Can you sell that?

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As an auctioneer you come across some pretty great items to sell. Whether it’s a fur coat found in an attic, a taxidermy grizzly bear found in the back of an old barn, or a first nations head dress from the 1800s as an auctioneer you almost need to be a bit of a historian and biologist.

Initially, you may be excited to sell artifacts or a rare exotic taxidermy cat, but then you need to think about how you can sell it legally or even if you’re able to sell it at all.

After attending the Midwest Roundup in Ohio this summer and the Northwest Auctioneers Convention in Washington this fall, both conventions had seminars touching on the idea of what you can and can’t sell in terms of fish and wildlife items as well as rare first nations artifacts.

Angling and hunting are large parts of North American culture, so it’s not difficult to run into auction and estate sales that may include artifacts you can not legally sell for your client. But how do you know?

As Eric Marek from the United States Fish & Wildlife Service mentioned in Washington, these laws and regulations can be very complicated and confusing. Sometimes the best mode of action is to contact the U.S.F.W.S. directly or just tell your client you’re unable to sell the item without the proper documentation. The laws vary from state to state as well, what’s legal to sell in Michigan may not be legal to sell in Wisconsin. It can be a lot of extra research on the auctioneers part, but definitely worth it, especially if caught something something illegal, even without knowing.

Many of these items can be sold, you just need to be sure you have the right documentation and you’re following the correct laws. If you come across any items you may question you can contact your local fish and wildlife specialist as well as go to http://www.fws.gov/

Get to know what you’re selling and where it came from, do your research.