I’ve been a benefit auctioneer for more than 17 years. I’ve auctioned off exotic trips, fantastic meals, one-of-a-kind pieces of art and even beautifully decorated Christmas trees. But nothing prepared me for my most unusual auction item.
The setting – Naples, Florida. The event – The Safari Club International Banquet and Auction. The item – a full size, very lifelike, stuffed rattlesnake in the “strike” position. The snake was donated from the estate of a prominent Safari Club member.
You need to understand, had the event organizers informed me about the unusual item ahead of time I could have been prepared. BUT NOOOO! They decided to have a little fun at my expense – and my pants almost ended up paying the price.
I was just wrapping up selling the preceding item when an event volunteer, without me seeing him, walked up behind me with the lifelike reptile in his hands, and shook it near my ear so it would rattle. As I spun around in a fright I came eyeball to eyeball with the creature. I dropped my gavel on the item I had just sold, and let out a yell as I jumped out of my skin.
Of course, the audience found this whole “let’s-get-the-auctioneer prank” hilarious. As to who won the item, how much did they pay and why did they want it? Those are good questions. My heart was pounding so fast I don’t even remember.