staff are also pickers, spending $50,000 to $60,000 a month on merchandise that is then channeled through Estate Road Show.
"We go out and find items," he said.
Social media plays a unique role as Whelchel offers collectors around the world a say in what he purchases. "We broadcast on Facebook in real time. People get to see where it came from." Facebook users can respond to a post, urging Whelchel to pick up an item and put it in an Estate Road Show auction. Video of picking trips has also been uploaded to YouTube.
While growth is expected at Estate Road Show, Whelchel doesn't know what form it will take.
"We are open to other auctioneers who have an interest in converting some or all of their operations to this platform," he noted. "But we will be very picky because if they do things incorrectly, it could upset our connection to eBay."
He also said Estate Road Show might continue on its own, expanding its acquisition of merchandise and looking to attract large estates. Either way, he wants people focused on the company.
"In this world it's the eyeballs. Look at Facebook. Look at the social network. It's about the eyeballs. If you have the eyeballs, you're on the top of the food chain. If I can take a widget and sell it for more because I have the eyeballs, I'm going to be moving up the ladder because I can reach more people. You can't just say I'm online; that's nothing. If you're online and have a million people behind you, that's something."
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This crystal Art Deco figural cologne bottle in the shape of a Doberman was picked for $40 at a high-end estate auction and resold for $785 through Estate Road Show. Snipe bidding on eBay powered the price above bidding on the auction floor in Killen, Ala. "In this case, eBay won this dog, but [it] was pushed by our live floor bidders," noted Michael Whelchel.