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Legendary Vermont auctioneer retires after 54 years

Published: Aug. 29, 2021 at 7:27 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 30, 2021 at 4:21 AM EDT
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BRIDPORT, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s the end of an era for Vermont auction-goers; legendary auctioneer Tom Broughton is retiring after more than half a century.

Broughton spent Sunday doing what he does best– auctioneering.

Over the last 54 years, he’s made a name for himself in the Vermont auctioneering community.

“He’s a straight shooter, he’s funny, it’s a family affair and he really is a people person with the crowd,” said Jean Tudhope from East Middlebury.

“He’s on the go, go go go, he has to stay busy and help his community and help his family and that’s what he’s been doing for so long,” said Marcia Engilis, Broughton’s daughter.

It’s clear this is not your typical auction; this is a family affair. Broughton’s children and grandchildren are involved and people who have been coming for 20, 30 years. They’ve turned into family, too.

“I’ve seen Tom’s two grandsons from about age 4 on and now I’m not sure how old they are, and it’s been wonderful watching them grow,” said Barbara Blodgett of Middlebury.

“Tom’s grandchildren and children have all helped out before, and his wife, Charlene, used to keep the books. I’ve been doing it for a long time. I’ve been doing it ever since I was little, so it’ll be fun,” said Cody Broughton, Broughton’s grandson.

Now, after 54 years, Broughton is calling it a career.

“The time had come,” he said. " Two of my employees were leaving, one was kind of retiring, the other moved to Montana, my wife has health issues, so the time is right.”

Broughton’s final auction is upbeat, but for people who have watched his career and his family grow, the day is bittersweet.

“It’s the end of an era, this is all I know, him being an auctioneer, and this is what he’s been doing for so long and it’s kind of a sad moment,” said Engilis.

“I’m very upset. I’ve been coming here for 20 years, I love it. He’s a great auctioneer and so is his son,” said Blodgett.

Now, family and friends who have become family are soaking up this historic moment.

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