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Live Auctions: What a Bidder Should Know

Here are a few suggestions for joining in the fun at Live Auctions. Follow these guidelines to get the most benefit from your experience. Only registered bidders physically present on site at Live Auctions are able to bid. These auctions typically note “Sorry No Online Bidding.” The first thing to do upon arrival at Live Auctions is to get a bidder card. This card is a must to bid on items. When Live Auctions begin, the auctioneer will announce the terms of the sale.

Then the entertainment begins. As the bidder, when ready to bid on an item just raise your hand or your bidder card. You might even notice more experienced bidders familiar with certain auctioneers winking or nodding. Live Auctions have a ring man spotting bids and holding up the merchandise so bidders can see the item for bid. Once the auctioneer pronounces the article sold, the ring-man marks it with the bidder’s number while the clerk records the item and the bidder’s number on a list. This list is passed on to the cashier to tabulate each bidder’s purchases.

Some of the typically used terms at Live Auctions are as follows. Absolute Auction: All Live Auctions items will be sold no matter what the bid. There is no reserve or minimum bids. Auction with Reserve: Some or all items at Live Auctions must meet a minimum bid before the auctioneer can sell it. Choice: This is when more than one Live Auctions item is being offered at the same time. The bidder can take as many as wanted. If any are left the remaining items go up for bid again. All for One Money: At Live Auctions, multiple items may be offered at once and the bidding price is for all items.

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When and where the very first Live Auctions were held is still up for debate, but we do know Live Auctions have been a part of our civilization for centuries dating back to being held in temples, monasteries, taverns, and barns.


Who attends Live Auctions? There are people who buy just for fun, those who are looking for something specific, and dealers who own antique shops or booths at flea markets and buy at Live Auctions to sell at their own establishments.


Also, at Live Auctions, when the auctioneer says the word “sold,” that means the item is sold. The auctioneer has the final word in all bidding situations. For a fun-filled time, just keep in mind the three “Fs” of Live Auctions: Fast-Fun-and Final.

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