The story of High Country Auctions began a long time ago when Erhard Lortscher (or ‘Tex’, as he is known to just about everyone in the Columbia Valley) lived in Brockville, Ontario and owned a fleet of coffee trucks which served the local construction sites, special events and also auctions.
Tex says, “I sort of slid into the auction business sideways!” He frequently set up his truck at local auctions and got to know the auctioneers pretty well. Before he knew it, the auctioneers were handing him the mike and letting him auction, and thus began a decades-long love of the business.
In 1981, Tex attended the Western College of Auctioneering in Billings, Montana. Then, after becoming licensed in Alberta, he had a regular bi-weekly auction in Canmore for several years in the 80’s and has done hundreds of auctions since then.
He came to the Columbia Valley to open up a coffee shop in Invermere in 2002. Tex’s Coffee Works quickly became a favorite with hundreds of locals and visitors. Each of his regulars had a personalized coffee mug hanging from a peg on the wall and Tex’s scrumptious homemade soups, plus some of the best coffee for miles around, were legendary.
Eventually he sold the coffee shop and concentrated on his tent and party rental business, all the while doing auctions on the side. Now the rental business has also been sold and the future focus is on auctioneering.
Tex has done countless charity auctions and a number of commercial auctions since his arrival in the Columbia Valley. High Country Auctions does farm and ranch, real estate, consignment, liquidation, bankruptcy, antiques and household auctions as well as personal property appraisals.
Tex says that the most popular are farm auctions because they are usually community events where sometimes up to 450 or more folks come to bid on the items for sale, and neighbors get caught up on the latest gossip. Cars can be parked for a couple of miles up and down the highway at a farm auction.
High Country Auctions handles all aspects of an auction from the initial appraisal through putting everything together, handling the advertising, conducting the actual sale and cashiering. Tex is also a trained and experienced personal property appraiser for estates, buying and selling, liquidating, bankruptcies, asset disposal, insurance claims and other legal considerations.
To help make your auction experience more enjoyable, Tex advises that there are a few things to remember:
- Before you go to an auction, do your homework! Know what it is that you want to buy and get some idea of the value of the items.
- There is usually a preview before the actual auction begins and this is the time to closely examine the items that interest you for workmanship, any damage, etc.
- You must register before a sale. You will receive a bidder number and be required to sign an agreement to state that you understand the terms and conditions of the sale.
- At the same time, inquire as to what methods of payment are accepted at the end of the sale. You don’t want any surprises when you go to pay for your items.
- Decide on the maximum amount you are willing to spend on an item and then stick to it. Remember there are taxes and fees that will be added onto the price you will be paying.
Whether you attend a High Country auction to find a particular treasure at an affordable price or just for the social value, you will find it a highly entertaining, exciting, rewarding, surprising and sometimes even hair-raising event. If you aren’t already hooked, watch out!