In an upcoming book local auctioneer Bracky Rogers presents his memoirs from a nearly 60-year career in real estate and as one of the nation’s top auctioneers. With his co-author, Thomas D. Perry, Rogers walks readers through a detailed and at times funny recollection of his many years living and working in this area.
Rogers is a local through and through, raised near Mount Airy and in his memoirs he recounts his story from life on the farm to national prominence as an auctioneer. He has handled big ticket auctions of celebrities and estate sales of regular folks with the same consideration and care which has led to a sterling reputation locally and nationally.
According to Perry, Rogers memoirs tell the story of “A descendant of pioneers the Rogers, who arrived on the Mayflower and the Carters at Jamestown, Rogers shares his family history before his birth and his family with his wife, Wanda, after starting his own business. Bracky’s story is the ‘American Dream,’ rising from a poor rural upbringing to national accolades as a Realtor and auctioneer.”
Rogers said that the estate sale “of a very prominent Wilkesboro attorney” drew attention from across the country and was “a dream come true for an auctioneer.”
He said the sale contained more than 80 pieces of real estate across three states. “Numerous signs had to be prepared and placed on each piece of real estate.”
“In the historic town of Wilkesboro, we placed signs on about every tree and every other tract of real estate in the whole town and other areas.”
He explained the sale garnered national attention because, “Someone from the town saw all the various buildings to be sold and jokingly placed a handmade sign at the city limits on a state sign, “Wilkesboro Founded 1802” that read “Town for Sale!”
He said shortly thereafter a media circus broke out when the Associated Press snapped a photo and it was shared widely. “Two hours later I was back in the office, our secretary came to me and said, ‘A CNN news reporter wants to speak to you.’”
“I picked up the phone and the reporter said, ‘I hear you’re selling a town.’ I tried to explain to him we were not selling the town, but he repeatedly insisted that we were selling the town. No sooner had I hung up the phone with him when CBS, ABC, and NBC reporters followed suit and interviewed me with the same scenario, ‘So, you are selling a town?’”
Rogers could have said that Santa Claus was his co-auctioneer because it seems no one was really listening to him as he repeated that he was indeed not selling the town of Wilkesboro. He was told a few days later that he was making headlines across the nation in newspapers from San Francisco to Miami who claimed, “a North Carolina town was being sold.”
What followed was a huge auction spanning three days with 170 cars, 135 antique firearms dating back to the Colonial era, and tracts of land valued at $4.3 million. Rogers said that after hours of bidding the land sold for more than $6.2 million meaning the estates “heirs and attorneys were thrilled and the results, along with a very happy auction company.”
One of the most notable auctions and sales Rogers was involved with was for Frances Bavier, best known for her Emmy award winning turn as Aunt Bee on “The Andy Griffith Show.”
When she passed away in Siler City in 1989 she left behind a 22-room home that was sold. What remained was valued at over $700,000 and was donated to the Center for Public Television at UNC Chapel Hill (UNC-TV/PBS). Rogers and his team were selected from more than 200 other auction houses who wanted to conduct the sale.
More than 1,500 people lined up for the sale of her estate items from locales far from the Tarheel State. From Mount Airy, the late Alma Venable was one of the throng who lined up that day, and she walked away with a cache of Bavier’s Aunt Bee memorabilia that she went on to display at The Mayberry Motor Inn where they are still found today.
There was a bit of bidding war for Bavier’s 1966 Studebaker Daytona that she drove in the fictional Mayberry on television. An interested bidder from Down Under said, “I’m taking that car back to Australia.”
Rogers wrote, “The eventual owner from the Old North State said the car ain’t leaving North Carolina.” For a scant $22,000 he was true to his word and the car stayed put.
Betty Lynn, another of the show’s stars who played Thelma Lou on “The Andy Griffith Show,” passed away in 2021 and Rogers conducted the auction of her estate as well.
Last week Mount Airy rolled out the red carpet and welcomed Donna Fargo home for the July 4 parade and the unveiling of her new downtown mural. Rogers had his own connections to Fargo through his wife Wanda, one of Fargo’s many cousins, who sang in the choir at Slate Mountain Baptist Church. He and his company have assisted Fargo and her family with the sale of the family homestead on Highway 103 near Blue Hollow Road where a concrete statuary business is found today.
No matter the size of the sale, Rogers and Rogers Realty and Auction have made a name for themselves and again won the Mountie Award for Best Auction Company and Bracky’s son Mark Rogers, as Best Auctioneer.
Grandson Dustin is another of the many Rogers found on staff and was named the winner of the Men’s National Auctioneers Association International Auctioneer Championship in 2017. During that same week Mark was inducted into the National Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame.
Rogers and Perry will be holding a pair of launch party events for the book. The first is at Pages Bookstore, 192 N. Main St. in Mount Airy on July 15 from 2 – 4 p.m. The second will be on Sunday, July 16, from 2 – 4 p.m. at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History.