A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 28, 2016
“It only takes two to make an auction” (auction adage)

It takes two to tango, and it is said that it takes two to make an auction. It’s not known where the auction saying began.

“It takes two bids to make an auction sale” was cited in a 1912 newspaper. “Two bids make an auction” was cited in 1932. “Don’t ever forget only two people make an auction” was cited in 1979. “It takes two to make an auction” was cited in 1983.

“It only takes one to make a sale and two to make an auction” was posted on Twitter on August 25, 2016.


8 March 1912, The Tiller and Toiler (Larned, KS), “Only One Horse Was Sold,” pg. 5, col. 4:
Only one bid, of $1,000, was received on the threshing outfit, and as it takes two bids to make an auction sale the machinery was not sold.

21 August 1932, Boston (MA) Sunday Globe, “Don’t raise your eyebrows during an auction sale” by Joseph Dinneen, pg. B3, col. 4:
Two bids make an auction, and no matter what you think, it doesn’t hurt the auctioneer’s feelings a bit to see articles passing under his hammer which are worth 10 times the bid he receives for them.

9 March 1970, The Morning Herald (Hagerstown, MD), “Chambersburg Reacts Cautiously To Its First Art Auction” by Wayne A. Bromfield, pg. 13, col. 5:
The ground rules were simple:

“It takes two bids to make an auction.”

24 March 1979, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Auctions: Going, going, gone—right down to the final spoke” by Dick Pothier, pg. 11-A, col. 5:
“Don’t ever forget only two people make an auction...you only need two people to make the price go up—fast.”
(Ikram Choudhri, owner of an art gallery.—ed.)

4 September 1983, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), “What am I bid for Sotheby Parke Bernet?” by Lita Solia Cohen, pg. T8, col. 1:
It takes two to make an auction and Sotheby’s John Marion is a pro at finding bidders.

Google Books
German Expressionist prints from the Ruth and Jacob Kainen Collection:
An Exhibition

By Andrew Robison and Jacob Kainen
Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art
1985
Pg. 22:
Of course, had we bid on the Heckel, the price might have escalated; as the old saying goes, “It takes only two to make an auction.”

Google News Archive
30 March 1994, Southeast Missourian (Cape Girardeau, MO), “Man’s hobby becomes a unique museum” by BIll Heitland, pg. 2A, col. 5:
Of course, it takes two to make an auction.

Google Groups: comp.sys.ibm.ps2.hardware
my god...has he no shame?
Tony Ingenoso
1/24/02
All it takes is two to make an auction

Google Groups: alt.autos.studebaker
Coming soon O.T.
studegary
10/8/02
(...)
It only takes two to make an auction.

Twitter
InvestorsHub
‏@IHub_StockPosts
$ASAP : It takes two to make an auction. If what ever, is the only offer, its a damn good play on their part. Now if t http://bit.ly/hEs3Fa
4:28 PM - 10 Dec 2010

Google Books
The Fool Who Invented Kissing:
Shorties by Long

By Doug Long
British Columbia, Canada: BizNet Communications
2012
Pg. ?:
After he third lot went for $2,00, I yelled, “Whoa! That’s way too cheap!”

“Takes two to make an auction,” sneered the auctioneer.

Twitter
Irene Goodman
‏@igagency
It only takes one to make a sale and two to make an auction.
4:08 PM - 25 Aug 2016

Crested Butte (CO) News
Plute trophy elk sells at auction but will remain at CB Visitor’s Center
September 28, 2016
By Mark Reaman
(...)
“There’s an old saying in the auctioneer business that it only takes two to make an auction, and that’s what we had.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Wednesday, September 28, 2016 • Permalink