Jack Robillard

Auctioneering the ‘second oldest profession’

August 18, 2011 // 0 Comments

Resident describes advantages, history of service  by BETH ALTENA Auctioneer and Rockford resident Jack Robillard can talk all day about the history and value of a Chippendale chest, but it is his fast talking that is his profession. An airline pilot first, Robillard was restless during the days between flights and heard about the Missouri Auction School. He had attended only a few days when he was mistaken for a seasoned professional in the field. Turns out he is a natural fast talker. Now Robillard has been an auctioneer for over 30 years mostly in the eastern side of the country, and has recently returned to his wife’s native Rockford. She long wanted to return to this town, where her family ties are and many people knew her mom Corinne from Corinne’s Beauty Salon, operated out of a residence on Fremont Street. Robillard’s years in his job have given him countless stories, including one that involves a murder, an attic, and a secret kept through two generations. Robillard called auctioneering the “second oldest profession.” The other isn’t legal in Michigan, although it is in Nevada. He said back in the times of the Roman Empire, auctions were used when people owed money. Since the age of computers and video technology—both of which Robillard uses in his business—the science of auctioneering has changed, but the basic concept remains the same. “One call sells it all,” Robillard said of his job. Out east, Robillard said, people often bring auction items to his warehouse and one item or an entire estate can be auctioned. Here in Michigan, that style of auctioneering is less typical and people are more likely to auction an estate, including the home itself, on site. A good auctioneer knows what he or she is selling, and Robillard has researched extensively and is qualified as a court appraiser. He is called in when someone is being sued for misrepresenting the value of an item. “People don’t realize when you look at a piece of furniture, it tells a story,” he noted. Being able to identify the age of an item, as well as where and by whom it was made takes into account countless details. A piece of furniture made by a certain shop can […]