How to Bid at Auction
How to Bid at Auction
The auction room can offer tension and excitement... but be sure to know what you're doing
Bidding can be an integral part of building a collection.Auctions are normally simple and well-organised - but it is vital that you familiarise yourself with the basics before taking part in one.
Here are ten Top Tips to help you bid with confidence.
Get a catalogue from the auction house
This will list items available at the sale, with photos, brief descriptions and estimated values. Study it carefully, and note the items which are of interest to you.
See the items that interest you in person
Most auctions arrange pre-sale viewings, open to the public. If possible, touch as well as view the items. Inspecting the items in person is a great way to get a feel for what you are letting yourself in for.
Compare prices on the open market
Arm yourself with comparison catalogues. As with any market place, it is wise to know what else is out there.
Fill out a registration form
This can be done at the auction house. Registration normally requires that you fill out at least one form of identification, and willusually require credit or bank reference details.
The initial bid...
The best way to get to grips with auction process is to sit back and watch a few lots go by. You can check out the competition, feel the building tension and maybe spot an unexpected gem. Once you feel brave enough, then just go for it.
The bidding process
Bidding moves in standard increments, usually 10% of the initial price. Alternatively, you can raise your bid above the standard increment by calling out your bid, known as a "jump".
However, it is wise to listen to the old saying "slow and steady wins the race". Always take your time - impulse buying can be dangerous and costly.
Know your price
Set a limit and stick to it. Remember, one of the most important things about an auction is knowingwhen to stop.
Don't cheat yourself out of a bargain
When bidders fail to meet an item's minimum reserve, it can be recalled - and this can give you an opportunity to negotiate a bargain buying price behind the scenes.
If an item appears to be floundering, stay tight-lipped. Hastily calling out a bid will pushthe price closer to its estimate, and may excite other bidders in the room to do the same.
Don't be tricked
Keep your cards close to your chest, and don't appear to be the most enthusiastic bidder in the room.
Auctioneers sometimes employ a trick known as "bidding off the wall." If one bidder alone keeps bumping up the price, the auctioneer will then pretend to spot bidders at the other end of the room. Believe it or not, this trick is totally legal, so don't fall for it.
Be confident and stand tall
As with any in-the-moment buying scenario, stay confident, keep your cards close to your chest and feel secure that you have done your research and know your price.