Winning Bids

Winning Bids: A mountain auctioneer shares stirring stories from the trade
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Pity the fate of the auctioneers, those denizens of untold estate and junk sales and hawkers of things great and small, from the truly precious to the arguably worthless. Their, “hustling ecosystem of local commerce has largely vanished, replaced by the temptations of the internet,” notes now-retired Robert Brunk, founder of Asheville institution Brunk Auctions. Fortunately, that rarified world lives on in Brunk’s new memoir of short, true tales and ruminations, A Question of Value: Stories from the Life of an Auctioneer. 

Brunk surveys a subculture rife with quirky collectors, wizened vendors, charismatic auctioneers, and stories to go with every object. His simple, singlesubject chapter titles—“Doorway,” “Teapot,” “Gold,” etc.—spark poignant inquiries into our desire to acquire things and the complex ways we come to relinquish them. The treasures may come and go, but Brunk’s touching tributes reveal deeper values that remain.

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To purchase Brunk’s new book, visit