Auctioneer Ken Lindsay's passion for selling began at age 12 when he sold his collection of baseball memorabilia, mostly vintage baseball cards like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb.
At age 14, he proved the skeptics wrong and became the youngest sports convention promoter in the United States who spearheaded memorabilia dealers from across the country and top professional athletes for public appearances that often times attracted thousands of attendees to his well publicized events. By 17, he conducted his first auction for a nonprofit organization.
"I credit my early entrepreneurial skills to my business minded ancestors. My early and ongoing success in business seems to come naturally," the 37-year-old Marion Township man said. "I wanted to buy more expensive stuff, and the only way to do that was to make myself a dealer and deal and trade... I've been intrigued by the auction process as to how quickly and efficiently assets sold. I love what I do. It's hard work, but it looks easy... The most gratifying part of the business is when a customer stands there and is shaking your hand."
Lindsay, chief executive officer of American Eagle Auction & Appraisal Co. based in Livonia, has had a successful career based on the accolades he's received, including completing a three-year executive program and earning the National Auctioneers Association Education Institute's honored Certified Auctioneers Institute designation, something less than one percent worldwide achieve.
The designation is equivalent to a doctorate in the auction profession and is the most respected education's program in the country for auctioneers. The program is an executive developmental program offering coursework in management skills, business ethics, finance, marketing and other areas, and is held at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
"No two auctions are the same," Lindsay said. "Each has its own unique challenges to overcome in order to produce a successful event," he said.
Lindsay grew up in Howell and attended Howell High School for less than a year before his parents relocated to Livonia. He graduated from Livonia Stevenson High School and was top of his class at Continental School of Auctioneering in Mankato, Minnesota, where he earned three certifications as a professional auctioneer, real estate auction specialist and personal property appraiser.
Lindsay also is an author, having written numerous articles on a variety of collecting subjects including investigative reports in the field of selling trends and is a monthly columnist for the National Auctioneers Association's Auction World publication. He also was appointed to write a regular column for the Michigan State Auctioneers Association's quarterly publication, The Gavel, along with other auction related publications.
Lindsay has organized and promoted 20 successful major trade conventions in addition to exhibiting at about 250 sports memorabilia conventions throughout the Midwest since 1985.
He has conducted more than 2,500 live, silent and Internet auctions. His auction team was selected to conduct the live auction for the prestigious Michigan Big Game Hunters Association annual banquet in April 2000 near Detroit.
"After countless hours of a well-structured marketing and auction plan, the MBGHA was overwhelmed to report the finest and most successful profitable auction in the association's 16 year history," he wrote on his web page.
Lindsay also was nominated to the Presidential Advisory Committee by National Auctioneers Association President William Sheridan.
In January 2006, Lindsay was appointed to the Michigan State Auctioneers Association newsletter and public relations committee and was later elected to serve on the Michigan State Auctioneers Association Board of Directors. Lindsay was named the chairman of the public promotions plan and has contributed to nonprofit fundraising activities for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Rick Larimore Memorial and the Michigan Big Game Hunters Association, among others.
"When my friends were playing baseball pretending to be Mickey Mantle, I was on the phone making deals with Mickey Mantle," he laughs. "I was a born entrepreneur."