The inner-workings of an auction are clear: don't wave and don't nod if you don't want to bid on a piece. If you do, don't get distracted.
The Williamsport American Rescue Workers held its bi-annual auction to raise money on antiques and collectibles that have been donated to the organization during the past six months, said Col. Sam Astin, commanding office and pastor.
The event also provides future auctioneers an opportunity to do what they have been learning. Students of the Harrisburg Area Community College received a chance to try on the headset and auction some of the items.
"You can get a little tired," Astin said. "With the students and a couple of other auctioneers, we each try to take an hour, hour and a half each. It makes for a fun evening because you're not just listening to the same auctioneer."
First-time auctioneer Kim Wyman, of Dillsburg, felt "a little jittery" before she began.
She was most nervous about getting up in front of the crowd, but not so much about the speed which she would have to control the bidding, or the chants, as they're called.
"The speed isn't as important as understanding you," Wyman said.
Also important is knowing how high to start the bidding to encourage bidders.
Astin often started high, dropped the price if no one immediately bid and then continued to increase it until he was past the original bid.
Knowing where to start the bidding comes from knowing what an item is worth. That comes from research, said auctioneer student Joy Gross, of Mechanicsburg.
Gross researches by looking on the Internet, searching eBay Inc. or talking to other auctioneers.
Gross was excited to participate Tuesday night because she wants to do charity and benefit auctions after she completes her 15-week class and passes the state test.
With today's economy, many places need help raising money.
"Auctions are a way to help charities," Gross said.
She spoke with an auctioneer who has flown all over the country to participate in charity auctions.
"That's just cool," she said.
As a retiree, doing charity auctions such like the American Rescue Workers' event gives her a chance to give back to the community.
Gross, along with the other students, also served as runners, modeling the items and handing them to the highest bidder. It sometimes proved to be difficult in the standing-room-only crowd. About 150 people took up every chair and tried not to block the larger furniture items if they had to stand.
"It kind of gets a little crowded in the warehouse," Astin said. "People like to come out and see the merchandise."
The auction is held once in the spring and once in the fall, although sometimes the organization manages to hold three of them.
"We probably work on this three to four months," Astin said. "We wash everything. It gets put on tables (with) tablecloths. It's displayed. Everyone compliments us on the display."
They try to weed out the heavily-damaged items, but everything is sold as is.
"It's a good fundraiser and a fun time for the American Rescue Workers," Astin said.
The items ranged from jewelry, household furnishings, musical instruments and figurines.
The auctions have been going on for about 25 years.
"If anything, it's just grown," Astin said. "It's gotten bigger. The first auction I remember was over in the base of the church building. It maybe had four to five tables. The sale probably lasted two, three hours at the most. Now we have 20 tables of products, plus furniture and clothing. ... The sale can go upwards of five to six hours long."