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It’s Groundhog Day Every Other Week at Auction

February 1, 2023

It’s that time of year again! Groundhog Day—the day when the behavior of a rodent either improves or ruins the attitudes of people across the nation.

If you aren’t from Pennsylvania, you may not appreciate this strange tradition where a large group gathers in Punxsutawney at Gobbler’s Knob in the wee hours of the morning to watch a group of men dressed in black tuxedos and top hats reach into a makeshift burrow to haul out a groundhog.

According to tradition, if the groundhog (affectionately known as “Punxsutawney Phil”) sees his shadow and retreats back into its burrow in fear, his actions predict six more weeks of winter weather; if he doesn’t return home in fear of his shadow, it means an early spring.

Although there are other celebrations of the kind across the nation, Pennsylvania was the first to perform the annual ritual.

In fact, the very first Groundhog Day was celebrated at Gobbler’s Knob in 1887. The ceremony has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas, when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter, with the candles representing how long and cold the winter would be. According to, Germans expanded on this idea by choosing a hedgehog as a means of predicting the weather, but when they settled in Pennsylvania, they opted for a groundhog, which was more common here than a hedgehog.

So what’s this have to do with auction?

Well, back in 1993, actor Bill Murray starred in a film called “Groundhog Day”, where he played a cynical TV weatherman who was assigned to cover the annual event in Punxsutawney, but gets trapped in a time loop where he’s forced to relive the day repeatedly.

The film spawned the catchphrase “groundhog day,” meaning something that’s repeated over and over.

Here at Gateway Gallery Auction, we are consistently in the Groundhog Day loop, with items coming in, auctions being set up, items being sold, items being picked up/shipped; more items coming in, auctions being set up, items being sold, items being picked up/shipped. It’s a constant—and we are grateful for it!

In a typical year, our auctioneers, John and Heather, say “sold” more than 30,000 times each year!

It’s crazy!

Next time you come to auction and look around at how tastefully displayed items are, think about the size of our three galleries and imagine them empty. Then imagine them being filled. Take note of the workers in red shirts and think about what their 9-to-5 must be like.

There are no tuxes and top hats. There is no media circus. No large rodent. No party. But those of us who work here wake up to Groundhog Day after every auction!


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