Bob Severn






After thirty years, the voice that launched a thousand ships-in-a-bottle is still very much in-demand at country auctions across Canada — a combination of live comedy, community get-together and church picnic that just might be the best day anywhere.


Auctioneer school? 

My dad was an auctioneer. Went to Reisch College of Auctioneering in Iowa, same place I went. They teach you how to count in two and a half, five, seven and a half, up to a hundred, five, ten, fifteen, up to a hundred, and then you have to do it backwards, too. And little chants: big brown bear, big brown bug.


I guess the Internet has put a dent in the business.

They’re selling on eBay and they have these online auctions. There’ll always be auctions, but they’re just getting harder to do.


But there’s an experience you’re just not gonna get online.

It’s an event, I’m very humorous, I like to have a lot of fun. If you’re a crusty old bastard, you’re not going to go far.


It’s keeping a tradition alive, is that it?

The wedding, the auction, and the funeral. That’s your three main gatherings, and everybody’s there. You get a well-known guy, they’re all out to see him, it’s a fun day, there’s a lunch booth, we get the church group to do sandwiches and coffee and tea. It’s such fun, I get laughing so much myself sometimes, I damn near got to quit.


This is history in your hands. 

I’ll have old, old pictures of family, but their kids, they don’t want them, they’ll just throw them in the garbage. But I keep them, I find out who they are, where in Dufferin County they’re from, then I give it to the museum and they put the family’s name on it and there you go. History.


So you’re a link in the Dufferin County story.

Oh yeah. They like me over at the museum.