Norman L. Ford - Founder of Ford & Ford Auctioneers, Inc.
Norm would always reply when asked, "I'M STILL in the auction business because I still love it!" And with over 50 years of experience as a full time professional auctioneer, it showed. He became an auctioneer in 1971 and subsequently learned every phase of the business.
Norm learned about art glass, fine art & antique furniture from the late Dr. Deems of Lincoln, Nebraska. Sensing a need in the Real Estate market, he studied and became a licensed Real Estate Salesperson. He continued his studies and in 1974, earned his Broker's License from the State of Nebraska. "Purchasing a house at auction isn't that different from buying or selling a property by other means" he said. Probably the most significant difference is in financing. Norm loved to sell Real Estate at auction--from Farm ground, Houses, Acreages and Businesses. In 2006 alone, Ford & Ford Auctioneers sold Farm Ground from the Missouri River to the Colorado border. Ford & Ford, Inc. even sold a marina & adjacent farm land near Blair, Nebraska on the Missouri river. Over the years, they have sold homes & acreages in every quadrant of Lincoln.
In 1983, Norm and two other appraisers were hired by the Warp family, founders and owners of Pioneer Village, in Minden, NE., to appraise every item and put a "price" on the priceless collection. Very rare items from Buffalo Bill's old saddle, an authentic Conestoga wagon circa 1850, an 1867 model horse-drawn streetcar, President Grover Cleveland's huge roll-top desk, a World War I era 1917 Jenny-JN4 airplane, the oldest steam powered merry-go-round in the United States, America's first jet airplane and locomotives. Also appraised were 3,000+ musical instruments, 500+ pieces of antique furniture, 2,600+ books, 1,600+ antique bottles, 300+ prints and paintings, 1,800+ hand tools, pioneer farm implements, and so much more. Norm was always more than happy to visit about the multitudes of categories of items that were appraised. Many would feel overwhelmed by such a daunting task, buy Norm eagerly tackled the job compelled by his interest in the history behind each item.
In 1988, Norm was delighted to make his son, Greg Ford, a partner in his business. Norm has said, "Greg has been a huge addition to our business, and the reason that it has been able to grow and change. He was very proud when told “Greg is the best auctioneer around!" Norm continued to be proud, knowing that Greg wanted to work with him and to also follow in his grandfather’s (Ed Ficke) footsteps…in the auction profession. With differing areas of interest, they complimented each other very well.
In 1994, Ford and Ford Auctioneers had an auction in Milligan, NE and sold some wonderfully rare and old autos. They sold a 1903 Curved Dash Oldsmobile, a 1914 Locomobile Model 48 Roadster and other early century models that hadn't "seen the light of day" for decades. Bidders came from at least 26 states for a chance to buy vehicles that many bidders had never seen in their original state, if at all. One bidder mentioned he had pulled a trailer all the way from Tennessee and bought only a Studebaker chassis. He said the prices were out of his range, but he enjoyed the trip. Another "southern gentleman" from South Carolina was driven to the sale by his grandson. He simply wanted to view the old cars but also educate his grandson about the era of vehicles and hadn't intended to buy anything. Old steam engine tractors, a Wagner motorcycle, early farm machinery, antique pedal cars and one day spent just selling antique car parts were just a sampling of the multiple day auction. A rare Redwing Jug was sold at this sale for $12,200. Only three were ever made and one was displayed at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933.
Norm had said that his era really loved cars! It comes quite natural then, for his love of automobiles and antique cars to carry over into his business. He had knowledge about Models A's, Model T's, old roadsters, touring, center-door sedans and roaster pickups but his era drove great cars like the Corvettes, Thunderbirds and muscle cars.
Norm was always an outdoors man, specifically fishing and hunting. He had a huge knowledge of firearms and ammo. He always supported the protection of Farm Land (CRP), bird and animal populations and habitat. Norm promoted the knowledge and safety of firearms as well as hunting and boating safety. He spent over 40 years conducting benefit auctions to raise money for Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, and the Turkey Federation.
From the very beginning, Norm always knew that honesty, knowledge, expertise and being a "people friendly" person, is what would make a successful auction team. VALUES he always adhered to were:
* "Stay honest! Honesty creates credibility, both with the sellers and buyers."
* "Do your homework! Knowledge of the product you are selling and its value are very essential."
* "Operate ethically! Do not play games the buyers or sellers. Be above board. Don't deviate."
These are tenets that passed on to his son and our very experienced support staff, all of whom have been with us for many years. Their knowledge, trustworthiness and honesty is invaluable!
What he was most proud of in building this business is that we've made the customer happy. We want to treat you like we want to be treated by others.