Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Going, Going, Gone City Auction Nets $60,000 in Bids

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Going, Going, Gone City Auction Nets $60,000 in Bids

Article excerpt

Byline: Christopher F. Aguilar, Shorelines staff writer

JACKSONVILLE BEACH -- Under the hot sun one recent morning at the city operations and maintenance center on Shetter Avenue, about 30 people stood around what used to be a police car.

The car's police markings were partially scraped off.

The group anxiously waited for auctioneer Stephen Murray to begin the bidding process. Murray tried to pump up the crowd by describing the car.

"This is a fine looking car and it runs great," Murray said. "Listen to that engine, it's a fine sounding engine."

The Jacksonville Beach surplus auction was Thursday and a crowd of around 100 people came to purchase items ranging from police cars and sanitation trucks to old computers and confiscated bicycles. The city has been holding such auctions twice a year for the past five years with successful results.

Onlookers had their poker faces on. None wanted to reveal how much he'd pay for the car.

"We'll start the bidding at $1,000," Murray drawled over the the microphone. "Who'll give me $1,200 for this car?"

A hand went up.

"I've got $1,200 from this gentleman in front of me," Murray said. "Who'll give me $1,300 for the car?"

Another hand went up.

"I've got $1,300, who is going to give me $1,400?" Murray asked.

A third hand went up.

"I've got $1,400, who will give me $1,500?" he asked again.

No hands went up.

"I've got $1,400, once . . . twice . . . sold," Murray yelled.

A few grumbles echoed through the crowd.

"He paid too much for it," one of the men said as he walked away from the bid.

Tom Picard, director of Central Services for the city and the man in charge of the auction, said the city had a good turnout at the event.

"We made about $60,000, and it goes to the city's coffers," Picard said.

The highest-priced item was a sanitation truck that went for $10,000. One of the lowest-priced items was a group of three used fire hoses that sold for $5.

Picard said the most unusual item they have sold at the city auction was a crossbow that the police department confiscated.

Most people look for that diamond in the rough.

"I always come looking for a good deal," said Colleen Straw. She came with her husband in search of computer monitors, but were disappointed at the available selection.

She said most of them were more than 10 years old.

"Plus, they ripped the guts out of them," Jerry Straw said, referring to the hollow computer mainframes.

Carrol Franklin, who bought the hoses, several other hoses with tanks attached to them for $10 and two lawn mowers, said he was satisfied with the deals he made.

"My wife says that I'm addicted to auctions," Franklin said, adding that he will resell the hoses to timber companies and will sell the metal for scrap. …

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