René Bates Auctioneers, Inc. Celebrates 57 Years

Welcome to 2023.  We are blessed to be going into our 57th year and could not have done it without the dedicated and loyal people that keep the wheels turning in this business.  We hope that you have a minute to look through our “story” which started in 1965 and has taken this company so many places.  We have made great friendships throughout these years and are thankful for each of them.  After you have looked at us “through the decades”, click on our home page and you will see that we are still going strong.  We have online auctions closing Monday through Friday throughout the year.  Again, please take the time to stroll down memory lane with us below.  I can assure you that Rene’ Bates and crew had a great time putting each sale in the record books.  Thanks again to all of you for being a part of the success of Rene’ Bates Auctioneers, Inc.  May we all continue to be blessed in the years to come.
Sheryl Bates and Michelle Bates






René Bates Auctioneers, Inc.  -  The First Fifty Years

1960s - And here's how it all started!


After graduating from East Texas State University with a Master of Education, René began his short career as a teacher.  A chance encounter with a local auctioneer gave him a taste of the auctioneering business.  After starting out selling livestock and small farm sales, René determined that the commission on a cow wasn't going to pay the rent.  He turned his attention towards the governmental sector and began calling on cities and counties to introduce them to the auction method to dispose of their surplus assets.  He conducted the very first auction for the City of Richardson, Texas  in 1965, along with the first auction for the City of Garland, Texas in 1969.  After conducting several more successful governmental auctions, René left his teaching career behind and started René Bates Auctioneers full time in 1966.  With a focus on cities and counties, René conducted the first governmental auction for several municipalities and counties across the United States.

1970s - Building the business and the brand one auction at a time!





In the 1970s, René continued his focus on the governmental sector.  In addition, he continued to build his auction company by selling for private organizations, financial institutions and others.  He traveled across the United States working for the US Postal Service selling their postal vehicles from Honolulu to Fort Lauderdale and every state in between.  In one year, he conducted 250 auctions for the US Postal Service alone.  In the 1970s, he conducted the very first public auction for Tarrant County, Texas and the Cities of Arlington, Plano, Denton and Beaumont, Texas as well as the City of Jackson, Mississippi and the City of Mobile, Alabama, just to name a few.  As a matter of fact, of the more than 700 live auctions he conducted in the 1970s, the majority of them were a first for almost every client he obtained during this decade.  By the end of the 1970s, he was averaging 80-100 live auctions per year, crisscrossing the country multiple times throughout the years.


Click here to see photographs from the 70s


Click here to see brochures from the 70s


Click here to see newspaper articles from the 70s



1980s - Our governmental business grew along with the utility company sector.


With a boot still firmly in the governmental sector, our company started conducting auctions for the utility industry.  René Bates Auctioneers conducted more than 1,200 live auctions during this decade - again from coast to coast.  Auctions were conducted for clients such as Houston Lighting & Power, Lower Colorado River Authority, Indiana & Michigan Electric Company, Appalachian Power Company, Ohio Power Company, Texas Electric Service Company, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Mississippi Power Company, Arkansas Power & Light Company, Louisiana Power & Light, Texas Utilities Mining Company, Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company, Public Service Company of Indiana, Virginia Power & Light Company, Florida Power & Light Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Tucson Electric Power Company, Duke Power Company, Exxon Corporation and many others.  Once again, René Bates Auctioneers, Inc. was blazing the trail for public auctions across both the public and private sector.


Click here to see photographs from the 80s

Click here to see brochures from the 80s

Click here to see newspaper articles from the 80s



1990s - Strong sales for both governmental and utility companies continued and we conducted our first online auction in 1999.


Our company continued its specialty in the governmental sector while selling heavily for the utility industry.  As nuclear power plants were being shut down and decommissioned in the United States, René Bates Auctioneers, Inc. was liquidating the assets for these plants.  René conducted one of his largest single sales during this time for American Electric Power in 1991, selling more than $8 million in assets during one day.  During this decade, our company conducted over 1400 live auctions for our governmental and utility clients.

And just as René saw a need for auctions in the public sector in the late 1960s, he also started looking at new technology and began pursuing the idea of online auctions for his clients.  With the help of his daughter, Michelle, who had since joined him in the business, the company began developing an online auction program.  On June 30, 1999, René Bates Auctioneers, Inc. conducted its first online only auction for Florida Power & Light Company.  By December of 1999, we had conducted a grand total of six online auctions for our clients FP&L, Oklahoma Gas & Electric, Volusia County, Florida and the DFW International Airport Board, Texas.  As other auctioneers were telling René that the online thing was just a passing fad, René believed it was here to stay and started focusing the company's efforts on building and promoting the online auction model for the company.


Click here to see photographs from the 90s


Click here to see brochures from the 90s


2000s - The transition to online auctions was going strong and we haven't looked back!


The year 2000 was not only the turn of the century, but was the beginning of René Bates Auctioneers, Inc. transitioning almost completely to online auctions instead of traditional live auctions.  In 2000, we conducted 20 online auctions and over 100 live auctions.  By 2009, we were conducting in excess of 700 online auctions and our live auctions were at a steady pace of 50 per year.  We had successfully converted our clients from the traditional live auction method to the online auction model.  Our clients were reporting 30% increases in results from their online versus live auctions and the convenience and cost effectiveness of online auctions made them here to stay.  Personally, the early 2000s brought René the blessing of the marriage to his wife Sheryl who joined not only his family but the company, as well.  She brought her years of experience working in the financial industry into René Bates Auctioneers, Inc. and streamlined the inner workings of day-to-day operations.  Over the years she has been instrumental in developing a personalized online auction platform to better serve our sellers and our buyers.

Other milestones for our company in this decade were:

2003 - René Bates received the NPI Presidential Merit Award from the National Purchasing Institute.  This was the first time in the award's history that it was given to a non-governmental employee and René was recognized for his loyalty and continued support of the NPI organization since its inception.

2008 - René Bates Auctioneers, Inc. became one of only two Charter Sponsors of the newly formed Texas Public Purchasing Association (or TxPPA) and continues to be the major sponsor of this purchasing organization.

2011 - René Bates was inducted into the Texas Auctioneer's Association Hall of Fame and recognized for his many years of success in the industry.  This same year, RBAI successfully sold a parcel of land containing over 1,750 acres in Oklahoma and was able to do so prior to the auction date.


Click here to see photographs from the 2000s

Click here to see brochures and newspaper articles from the 2000s


We continue to focus on what we know best - 50 years of providing auction services for our governmental clients. THANK YOU to all the bidders and clients who have helped make this happen. We appreciate you more than we can ever say.

Renè Bates is inducted into the Texas Auctioneer's Association Hall of Fame.


René Bates Auctioneers, Inc. celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016 as we continue to grow our business in the online auction sector.  We presently conduct over 900 online auctions and approximately 50 live auctions each year.  René and Sheryl, along with his daughter Michelle, and the entire staff, most of which have been with us for more than a decade, continue to strive to give every client the personalized service on which René built his company.   Getting the most return for our client's surplus assets has always been a priority while never forgetting to both respect and appreciate each and every auction bidder. Once again we would like to thank all of the clients and bidders who have been with us since day one as well as those who have joined us along the way.  We could not have accomplished all that we have over the years without the support of our buyers and sellers.  Thank you for taking the time to look over some of our milestones, accomplishments and significant events that have made Renè Bates Auctioneers, Inc. what it is today.  It has been a great 50 years and we look forward to continuing our business relationship with all of you for many years to come.





Click here to see brochures and postings from the 2010s