What’s the Difference Between an Auction and an Estate Sale?

Judge Holding Gavel With House Model At Desk

An estate sale and an auction are two different ways to sell the contents of your space when you’re planning a move or selling a home. Sometimes these circumstances arise when the death of a loved one occurs. Typically, the easiest way to take care of the family members’ items is to hire a team to manage an estate sale or auction for the home.

While the general purpose of estate sales and auctions is the same—to sell all of someone’s belongings—the method of sale is different!

Estate Sales

 If you decide to have an estate sale, you rely on the company and its employees to determine the value of every item you own. The estate sale company will charge you a commission. They want the most accurate estimate possible to get the most return for their work, but there is always the risk that the company prices items too high and no one buys anything, or too low, and you don’t get the full value for your estate. You also have to trust that your estate sale company can accurately value everything from common household items to antique artwork.

Estate sales typically work on a model that reduces prices as the sale goes on, and even if you’re the first one in the door, you don’t always have time to fully evaluate the worth of an item before you purchase it for fear of losing it.


Unlike estate sales, auctions allow you to find the true market value of any item you own because the bidder’s set prices. True market value is what someone is willing to pay at any time for any object. This is largely contingent on the crowd, so auctioneers are very good marketers who draw the right buyers to the right sellers. On top of that, the pace, excitement, and competition aspects of an auction mean bidders are sometimes willing to pay more in the heat of the moment.

Auctions give bidders time to assess the value, condition, and authenticity of any item up for auction before raising their hand or paddle. This allows buyers to bid confidently, and everyone has the same chance to bid on any item.

If you’re looking to find the largest, most qualified buyer pool, auctions will find you those buyers. Many auctioneers are required to be licensed in their state, requiring continuing education. Many others are members of their state association or the National Auctioneers Association, which holds members to a high standard and educates them on best practices. There are no such requirements for estate sales.

At Smith & Co Auction & Realty, we pride ourselves on being a full-service auction and realty company with a niche for marketing. We are Northwest Oklahoma and Kansas’s choice for all your land auctions and real estate needs!

Contact us today at (580)254-3975 to learn about our services and view our current auctions online.  

Online Auctions: All Your Questions Answered

Happy young couple winning online auction

When you hear “online auction,” you might think of eBay or Facebook. However, thousands of large online auctions run by highly experienced auctioneers happen worldwide on a daily basis.

You probably have a few questions if you have never participated in an online auction, so let us answer some of the common one’s for you!

Can I Preview an Auction Item?

Most likely, yes. This largely depends on the item you are interested in and the online auction platform. For online auctions, the preview could be limited to online only. Contact the auctioneer and ask for a preview if you don’t see a preview time. In most cases, they’ll get one scheduled for you. The closer to the auction’s closing date, the less flexibility, and availability there might be.

Why Was I Immediately Outbid in an Online Auction? 

When bidding in an online auction, you can set max bids. By indicating how high you’re willing to go, you automatically outbid anyone who bids lower than your max and vice versa. If someone else’s max bid is higher than your current bid, the online auction system will automatically accept the higher max bid.

Are Online Auction Items Guaranteed?

Items at auction are typically sold as-is, where-is. It is up to the buyer to inspect the item and take it in the condition and location it is sold. There may be exceptions to this on a case-by-case basis. Your best bet is to read the auction company’s terms and conditions or reach out to the company directly.

Are Your Items Shipped to You?

Be sure to check the terms and conditions for the auction before bidding. Some companies ship items, and some don’t. If you’re unsure, reach out to the auctioneer, they’ll be happy to provide you with additional information. In cases where the auctioneer does ship, expect to pay the shipping cost, including reasonable handling and packing fees.

At Smith & Co Auction & Realty, we host a wide range of online-only auctions and simulcast auctions. We pride ourselves on ensuring the process is stress-free and simple for people to participate in an auction from the comfort of their homes! 

View our “How to Bid Online” instruction guide for an in-depth understanding of the registration process and check out our current online auctions.

The Crop Circle Phenomenon

An aerial view of crop circle created in farm fields

Ever wonder who or maybe what is responsible for those strange crop circles that mysteriously appear in fields across the world? Crop circle enthusiasts have come up with many theories about what creates the patterns, ranging from the plausible to the absurd. Some people have suggested that localized and precise wind patterns somehow create the circles. Others suggest that the answer lies in time travel or alien life, and many who favor an extraterrestrial explanation claim that aliens physically make the patterns themselves. Still, others believe that it is human, not extraterrestrial, thought and intelligence behind the patterns.

