Auction Excitement! The Priority Auction, 2012
Las Vegas has colored lights everywhere. Earlier today, previewing the alpacas to be auctioned also reveals every color that alpacas may show. White, black, grey, “rose” grey and every shade of brown. This is color that goes through the fiber, to the core, and is a natural, dye-free color that won’t fade. There is no color that is “better” and it is the other fiber characteristics, traits that breeders want in their programs, really drive these auctions. Good alpaca fiber is smooth, cool, bouncy, and shines beautifully. Alpaca fiber is refreshingly “non-scratchy”. This is science, not just opinion. The electron microscope shows why alpaca fiber feels good close to the skin; the hair cells are layered on the surface of the hair shaft and there are no jagged edges as are seen in the hair of sheep, and humans for that matter. Furthermore, the alpaca fibers are tiny in diameter, only 15-25 microns, as opposed to most wool which is 35-50 microns, and human hair which is 50-70 microns. This makes a fiber so soft that people gasp the first time the feel it. These auction alpacas are packing 7-10 pounds of fiber each.
Wow! These alpacas are selling for high-four figures! Now I am really optimistic! It’s noisy with auctioneers chattering, spotters barking bids, and the phones ringing. Of course, any of these particular alpacas could be a champion. There are a lot of excellent alpacas back home in Texas that are much, much less expensive. Many great fleeces are found on alpacas that are otherwise not put in shows because of relatively small flaws, like a white spot on the nose of a black alpaca. That does not hurt the fleece but that little spot keeps them out of the show ring.
We’re up! Here we go. First bid immediately blew past our minimum price. Cool! C’mon, c’mon! Up we go some more. Ok, now we’re stalled, but the auctioneer is telling the crowd about her show wins. Maybe I should have worn an Elvis costume. Heart thumping, bid, counterbid, another counterbid. Good, good, keep it up! Sweaty palms. The bidders are talking on the cell phone, probably to their accountants. Great, green light, a higher bid still! But table 12, not to be beat, closes the deal at three times our minimum. That’s it, all done, sold! Yeehaw, I love Las Vegas!