Auction Tips

Register For Your Free Auction Announcement


Here are some ideas to help make your next auction a money saving experience:

DON’T FORGET TO REGISTER- Before you can place a bid on any item, you must first register with the auctioneer. There is usually a desk or booth set up specifically for that purpose. In order to register you must have some type of valid identification such as a drivers license or picture ID. For extremely large purchases such as vehicles or heavey equipment, they will require proof of your credit line from your bank. For all other purchases they will accept cash or check (Id requried).No major credit cards are accepted.

DON’T BE LATE – You’ll need a bidders number in order to bid on items,so you might as well get there as early as possible. Getting there early will also give you the chance to ask any questions you might have such as,if there will be any sale’s tax on the purchased items. After you are satisfied with everything, shop around and see what interests you. It is important to know what you are bidding on so your not throwing your money away on something you are really not interested in.

WATCH THE LANGUAGE– Body language is important in auctions. How you act and how you bid will be read by others. There are people who come to auctions just to bid up large lots and resell later. So here are a few ideas to help you avoid bidding too much when it is down to you and one other person. Try not to act too interested in what you will be bidding on,never hover over it like a vulture, get a good idea of how much you are willing to spend on the item, and then go and look at something else. By going and looking at something else you won’t be drawing attention to the items you intend to bid on. When you are bidding on the item be aware of your tone of voice. Don’t get too excited on what you are bidding on. Above all remember your budget. It is nice to get what you want when you are bidding, it feels even better when you don’t have to pay too much for the item.

LEARN THE CROWD – Things happen fast at auctions, so you have to train yourself to change your bidding strategies and pay close attention to the other bidders and their habits. You can learn a lot about people if you just sit back and watch them. You will get to know the “commoners” habits and see if they are a “upfront buyer” that spends all they can afford or have room for in their vehicle “upfront” or are they more of the “behind the scenes” type that are picky and knowledgeable and have done their research. You need to know that special “buy price”. Watch the competition…….they know.




Absentee Bidding: A process by which a bidder is allowed to make a bid on an auction lot without being physically present at the sale.

Absolute Auction: The property is sold to the highest bidder with no minimum, no reserves. This type of auction presents the greatest opportunities for the buyer.

Accounting of Sale: A report given to each seller detailing the financial results of his items offered for sale by the auctioneer. It usually includes the lot numbers, item descriptions, hammer prices, buyers’ bidder numbers, auctioneers commission, and the net proceeds die to the seller/consignor.

Agent: A person who has express authority to conduct business for another (e.g. Auctioneer, Lawyer, or Stockbroker). The extent of an agent’s authority should be explicitly documented in the contract he has with his principal.

American Auction: An auction which has a number of items offered at the same price; the highest bid for the most items wins the bidding.

Announcement: Statements made by the auctioneer regarding the terms and conditions of the sale. Items typically discussed include whether bidding is reserved, method of acceptable payments, expected duration of sale, and other pertinent information.

Antique: An item that is a least 50 years old.

Appraisal: The act or process of estimating value of any said item.

Appraiser: A person that conducts an appraisal on an item.

“As Is”: The item being sold is being sold in its current condition with no warranties, etc…..

Ask Price: Ask is the lowest price acceptable to the buyer.

Auction: An auction is the process of buying and selling things by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder.

Auction Bidding Agreement: A printed document that explains the general rules for the sale.

Auction Catalogue: A brochure, or circular that is used as an advertising tool to promote items for sale at an upcoming auction, usually with detailed descriptions and photos.

Auction Company: A company that conducts auctions as a principal business activity.

Auction Estimate: An opinion given by a respected person as to how high the bid price will rise for a particular lot at an auction.

Auction Hall: An established place of business where auctions are conducted.

Auction House: An auction company, which conducts its own autions.

Auction Site: The actual physical location of a live auction.

Auction With Reserve: An offer by a seller to sell property but holds the right to establish a minimum opening bid or to accept or reject bids.

Auctioneer: A person who has been hired to conduct the sale of property or merchandise at an auction.

Ballroom Auction: An auction of highly valued items, usually real estate, which takes place in a rented ballroom.

Benefit Auction: An auction sponsored by a person to raise funds for a good cause.

Bid: A price offered for a good by a potential buyer.

Bid Increment: The amount by which a potential buyer must exceed the current bid price to become the high bidder on a lot at an auction.

Bid Price: The current high bid of an item being sold at an auction.

Bid Sheets: Pre-printed sheets used by the auctioneer to record the pertinent sale information of each lot.

Bidder: An individual or entity offering to purchase property at auction.

Bidder Card: A card or paddle given to a prospective bidder during registration at an auction that has a unique number which provides verification of identity to the clerk and auctioneer during the sale of a lot.