While there are countless theories, humans are the only known, proven cause of crop circles. Their origin remained a mystery until September 1991, when two men confessed that they had created the patterns for decades as a prank to make people think UFOs had landed. They never claimed to have made all the circles, as many were copycat pranks done by others, but their hoax launched the crop circle phenomena. While most crop circles are now attributed to hoaxers, crop circle researchers still search for those that cannot be explained, “genuine crop circles” as they refer to them.  

At Smith & Co Auction & Realty, we can guarantee the purchase of crop circle-free land. Selling everything from farm machinery to 5200+ acre ranches, we are Northwest Oklahoma and Kansas’s choice for all your land auctions and real estate needs without extraterrestrial intrusions.

Contact us at (580)254-3975 to learn more about our auction services!

Unique Items That Sell Well at Auction

selective focus of auctioneer holding gavel and pointing with finger at buyer during auction

It’s fair to assume that common auction items like antiques, cars, artwork, or land will see fast sales at auction, but what about those not-so-common items, the rarities that attract curious eyes and a heaping profit? Items that leave you scratching your head, wondering how people got their hands on these interesting finds. 

Here are a few unique items that guarantee a nice and profitable sale at auction! 


A surprisingly large number of people look for animal skeletons or bones in online auctions to add to their collection of creatures that once roamed the earth. Collect enough individual bones for a species, and you could complete a skeletal puzzle right at home. If you feel a little weary by such a purchase, rest assured that many people use these unique auction items for education and research purposes!

Celebrity Belongings

There is a large market for anything to do with celebrities because of our society’s obsession with the rich and famous. Some of the most sought-after items include locks of celebrity hair, articles of clothing, and other personal belongings. You can even find items that celebrities briefly interacted with, such as bus tickets, hairbrushes, or toenail clippers.


While preserving the body of a dead animal may or may not be something you’re interested in, there’s no denying the high demand for taxidermy pieces in auctions. The people who buy these items look for the most realistic recreations of living wildlife available. Whether you’re looking for a fierce bear or a graceful deer, you can find one that’s preserved forever at auction.

Ancient Alcohol

A rare, well-aged wine, beer, or liquor can go for thousands of dollars at an auction. One source for these beverages is the sea floor — shipwrecks can be a treasure trove of liquid gold, and some alcohol found is still drinkable!

No matter what unique items you choose to sell at auction, Smith & Co Auction & Realty is the place to go. We hold hundreds of auctions a year, from online to in-person, selling everything from land and minerals to personal property. 

Contact us today at (580)254-3975 to inquire about buying or selling some unique and profitable items at auction!  

How to Succeed at Buying Land at an Auction

A land auction offers one of the easiest ways to invest in property. The process is very straightforward, and every potential buyer is placed on a level playing field. Here are a few things to know in order to be successful at your next land auction!

Research and be prepared

Someone Bought Land through an AuctionOften, the team of real estate agents that are running the land auction will gather information about the property and make it available to you prior to the auction. Read up on this extensive summary of the land and plan a visit before the day comes to make your bid.

Have a look around the neighborhood and research the property values of nearby land. This will help you decipher the value of the land you’re looking to buy. It will also help you determine your budget and what you’re willing to spend before attending the auction.

A land auction is beneficial for the buyer and the seller

Going into a land auction, you should know that you really can’t lose. Everyone in attendance has a fair shot of obtaining the land and you will never have to pay more than the land is worth, which protects the buyer’s wallet. If you’re a seller, you can set a reserve price which is a minimum amount unknown to the bidders. This ensures that you do not lose on your investment.

Find a land auction near you

Smith & Co. Auction & Realty deliver 100-125 live auctions a year to Northwest Oklahoma, selling everything from residential real estate to industrial equipment. Browse our list of upcoming auctions of land from 160 to 3100 acres large! Call us at 580-254-3975 today to speak to one of our experts and learn how we can help you set the best price for your land!

A Guide to Live Auction Etiquette

Planning on attending a live auction but unsure of the proper etiquette? Read on for some helpful tips so that you’ll be ready to start bidding!

People putting up bids at an auctionDo: Bid for what you want

Only bid for items you really want to win. Try not to get caught up in the excitement and bid on something you’re not interested in knowing that someone will bid after you; it will only raise the price higher for the people who really want the item. If you respect other bidders, they will be more courteous when you place your bid on your item of interest.

