Thursday, June 08, 2006

Auction Tips

Auctions are always fun to attend, and one never knows what fabulous old items might show up. Here’s a few auction tips:

  • Try to preview the items at auction before bidding starts. Some auctioneers get quite testy when you are trying to look at things he’s actively attempting to sell. If you get in the way of the auction runners, the auctioneer will most likely say something to you about it.
  • Some auctioneers will point out flaws and damage, but don’t count on it. Previewing an auction prior to auction time will allow you to search for cracks, chips and other damage before you bid.
  • Check box lots - sometimes there’s hidden treasures within. Just before bid time, make sure that the treasure you want is still with that lot. Items do move around, and if you are counting on a particular item within that lot, you want to be sure it’s still there.
  • Remember to register before you bid. Bring your driver’s license so the clerk can get all the information needed. Nearly all auctioneers require pre-registry.
  • Be sure to listen to the auctioneer’s announcements before the bidding begins. Auction rules will be announced - whether there’s a buyer’s premium, “as is” terms, method of payment, and even background information pertinent to the origins of the items being sold.
  • Keep track of who is bidding, so you don’t bid against yourself. Most auctioneers won’t allow that to happen, but once in a while you’ll run into an auctioneer who will take advantage of you if you aren’t carefully watching.
  • Keep your bid card ready - some auctioneers can easily bid more than 100 items an hour, so the auctioneer’s chant can be fast and furious. Don’t delay in bidding - know your limits and get your hand up before the auctioneer closes that lot with a resounding “sold!”
  • Track the items you’ve won, and match the final dollar total to the clerk’s total when you are checking out. Honest mistakes do happen.
Auctions are tremendous fun, but set your limits on items you’ve personally previewed and stick with them. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of auction fever, and your wallet may not appreciate it!

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