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John Nicholls featured at Barrett-Jackson car auctions
Local auctioneer John Nicholls was recently featured on the Speed Channel for his work at the Barrett-Jackson car auctions, where the finest collector cars are sold.
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BY BILL FREEHLING
Four times a year, Fredericksburg-area auctioneer John Nicholls rubs elbows with a wide assortment of celebrities, multimillionaires and other car enthusiasts.
The Spotsylvania County resident, as fans of the Speed Channel may already know, is one of a handful of auctioneers at the well-known Barrett-Jackson car auctions. He has helped sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of some of the world's finest collector cars.
The auctions, which are featured on the automotive-focused Speed Channel, attract an A-list of celebrities including Jay Leno, Alice Cooper, Sylvester Stallone and Reggie Jackson. Nicholls once sold a Duesenberg car for $1.1 million.
That sale was made a few years ago at Barrett-Jackson's annual six-day auction in Scottsdale, Ariz. Three-day events are also held annually in Las Vegas, Palm Beach and Orange County, Calif.
Nicholls recently returned from last month's Las Vegas auction, which generated about $23 million in sales and attracted about 68,000 attendees. It was at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.
Nicholls said the events are grueling, involving long days of work and little time for recreation. But he thoroughly enjoys them and says they help attract new business for his company, Nicholls Auction Marketing Group Inc. He meets many wealthy people at the auctions who could be future clients, and having Barrett-Jackson on his resume helps build credibility.
Nicholls has been around the auction business since he was 5 years old. His father, Charles, founded the company in 1968 and remains actively involved. Throughout his childhood Nicholls helped his father put on auctions, which in the early days were mostly for personal property.
Nicholls joined the company full time about 22 years ago after earning his bachelor's and master's degrees from Bob Jones University. Five years ago he became president. About 95 percent of the company's business now involves real-estate auctions, which are held all over Virginia and beyond.
Nicholls was recruited to work at the sought-after Barrett-Jackson events after winning a worldwide contest for automobile auctioneers in 2003. He hasn't missed an event since starting in 2004.
"I'll be forever grateful for the opportunity," he said. "It's just a great experience."
Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405