Auctioneers hold the flower auction's reins

He exclaims, "Going once, going twice, sold!" And, pointing toward a buyer, he bangs his gavel, sealing the deal.

That is, in essence, still what an auctioneer does. But, it involves so much more. To maximize products' value, auctioneers not only need to know everything about them. In this case, flowers and plants. They must also know the market, buyers, and sellers. And they must be able to anticipate all possible changes.

Auctioneer Edwin Chrispijn, at work.

And what better way to experience this than spending a morning with an auctioneer. Edwin Chrispijn is one of 11 auctioneers at seven flower auctions in Rijnsburg, the Netherlands. He starts his morning by studying a list of products to be auctioned. What is on offer, what stands out, is the order correct? He makes a few notes; call them later for this, point something out to that grower. He then does the same on a tour of the trolleys. Then he climbs into his cubicle and does a test run.

There is a wide assortment of spray roses on offer at this time of year.

The auction begins at 06:00 sharp. On Friday, September 3rd, there were 2,597 trolleys of flowers. That was in the aisles of the Royal FloraHolland Rijnsburg auction location alone. Edwin manned clock one. He auctioned off roses, spray roses, anthuriums, and limoniums.

There were not only buyers sitting in the stands or elsewhere in the building. They were all over the world. You can make a purchase by pressing the button in time. You then indicate the container's number. There was a short delay at around 07:00. And, by 08:00, the deals were all done. On busier days, this, naturally, takes longer.

Rewarding quality
Auctioneers can affect all this in several ways. The order in which products are auctioned is randomly determined. But the auctioneer can call special attention to novelties. Or adjust the clock. For example, a unit can equal one, or five, cents. He also announces particular products names, variety, and lengths. As well as the number of containers. Above all, he must keep calm. It can be noisy and, at times, somewhat emotional. So, he must remain alert and be able to switch gears quickly.

The goal, after all, is to give growers their fair due. Good quality is rewarded. That is, however, not always only for the objective quality. Is the product neatly cut? Does it look good in photos? Are all the accompanying specs correct? The auctioneer can have an impact there too. And good clients can make use of that. That is why, says Edwin, he and his colleagues spend the rest of the day maintaining contacts with growers and buyers. They often go out, have a chat, and share experiences.

Spray roses
Last Friday, the roses reached reasonable prices. According to Edwin, the spray roses, special varieties, and pink and soft shades sold particularly well. German growers often focus on this segment. They specialize in the more exclusive varieties. They are benefitting from that. Prices are high and have been throughout the season. Currently, that is due to factors like the wedding season. Catch-up is being done in that respect. The relatively mild summer has also kept supply well under control. The price for the more common cuts did, eventually, however, fall a little.

Connect to Grow
You are welcome to buy at or supply this auction. Contact Royal FloraHolland's client service on +31 (0) 887 898 989, and ask for an account manager or auctioneer.

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