John Pye Auctions Weekly Story – ‘One-Eyed Neddy’
With so many years of auctioneering under my belt, I am highly skilled at spotting a rogue trader. Sometimes, though, the odd one has slipped under my radar, leaving me with a problem on my hands.
One such day was in the 1970s at the popular Nottingham horse sales that I was renowned for conducting with fun and style. A seller came to me with a horse he had entered for the usual £5 fee, but he pointed out that it had injured its left eye the previous day in an accident.
The eye was completely shrouded in the black ointment used by vets as an antiseptic treatment to help cure injuries and other conditions. He told me it had caught its eye on a doorlatch when he was about to take it out for a ride. The man said he had covered the eye up with the tar because he hadn’t wanted to let me down.
The only proviso was that he would have to drop the reserve price on the animal which had stood at 800 guineas. Of course I took all this in as gospel and went ahead and sold the horse which made around 600 guineas. We paid him out, off he went and that was that.
Next day we had a call from a vet and had to go to a place at Bingham where the buyer lived. The vet asked me if I had sold the horse the previous day with an eye missing and I agreed I had done so. Well then the vet shrugged his shoulders and told me that he had a bit of shock for me because the horse had never had a left eye. I had been completely duped by the seller.
Anyway, safe to say, we gave the buyer his money back and we took the horse and blew some more money on it to sort it out. That was one in the eye for me, so to speak, but a lesson I have never forgotten!
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