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Understanding How Bidding Works At Antique Auctions

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Buying antiques at an auction is a great way to get an amazing piece at lower than retail price. However, you have to know how to bid properly at antique auctions, so you don’t miss out on getting a great item. It is good to do some research before attending antique auctions, and to understand the bidding process. You can also do some research about fees and taxes before attending an antique auction.

Do some research before the antique auction begins

Before the antique auction even begins, you’ll need to do some thorough research. Grab the auction catalog or browse the items available online. It’s best to decide ahead of time which items you’d like to buy. Then, you can set a budget for yourself and find out more about the items before the event. The auction catalog will provide information about each item’s year, where it came from, and authenticity. However, you may want to do some research regarding what the items are worth so you can come up with a practical budget. The catalog of items may also include price estimates for each item so you can get an idea of the item’s value.

You may notice when you look through antiques at auction that some items may involve a reserve price. A reserve price means that a minimum bid must be made before bidding can continue. Once the reserve is met, the antique can be put up for auction.

Understand the bidding process at antique auctions

Make sure to get to the antique auction early so you have a good seat. You may also be able to get a look at the antiques in person by arriving early. Note the condition of the items and make a final decision about which items you’re bidding on. Since most antiques are selling “as is,” you can know what you’re getting into by assessing the antiques before the event. Remember, you will not be able to return items later if you change your mind about them.

Before an antique auction, you may have to register to get a bidding number, which also works as a contract between you and the auction house. Once the auction begins, you’ll hear the auctioneer start the bidding. Typically, the bidding begins at a low price to encourage bidders to participate.

The auction process can go quickly, so if you want to get your bid in, be sure to know who is bidding and the amounts being called. Since the auction process is very exciting and fast paced, it can be easy to get caught up in the action. However, make sure you stay on track with your budget so you don’t exceed the amount you planned on spending.

Research fees and taxes before attending an antique auction

While some auction houses may include fees and taxes along with the final item price, some do not. Typically, you’ll pay a certain percentage of the item’s “hammer price,” which is a phrase that means the final price once the auctioneer hits the hammer. There may be taxes associated with the antique as well. It’s best to confer with the auction house before the event if you have any questions about fees associated with winning an antique.

For more information

Are you ready to buy some antiques at auction? Contact High Plains Auctioneers at (806) 244-6776 to get details about upcoming auctions, or to find out about holding your own antique auction. You can also Contact Us by email for more information about auctions and our services.