This is my opinion and mine only .Karin and I ran the MO fur auctions for nine consecutive years. And have sold fur there for twice as long . So I have some insight on this issue.
This is the way I see it. When we ran the auction it was lean times! We had a 2.5% commission. Coons were averaging $5.oo and $6.oo, but we never lost money. We didn’t make much like $1500 profit for all sales per year. Then the price of the rent went up and auctioneers went up so we raised the commission to 3.5%. At the same time the fur market took a upward turn then we started making a little money. Maybe $2000 per sale .But you have to remember the MO TRAPPERS ASSOCIATION had little money in the bank at this time so $6000 or $8000 made was a good part of the yearly income. Then the market went down so we went with a 4.% commission to keep the profit around the same. So the times we ran it you paid between 25cents up to 40 cents on a $10.00 coon.. And we still made money.
My job as a fur auction chairman was to get as many fur buyers there and to get the trappers top dollar for there fur! One attraction to get the larger buyers there was to get the bigger fur producers to come sell their fur at the sale. These fur buyers want large collections of fur that are from certain sections of the country that are of same like. These fur producers usually have good put up, same color ,and hair length. Kind of like a ranch mink all the same. And have bought these collections for years. I received calls before the auction from these bigger buyers to find out if these certain fur producers were going to sell that day and what I thought they had to sell. These buyers were traveling long distances to come to the sale and my goal was to get them there; .And when we got them there they like to spend money. So that benefited the guy with 500 coons and also the guy with 10.
Now that brings us to today. Robbie is in charge now and has done a better job then I could have ever dreamed of. I guess it pays so good he cant quit. LOL. We had a 5% commission and a $5oo.oo cap. Then fur started going way up! Otters were first $130.00 otter well that’s about $6.50 cent commission per otter. Well the bigger producers of otter started selling there otter somewhere else (including me). Some even selling outside the building. Just to avoid the commission. Then for some crazy reason they took the $500.00 cap off.
Then the price of everything else went up (good thing). So now you got $25.00 averages on coon so that's $1.25 a coon. So the bigger producers started calling around to get a price on there stuff before the auction. Truthfully paying over a $1000 to sell my fur there kind of scared me a little with no guarantee id get the same price I had offered me over the phone. No don't feel sorry for me .(I know you don't LOL). But I'm one of several that did the same thing. Remember if these buyers can buy these coons without going to the auction and this trend continues and even snowballs why will they attend our auctions. Believe me they would rather buy at their door then have to compete at the auction.
I know the MTA sale was a good sale this year but it could have been even better if a few more of the major buyers would have showed up. I sold my fur to Groenewold fur and he told me he hated state run fur sales because they pay to much .LOL That was after he paid me.
Yes the fur auction should make a profit and yes we all have a option to sell there or not. Most of the bigger fur producers want to sell there stuff at the MTA auction . But the commission is a little steep. We raised the commission to pay the expenses and keep a profit. Why cant we lower the commission so we can still pay expenses and make a good profit and try and keep all trappers happy. How much money do these auctions have to make,$20,000 $30,000? Remember this money is coming out of the trappers pockets.
This is were it gets hairy. I went to the 2008 spring meeting to get the commission lowered to 2.5% it failed! Then it was voted on a 25cents per hide and I voted yes. Not because I really wanted it .But I thought it was better then 5% at today's market. But I think It needs to be modified some how because selling a 50cent opossum and having to pay 25cents to sell doesn't make any cents. I think Robbie was kind of blind sided by this proposal,( I was). I personally think Robbie should have full control of this issue he is the CHAIRMAN a man of honor he will make it work for all of us trappers.
Tim L Reed