Going, going, gone
WOODSTOCK — More than 100 men and women crowded into the showroom at Pangle’s Auction Center a few miles north of Woodstock to look over the chairs, the tables, the dressers and the mason jars filled with screws and nails.
It was a chilly Wednesday morning, temperatures barely above freezing, but nothing like the weatherman had predicted the night before.
Some men were hopping into the old police cars the county was selling off, others looked at the hand trucks for sale. Then Mark Pangle, with a white handkerchief covering his microphone, began to speak.
“We are not retiring, we’re just not doing auctions at the auction center any longer. We’re still going to be in business … we have rented the building, so those rumors you can put to rest, we’re not sick, we’re not moving to Florida, we’re not bankrupt,” he said. “Is there anything you’d like to add to the rumor mill?”
Going once, going twice and with nothing to add, the last auction at Pangle’s Auction Center was off.
Kenneth Hines came to enjoy his last hotdog at the auction, with extra mustard and diced onions. His buddy Charlie Wills said the auction house isn’t just a place to buy antiques and county cars.
“People go not just to buy, but to socialize,” Wills said. “I’d say about a fourth of the people here won’t even buy anything.”
Wills used to buy coins at auction, Mercury dimes and silver pieces, but he’s selling them now. Having visited Pangle’s since it opened its doors nearly 50 years ago, Wills said there’s a strategy to going home with a prized piece.
“You need to know what you’re bidding for,” Wills said. “You got to know what it’s worth and you got to know where you’ll stop … sometimes people who don’t like each other will start a bidding war if you don’t watch out.”
Archie Mantz used to work at Pangle’s, setting up the merchandise. A quiet man, Mantz waits patiently to raise his arm for a bid, buying a green loveseat, a few chairs and some tables. As Mark Pangle starts the bid, Mantz said he “will miss this place.”
“It’s a good place to see people you might not always see but once a month,” Mantz said. “It’s as much a gathering place as it is good service for people trying to buy something nice.”
Robert “Tip” Pangle got in the auction business back in the 1960s, after serving as a deputy for the county. Wearing a black leather jacket and a baseball hat, Tip said going into business was part of a family tradition.
“My grandfather was an auctioneer, but he died before I was born,” Pangle said. “I heard a lot about him, so I decided to give it a try.”
So Pangle bought the site of the auction center, which was once a livestock market, and started gradually adding on to it, expanding it to its present size. He said while the market has changed over the years, with competition from the Internet, auctions are still “a good place to get your news.”
“Between this or going to barber shop, you hear what’s going on in the county,” Pangle said. “People come down, have lunch, catch up and visit.”
Pangle said the largest auction he held was 12 years ago, with 800 people in attendance.
“Unfortunately, bad times came along,” Pangle said. “The economy really affected the real estate auctions, because the banks are pretty tight with the loans … personal property is what it is and we’ve sold a lot through the years.”
Pangle said, “there’s a time for everything” and after 50 years, there won’t be auctions at the center.
“We’ve had customers, good sellers through the years, but we’re just ready to do something different,” Pangle said. “We’re going to keep doing estate and real estate auctions, but we’re not doing this anymore.”
When asked what he’ll do now to pass the time, Kenneth Hines said he’d find something else. Maybe something with hot dogs for sale.
Pangle Real Estate is located at 933 South Main Street in Woodstock. The auction center, which will soon be home to a fire restoration business, is located at 23297 Old Valley Pike.
Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org