(806) 244-4453 Fax

Gun Auctions: The Difference Between Absolute And Reserve

Friday, May 17th, 2019
gun auction tips

You might think auctions are just a way to sell things where the highest bidder wins. But, this isn’t always true. There are more rare events called absolute auctions, where the auctioneer sells all merchandise, regardless of price, to the highest bidder. Most auctions now have some of the items listed for sale as subject to a reserve. If the bidding does not go up to a certain pre-set price, then the item will not sell. These reserve prices do not have to be announced to the public.


Many do not like reserve auctions, but they are unavoidable in some cases. Auction houses will have catalogs with some reserved pieces in just about any sale. Getting to know the auctioneers is a great idea. You can ask them if an item you are interested in is being sold with a reserve. They may tell you if it is, but they are not likely to reveal the reserve price.

If you aren’t sure about the differences between these types of auctions, the following can help.

Auction type: absolute

There is no reserve price in place at an absolute auction. The final price for an item is determined by the top bidder. There is usually a larger and more diverse group of buyers at this type of auction. This creates more demand for pieces you may be interested in. Make sure you know your limits and set them before you bid. It is easy to get carried away in a bidding war for an item you would like to buy. In this type of gun auction, if an item gets at least one bid, then it will sell.

Auction type: reserve

This type of auction guarantees the seller a minimum amount for the gun they are auctioning. The auctioneers may help them determine the lowest price that is reasonable to expect. A reserve auction may limit the number of potential buyers. If you are looking for a more exclusive and select auction, you may want to try a reserve gun auction.

Understanding gun laws

First, check all applicable federal and state gun laws before you go to an auction. There are likely to be background checks for the purchase of some guns, but Texas is not as strict as many states in their firearm laws. If you want to give the item as a gift or transport it across state lines, be sure to follow the laws of other states.

Tips for attending gun auctions

There are some tips you can follow to make attending a gun auction easier, which can be helpful if you have never been to one.

  1. Be sure to do research before you go. It is important to understand price and quality on every piece up for auction.
  2. If you are looking for antique guns, you should understand how to spot them and value them.
  3. Understand the rules of the auction house.
  4. Don’t underestimate the importance of a budget. Set one and stick to it to avoid spending all your money on one gun.
  5. Look for accessories at gun auctions as well as guns. You never know what you may find.
  6. If there is a viewing time before the auction begins, be sure to attend. This will give you a chance to see the items you like up-close.

Gun auctions in the Texas Panhandle

To learn more about gun auctions, contact the experts at High Plains Auctioneers today. You can call us at (806) 244-6776 or Contact Us by email for more information about Bidding at our events. You can also view our Upcoming Auctions to see what we will have available soon.