Don’t: Bid just to raise the price

Like stated above, it’s rude and bad etiquette to bid just to raise the price. Bidding to hurt someone else’s bank account will only cause resentment.

Do: Organize and prepare your budget

Know what you are willing to spend and conduct some research before attending the auction. This way you’ll be prepared with money in hand to get a good price on the item you want to bid on. This is especially important when it comes to real estate auctions where money may be due at the time of purchase or within the next few days.

Don’t: Talk badly about items

Often at auctions, sellers are nearby to witness what their items sell for. Don’t be disrespectful by bad mouthing the items.

Smith & Co. Auction & Realty sells everything from farm machinery to 3100-acre ranches. Browse our upcoming auctions or give us a call at 580-254-3975 to learn more!

The Most Expensive MLB Memorabilia Ever Sold at Auction

baseball stadium under roof view with fans

With the weather warming up, it’s time to start playing America’s pastime—baseball. This sport has been reenergized when it comes to the collectible market. Over the past few decades, some incredible pieces of MLB memorabilia have been auctioned off.

Here are a few of the most expensive MLB memorabilia items sold at auction!

Mark McGwire’s 70th Home Run Ball

In the summer of 1998, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were competing to break the single-season home run record of 61 held by Roger Maris. McGwire outlasted Sosa, hitting a then-record 70 home runs. A fan, Phil Ozersky ended up with the 70th home run ball, which he sold at auction through Guernsey’s for $3 million in 1999. Comic book creator Todd McFarlane purchased the ball. The combination of Barry Bonds hitting 73 home runs in 2001 and McGwire admitting to using steroids years later factored into the value of McGwire’s home run ball plummeting to around $250,000-$300,000.

“Laws of Baseball” Document

Daniel Lucius “Doc” Adams wrote a document titled “Laws of Base Ball,” which became the foundation of the American game we know today. The precious document was sold for $3.26 million by SCP Auctions in 2016. According to ESPN, the document was written in 1857 and stipulated that the ball can’t weigh less than 5¾ ounces, and the bat could be of any length but no more than 2½ inches at its widest part. The document also mentioned the game was to use four bases, 30 yards apart, with each base being one square foot.

Babe Ruth’s 1927 World Series Ring

The 1927 World Series championship ring was awarded to Babe Ruth. The ring was engraved “G H Ruth” for his given name of George Herman Ruth. Actor Charlie Sheen acquired the ring in the early 1990s, and it was sold at auction in mid-2017 for almost $2.1 million.  

Lou Gehrig 1937 Yankees Jersey

A Lou Gehrig jersey worn during the 1937 season went for $2.58 million through Heritage Auctions in 2019. The SCG-authenticated gray button-down jersey originally belonged to a family that had received it as a gift from former Yankees general manager George Weiss. Gehrig was the first MLB player ever to have his jersey number retired.

At Smith & Co Auction & Realty, we constantly hold auctions filled with high-value items. Along with our regular land, real estate, and industrial equipment auctions, we often have consignment or estate auctions that include a long list of unique items and sports memorabilia. 

Contact us today at  (580)254-3975 to learn more about our upcoming auctions! 

Why Do Properties Go Up for Auction?

A row of coins on a small house model and a law auction hammer

While it’s true that some homes that go to auction are a result of a foreclosure or bankruptcy, most of the property sold at auction has no financial distress and is direct for sellers who have chosen the auction method. For many years, auction has been a preferred method for selling agricultural and rural properties, estates, and senior transitions. Across the United States, more and more pieces of residential, luxury, commercial, farm and ranch, and investment property is trading at auction.

Here are a few reasons properties are sold at auction and why many buyers prefer purchasing through auction.

Level Playing Field

An auction allows all buyers to participate under the same terms and conditions. No buyer has an advantage over another based upon if they are getting financing, asking for inspections, home warranty, early possession, or any other contingencies. Auction eliminates the closed-door negotiations that can leave some buyers at a disadvantage.


When buying at auction, you know exactly where you stand. You’re the top bidder, or you are not. In markets where sellers are experiencing multiple offers, the buyers are usually left in the dark. When you make an offer on a property in the traditional market, you don’t know how you compare to the other offers on the table, but it is very clear at auction if you are in the lead.

