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Knowing Your Auction Basics

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/23/2006 | Hobbies
There is a great, cheap way to obtain all kinds of items. This includes, cars, houses, jewelry, collectibles, household items. About anything and everything you can think of! Auctions!

You can find auctions in your area by a number of different ways. Your local newspaper should have a section in the classifieds for auctions that will happen in the coming week or so. The Internet is a good place to search for auction houses. If they have a web site, they should list their upcoming auctions along with pictures and descriptions of items being offered at the auction. There will also be signs close to the auction site indicating an auction is taking place or will be soon. The ads or web site should also give directions to the location of the auction.

After you find the auction or auctions you are interested in, you will want to check the time it starts. There should be a starting time for the auction and a starting time for viewing the items at the auction. Make sure you get to the auction in plenty of time to check out the items. This will allow you to determine which items you want to bid on and how much you want to bid. Take a pad of paper and pen to make notes of the items and your top dollar you are willing to bid for the items. This will also be a good time to find the auctioneers and auction workers. Get to know them. They have the low-down on the auction and the items and should be happy to give you any information you want.

You will want to find out when the auction will start. Sometimes they start early, other times they start later. Find out where the auction will start and what direction it will commence. There may be more than one auction ring, if there are many items. Some auctions last for several days. Each auction ring will have an auctioneer, a recorder, and helpers. Find out how many rings and which auctioneer will be in which ring. Introduce yourself to the auctioneer and the workers. That way they will recognize you when you bid and be more apt to look your way for a bid. It is also an avenue for inside information to the type of auction it is, the type of items being offered, etc. Some auctions have multiple estates represented, so some sections of items may look like it doesn't really go with the other items. The auctioneer and workers should know this and will gladly share that information with you.

As mentioned, there can be auctioneers, recorders, and helpers at an auction. There will also be a payment table and registration table. These two tables are probably the same table. You will want to stop at the registration table before the auction starts. You will need to register. They will need your name, address, phone number, picture ID, and tax number, if you have one.

The auction can be indoors or outdoors, so dress appropriately. You might want to think about taking a snack or lunch. There might be a vendor available near the auction. Check out where you want to park to get your winning items to your vehicle easily.

As you check out the auction, you will notice that each item will have a lot # or description associated with it. This information may not be on the actual item, but the recorder will have it. It will be on the tickets for each of your winning items. It is usually a good idea to keep track of what you were the winning bidder on and what the winning bid was. This way, you can match each up to your ticket when you check out.

The items up for auction are usually kept in boxes or flats. The items may be auctioned per box or per item. You should be able to request a certain item be pulled out of a box to auction separately, if you like. A lot of times, you can get a better bargain if the item you want is grouped together in a box with other stuff that may not be as desirable.

The more expensive item are kept in locked cases with an attendant close by to open the case for inspection of the items. These items have been determined by the auctioneer to be more valuable pieces and will be auctioned individually. Since you have gotten familiar with the auctioneer, you will know where the auction will start. Get yourself positioned so that you can see the items as they are auctioned and so that you will be readily seen by the auctioneer for your bids. Make sure you have your bidder numbered card ready to show the auctioneer when you bid and when you win an item.

Before and during the auction, as people look at the items, some may get moved from box to box. Make sure you pay close attention to what is being auctioned, in case some things were moved. If you win, make sure to grab your winnings and make a stack or take straight to your vehicle. Once you win the bid, the item or items are you possession and you are responsible for them. Items have been known to get up and walk away while you are not looking. It is best to keep an eye on your winnings or have another person there to attend to them and transport them to your vehicle.

Depending upon the auctioneer, bidding may start at what the auctioneer thinks the item will eventually sell for. That offer may not get any bids, so in order to get people bidding, the auctioneer will lower the starting bid. If you are really interested in an item, you may want to bid first thing. This quick bid may scare off other potential bidders and you will win the item. Toward the end of the auction, there may not be as many people still at the auction. This is a good time to get some good deals also.

At the end of the auction, or when you are ready to leave, you will need to go to the payment or registration table to pay for your winning items. They will have a list of items or a ticket for each winning item. Make sure the item and price match what you have recorded. It will be much easier to resolve any conflicts immediately rather than later.
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