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2014-03-13

Lloyd Mays Auctions adds family auctioneers

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Pictured: Cale Mays

Do I hear $200? Will someone bid 2?
If you're a fan of the popular Lloyd Mays Auctions in and around Bandera County, you may be hearing something a little different in the chanting the next time you go. Two family members and a long-time employee have earned their auctioneers' licenses and will be joining 17-year veteran Lloyd Mays in enticing bids from customers.
Son Cale Mays and his wife, Christine Jackson, attended McClellan Community College in Waco last fall, along with employee Joe Craft. All three completed an intensive course in auctioneering school. "We really spent a lot of time together," said Christine, "so Joe is like family now, too."
The hard-working threesome took their state exam in January of this year and earned their licenses to call out the cadences.
Does this mean Lloyd will be permanently laying down his auction mike anytime soon? "Oh, you know my dad," said Cale. "He'll never quit!"
Christine, who admits she prefers to work behind the bookkeeping desk, said, "I didn't want to do the chanting, but the teacher said suppose the power goes out? And your computers go down? You have to know how to do all of this old school."
Mays and Jackson have been helping parents Lloyd and Louise with the auction business for several years. Actually, Cale has probably been working in the auction ring since the business started. However, the couple had been helping part time in recent years and pursuing their own interests in the food service industry.
"It's gotten so busy," said Cale. "We've got four live auctions this month. Then we also have an online auction, which is an eBay-style auction." Their time is taken up with meeting with consignment customers and clients wanting them to do estate sales for them. They go through all the items, break them up into lots when possible, and get the lots ready for auction.
The community-minded auction firm will often be seen donating their time and talents to various nonprofit organizations, too. They look forward to doing the Lakehills Area Library and the volunteer fire department's auctions annually.
In 2013, they did an online auction of some of their choice items to benefit the Spirits of Christmas organization. "We love helping out," said Christine, even though they recently worked a 16-hour day because they had one of their live auctions during the day and a benefit auction for the Boys and Girls Clubs in the evening.
"It's a really interesting business," said Cale. "I learn something [about the value or history of an item] at every single auction." He also likes that they are "working for the seller and the bidder. We want both to get the very best deal."
In addition to business liquidations, farm and ranch auctions and consignments, estate sales make up a large part of Lloyd Mays Auctions events. "It's a great way for someone to just get rid of everything all in one day," said Christine. Every one is unique. "Some people just hand us the keys and say take care of it, and others stay right there with us as we go through their things. Sometimes they have painful memories, but they also have happy ones. I like to hear their stories."
"We always advise them to keep their special memories," said Cale. "We try to be sensitive to their feelings."
Everybody watches the Pawn Stars and American Pickers and similar shows now. "They realize they have something similar to what they saw on TV and expect to make their fortune," said Cale. Sometimes a tiny difference can make a big difference in an item's value, however, and that $10,000 "silver" teapot may be a cheap reproduction that gets $5 from a bidder who will likely use it for a succulent planter.
"We do tell people not to take things to the dumpster before a sale," said Cale. "You'd be surprised how people will bid on some old rusty thing from the back of the barn."
The Mays will sell almost anything, although they don't do livestock auctions. "We know furniture, antiques, housewares. Livestock is another mind set," he said.
"We've sold piles of dirt and buckets of rocks," said Cale. "We've also sold two kinds of mules - the kind that uses gas and the kind that eats hay!"
In addition to live auctions, the couple lists items on eBay and Craigslist. A special auction software helps them keep track of inventory, consignments, photos of items, invoices, consignment checks and tax reports. "It's a great program. Not cheap, but worth every penny," said Christine.
Customers can preview items up for auction on the website, lloydmaysauctions.com. For more information about booking an estate auction sale, call 830-460-1043 or email them at lloyds@swbell.net.
"My dad's been here for 17 years and he wouldn't have lasted that long without his reputation for integrity and honesty," said Cale.
This enthusiastic couple hope to extend that stellar reputation for another generation. Or two, maybe. Cale's sons now work along with head ringmaster Joe as ring workers, absorbing that auctioneer's chanting into their blood.