State surplus equipment auction is going online

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  • GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Some of the heavy equipment that is up for auction at White Farm on Clinton Street in Concord on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • New Hampshire State and Federal Surplus Manager Jason Wright marks a windshield on one of the trucks up for auction on Tuesday. The auction will be virtual on Thursday. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • New Hampshire State and Federal Surplus Manager Jason walks back to the main office at White Farm on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. The auction will be virtual this coming Thursday instead of at the facility because of the COVID pandemic. The May auction was canceled. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Some of the heavy equipment that is up for auction at White Farm on Clinton Street.

  • Lee Highway Department employees Peter Hoyt (left) and Warren Hatch inspect lawn mowers for their town on Tuesday ahead of the state auction that will be virtual on Oct. 22. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • The sign outside the Whtie Farm facility for the state auction that will now be a live webcast. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 10/20/2020 4:01:33 PM

Everything else has gone online during the pandemic, so why not the auction of a used front-end loader?

Why not, indeed. The twice-annual sale of used equipment from the state and local governments will take place Thursday in computers rather than at White Farm. It’s a big change for the state but old hat for James St. Jean Auctioneers.

“We have been doing this for years,” said Jay St. Jean. “We have timed auctions, livestream auctions, web auctions. … Different types of assets require different types of auctions.”

Auctions of equipment that is no longer needed by government buildings have happened at the Route 13 site for years, once each in the spring and fall. Thursday’s sale, starting at 9 a.m., was supposed to take place in May but the pandemic put it on hold. The decision was made to try a live-stream auction, with bids placed in real time through a platform called HiBid, as auctioneers do their stuff.

Because this is the state’s first foray online, the sale will only deal with outside equipment, not indoor items like file cabinets, sinks, or computers. Even so, there’s a lot of stuff to unload at the state-owned site.

“We have over 400 items. There are 11 loaders, four graders, a backhoe,” said Jason Wright, manager at the White Farm. “It goes right down to a weedwacker.”

A number of ATVs and other off-road vehicles are available, and Wright predicted they’ll attract a lot of attention in these lockdown days.

“Outdoor recreation is a huge thing this year,” he said.

If the sale goes well, St. Jean said, indoor items could be sold next.

At St. Jean Auctioneers, the pandemic has been a mixed blessing. Physical auctions at their Epping site ended but online sales have boomed.

“Numbers are way up, probably 20% to 25%,” said St. Jean.

He said this is partly a function of people at home and wanting to sell off clutter, but also the fact that people have become more comfortable doing business online in the era of video gatherings.

“Most people do their preview online” even if material is available to be viewed in person, St. Jean noted.

People have been physically previewing equipment at the White Farm in socially distanced visits. The final preview day is Wednesday, Oct. 21.

To see a brochure about material, to the St. Jean Auctioneers site (, click on the word “liquidations” in the red bar at top, then click on “NH State Surplus.” To register for the auction, to bid or just watch, click on the link on the front page of the site.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

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