Our Top Five... Tips for bidding at auction


2015-06-26 12:06:50


Our Top Five... Tips for bidding at auction

Auctions are exciting, fast and competitive. Here are some key tips to help you in the saleroom...

If you're a serious collector, then chances are youhave gone, or willgo, toan auction. But, as with all aspects of collecting, knowledge is key. It's crucial that you have the right information and savvy to go with your auction paddle.

Here, we've compiled some top tips for the next time you participate in an auction to help you get the most out of your buying experience....

  1. Decide your budget - and bear in mind any additional charges

Most auction houses charge a buyer's premium - often around 20%, so it's important to bear this in mind when deciding how much money you're willing to spend in a sale.

Taking this into consideration, decide for certain how much you are willing to spend at the auction and set your ceiling. Do this as you study the auction catalogue, and note down any pertinent questions that you might have.

  1. Fully research the piece that you are planning to buy

One of the great things about collectibles as tangible assets is that they come with histories. Whether your chosen piece was last sold 18 months or three decades ago, it'll help you to know what it sold for.

Also investigate similar items and price indexes like the PFC40 Autographs Index. Are you buying a JFK autograph of a Salvador Dali sketch? Find out what the typical market value is, and how much it has appreciated in previous years.

  1. Are you buying to invest, or buying to own?

If you're buying to invest, then don't be afraid to keep bidding until you win the item. Many attendees at auctions are dealers themselves. They will be less prepared to follow you into higher bids, as the higher you go the less profit's it in for them.

Alternatively, if you are buying to invest then in may be wise to hold back, and watch and listen to other people in the room. Let the other bidders decide the state of play, and then perhaps enter your bid towards the end. In other words, slow and steady can win the race at auction.

  1. Remember: 'loose lips sink ships'

By now, you should have done your research, know what you want to spend and have savvy to match your enthusiasm. While auctions can be great places to meet and network with other collectors, they can also be highly-competitive environments.

So, if you spot and object of value that's going under the hammer, remember that 'loose lips sink ships'. Keep your cards close to your chest, to give yourself the best advantage when you're in the saleroom.

  1. Stay late, and don't get discouraged

Some of the best bargains at auctions occur at the end of the sale. By this point, everyone is tired and most of the crowd has gone home - leaving you to prove the old adage that patience is a virtue, and pick up a great item which has been worth the wait.

Also, whatever you do don't get discouraged. Auctions are busy, fast-paced and competitive places, so you might not come away with the piece that you hoped to buy. Remember, collectibles should be fun - so make sure you enjoy the experience, and above all learn from your experiences ready for the next time to go to auction.

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