(Points to self)
(Looks around to see if there is anyone else)
Yes, you…Absentee bidder number 256.
(Checks pocket bidder number and shrugs “what?”)
Well, would you like a tip for the next auction that you can’t make it to?
(Vigorously shakes head yes)
Good. Here it is: Learn how to place a maximum bid.
A maximum bid. You know, the largest amount of money that you are willing to pay to purchase an item that you see on-line.
Ok. Let’s think back to the last on-line auction you “attended”. Now think hard: was it an on-line only auction, or a live auction where you could place an absentee bid on-line before the live auction started?
(“You mean there’s a difference?”)
Oh yeah. There’s a difference.
(“I don’t get it.”)
Then let me help you understand.
On-line only auctions: These are auctions in which ALL the bidding is done on-line. You have probably done this in the past, and are familiar with the practices involved in bidding in this type of auction. Here’s how it runs down:
- Morgan sees an electric guitar that is up for auction on an auction website.
- He sees that it is an on-line only auction.
- Because Morgan has already created an account with this website, he logs in and finds the lot number with the guitar that he wants.
- Morgan sees that no one has bid on it yet, so he places just the minimum bid amount of $10 and clicks the “place bid” button and sees that he is the high bidder.
- There is still a few days left in the auction, so Morgan’s not worried. He knows he can place another bid if someone outbids him on-line. He will get messaged and know that he has been outbid.
- With only 1 hour left in the auction, Morgan logs back on (knowing that he was outbid yesterday) and discovers that there have been 6 other bids on the guitar and the next bid increment is $70.
- Morgan enters the minimum bid of $70, only to be immediately told that he’s been outbid. The bid is at $80. If he wants, Morgan can enter a minimum bid of $90.
- Morgan now needs to make a choice. He can either just keep bidding the minimum bid amount until he is the high bidder, or he can place a higher bid and hope that no one has already placed a maximum bid of that much. He can also hope that the other bidders don’t check on-line and keep bidding against him at the last moment once he is the high bidder.
- With only 5 minutes left until the auction closes on the electric guitar (did I mention that it’s a Fender?), Morgan has decided to place a high bid of $175, thinking that since the bid is only at $125, he’ll try a bigger bump in price and hope that he wins.
- Yes! High Bidder!
- No! Someone just bid higher.
- Now it’s like the action at a live auction, only it’s all on-line and no one can see each other. It’ll be over when the time finally runs out and whoever was able to type in the last bid wins.
Live Auction with the option of absentee bidding on-line: This is a bit different in that while you can place an opening bid on-line (like a regular on-line auction), you will not be able to continue to place bids on-line once the live auction starts. A staff member from the auction house will bid on your behalf for the item you want against the people who were able to attend the auction. In order for you to have the best possible chance of being the winning bidder, you MUST place your maximum bid before the on-line absentee bidding closes. The auction house has to close the on-line absentee bidding about 30-60 minutes before the live auction in order to prepare for the auction. Let’s see what this looks like.
- Bill knows that there is a Barbie up for auction at Hueckman Auction’s monthly Thursday night auction that he doesn’t yet have in his collection. He plans to be at the auction.
- Acacia wants that very same Barbie, but knows that she can’t be there because she has cheerleading practice.
- Acacia is sad until she remembers that she could place an on-line absentee bid and have someone from the auction house bid for her (like having your own personal bidder at the auction).
- Acacia logs in. She sees that the opening bid is $1. She places that bid amount. She’s now the high bidder. However, Acacia is smart enough to realize that chances are, someone will be willing to bid higher than that at the live auction.
- So Acacia decides that in order to make sure that she gets the Barbie, she places a maximum bid of $100. That’s how much she wants it. It’s a really cool Barbie.
- The day of the auction arrives. Shanna closes the on-line absentee bidding and prints out the sheet that has a list of opening bids from on-line bidders and what the highest possible bid price is for each item. Even though others bid on-line for the Barbie, none has as high of a maximum bid as Acacia, so someone from Hueckman Auction’s staff will bid on Acacia’s behalf. If no one at the live auction bids more than $100, Acacia will win the Barbie.
- The bidding starts. Because the opening high bid for the Barbie on-line is $5, that’s where the bidding on the floor will start unless someone at the live auction starts the bid higher than $5. The staff member will actively and competitively bid out loud for Acacia until either she wins the Barbie (at whatever price beneath and/or up to her maximum bid), or until the price goes above her maximum bid and she’s out of the game.
(“Ok, I think I get it now…maybe…”)
Here, how about you watch it in action.
(“Ok…so, I can’t just type in $1 as my bid and expect to win it.”)
Nope, you can’t.
(“Not even if I double check it right before the bidding closes and no one else bids higher than $1”.)
(“Because someone at the actual live auction might bid more than $1.”)
Now you’re getting it.
(“So, I need to enter the biggest amount of money that I want to spend on the Barbie, I mean, whatever it is I want to hope to win.”)
By George, I think you’ve got it!
(“Now I know why I didn’t win the item for only $1. I thought that was too good of a deal.”)
Great! Now you can do on-line absentee bidding with confidence.
(“Yes! I have just one more question for you.”)
(“Did Morgan get the guitar?”)