Hinson leaves mark on auctions, county
Ted Hinson has left the auction house for the “highest” bidder.
Hinson, who for nearly 60 years was a professional auctioneer, died Friday at the age of 76 following a period of declining health.
The always-grinning guy with a gavel received his auctioneering degree in 1962 from Reppert Auction School in Decatur, Ind.
But, according to Jeffrey Hinson, his dad began auctioneering long before that.
A young Hinson would auction items such as candy to his friends at school, or practice to a “live” audience of pine trees behind the barn while he milked cows, his son said.
Ted Hinson became interested in auctioneering by attending livestock auctions with several local residents.
“That’s where he got his fascination,” said Jeff Hinson, who continues to operate the business, Hinson’s Auction, with his brother Eric, mom Janis and other family members.
He began auctioneering for Clifford Huneycutt’s Auction Service in Stanfield. Hinson bought him out after about six months and continued in Stanfield for four years. When he began he had a few cement blocks and board across them for seats, a $10 refrigerator and a small cash register.
After a 10-year run of operation in Stanfield, Oakboro and Red Cross, Hinson’s Auction made the move to its current location in Big Lick in 1976.
One of his early auctions was for the estate of “Frocky” Jack Morgan — a memorable one for Hinson to say the least.
An estimated 5,000 people showed up for this auction in the Brief area of Union County. Most of the attendees were simply curious as to the items the man known for wearing a dress had collected throughout his life.
“They walked for miles,” Ted Hinson recalled in a 2006 interview with The Stanly News & Press.
Though he conducted sales in California and Texas, Hinson spent much of his time buying up and down the eastern half of the U.S. He found most of his buys in Pennsylvania, where he had been going since 1966.
“I went about every week for about 28 years,” Hinson told The SNAP in 2006.
Pennsylvania is such a great place to find collectibles, he said, because the North was wealthier, allowing individuals to own more.
The Oak Bed
There are certain items Hinson hunted to put in his personal collection. One such item was a nearly 450-year-old bed.
The oak bed, with solid wooden carved canopy, contained more than 120 carvings, including the life of Christ on the footboard.
Made by the sculptor Van Inktoudt, the bed dates to 1563. It was brought to the U.S. aboard the S.S. Germanic by a prominent New York society woman in 1882.
The body and posts of the bed contain compartments to store jewels, money and any other valuables.
Hinson tried to purchase this item for several years, but the owner would not sell it. However, one time the owner asked Hinson for a loan and put up the bed as collateral. The owner could not pay back the loan, so the bed ended up in Hinson’s collection.
He Sold Everything
Though he had sold items in person and online, Hinson said in the 2006 interview the electricity and excitement of a live auction can’t be beat.
From dogs to cigarettes to land to a well drilling machine which brought $400,000, Hinson sold just about everything.
“In my 43 years I’ve sold everything under the sun, just not the sun,” Hinson said. “I’ve sold it all.”
Ted had slowed down over the last 10 years, Jeff said, but he still attended as many auctions as he could and participated when possible.
Auctioneers often have a following, and some of Ted’s fans reached out on Facebook to talk about him.
“My parents were at the auctions every week in the 70s,” wrote Dee Dee Crump Reese, a former French teacher at West Stanly High School. “They lived in High Point, but went to Oakboro every week. My mother collected Depression glass. She ended up with over 4,000 pieces, much of it from the auction. We always enjoyed it.”
After auctioneering for several decades, Ted branched out near the turn of the century. Though auctions were still the main focus of the family business, he began promoting an antique festival, tractor pulls, lumberjack contests and other events.
“The grounds just looked so suitable. It just looked like the perfect situation for a festival,” said Hinson, recalling preparation for the first festival in an interview in 2000.
Hinson also rented out his Big Lick Festival Park for the Big Lick Bluegrass Festival, which without the COVID-19 pandemic would have celebrated its 17th edition this year.
“In 2004, Ted welcomed my idea of bringing a bluegrass festival to Big Lick,” said Jeff Branch, promoter of the festival. “The headliner that year was Rhonda Vincent, who is the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Ted’s favorite group was Goldwing Express from Branson, Mo. because they cut up like Ted. Ted would get out and dance with the fans and on stage with the bands. Ted always had fun and he loved the people that came to the festival and they loved him. Ted was an entertainer himself and enjoyed life to the fullest.
“Every year people would ask about Ted and they knew when that John Deere Gator was on premises, Ted was driving it.”
To help with the next generations of auctioneers, Hinson and his family lent the use of his facilities to Stanly Community College’s Carolina Auction Academy. Students would come to the auction house each course to show the skills they learned by auctioning off items to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
“When Carolina Auction Academy opened in 2005, Ted Hinson was one of our biggest fans/promoters,” Betty O’Neal, a representative for the academy, said. “He loved the auction industry and was proud to encourage folks to come to auction school. In fact he sent his son, Jeffery, to the program. Ted offered his barn (and family) to host the student auction each semester.
“Over the years we have worked with Ted and his family in many areas of the auction business and developed a great appreciation for them. I can see that plaid shirt and hear him say, ‘come on Betty, come on’ as he started to share a story, plan, direction of starting an auction. He will be missed but left many fond memories.”
In a 2012 interview with The Stanly News & Press, Hinson talked about the academy.
“I feel great to be able to help someone, especially helping young people who want to be auctioneers. It does me good to see them want to pursue that course,” Hinson said.
At that time, Hinson estimated he had performed more than 5,000 auctions. He warned the students that it was not an easy profession.
“If they are looking for that easy route, no, no, not there,” Hinson said. “The auction school I went to, as you went up the little drive where the school was, at the sharp curve, eye level, was the sign that’s been in my mind ever since I read it for the first time: ‘You can if you will.’ If a person is making up their mind to be determined to be an auctioneer, [that] is the one that will make it. They’ve got to have that willpower and be determined.”
B.J. Drye is general manager and editor of The Stanly News & Press. Call 704-982-2123, or follow bjdrye1 on Twitter.
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