Bidder Number: A unique number assigned to each registered bidder at an auction.

Bidding War: This is the result of what happens when two or more people at an auction are determined to be the highest bidder for a lot and successively “wage war” with escalating bids until a winner is declared by the auctioneer.

Block or Rostrum: The platform from where the auctioneer conducts the sale.

Book Value: A published opinion of value, usually in a price guide, of a specific asset.

Buyer: The highest bidder acknowledged by the auctioneer just before the hammer falls.

Buyer’s Premium: An additional amount if specified, usually expressed as a percentage, which is added to the hammer price for an auction lot.


Cashier: An auction company employee or contractor who tallies each bidder’s bid totals and calculates any applicable buyer’s premiums and receives the resulting total purchase payment for all purchased goods by each customer.

Certified Auctioneer: Refers to a person who has been approved by a certifying organisation or institution, usually an auctioneer’s college. They have the necessary training, knowledge, and competence to satisfactorily function as an auctioneer on the behalf of his clients.

Chant: The rhythmic bid calling that an auctioneer uses to entertain the crowd, announce bids, and sell merchandise.

Charity Auction: An auction which is sponsored by a recognised charity as a fundraising activity.

Charity Auctioneer: An auctioneer who promotes, organizes, and calls bids at a charity auction.

Clerk: An auction company employee or contractor who records the item’s description, seller identification, buyer’s bidder number, lot number, and the hammer price for every item sold at a sale.

Client: A person who hires an agent to perform either a specified act or a series of acts with express authority.

Closed Auction: A term used to indicate that bids are no longer being accepted because the auction has already concluded.

Collectible: An item that is sought by collectors.

Commission: The fee charges to the seller by the auctioneer for providing services.

Conditions of Sale: The conditions under which a purchaser takes property sold to him. In the case of auction, a copy of the conditions may be advertised prior to the day of sale, posted in a conspicuous placed in the sale room on the day of sale, printed with the particulars or catalogue of the property to be sold.

Consign: The act of authorising an item to be sold in exchange for commission.

Consignor: A person who contracts with an agent to sell his property in exchange for payment of a commission.

Contract: A legal document by which two parties agree to perform certain acts.


Dealer: A person who buys property, usually at auction, with the express goal and intent of reselling it to others for financial gain.

Deposit: Monetary funds in the form of cash that is used to obtain a bidder’s paddle at some auctions. After the sale has concluded, the deposit is applied towards the bidder’s account or refunded in full if no purchases were made.

Desk Appraisal: An appraisal, generally constructed as “unofficial” on an item based solely on photos, a provided description, and no actual “hands on” verification.

Dutch Auction: An auction where a seller has listed multiples of the same item. All winning bidders pay only the lowest successful winning bid amount.


Express Authority: It is given in a written contract that defines positions, duties, and expectations of parties


Fair Market Value: The price at which an asset passes from a willing buyer to a willing seller.

“Fair Warning”: Some auctioneer’s announce this to the audience that the current lot is about to be sold to the current high bidder; it puts prospective bidders on notice to bid immediately if they want a chance to buy the item currently on the block.

Featured Lot: An item that is showcased in an Auction brochure to draw people to the sale.

Filler Words: Any terms or words used in an auctioneer’s chant that are not established bid prices or prospective asking prices. Common filler words include the following: and, now, would you give, and where.

Forced Sale: The marketing of a property as a result of some outside influence, such as bankruptcy, where the price obtained might not be optimum.


Gavel: A gavel is a small ceremonial mallet commonly made of hardwood, typically fashioned with a handle and often struck against a sound block to enhance its sounding qualities.

Guarantee: An enforceable warranty on the continued usefulness of a product or service, usually for a previously determined and exactly specified period of time.


Hammer Price: The amount an item sells for at auction, before any buyer’s premium is added.

High Bidder: The buyer who placed the bid which would win the auction if the hammer would fall immediately.


Invisible Seller: An auctioneer that sells merchandise he personally owns at one of his auctions.


Jumping The Bid: A technique in which an experienced or knowledgeable bidder will bid an amount significantly higher than the current bid amount, but less than his personal valuation of the item, in an effort to scare off cautious and less knowledgeable bidders.


Knock Down Sale: A technique by which an auctioneer quickly sells or “knocks down” an item for an obviously low amount with the hope that the auction crowd will pay closer attention to future items crossing the block.


Licensed Auctioneer: This is a person who has been granted approval by a local jurisdiction to promote, organise, and conduct auctions.

Live Auction: An auction where bids can be physically made at the actual sale location.

Lot: Either an individual object or grouping of objects that are offered for sale at auction as a single unit.

