Photo courtesy Ritchie Bros.
The five-day auction generated $179 million in gross proceeds.

More than 10,500 pieces of heavy equipment and trucks—a record number of lots—exchanged hands this month at Ritchie Bros.' annual unreserved sale in Orlando, Fla.

The five-day auction attracted 4,350 on-site and 5,000 online bidders from 81 countries and generated $179 million in gross proceeds over course of the Feb. 16-20 event.

"We had a tremendous crowd … both on site and online," says Steve Kriebel, regional sales manager for Ritchie Bros. "This resulted in strong prices throughout the week, particularly on crawler tractors, excavators and transportation equipment."

Among the top-selling items were a 2007 Kobelco CK1000III 100-ton crawler crane, which hammered for $395,000; a 2012 Ellicott LWT360SL dredge, which sold for $360,000; and a 2012 Caterpillar D8T crawler tractor, which crossed the block for $350,000.

On top of the sale prices, buyers paid a 2.5% administrative fee for lots selling for more than $2,500, up to a maximum $950 per lot, and a 10% fee for lots selling for $2,500 and under. The sale featured more than 500 compactors, 450 excavators, 270 wheel loaders, 240 crawler tractors, 310 truck tractors, 200 van trucks and 90 dump trucks.

More than $66 million or about 37% of the proceeds were from online sales, and about $48 million or 27% of the sales went to overseas buyers in such places as Australia, Ecuador, Thailand, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, according to Ritchie Bros.

While used equipment continues to sell at home and overseas, exports of new equipment have dropped steadily since the second quarter of 2012, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. The Milwaukee-based trade group estimates that exports of U.S.-made construction equipment ended 2014 with a 13.2% drop year-over-year to $17.26 billion.

The fourth quarter of last year marked the eighth consecutive quarter of new-equipment shipments to foreign countries falling because of a slowdown in global spending, a strengthening dollar and declines in commodity prices, AEM notes.