Clearer Understanding of Price

We have all heard the term “market value,” but how do you determine true market value? Is it what the real estate agent says? An appraiser? Tax assessor? Those are all professional estimates and tools to give an approximate value, but true market value is what the public is willing to pay for a property. When marketed effectively and open to all members of the public, an auction is a true form of price discovery. Buyers can feel comfortable they didn’t overpay for a property when they know there are others in the market just one bid away.

At Smith & Co Auction & Realty, we hold over 100 live auctions a year for land, agricultural, business liquidation, residential real estate, and more! We are professionally trained to make your auction the best that it can be, and we even offer online-only auctions

Contact us today at (580)254-3975 to learn more about our auction and real estate services!

Four Benefits of Buying Heavy Equipment at an Auction

Tools and Equipment Auctions in OKPurchasing the right heavy equipment is no small feat. It can be difficult to find the exact equipment you need for an upcoming construction project or farming plan, especially at the time and price tag you want it at. That’s where buying heavy equipment at an auction can come in handy.

Prices that will fit your budget

We know it’s the truth: your project or farm could get by with one or two pieces of heavy equipment, but what it really needs is X, Y, and Z, too. At an auction, you can stretch those equipment expense dollars far beyond what you’d be able to do with any retail or seller. Find equipment at more affordable prices, and be open to bargain, too!

More choices at an equipment auction

One of the best parts of auctioning is that a buyer gets to see every option that’s on the table. With heavy equipment, that means older models, alternative types of equipment, or several items that could get the job done. It’s all about choices—and at auctions, you have plenty of them.

Know your seller at an auction

This might seem simple, but in an age where online sellers can remain anonymous, it’s worth every second of your time. At auctions, you’re dealing with in-person sellers who know this heavy equipment better than anyone—professionals who can tell you its value, its age, and the market price it’s being sold against. This is the sort of information you’ll want to have before making that next heavy equipment purchase.

Heavy equipment on demand

In many instances, you don’t have the days or weeks at your disposal to place an order and hope the heavy equipment comes in on time. However, at an auction, you won’t leave empty-handed—offering buyers more flexibility with their purchases. Don’t waste time any longer!

If you’re on the hunt for tools, heavy equipment and more, Smith & Co. Auction & Realty is on the job. On Saturday, April 28th, we have a live on-site auction with a hefty sale bill of tools, heavy equipment and vehicles ripe for the buy. If you don’t live nearby, online bidding is available. Call us at 580-254-3975 for more information and make sure to check out a list of our upcoming auctions!

Common Myths About Real Estate Auctions Debunked

Arrow with word Fact breaks word Myth.

Real estate auctions are becoming more and more popular because they offer good deals on various properties in a consumer-friendly environment. Whether you’re selling real estate or land at auction, you’re bound to have some preconceived notions about the process.

Here are some of the most popular misconceptions about real estate auctions debunked!

Myth: If you sell a property at auction, you will have to accept a lower price.  

Fact: A professionally marketed and conducted auction places buyers on an equal playing field, and they compete to determine who will be the winner and own the property. This process lets the seller know when to trade the property and saves them the long-term carrying costs they would otherwise have with ownership, including taxes and maintenance.

Myth: Buying a farm or ranch at auction is risky because they are sold “as is.” 

Fact: Purchasing a property at auction typically carries less risk than making an offer on a private offering. At an auction, the contracts are prepared before the bidding begins. Therefore, the only question regarding the negotiation is the bid price. The condition of the property is not hidden from the potential buyers. A professional real estate auction company will utilize disclosure forms and encourage real estate auction sellers to disclose all known defects or issues with the property. 

Myth: You need to find time to attend the auction

Fact: One of the most common misconceptions about auctioning properties is that they all must be sold at a live auction at a particular location. Thanks to modern technology, this isn’t true anymore. Many property auctions happen online, so you can watch the bids go up from the comfort of your living room.

Myth: Selling by auction will be more stressful and expensive

Fact: Selling at auction means you’re more likely to sell your property quickly with a fixed, realistic time frame and swift completion. Selling at auction also encourages competitive bidding and tends to drive up the price of your property!

At Smith & Co Auction & Realty, we believe in the auction process. We have been serving Northwest Oklahoma and surrounding areas for over 30 years selling everything from farm machinery to 5200+ acre ranches. You can trust our professional staff to get the best offers on your property! 

Please browse our website to view our most current auctions and real estate listings, or call us at (580)254-3975 to learn more about our services!