Lot Tag: The identifying sticker or tag which is attached or affixed to an auction lot that specifies the owning seller before its sale and the winning bidder after its sale.


Maker’s Mark: A uniquely identifiable symbol that a maker uses to sign its produced items.


Offsite Auction: An auction where the items to be sold were removed from their original location and transported to the auction site.

Onsite Auction: An auction where the items will be sold at their current and original location.

Online Catalogue: Auctioneers often place details of the lots for auction on their website.

Outbid: To submit a bid that is higher than another buyer’s maximum bid.


Passing A Lot: A scenario when a lot fails to acquire an opening bid; it is either combined with or annexed by another lot for future consideration.

Period Piece: An item that was made during a specified time period.

Personal Property: All property possessed by a person that is not real estate.

Phone Auction: This is an auction where all bids on lots are placed by calling the person conducting the sale.

Phone Bidder: Refers to a person who was unable to physically be present at a sale, but requested to be called via telephone when the lot of interest passed the block.

Pre-Lotting: A process by which auction lot descriptions, lot numbers, and bid order are documented and pre-arranged before the sale.

Price Guide: A published accounting or work that suggests retail prices for a variety of items.

Principal: A person who hires an agent with express authority to conduct his specified affairs.

Private Auction: Bidders’ identities are not disclosed in this type of auction.

Private Treaty Sale: A negotiated sale of high value items which have a small pool of potential buyers, and thus requires special research, marketing and value-added services.

Provenance: The line of ownership of the piece being sold. An interesting or unusual provenance can add to the value of an item, such as if the item was previously owned by a famous person, a popular celebrity, or an important historical figure.

Proxy Bidding: Involves setting your maximum bid amount and allowing an automated system to bid for you up to this amount.

Public Auction: During the sale, bidders will be made aware of the current leading bid. The public auction technique adds to the excitement and maximizes the competitive nature of bidders.

Purchase Price or Total Amount Due: The total of the hammer price, of an item bought at auction, plus any applicable buyer’s premium.


Registration: The process of providing bidder information, including identification, billing name and address, and method of payment, in order to bid at an auction. Registered bidders receive a uniquely numbered bidder paddle for that specific sale after signing a form that indicates that they have read and agreed to the conditions of the sale.

Reproduction: A copy or of an item, with varying quality and similar style elements, that was produced in a prior time period.

Reserve Price: A price established by an owner for a lot to be sold at auction, under which amount he may legally refuse to sell the aforementioned item. The reserve price does not have to be disclosed before the attempted auction of the item.


Sale Proceeds: The money released at an auction sale that is forwarded to the sellers’ after all approved expenses and commissions have been deducted.

Sealed-Bid Auction: A type of auction in which bids for an item are submitted for some fixed period of time, without the bidders having access to information about what others are bidding. Bidders are only permitted to submit one bid. At the conclusion of the bidding period, the outright winner or the declared winner of a tied bid will be determined.

Seller: An entity that has legal possession, (ownership) of any interests, benefits or rights inherent to the real or personal property being offered for sale.

Silent Auction: An auction, usually sponsored by a fundraising charity, by which bidders “silently” register their bids with full knowledge of the currently highest bid; high bids are publicly posted for all participants to see. Bidding can occur over long time periods – sometimes as long as a week. Thus bidders are given sufficient time to consider other uses for their money. Bidders are permitted to submit multiple bids to respond to having been outbid.

Storage Fee: A fee charged to auction customers that are unable to transport their purchases, usually large items like furniture, by the specified deadline and have asked to auction company to maintain possession until other arrangements can be made.


Terms of Sale: The rules and guidelines by which buyers must abide by at a live auction. They are usually presented in the auction brochure or sometimes announced orally before the sale begins.

Third Party: Anyone outside of an agency relationship with respect to either the agent or the principal.


Undisclosed Buyer’s Premium: The situation when an auctioneer agrees to sell a consignors items at a relatively lower commission rate, to undercut rates charged by competing firms.


Valuation: The process by which an item’s worth is determined by a specific person.

Value: The perceived worth of an item held by a specific person.


Warranty: A signed statement which guarantees the condition of an asset. The person signing is legally liable if the statement turns out to be untrue or if the asset proves to be in worse condition than stated.

Yankee Auction: A multiple item auction where “winners” are determined by ranking bids in order of highest price, then by largest quantity and then by earliest time. When bids are placed, bidders can specify whether they’ll accept a partial quantity or only the full quantity requested.

You’re Out: A statement, frequently used by auctioneer’s to notify a bidder at an auction that he no longer is the high bidder on a lot. The bidder can ignore the auctioneer’s notification or can place a bid to become the high bidder.

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