Going, going, gone! Much-loved auctioneer to bring down gavel one last time

  • Manheim’s Andy Conde is due to retire after long career auctioneering
  • Affectionately known as ‘The Gaffer’, he has been a feature of auction halls for decades
  • Conde’s last sale will be on December 21

Time 2:03 pm, December 20, 2023

A much-loved auctioneer is due to bring down his gavel one final time.

Andy ‘The Gaffer’ Conde will oversee his last auction in Manchester on December 21, bringing to a close a long-running career selling cars.

Wrexham-born Conde has been a feature of Manheim auction halls across the UK and Ireland since the early 1990s.

His final sale at Manheim Manchester will be the final chapter in a career that has seen Conde sell an estimated 250,000 cars.

Conde spoke to Car Dealer Live earlier this year for a special series of videos with Manheim Auction Services.

In that video, Conde explained how he started in auctioneering and his passion for the job.

‘My first auction was in 1980 – I was 19 and I’ve loved every minute of the last 43 years!’ he told Car Dealer.

‘I always say that if I were to write a book it would be called “Cows, Cars, Cabinets and Cottages”, because that’s basically all of the things I’ve been fortunate enough to sell!

‘When I was a little lad, I only ever wanted to do two things – to be an auctioneer or a football commentator. My granddad used to take me to a local cattle market and afterwards I would stand up and pretend to be the auctioneer.

‘It’s something that’s in my blood and I always try and portray it as something that I love.’

Manheim Auction Services made the announcement of Conde’s retirement this week on its website.

In it, Conde reflected on some of the more interesting sales over the decades, including one where the top of his gavel flew off the handle mid-sale and hit a customer.

Conde said he will remember most fondly setting up the Auctioneers’ Academy – a training school for would-be callers where many current group auctioneers at Cox Automotive first made their mark.

‘When I started there was no such thing as auctioneer training,’ he said in the Manheim announcement. ‘You were handed a gavel and told to get on with it.

‘A lot of people think the auctioneer’s role is about speed but it isn’t really. It’s about standing up there, having control, being genuine and honest and, of course, comfortable in front of people.

‘It’s about having a presence that encourages people to bid, a bit like your traditional market trader. Having the ability to count backwards and forwards is extremely important, auctioneers learned that in the academy.

‘So is stamina and having a voice that commands attention, one that can easily pick out the most salient details in a lot ensuring that the potential customer is well aware of what they’re buying.’

Conde said that he will now take time to consider his next move, which may include writing his memoirs, consultancy work and volunteering in his local area.

You can watch the chat with Andy Conde filmed earlier this year at the top of this story, and read a wider interview piece here

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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