History of the Janów Podlaski auctions
The first Arabian horse sale in Janów Podlaski was organized by the "Animex" Import-Export Office on the 5th of June, 1970. Animex dealt with the organization of this event until 1995. During its first editions the auction was held under the name of "Auction Sale at Janów Podlaski" and the transactions were made in US dollars. In 1970 the highest price was achieved by a stallion from Janów, Bajdak (Comet – Bajdara): 30 thousand USD. In its early years the auction was held in the manège, later outdoors.
"Since 1979 the Polish National Arabian Horse Show and auction took place one after another, day by day, creating a one of a kind celebration that drew clients and guests from all over the world", writes Professor Krystyna Chmiel in her soon to be published book. The 10th anniversary auction in Janów (the last weekend of August) took place for the first time in a circus tent. The highest sold horse was the Janów mare Algoa (Czort – Algonkina). She was purchased by Dr. Eugene LaCroix from the USA for 88 thousand USD.
After the first ten editions the name of the auction was changed: "The 11th auction received a trade name for the first time: Polish Prestige, which for the next 20 years became an advertising slogan for Janów's Arabian horse festivities", notes Prof. Chmiel in the above mentioned book. The year was 1980 and it was then that "Solidarity" was born in Poland. The auction took place during the 29th-31st of August – the announcement of signing the August Agreements was welcomed in Janów with a standing ovation. Political events of the highest importance coincided with record prices. The Michałów-bred mare Persja (Namiet – Platyna) sold for 185 thousand USD to the USA and the highest price of the auction was offered by Dr. Eugene LaCroix on behalf of David Murdock. It was also the first year when the auction was divided into the main sale and the "Silent Sale", which offered less valuable horses.
The 12th sale (September 20th, 1981) was unique, because a luxurious catalogue was printed for the first time, put together by the staff of the American "The Arabian Horse Journal" monthly. It was also the year that the Janów stallion El Paso (Czort – Ellora) was sold just prior to the auction by Armand Hammer for one million dollars, which until this day remains the highest price paid for a stallion of Polish breeding. The auction's high-seller became the Michałów mare Wersja (El Paso – Warmia), a full sister to Wizja. David Murdock paid 115 thousand USD for her.
The 13th sale (September 19th, 1982), organized during the Martial Law period, went itself down in history with the record price of the stallion Bandos (Negatiw – Bandola) from Janów Podlaski. The bid of 806 thousand USD was given by a representative of Ventura Farm (USA). In turn the 14th auction (September 13th, 1983) showed that the "Silent Sale" can also deliver high amounts – it was then that the Michałów-bred Deficyt (Algomej – Dewiza) was sold to Richard Patterson and Leonard Skeggs from the USA for 609 thousand USD.
The years 1985 and 1986 marked the beginning of a crisis on the American market. The 17th auction took place on September 10th , 1986. As Prof. Chmiel writes: "the auction was also threatened by the Chernobyl disaster, because competitive breedings spread rumours about Polish horses being irradiated, which was denied in an official expert report conducted in May 1986 by the English veterinarian, Dr. Nichols Mills at the request of Dr. Eugene LaCroix from the USA". Despite unfavorite circumstances, the Janów-bred Haracz (Palas – Harmonia) achieved a high price of 380 thousand USD. The year 1986 was also the first when Polish citizens were allowed to participate in the auction. During the "Silent Sale" Stanisław Duda purchased two mares.
As Prof. Chmiel writes: "the catalogue for the 1990 auction, subsidized by the "Arabian Horse World" monthly, was published with a crowned eagle on the cover. The many year (since 1974) auctioneer Marek Grzybowski, still representing "Animex" at the time, placed a foreword right after the title page in which he announced victory of the Polish nation in its fight for democracy and the rebirth of an independent Republic of Poland". In 1991 the governmental Agricultural Property Agency was formed and the state studs received a status of State Treasury Companies. Auctions during 1991–1995 were organized by Animex under the name of "Animex Bloodstock International". The first half of the 90s noted a visible decrease of prices, which was to a large extent a result of tax changes in the USA.
In 1990 the auction high-seller was Janów's famous Pilarka (Palas – Pierzga), purchased by fashion designer Paulo Gucci for 215 thousand USD. Since 1991 the auctions have always taken place in August. In 1995 the highest sold horse was Pisanka (Pepton – Pilarka), for whom the buyer offered 35 thousand USD. The mare was exported to France. In 1995 "Animex" was privatised and a group of its employees formed "Polish Prestige" with Marek Grzybowski. The slogan "Arabians of the State Studs" appeared on the catalogues, emphasizing the fact that the majority of the offered horses came from state-owned facilities. Since 1997 the event in Janów Podlaski was called the "Polish Arabian Summer Festival".
On August 14th, 1999, the 30th jubilee auction was held under the patronage of the President of Poland. A year later (August 12th, 2000) the auction was named as "Millennium".
In 2001 the organization of the Janów sale was handed over to "Polturf", first a civil partnership company, later run by an individual person under the name of "Polturf Barbara Mazur". "Polturf" became the organizer of the sale for the next 15 years. The name of the event was changed to "Pride of Poland". The first auction under this brand was held on September 11th, 2001 and the record-seller was the Michałów-bred mare Egna (Eukaliptus – Egzotyka), purchased for 120 thousand USD by Shirley Watts (with Jorgen Fredriksen bidding on her behalf). Since 2003 the bidding was conducted in the currency of Euro. In 2006 Janów Podlaski opened an indoor arena and from that moment on the auctions have been taking place there.
During the 39th auction (August 10th, 2008) the Michałów-bred World Champion mare Kwestura (Monogramm – Kwesta) was sold for 1,125 million EUR, which up to 2015 remained an unbeaten price record. The mare was purchased by Sheikh Ammar Al Nuaimi from Ajman Stud. The year 2009 (August 9th) marked the first offering of an embryo out of the multi-champion mare Pianissima. The future unborn foal received a price of 175 thousand EUR. In 2009 the name "Silent Sale" was replaced by "Selection Sale", which very soon – because already in 2013 – changed to "Summer Sale". This name has remained until today.
The year 2015 set new price records: a buyer from Saudi Arabia offered 1,4 million EUR for a Janów-bred mare (Pepita by Ekstern out of Pepesza) and the highest price for a mare of private breeding was achieved by Falborek Arabians' Wasa (WH Justice – Waresa), exported to Qatar for 252 thousand EUR.
In 2016 the organization of the Janów auction was taken over by Poznań International Fair (MTP) in cooperation with Janów Podlaski Stud. For two years, 2016 and 2017, the auction was still held under the banner of "Pride of Poland".