.




April 12, 2017

Can you talk fast? Yes. Well that was a quick answer. The real question is “How do you talk fast?” The mouth is a muscle like any other part of the body. The auction chant is an art that requires focused and practiced muscle control, just like pitching a baseball, shooting a basketball, or riding a bike.


But what is the first step? Getting your mouth comfortable pronouncing things uncomfortably. The most common way to do this is practice tongue twisters. I didn’t realize there were patterns we’re comfortable and uncomfortable speaking, sounds and pronunciations that can and should go together and ones that take time to master. Certain sounds require a certain lip movement.


After a couple times through “Betty Botter” you begin to realize as you attempt to speed up there are sounds that strain and require practice and muscle retraining to use. Just like if you want to run a faster mile, you need to run more. If you want to seamlessly auction, use words quickly and effectively,  you need to start understanding the types of lip movement, number of syllables, and pronunciation of words.


Sounds easy, right? Throw in the fact that all numbers don’t have the same syllable count. Coming from a music background I think of my chant in 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, and occasionally 6/4. Tempo has to be able to slow down and speed up.  You need to be able to take the bridge in your song when you need some more time. You might need to say a whole sentence in the middle of your chant, possibly to ask for something or to entertain a crowd. Then take into account you need to read a crowd, turn on a dime, and keep track of all the numbers in your head.

Now you know the basics, time to get started with your tongue twisters.


Mike Imholte was elected to the MSAA Board of Directors, but what does that mean? The MSAA (Minnesota State Auctioneers Association) is an organization of licensed Auctioneers. With the support of its membership, the association works to promote the auction profession. They are governed by an annually-elected president, vice-president, executive vice president, and nine board members.  Our very own Frank Imholte is the Executive Vice President. It is a position he’s held for over fifteen years.


What does being a director of the MSAA entail? The Board meets at least four times a year to meet and discuss pertinent problems and opportunities facing the auction industry throughout the U.S. and Minnesota specifically.  The board speaks on behalf of the general population of the MSAA.  Each Director is placed on a committee with different goals and projects to work on throughout the year some of the committees are the foundation fundraising auction, the marketing contest, membership/public relations and election/sergeant at arms. Aside from these duties, each board member writes multiple articles for publication in the MSAA magazine and supplement. Board members also take extra training and learn more about the industry through events such as “Day at the Capital and NAA (National Auctioneers Association) training which Mike is taking part in this year.

Black Diamond Auctions is proud of it’s activity in the MSAA as both Frank and Andy Imholte are past  presidents and board members. Mike is in his second year as a member of the MSAA. He grew up going to conferences and can’t wait to become a larger part of this organization that has been so intrical a part of his family and work.

Black Diamond Auctions • 8160 Co RD 138 • St. Cloud, MN 56301
Phone (320) 255-9398 •