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September 6

The Auctioneer of Leroy Van Dyke

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Leroy Frank Van Dyke

He is an American country music singer and guitarist, best known for his hits “The Auctioneer” in 1956 and “Walk On By” in 1961.

He was hurled into country music fame in 1956 when he penned “The Auctioneer.” This song was co-written with Buddy Black, which sold over 2.5 million records. This song is about the life of his cousin, Ray Sims. He is National Auctioneers Association Hall of Famer and also a Missourian. Van Dyke had the lead role of a budding country music performer in the 1967 movie What Am I Bid?, in which Sims played himself as an auctioneer.

This song is notable because of its interspersed auction chants. He wrote it in Korea during the Korean War, and first performed it to troops on the same bill as Marilyn Monroe.  After finishing his service, Van Dyke entered the song in a Chicago talent contest. It gained him a record contract with Dot Records. “The Auctioneer” subsequently topped the pop music chart, selling 2.5 million copies.

Here is the music video of the auctioneer.

If you listen closely, it talks about a young boy from Arkansas who would skip school and visit a local auction barn. He became mesmerized by the auction chant and decides to be one too. So, he practiced the chant behind the family barn. Although his parents were not so happy with his career choice, they sent him to an auction school to properly learn the trade and so as not to ruin their family name by poor auctioning skills. In the end, he returns home as a full-fledged auctioneer and becomes the best in the land. In fact, he became so successful that he bought a plane to get around.

Other versions of the song were interpreted by Lynn Anderson,  Steve Goodman, Bert Southwood and another version by a Czech singer, Michal Tu?ný.

I hope you enjoyed The Auctioneer as much as I did. I think that he can really qualify not only as a singer but also a great auctioneer.


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leroy van dyke, the auctioneer


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