Do you know why they call Auctioneers "COLONEL"?

January 13, 2015

This is Colonel Ray Henry. Do you know why they call Auctioneers "COLONEL"?

 

Interestingly enough, the tradition of calling an Auctioneer “Colonel” traces back to the civil war, a time when auctions were beginning to flourish.

 

After a bloody battle the winning side would scour the battlefield and collect all the equipment and personal belongings of the vanquished. These items were then displayed in a central area. The winning soldiers were allowed to view all these items. The items were then “auctioned off”.

 

However, only officers of the Colonel rank could conduct them, spawning the use of the honorary title of “Colonel” by many auctioneers still today.

 

 

 

1860's, [ambrotype portrait of Union colonel Benjamin Franklin Watson with his servant and a table with an assortment of objects]

 

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