Meet (and Hear) the Nation’s Top Female Auctioneer

For Coppell’s Wendy Lambert, it’s the family business.

You won the National Auctioneers Association competition in 2014. How did you get started in the business?

I met a very handsome young auctioneer about 22 years ago and was very interested in him and, of course, interested in what he did. We got married, and we’ve made our living in the auction business.

What did you do before getting into the auctioneering business?

I was a high school teacher for about seven years, and I was a flight attendant for Southwest. 

That’s a lot of different careers that involve speaking at high volume.

[laughs] Yeah. Being real assertive, I would say, in everything I’ve done. I’ve also been an executive coach, so all those put together kind of landed me where I am.

What goes into being a good auctioneer?

We have different industries that you can sell in, and they’re all very different. My husband is a livestock auctioneer. He sells livestock and automobiles, and that is not my specialty at all. I’m a benefit auctioneer. So you would need to know quite a bit about what you’re doing, what you’re selling.

What do you do to warm up every day? Honey water? Whiskey?

Definitely not whiskey. Definitely not. I do some vocal exercises every day. We’ve got to take very good care of our voices. That means when I go to a football game, I probably don’t yell quite as loud, because I don’t want to end up hoarse. It’s a muscle that we have to take very good care of.

What’s the most expensive item you’ve ever auctioned off?

We sold a train trip one time for $85,000. You know, it’s silly money but for a great cause. At the beginning of an auction, to warm people up, we sell a glass of generosity. We try to pick somebody in the crowd; last week, that was Troy Aikman. He was getting an award. And so I asked Troy, “What’s your favorite adult beverage?” You know, at some auctions it’s a cosmopolitan or some kind of really cool mixed drink. Troy’s was a Miller Lite. And so the catch is, we want to sell this for real money, and the minute you have this glass of generosity, you’re going to feel so much more generous in the auction. We sold Troy’s Miller Lite for $1,000.

What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve seen from the stage?

We were doing a fairly small event for a church. They were giving away one or two cars to single mothers, and this young man, he was just totally moved by what we were doing and—I wish I could remember the name of the watch. It was one of those watches that the rappers wear that’s covered with diamonds all over the face. So he takes off that watch and gives it to somebody to run to the stage. We had to give it to a bidder’s assistant to find out if it was real and what it was worth. Because we didn’t want to sell it to somebody and it’s like, “Oh, wow! They’re going to get a bargain at $20,000.” We finally found a jeweler who said, “That’s worth about $120,000, and we can sell it back to a jeweler for about $85,000 or $90,000.”

Do you and your husband have a rivalry?

Well, when I started bid calling, people would give him a hard time and say, “Oh, you’ve got some competition.” But no, I wouldn’t call it a rivalry. He is my biggest fan, as I am his. We love to work together. It’s a lot of fun to be on the stage together. 

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