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Iowa Calls Halt to "Penny Auctions"

February 17, 1933. The Iowa state legislature has passed a foreclosure moratorium law that will keep banks from foreclosing on farms unable to cover their mortgages. The growing number of "penny auctions" and the threat of violence at farm auctions led to this measure.

In farm regions, an estimated 76 foreclosure sales were blocked by penny auctions in January and February alone.

What's a Penny Auction?


Source: T. H. Watkins, The Great Depression: America in the 1930s, Boston, MA: Back Bay Books (Little, Brown and Company), 1993.