Finding Her Calling
Madison auctioneer Minor
inducted into Hall of Fame
She is a trailblazer for women
in the art of auctioneering
(December 2014) – Third-generation auctioneer Sara Minor of Madison, Ind., is reaping the rewards of her efforts and skills, multiplied by those of her father, Cecil Meier, and grandfather, Henry Meier.
On Oct. 31, Minor was inducted into the Indiana Auctioneers Hall of Fame at the Indiana Auctioneers Association convention in Indianapolis. She became the first Woman to receive that honor in the association’s 60 years.
Photo by Lisa Newlin
Sara Minor comes
from a family of auctioneers, following in the footsteps of her father and grandfather.
“Dad left a legacy that I was extremely proud to be a part of,” Minor said. “He went down through history in this area being thought of as an honest auctioneer, and that’s what I want. I want to be respected as an auctioneer. Yes I’m a woman, but I want to be respected first as an auctioneer that one can put their trust in with their life’s possessions that they have to sell or disperse. That’s important to me.”
Minor started auctioneering in 1986, two years after her father died. She had grown-up helping him at his auctions all through the 1950s and ’60s, doing things like working the ring, setting auctions up, and helping with advertising.
Henry Meier owned a grocery store on Jefferson Street in Madison. He also was an auctioneer. Cecil Meier, at age 18, helped him at a three-day auction on Jefferson Street, selling out Fortner’s Grocery Store, either in the late 1920s or early ’30s. Minor worked with her father helping him set up auctions and write advertising. She also worked as a ring person. So between the three generations, the Meier family has more than 100 years of activity in the Madison area.
Minor says that she had never felt that auctioneering was something she wanted to do professionally until two years after her father’s death.
In the early 1980s, Minor conducted an auction for the volunteer fire department in Deputy, Ind., where goose bumps came over her when she began bid calling. “You can’t tell me that my dad didn’t bless me. So I went home that day and told my mom that I wanted an auctioneer’s license. So then, I just did it.”
After that fateful auction, she obtained a book from the Missouri Auction School that had more than 300 multiple choice questions in it, and she studied. Later, she contacted the State of Indiana, took her exam, passed it and got her license.
“Sara works very diligently, and when she has a task, nothing stops her from getting completed in a timely manner,” said Jim Littlejohn of Auburn, Ind. He is an auctioneer and fellow IAA Hall of Fame inductee. “She is very deserving of the award that she received. I’m glad it was her turn.”
Dennis Jack-son, an Indiana-polis area auctioneer, said, “Sara has been one of the most dedicated members of the Indiana Auctio-neer’s Associa-tion for well over 40 years. Not only was she the first woman inducted into it, she earned that induction for all her dedication and work. She never missed a meeting that she needed to be at, and she has always had a great interest in making sure that auctioneers are educated properly. She has been instrumental in providing education throughout the state and making sure that it was available to all.”
This is not surprising because Minor auctioneered and taught at the same time – up until about 10 years ago. She is a retired elementary music teacher and for 42 years taught at Bradie Shrum Elementary School in Salem, Ind. She was honored by the Indiana Elementary Music Teachers as Teacher of the Year in 1994-95 and was honored as Washington County Teacher of the Year in 2004-05.
As for auctioneering, Minor grew up with it and loved it, and still enjoys doing it. When her father was an auctioneer Minor states that there was a feeling of competition so tight that you didn’t share anything with anybody. She contrasted that feeling with how the auctioneers network today, especially the members of the Auctioneer’s Association and National Auctioneer’s. “The IAA is a family of auctioneers that support each other in business, and in time of need,” Minor says. Members convey collective knowledge to the younger auctioneers in order to prepare them.
In 2011, she was elected the IAA’s first female president. At 73, she said she is excited to be a pioneer, having been around when the National Auctioneer’s Association wanted to split into two divisions for championship bid calling when they had always been together. Minor opposed this move. She served two terms before going up through the ranks of the organization.
Minor tried about three times to run for the board for the State of Indiana. They had never before had a woman director. Several of the directors on the board supported Minor and encouraged her to keep trying, which she did, and succeeded.
Since she was president, there has been one other female president of the association and several other women who have served on the board. Minor proudly says, “They called me the trailblazer. I opened the way.”
Minor has received other awards over the years, including the Women’s Finalist at the National Auctioneer’s Association. She has also been a finalist in both the national and state level Bid Calling Championships.
Minor and her husband, Kenny, opened Minor Auction Service Inc. at 3140 Clifty Dr. on the Madison hilltop. Kenny recently died, so the building is now for sale, but not the business. Minor says that she will just do like all the other auctioneers do. “If somebody wants an auction indoors, not onsite, we will rent the (Jefferson County) fairgrounds or rent another facility where they do auctions.
“I’ve always been a very busy woman. I enjoyed teaching. I enjoy auctioneering. I go in and give 100 percent to everything and that’s what I want to do. I plan on staying very active in auctioneering,” she said. “I would like to do some contract auctioneering, which means that I would travel around the state or wherever and help other auctioneers, either on the block selling, or working the ring.”
Minor is a member of the Certified Auctioneers Institute and is a Certified Personal Property Appraisal specializing in high-end antiques, art estates and real estate.
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