absentee bidder

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Behind the Scene…

Behind the Scene…

You may have already been to an auction, so you think you know all about it.

But do you?

Do you really know what goes on (cue music: duh duh Duh) behind the scene of a well-run auction?

I bet you don’t.

Not really.

Let’s look a little closer.

You see someone calmly and cheerfully checking-in customers. Asking your name, seeing if you’re in the database. Adding you to the database if you aren’t by typing in your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail. Printing out a bid card for you. Often this person will be checking-out customers as well. Telling you your grand total. Accepting your cash, check, or credit card. Printing out an invoice.

What you don’t see: Learning how the new computer system works, only to have it lock up on you. Discovering that the printer is out of ink. Switching to the old, hand-written bid card…reprinting bid cards and locating the people to give them the new one. Double-checking to make sure that you get what you pay for and that you pay for what you get. End of auction reckoning: making sure that final figures are correct for the auction house, for the consignor, for the buyer.

auctioneer

 

You see the auctioneer with his hammer in his hand. Telling jokes. Interacting with the crowd. Rattling off his chant into a microphone so everyone can hear. Trying to entice bidders to go just a little higher on their bid. Yelling “Sold!”

What you don’t seeThe hours that the auctioneer has in setting up an auction. Visiting with consignors and determining commission rates. Going out to pick-up/collect items for sale in the auction house. Spending time at an on-site auction sorting through things and determining the best way to lot things.  Deciding which workers to work which stations. Testing out the sound system and running to get new batteries.

 

You see ringers holding up items for people to bid on. Maybe being goofy. Maybe being quiet. Always getting the object to the front of the crowd for the next bid. Perhaps delivering the item to the customer. Spotting bidders in the crowd for the auctioneer.

What you don’t seeTrying to remember what lot the bidding is currently on so the next numbered lot can be found and delivered to the front in a timely manner.  Studying the pieces ahead of time to be familiar with what is up for auction. Trying to figure out the auctioneers mind with un-lotted items. Does he want this? or Does he want that?

 

bin-clerk-slot-files-250x250
Auction Clerk Box for Clerking Tickets.

You see the clerk sitting at a computer. Sometimes walking with a clipboard and hand-writing sheets out if the computer isn’t working (or at a site where internet is not an option). Recording the item, which bid number purchased it, and for how much.

What you don’t see:  A pen running out of ink. The computer not going to the next lot. Trying to learn new technology. Frantically keeping up with the fast pace of the auctioneer.  Remembering numbers. Lots of numbers. So that when check out comes it all works out great. Tearing apart auction tickets and sorting them into the correct bid number slot. Tallying up auction tickets for check out (if there is no computer software).

 

You see the staff member who is bidding for all the absentee bidders that couldn’t make it to the auction. Holding a clip board with a list of items and bids and bid numbers. Placing bids on the floor against others who want the same item.  Sometimes winning it, sometimes not.

What you don’t see: Waiting until about a half hour before the auction starts to print out a list of absentee bids. Cross-checking the print out with bids that have come in via telephone or in-person to determine who has the max bid.

 

You see a nicely staged auction floor.  Some items have lot numbers written on them. Some items are in small boxes called flats with a mixture of things. Items are lined up around the walls, or on tables for people to look at during preview hours.  Someone is selling food. Yummy food. Chairs might be set up for sitting in (for sure in an auction house).

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What you don’t see: The hours spent cleaning auction items so they aren’t full of dust from the attic. Determining which items should go in which box lot (because obviously the hammer shouldn’t be in the same lot as the wire whisk).  Moving items to a central location for auction (either the auction house, or a designated place outside a home).  Taking pictures and editing them. Uploading them to the website for on-line auctions and/or absentee bidding. Listing items for auction on the website, including name of item & details (brand name, condition, etc.). Creating an advertisement so people know about the auction and what is up for sale at the auction. Running flyers around to area businesses.  Finding a person to do concessions. Locating and contracting a Port-a-Potty for on-site auctions. Finding out there is no internet and making last minute adjustments. The list goes on…

SBasic_Home_to-do-list

Ok…

Now you think you know what goes on behind the scene of a well-run auction?

Well, you’re a lot closer to the truth now than you were before.

 

A good auction takes a lot of work to make it run smoothly. Hopefully your auction experience with Hueckman Auction is a great one, whether you are a consignor or a buyer. See you at our next auction!

Absentee Bidding: Making Sure You Get What You Want

Absentee Bidding: Making Sure You Get What You Want

Psst…

 

You…

 

Hey you…

 

(Points to self)

 

Yeah, you…

 

(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 what?”)

 

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.

 

(“Huh?”)

 

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.

 

huh

 

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 background-fender-electric-guitarsa 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”.)

 

Right.

 

(“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.”)

 

Sure.

 

(“Did Morgan get the guitar?”)